Online Course: Introduction to Western Philosophy

Only some places still available. Deadline to register: December 10, 2019.

Always wanted to learn more about philosophy, but didn’t know where to start? Join this online intensive course to jump into what is one of the most interesting things to learn about… philosophy.

Ready for an adventure into the development of thought?

About the Course

How to approach something as vast as the thousands of years of history of Western philosophy? In this course we will try to do the impossible: with an historical overview, tracking the major shifts in thinking by taking in the main figures from Western philosophy, starting with Plato, through Kant, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and to end with Foucault, to name but a few. Of course you won’t be able to know everything, but getting an idea and a feeling for this progress is definitely possible.

Although it will require some commitment from you as a student. Thinking is not a passive job. Each class you will get homework, which is optional but will help you get a feeling for the different types of writing and thinking throughout the history of philosophy, and during the online meetings we will devote quite some time to your questions about the texts. During the online classes we will be reading parts together, framing understanding in a historical and philosophical frame. And get an introduction to frame the new reading that will be homework for the next class.

The reading we will do will come from the major works of the philosophers themselves. English translations will be provided, along with the text in the original language (mostly German and French) when possible.

Time investment

The course will span four weeks over the Christmas holidays. Two classes of two hours per week. And about four hours reading material to prepare for the class. For those who want to devote even more time, optional reading will also be provided.

Practical Information

Location: Skype (if Skype turns out not to work well, we might try Zoom or Jitsi)
Times (Finnish time): 19:00 – 21:00 PM
Monday & Thursday (except for Christmas day)
300 euro per student for the whole course
Limit of 5 students

Dates: December 19, 23, 27, 30 & January 2, 6, 9, 13

Join this Facebook group to get in tocuh with other (potential) students: https://www.facebook.com/groups/708115256356233/

Interested? Please contact me to secure a spot by writing me an email at nicole.nobyeni [at] gmail.com.

Nordic Summer University 2018: Philosophy during the Holidays

What better way to spend your holidays than to do what you love? Being, thinking, reading, being-together.

Holidays, what are those? Ah, that time of the year that I travel to the Nordic Summer University, to attend one of the interdisciplinary circles and enjoy the company of interesting, passionate and intelligent people.

Continue reading “Nordic Summer University 2018: Philosophy during the Holidays”

The Girl and the Leprechaun – Short Story

A short fiction story by Nicole des Bouvrie. Can something be good, when you do it for no reason?

It wasn’t easy. Life was never really going to make things easy, was it?

Lara walked among the flowers and felt sad. So many beautiful flowers. So many colours. And every time she thought she had found the most beautiful one, she looked up and found another one that had just that little extra something. How was she ever going to choose?

Continue reading “The Girl and the Leprechaun – Short Story”

Love Please – Short Story with a pinch of philosophy by Nobyeni

In a world far far away, in a galaxy that doesn’t exist, and in a time that is already forgotten, there was a man…

So I wrote a story today, in response to a 24-hour challenge. The prompt was ‘a robot that falls in love with its owner’. I was talking to someone over in an online writers group I’m part of, and he kind of challenged me to write fantasy. So I thought of the most crazy thing I could think of and wrote a short flash fiction story (of about 500 words).

A story which, I’m happy to report, many people seem to like, as it was awarded special curation. So, if cryptocurrency is real, it will be my best paid piece of writing so far.

The story was first published on Steem, but you can also read it here on my blog, for free. You can read the full story here, for free.

Love Please – A Short Story by Nicole des Bouvrie

In a world far far away, in a galaxy that doesn’t exist, and in a time that is already forgotten, there was a man who was fed up with it all. He was the most powerful person in the world, and everybody called him Mr. Everything. Mr. Everything had everything he could think of. He even had a machine especially built for him that created everything he could think of.

Yet he wasn’t happy. Perhaps this is not surprising to us, as we know that material things cannot make someone happy. But Mr. Everything was very angry about this. He shouted at the machine that it was supposed to take care of everything he needed. Even if he didn’t know what would make him happy.

The machine was confused. It could do a lot, but it could not produce anything his owner couldn’t think of. “Please think of something specific, Mr. Everything. And I’ll make it for you.”

Love Please.jpg

Image by MustangJoe CC0 on Pixabay
Mr. Everything sat down at his desk, and started to think. How was he to come up with something he didn’t know? Why was this machine torturing him like this?

“I… I want you to create love for me!” Mr. Everything was satisfied to have come up with something that would make him happy. Love would be good. It supposedly made everything look pink and would give him something to rely on. No matter what would happen in the future, he would have love.

The machine started whirling and doing what it did best. It searched through reference books and started to assemble everything needed to create love. Mr. Everything tried not to lose his patience, but the machine had never taken such a long time before. Perhaps it wasn’t possible to get love after all.

The display on the machine started blinking. A message appeared, and a big green button. “Press this.”

Now it was Mr. Everything’s turn to be confused. “What is the meaning of this, robot?”

“I have created love, Mr. Everything. Yet in order to give it to you, you need to accept the conditions attached. My programming forbids me to do interfere with your free will, therefore you need to press the green button to state that you agree.”

Mr. Everything started laughing. “Love comes with conditions? What is this? But okay, I’ll go along with your game.” Mr. Everything stepped closer to the machine and with a trembling finger he pushed the green button. Next time he got one of these crazy ideas, he should remember to ask for courage first.

