Sunday, April 24, 2016

Another protest at Balliol? – an information

Dear All,
Allow me to bring to your attention ‘Another protest at Balliol?’, an appeal addressed to the Master of Balliol (posted on my blog). I marked the appeal with a question mark, for it will take place only if the Master of Balliol rejects my proposal to present at Balliol my paper on ‘Plato’s defence of Forms in the Parmenides’.

If the protest takes place, it will be directed not only at Balliol students and academics, but equally at students and academics at the Faculty of Philosophy at Charles University in Prague. I wrote the Czech version of ‘Plato’s defence of Forms in the Parmenides’ in February in the Czech Republic and offered it to Dr Jakub Jirsa, the Director of the Institute for Philosophy and Religious Studies at Charles University. Dr Jirsa rejected my offer. (See posts ‘1-3 My recent Prague venture’ posted in March of this year, and the ‘Velvet Blues’ posted on November 17, 2015 to mark the anniversary of the Velvet revolution of 1989.)

If the Master of Balliol allows me to present ‘Plato’s defence of Forms in the Parmenides’ to Balliol students and academics, I shall spend most of Monday - Wednesday at the Bodleian Library. I have reasons to believe that if I get permission to present my paper at Balliol, and then hopefully at Cambridge, I will get permission to present it at Charles University as well. Let me quote from Dr Jirsa’s Curriculum Vitae:

‘2008-2009 - visiting scholar at the Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge

2006 - PhD degree in Philosophy, Central European University, Budapest; thesis title: “The Ethics of Self-Knowledge in Plato’s Dialogues”, supervisors: Gábor Betegh, David Sedley (viva: July 17, 2006)
2004-2005 - Research stay at the Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge, Hughes Hall College (supervisor: David Sedley, Malcolm Schofield)’

Let me end this information with a few lines from ‘Philosophers in knots over Dr Tomin’s Plato thesis’ published in The Daily Telegraph on August 25, 1988:

‘A leading scholar responded yesterday to complaints by Dr Julius Tomin, the Czech dissident philosopher, that he cannot get his controversial work on Plato published in Britain. “He holds that the Phaedrus is Plato’s first dialogue, which is contrary to the beliefs of pretty well all scholars in the field in this century,” said Dr David Sedley, editor of Classical Quarterly, and director of studies in classics at Christ’s Church, Cambridge. “I think people just have a great difficulty in seeing how it can be right,” he said. “It means he is asking people to give up nearly everything else they believe about Plato’s development, but he is not telling us enough about why we should give up all these other views”.’

In my ‘Proposal’ to present ‘Plato’s defence of Forms in the Parmenides’ at Balliol, addressed to the Master of Balliol, I wrote: ‘All my attempts to discuss Plato with Oxford academics have been so far rejected. As Justin Gosling once told me: ‘Nobody has time for it.’ What is important concerning the Parmenides is the fact that the difficulties in which the Platonic scholars have become implicated because of their rejection of the ancient dating of the Phaedrus can be viewed on the basis of a single passage, the passage in which Parmenides reflects on his criticism of the Forms.’

I posted the ‘Proposal’ on my blog in April 21; ‘Plato’s defence of Forms in the Parmenides’ is available on my website

Julius Tomin

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