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Philosophy in funny places
By Saul Smilansky

An invited piece of mine on philosophy in Israel, “Letter from Israel“, has just come out in The Philosopher’s Magazine (TPM); naturally it has an ethical dimension and some of you might find it interesting.

Preceding this “Letter from Israel” were reports on philosophy in various other exotic lands. I’ve found many to be fascinating. Check out, for example, the

Letter from Singapore

The “Letter from Iceland

The “Letter from Turkey

From South-Africa

And from Italy…

There have also been “letters” from China, Malta, and so on – just Google your favorite country and you might get lucky.


  1. 1. Posted by Minh Nguyen | August 1, 2011 5:09 pm

    Thanks, Saul. Not trying to be funny, but why are these places funny?

  2. 2. Posted by Matt Lister | August 1, 2011 7:46 pm

    Interesting stuff. For some time the APA Newsletter on International Cooperation published somewhat similar pieces on philosophy in various places. I contributed to one on “Philosophy in Russia” with my then colleague, Natasha Blokhina, in the 2001 vol., first issue. I’m not sure if the newsletter still publishes such things, and the newsletters come out so irregularly that it’s nice to see others doing similar things.

  3. 3. Posted by Saul Smilansky | August 1, 2011 8:55 pm

    Minh, no insult intended (I listed my own country among the “funnies”), I was just being playful, and a bit ironic, as for most readers of this blog who are presumably in Anglo-America these places are exotic and curious.

    Matt, thanks for the pointer, I was not aware of any of these posts; it would be good if they could somehow be collected in some accessible place. Being a philosopher I care not only about philosophy but about philosophers, and am curious as to what it’s like to do this funny thing, philosophy (here I go again…), in the very different environments where it is done.

  4. 4. Posted by Minh Nguyen | August 1, 2011 9:57 pm

    Thanks, Saul, for the helpful clarification. RE Matt’s point: As a member of the APA Committee on International Cooperation since 2009, I don’t remember they’ve published any issue of the Newsletter for the last 2 years. Maybe it’s time to revive it.

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