Research Articles (Philosophy)

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Interfacing metaphors and postures for understanding deep communicative dvisions at a tertiary institution
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2012) Van Reenen, Dionne
    While South Africans have made some significant social and political progress since the first democratic elections in 1994, there are still divisions1 in this recovering society, and the aftermath of apartheid has not subsided as quickly as we may have hoped. This conflicted socio-political history has created a confusing web in which the people of South Africa find themselves entangled as they attempt to reconcile themselves with this history, while striving for authenticity in their lived experience. In becoming more aware of how various groups of South Africans might have come to conceptualise their position in society, it may prove useful to consider a metaphorical model of morality proposed by American cognitive linguist George Lakoff2 (1990; 2002; 2008), who attempted to resolve some major difficulties in American politics by making the unconscious conscious, as the problems begin in the minds of citizens. This article interfaces a version of this metaphorical model with Johann Visagie’s postural model3 of humanity in an attempt at moving beyond personal and political narratives towards opening a constructive, licensed discourse. The article was originally written in response to the 2009 and 2010 colloquia4 at the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein. The colloquia served to address issues of racial conflict in society and on campus. Since then, the UFS has made huge inroads in social reconciliation. However, issues such as these remain pertinent in all levels of South African society, and this article, although presented here as a case study of the UFS, could be applied to similar situations elsewhere where problems still persist.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Nie-eensgesindheid in eensgesindheid? Die verkiesing van Hendrik Verwoerd as eerste minister in 1958
    (Faculty of the Humanities, University of the Free State, 2014) Duvenhage, Pieter
    This contribution focuses on the inner-party discord of the National Party leading to the election of Dr Hendrik Verwoerd as Prime Minister of South Africa in 1958. The National Party of 1958 was a complex party characterized by a federal party structure, regional differences, different personalities and even ideological undercurrents. In the first section of the contribution the focus falls on the intense political discord within the NP of 1958 until the death of Strijdom on 24 August. In this section the differences and election strategies of the different candidates come to the fore. In the second section the election of Verwoerd as party leader, and more specifically Prime Minister, is reconstructed. The third section focuses on the period from Verwoerd’s election as Prime Minister on 2 September until the appointment of his first cabinet on 21 Oktober 1958. It is in this cabinet that he had to unite regional differences, personalities, and even ideological undercurrents. This contribution ends (section 5) with the first cabinet meeting of the Verwoerd era (November 1958) which offered an interesting ideological twist – a twist that even found echoes in the later National Party leading up to 1994.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The reformational legacy within political theory
    (Faculty of the Humanities, University of the Free State, 2010-09) Strauss, Danie
    Political theory in the West continued to suffer from the disturbing one-sidedness of atomistic (individualistic) and holistic (universalistic) orientations precluding a proper understanding of the nature of a differentiated society and the place of the state as a public legal institution within it. In this contribution attention is asked for the theoretical legacy within which Prof. Daan Wessels pursued his teaching, research and public performances. Traditional theories of the state never succeeded in delimiting the competency of the state because they did not proceed from an understanding of the sphere-sovereignty of the jural aspect of reality that serves as the guiding or qualifying function of the state as a public legal institution, having its foundation within the cultural-historical aspect of reality.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Ubuntu between tradition and modernity: on A report on Ubuntu by Leonard Praeg
    (University of the Free State, 2014) Rossouw, Johann
    In Part 1, I overview Praeg’s points of departure, namely critical humanism, the openness of the norms of justice, the importance of potential, his conception of modernity, a violent ontology, and the state as locus of politics. The remainder of Part 1 concerns the main arguments of his five chapters. These are the shifting meaning of Ubuntu in precolonial, colonial and postcolonial Africa; Nyerere’s ujamaa experiment in Tanzania as a case study of the dangers inherent in ignoring the colonial disruption Ubuntu; the myth of the complete break with the past allegedly represented by post-apartheid South Africa, and how the latter is haunted by Ubuntu, and Praeg’s concluding link between text worker or construction worker and Ubuntu. In part 2, I critically discuss Praeg’s account of modernity and his dualistic distinction between South African Africans and Afrikaners that need to be set aside to decolonise South Africa.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Afrikaner nationalism, apartheid and the perversion of critique
    (University of the Free State, 2014) Eloff, Rene
    In this article I investigate the relationship between Afrikaner nationalism, apartheid and philosophy in the context of the intellectual history of the University of the Free State. I show how two philosophers that were respectively associated with the Department of Political Science and the Department of Philosophy, H J Strauss (1912-1995) and E A Venter (1914-1968), drew on the philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd to justify separate development. I argue that their interpretation does not simply amount to a wilful misunderstanding of Dooyeweerd, but rather that the foundational moment of Dooyeweerd’s philosophy involves an interpretive violence that accommodates this interpretation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    World view, philosophy, and the teaching of arithmetic
    (University of the Free State, 2013) Strauss, Danie
    English: Dilthey’s emphasis on the relativity of world and life views inspired Spengler to speak of different worlds of number. Yet, within Greek culture, Greek mathematics switched from arithmeticism to a geometrisation of mathematics. Since the Renaissance the ideal of sovereign human reason, which viewed human understanding as the (a priori formal) law-giver of nature, gave rise to the notion of construction. Avoiding the stance of both Platonism and constructivism, an acknowledgement of the ontic status of numbers (in their distinctness and succession), accounted for in terms of the distinction between law and subject, illustrates the influence of an underlying world view.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The raised fourth in Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story
    (University of the Free State, 2010) Viljoen, Nicol; Visagie, Johann
    English:This article traces the functions and applications of the raised fourth-scale degree in Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story against the background of the work’s precarious positioning between a Broadway musical and a modern opera. It attempts to demonstrate how the raised fourth operates in a variety of ways as a coherent tonal motive with distinctive tragic undertones. While it relates the main songs and musical sequences to one another, it also effects a poignant relationship between the lyrics, music and dramatic action. In this regard it represents a powerful instance of musical symbolism, its tragic quality being closely intertwined with the story’s disturbing theme of gangsterism.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Defining mathematics
    (University of the Free State, 2011) Strauss, Danie
    English: Any definition of mathematics falls outside its field of investigation. When mathematics is set theory, the history of mathematics prior to the investing of set theory is eliminated. Arguing that the aspects of number and space delimit mathematics makes it possible to avoid both Platonism and constructivism in mathematics. Every philosophy of mathematics should be able to account for the nature and status of the infinite. That set theory is a spatially deepened theory of numbers cannot be accounted for by what Lakoff and Núñez call the Basic Metaphor of Infinity. Gödel’s 1931 results point to an immediate, evident, intuitive insight.