Sunday, August 23, 2015

In French

The late philosopher Georg Henrik von Wright once remarked that not learning French was one of the most significant omissions in his education. While more people may be confident speaking English in France today than in the past, I realize that, just as for von Wright, not knowing French limits my world.

As a contrast to the awaken world and the airy, white and minimalist Scandinavian home that I have come to live in, my night-time dreams are less confined by linguistic or temporal barriers. I sometimes find myself surrounded by the décor of the late 60’s in Paris as captured by Bertolucci or thrown back to street-side cafés that make me think of slow mornings in Tangier.

Sipping the last glass of French bubbles (sorry to disappoint but only Badoit mineral water as Eddie woke me up well before 5 am), I realize that August is almost over. In a week tomorrow, I will again be teaching political philosophy to a new batch of undergraduates. Starting with the classics and the ancient Greek universe, it is a journey through time as good as any, including a couple of less expected stops such as Christine de Pizan. As for the modern part, there is a distinct echo of Stephen Eric Bronner and his class that I took at Rutgers in 2008.


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