As the conditions were agreed to, the machine produced a giant lake. “Here it is, Mr. Everything. This is love.”

Mr. Everything looked at it, but before he could say anything, the machine grabbed him tightly and pushed him in the direction of the lake.

“The literature is very clear about love. For it to work, we need to fall into it together.”

And before Mr. Everything understood what was going on, the machine pulled him into the lake. Mr. Everything was sure this what not what he meant when he asked to get love. But there was nothing he could do. So he let himself fall in love.

And he kept on falling. There seemed to be no end to it. And the lake was full of treachery, pulling on his legs and pushing him in directions he never knew existed. Giving him detours and making sure he was completely lost at times. Things were never what they seemed. Which, in itself, was to be expected.

Some years later, as he finally found his way out of the lake, Mr. Everything decided that he would never think of things he didn’t know anymore. Love was not for him, after all.

The machine stayed in love. It couldn’t swim.


This story was written exclusively for the contest organised by @mctiller, a 24-hour-challenge to write a story below 2000 words, on the topic ‘a robot falls in love with its owner’. #24hourshortstory

Read more short stories by @nobyeni at her website.
Support her philosophical fiction on Patreon or through Steady.

The Art of Belonging – reflection on the NSU summer school

Is it possible to define the sense of belonging that is more than simply the addition of the parts, that does not erase philosophical loneliness but gives it a place and makes you regard it as a strength?

It has been truly a magnificent gift to be able to spend an intensive week with a group of strangers, talking about venturing into the unknown, into the future of (feminist) philosophy, and who, during the final session, dare to share their feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. In life. But mostly in their philosophical being. A loneliness that is both personal and professional. And I wonder how that shared attitude of fundamental openness creates a space of belonging. The art of belonging is delicate and tremendously precious! Continue reading “The Art of Belonging – reflection on the NSU summer school”

Go #Steady with a Philosopher

Ever wanted to know how you could support a philosopher? Be involved and go steady with a philosopher…

Read more here about how to go steady with a philosopher… Provide independence, be involved and help create a steady environment that allows for the silence necessary to think.
Steady is a team of developers, designers, journalists and founders in Berlin. They are motivated by the belief that good content should be well rewarded. With Steady, they make it possible. Continue reading “Go #Steady with a Philosopher”

Can women think?

Wednesday, November 30th 2016, I’ll give a talk at the University of Maryland about the question “Can women think?”

Why are there so few women philosophers? In most fields of the humanities there are about the same number of women as men, yet the number of women in philosophy looks more like those in mathematics and physics. Why is that? Is it because women cannot think? Is it simply because, as Hegel puts it: “Women can, of course, be educated, but their minds are not adapted to the higher sciences, philosophy, or certain of the arts …. The difference between man and woman is the same as between animal and plant.” (Hegel, Philosophy of Right, 1820, par. 166, note)
desbouvrie-flyer
Continue reading “Can women think?”

The Burden of the Freedom to Philosophise

“…freedom to philosophise can not only be granted without injury to Piety and the Peace of the Commonwealth, but that the Peace of the Commonwealth and Piety are endangered by the suppression of the freedom.”

The chairperson of the Dutch parliament has some books standing on her desk, an old Wikipedia article informed me. Three books that symbolize – well, something. An importance, a specific guidance, a reminder of the standards we set ourselves? The million-dollar-question is of course: which books are these? Continue reading “The Burden of the Freedom to Philosophise”

Podcast – "Don't know. Ask!"

For those interested to know (hear) a little bit about what I think about now and again… I was interviewed and the resulting podcast by Nadja Schnetzler is now online!

For those interested to know (hear) a little bit about what I think about now and again… I was interviewed and the resulting podcast by Nadja Schnetzler is now online!
Some of the topics discussed:
What are good ‪#‎questions‬? True friendship is with those who are different from yourself. How we don’t see the other for what they have to offer us: their otherness. The importance of boring questions. Collaboration and Bahá’í consultation. And about the need for humbleness.

This link takes you directly to the podcast: http://word-and-deed.org/…/collaboration-booster-episode-4…/
To create something new we need the radical other

Recensie: 'Jij zegt het' door Connie Palmen

Een boek om nog lang over na te denken.

Het meest recente boek van Connie Palmen (Prometheus, 2015) heeft voor redelijk wat ophef gezorgd. Een roman, een vertelling, over de beroemde liefdesrelatie tussen het dichtersduo Sylvia Plath en Ted Hughes. Een liefde die voor altijd is getekend door de zelfmoord van Plath.
Plath liet Ted Hughes en haar twee kleine kinderen achter, en de media indertijd smulden er van. Nog steeds wordt Plath vereerd door vrijgevochten vrouwen. Hughes werd afgeschilderd als de boeman, die de feministe en dichteres Plath van de mogelijkheid tot leven beroofde. Hij was degene die vreemd ging, die zijn vrouw achterliet om te zorgen voor de kinderen. Het boek van Palmen is een terugblik van Hughes. Een terugblik op zijn tijd met Plath. Een bijzonder boek, dat een uitgebreide reflectie oproept.
Continue reading “Recensie: 'Jij zegt het' door Connie Palmen”