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Winter seminar with Oscar Brenifier
Paris, 18-23 February 2013
Oyvind (Administrator) #1
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Subject: Winter seminar with Oscar Brenifier
The French philosopher Oscar Brenifier arranges a week long seminar next February. See invitation below. The seminar is not only relevant for pedagogues and others who work with people but for all who have an interest in philosophy and personal development, indeed, for all with a wish to get to know oneself better. If you have the opportunity you should go! Oscar Brenifier is one of the most competent and dauntless philosophical practitioners around today.


International Winter Seminar 2013

"Practicing Philosophy"

Argenteuil - France

February 18th - 23rd,  2013

Last summer, after increasing the attendance of our seminar to the maximum number allowed by the local facilities, about forty persons, we had the regrettable obligation to refuse quite a few later applications for attendance. This meant already that we had to hold numerous workshops in two different halls, in order to give everyone a chance to show his work and not crowd the halls too much.

Because of this, and because we do not wish to go beyond this size of attendance, we have decided to hold a winter seminar, not in La Chapelle St André (Burgundy) where the season creates harsh living conditions, but in Argenteuil, at the seat of the I.P.P., in the suburbs of Paris. Of course, persons that were denied attendance at the summer seminar will have a priority. Again for practical reasons, we do not wish to receive too many persons, in order for the seminar to remain a seminar and not become a conference.

So we intend to receive maximum 20 persons, interested or involved in philosophical practice: students, teachers, professors, counselors, trainers, etc. Like in the summer seminar, the purpose will be for these participants to reflect on their work and improve professionally. For seven days, in English, these practitioners coming from very diverse countries will participate to different workshops, lead workshops, analyze and evaluate them, theorize about the different issues involved.

In this context, philosophy is not an academic activity centered on the history of ideas, and one does not come simply to narrate what he does in his home country, but get acquainted with the many ways of philosophizing, as an activity constitutive of the mind and the self. Philosophy with children, philosophical consultation, philosophy workshops, Socratic dialogue, etc., one is introduced to the many forms and variants of such an endeavor. It is not so much knowledge that is at stake here, but acquiring and developing skills. How to conceptualize, how to problematize, how to deepen understanding of given ideas, and especially how to create a situation where this activity can be induced, are the main focus of the work.

Of course, Socratic maieutic is a key methodological point, but as well dialectics, analytics, community of enquiry, constitute as many entries and matrices to define the work. If they wish so, participants can facilitate a workshop, a situation that provides an occasion for a practitioner to show how he works and get some critical feed-back on his work and his methodology, so one becomes more conscious of his own options and activity. Since the atmosphere of this seminar is open, inclined to both rigor and diversity, it creates a context where one can really express his view instead of hiding behind the usual pseudo-consensus where "everything is fine and we are all great". In this sense, the idea is to recreate the context of antique philosophical schools, or the gymnasium as described by Plato, where one could challenge other's ideas and oneself be challenged.

All practitioners interested in presenting their work and holding a workshop during this event are invited to send in their proposal. The purpose of this seminar is to exchange, discover, experiment and develop practices.

This seminar does not require previous philosophical training. It can be an initiation to philosophical practice, or a deepening of the activity. Participants come from different parts of the world, and join for professional or personal reasons, in order to work on a practice that is applicable to many contexts: teaching children or adults, management, individual consultation, N. G. O. activities…

The duration will be almost a week, from February 18th – 23rd 2012, and the cost will be 500 EUR, including the workshops, food and accommodation in a private room. For people who are on a tight budget, this can be reduced to 300 EUR if you accept "camping style" accommodation. Our Institute can accept some people free of charge who have financial difficulties, but are highly motivated.

You can read theoretical texts and watch videos of the practice on the following websites' English sections:
Retention of strangeness is the only antidote to estrangement. T. W. Adorno
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