Phone - Carole 021 401 951

2023 Summer Mini Lecture Series - open to all


Philosophers behaving badly

How often do ethics philosophers call their mothers?

This cheeky question raises issues about how professional thinkers live up to their ideals set down for others to follow. We expect them to maintain a high standard of behaviour in the pursuit of truth, wisdom and virtue. But do they?

This 4 week course will examine the lives and thoughts of those philosophers who seem to have fallen short of the mark in this department.

Peter Dornauf - Lecturer

Peter Dornauf (MA, Dip Tchg) has taught in secondary schools, Wintec and Waikato University collectively for over 25 years. He is a well known Waikato artist, art critic and a writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction and general academic.  Peter presents lectures on art and architecture, philosophy and literature.  His talks always draw on his broad knowledge of the classics and history, legends and literature.  Peter is able to make the most complex ideas accessible and his lectures are always stimulating and thought provoking.

Week 1 - Socrates and Aurelius

Here we will look at where philosophy all began, with Socrates, a corruptor of youth, according to the Athenians. We will also examine the life and thought of the Roman stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, who also happened to be a Roman Emperor, a good man, by all accounts, but not without blemish.

Week 2 - Rousseau and Schopenhauer

This session will examine the lives of two philosophers whose ideas are diametrically opposite each another – the romantic, Rousseau and the pessimist, Schopenhauer. They are similar, however, in that in their lives they contradicted their own teaching. 

Week 3 - Nietzsche and Wittgenstein

Two of the most modern philosophers are Nietzsche (19th C) and Wittgenstein (20thC). They are polls apart in their thinking; the first an atheist and the second a devout Christian, but both, in various ways, failed to live up to the high standards they set themselves.

Week 4 - Heidegger and Sartre

Two big names that dominate 20th century thought are Heidegger (German) and Sartre (French). One of them belonged to Hitler’s fascist party while the other was a committed communist. Enough said... Or is it?


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