A Review of Two New Philosophical Works
This past April has proven a politically tumultuous and illuminating month. In Quebec many college and university students have been on strike, protesting raises in tuition fees that will end a twenty-year freeze on said fees and that will bring the individual student’s cost of higher education more-or-less up to that of Canada’s other provinces. The students have been joined by labour and other groups, and the protests have broadened their target to include the neoliberal agenda of the current regime. (Information concerning the strike can be found here and here). These protests have been going on for some weeks, with more than 200,000 students and their supporters marching through downtown Montreal on one occasion.
Thursday 19 April I attended a book launch for two philosophical works that probed the political implications of Spinoza and Hamann, respectively. The event was held at a bookstore whose show-windows look out on a major intersection in downtown Montreal. As the authors and audience arrived and settled in for the launch, outside could be seen police and a large group of students gathering for what turned out to be a sit-down protest in front of a bank across the street from the bookstore. The launch was introduced by the Chair of McGill University’s Political Science Department, a member of the Research Group on Constitutional Studies (well-represented in the audience) spoke before each author, and another scholar of political theory introduced the work on Spinoza. Not one speaker, including the authors, expended so much as a syllable on the concrete, sociopolitical phenomenon unfolding outside the window.