Some small this-and-thats. You may have noticed that olponline.wordpress.com now redirects to olponline.org. The new domain name wins us a few more blog features, which may or may not make their way onto the site. More significantly, it makes for a (slightly) more robust internet presence. I’m very eager to hear if there are any hangups on your end: I’m thinking bookmarks, readers, links, and the like. If so, please give a shout.
Last week I was in Denmark, teaching a writing course at Syddansk Universitet in Odense. There I had the pleasure of meeting a host of scholars in Law and Philosophy. Especially memorable were the long conversations with Esben Nedenskov Petersen and Emily Hartz (on Fichte, finitude, love of language, and the legal subject), as well as with Caroline Schaffalitzky de Muckadell and Anne-Marie Søndergaard Christensen. Caroline is a philosopher of religion and education currently working on Wittgenstein’s Remarks on Frazer’s Golden Bough. And you may already know Anne-Marie through her work on the Nordic Wittgenstein Society and Review, and/or her work on ethics and experience more generally. I’m in Berlin now (see photo) and very much looking forward to lunch with Christoph Menke tomorrow. (I suppose this is my sideways way of conducting introductions, an attempt at cross-pollination.)
In Copenhagen, Emily and I paid our respects at Kierkegaard’s grave. What a surprise to find that the philosopher-poet who’d have had his tombstone pronounce him “The Individual,” is memorialized instead with a sort of sing-song rhyme. (The stone reads, “Just a short while, then I have won. Then the whole struggle entirely disappears. Then I can rest in halls of roses and talk with my Jesus without ceasing,” an adaptation of Hans Adolph Brorson’s hymn “Halleluja, jeg har min Jesum funden.”) Emily and her partner Peter Brunn also treated me to some extraordinary jazz and I think I am–at long last–on (really on) to what Arnold Davidson is getting at with his projects on jazz and the ethics of improvisation. The heroism (is there another word?) of the musicians put me in mind of J. M. Coetzee’s reflections on sports:
“If I look into my own heart and ask why, in the twilight of my days, I am still—sometimes—prepared to spend hours watching cricket on television, I must report that, however absurdly, however wistfully, I continue to look out for moments of heroism, moments of nobility. In other words, the basis of my interest is ethical rather than aesthetic.”
Of course the relationship between the ethical and aesthetic should take us right back to Kierkegaard . . .