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16 Editorial

vention in education akin to those being contemplated
at present in Britain) may suggest new ways of
understanding the state of British philosophy.

AbouIIhis issue
Orthodox British philosophical theory is fe’eble and
emaciated; it feeds on itself and becomes still
thinner and weaker. The Radical Philosophy movement is originally a protest against this debility;
and the criticisms we have made over the five years
of our existence have also been explorations of
alternatives to the self -imposed starvation of the
analytical regime.

The explorations have been made in several direc·
tions. In the first place, there are hidden or suppressed trends within British philosophy· itself: both
‘non-philosophers’, such as Wordsworth, Owen,
Wollstonecraft or Coleridge, MorriS, Ruskin,
Wilde or Shaw, and ‘philosophers’ like Green or
Bradley, McTaggart and Collingwood. Thinkers
like these at least recognised the existence of a
world outside ‘philosophy’ and attempted – always
earnestly, but not always wich success – to relate
their thought to it. The article on John MacMurray
in this issue represents the first attempt in the
pages of Radical Philosophy to excavate some
British philosophy in this neglected .and repressed

The Radical Philosophy movement’s attention has
on the whole been attracted abroad rather than towards alternative traditions in Britain. The article
on Husserl and Phenomenology in this issue is a
response to a widespread need for ·an introduction to
what is arguably the major movement in continental
philosophy this century – a movement which has
certainly been open to the same charges of conservatism and ‘academicism’ which are often made
against anlytical philosophy, but which has also lent
itself to applications outside a purely ‘philosophical’

field. It is a Significant comment on British philosophy and British intellectual life in general that
the phenomenological point of view has been, in
recent years, . attended to by SOCiologists, psychologists, and anthropologists rather than ‘philosophers’. We hope the article in this issue will be the
beginning of a wider attempt to digest the phenomenological tradition.

Of course, the Radical Philosophy movement has
explored, and must continue to explore, other alternative traditions besides the British past and continental phenomenology. (For instance, there is the
continuing RP study project on dialectic – see inside back cover for detailS.) But at the same time,
it cannot be content with this sort of browsing in
foreign and second hand bookshops. For much of
what is obnoxious in British philosophy would be untouched by such importation or excavation: philosophy may be concerned with abstract theory, but
it does not take place in thin air. It occurs – as the
‘Philosophy from Below’ supplement to RP15
showed – in local conditions of exploitation and subordination. The institutions of knowledge and of
power can qnly be understood as parts of a single
system. This recognition is at the root of much of
Michel Foucault’s work; and he applies it to prisons
in the interview which we translate below. But it
can also be applied to philosophy: here too the
theoretical forms can be analysed as expressions
of the power relations which they maintain and on
which they depend, of the functions which they serve
in society, and specifically in the processes of
education. The report on recent investigations into
philosophy teaching in France (which is part of a
counter-attack against a technocratic state intet-




This year’s Festival will be held 22-25 April in
Bristol, co-ordinated by Bristol RPG.

The Festival’s theme will be ‘The politics of
philosophy’: an examination of the conditions and
effects of knowledge within the co-ordinates of
social power.

Bristol RPG invites proposals and offers of contributions. Among those which have already been
made are an invitation to representatives of GREPH
to discuss their work (described elsewhere in this
issue of RP); women in/and philosophy; a consideration of the work of Foucault on knowledge and
power; the history, practice and effects of ‘English
philosophy’; the rise to power of philosophy of education; the politics of philosophy of science; and the
strategic possibilities for developments outside,
and against, Academic power. We are inviting representatives from such organisations and journals
as History Workshop, the Conference of Socialist
Ec·onomists, the Society for Education in Film and
Television, Critique, the Centres for Marxist
Education, etc, and teachers and students of
courses on Womens Studies and Black Studies, to
discuss their respective initiatives. In addition to
this main theme it has been suggested that a series
of introductory sessions be run on individual philosophers and / or philosophical movements. We shall
do our best to lay on facilities for anyone wishing to
run workshops on other topics.

We are planning extensive festivities as well: for
instance the ‘Derelicts’ rock band for Saturday
night, a theatre group, .an exhibition of feminist
art, poetry reading~, fil~s etc etc.

The Festival’s format will be fleXible, allowing
for different kinds of sessions:. informational,
workshop, formal presentations of papers and discussion, as well as plenary sessions.

Bristol RPG will organise accommodation,
arrangements for food, a creche and fare-pool.

(Publicity material will be available later.) It will
be a great help if everyone registers well in advance. The registration fee for the weekend (which
includes ·admittance to the bop on Saturday night)
is: £1. 50 for students and claimants (£1 if registered in advance) and £2. 50 for teachers and
employed persons (£2 if registered in advance).

For further information .and suggestions, offers
etc from local RP groups, write to:

Bristol Radical Philosophy Group, C /0 Department
of, Philosophy, University of Bristol, Bristol 8.


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