Hi, everybody! Welcome to the blog site of a very exciting six-month philosophical study project of monthly discussions that I am running at the Lit & Phil on Saturday mornings, beginning 13 July 2013, on the stimulating subject of bees as a recurring metaphor in the Western philosophical canon.

This is the local Northeast segment of a highly imaginative year-long art project that is currently being run all over the country by the artist and poet, Alec Finlay. Alec was an artist-in-residence at Northumbria University but has now moved to Edinburgh, and our very own local, Newcastle Philosophy Society member and award-winning poet, Luke Allan, works for Alec as his studio manager. In brief, Alec and Luke are delivering an Arts Council funded public art project about bees; that is, bees as a symbol in culture, myth, poetry, science, which is now to include bees in philosophy (for example, Plato, Mandeville, Hobbes, Marx).

Alec is working with a number of venues across the UK to deliver different artworks and events, including Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Chelsea Physic Garden, University of Warwick, and Wallington Hall. Alec and Luke have a very informative website, The Bee Bole, which explains the national Bees project. Luke has arranged this mini-series of group-discussions at the Lit & Phil and has hired me to design and run it.

The course is free of charge and open to all at least 14 years of age (due to some adult content). A useful (but far from exhaustive) general reading list of easily obtainable and cheap books is available under the ‘Reading List’ section. A short guide to books specifically on the honeybee is also being prepared and please look for links to readings in other sections. Free hand-outs will be provided on occasion, which, it is hoped, will build up into a most useful course work manual that can be retained and used as a reference work for optional later research and follow-up.

The emphasis will be on group discussion so verbal introductory explanations will necessarily be reduced to the minimum possible in order to maximise the limited class time available. Some optional advance and follow-up study and preparation by all participants will therefore greatly enhance both understanding and enjoyment.

It is hopes that participants will be able to attend regularly as the discussions do dovetail incrementally both in the specific topics and in their philosophical subsectional cross-referencing (e.g metaphysics with aesthetics or ethics with politics and aesthetics) but can also stand completely alone.

Those unable to attend will be able to follow along online via comprehensive reports and previews that will be provided for each class. I also hope we will all get involved in extensive online blogging and discussion. Please do not hesitate to ask if anything is not clear and if you require any further assistance or material.

So: if you are not able to join us in person, please visit us here, online and join in the discussion. Enjoy being busy philosophical bees with us in this cosy virtual hive!

–Peter Tooth (Hemlockian34)


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