Sunday, April 24, 2016

Another protest at Balliol?

Dear Master,

A month ago, on March 23 I appealed to you:’ Since 2009 the Pension Service has charged me with the debt of £11,856.70. All my appeals to the Pension Service to revise their decision have been made in vain. It would be great if a Balliol lawyer could look into the matter.’

May I reiterate my appeal? As I informed you, I discussed the matter on my blog in three entries: ‘An urgent request addressed to the Pension Service’ of June 10, ‘It is all wrong’ of June 15, and ‘It has nothing to do with Oxford University’ of June 19, 2015. I believe that these three entries justify my appealing to you in this matter.

But there is a more serious matter which I should like a Balliol lawyer to look into, a case of academic blacklisting. Nick Cohen wrote in ‘The Pub Philosopher’: ‘Jonathan Barnes, Professor of Ancient Philosophy at Balliol College, Oxford, impatiently brushed aside the suggestion that the Conservatives’ reduction in funding for British philosophy since 1980 might explain why there was never an academic post for Tomin at Oxford. “That’s not the point at all,” he said. “He would not be accepted as a graduate here, let alone be given a teaching job. He’s like a recalcitrant student who can’t admit he’s wrong.’ (The Independent Magazine, November 18, 1989).

The immediate consequence? Until then I was giving tutorials for American students at Blackfriars. My tutorials were disconnected. I was told that the parents of the students did not want me to teach their children.

But there are much more serious consequences. All my appeals to you to allow me to present a paper on Plato at Balliol have been so far in vain. I opened my most recent proposal with the words: ‘I have put on my website a paper on ‘Plato’s defence of Forms in the Parmenides’. My interpretation of the dialogue differs radically from the accepted views of the dialogue; would you allow me to present it to Balliol students and academics?’ I closed it with the words: ‘I hope you will consider my proposal favourably, and so I look forward to presenting my paper on the Parmenides to Balliol students and academics.’

To give urgency to my proposal, I shall go to Oxford on Monday April 25 and stay there until Wednesday April 27. On each of these three days I intend to spend some time in front of Balliol with a simple message: ‘A philosopher from Prague appeals to Oxford students and academics: LET US DISCUSS PLATO’.

I shall have a sleeping bag with me for I contemplate spending the Monday and Tuesday nights in front of Balliol as part of my protest.

Julius Tomin

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