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Martin Jenkins

Taking my A-levels, I dropped History and was persuaded by my tutor to take Philosophy instead. I did and was seduced immediately. Not only was the Philosophy of Religion discussing matters near to me but Plato, Aristotle, Descartes — ignited an ecstasis of astonishment and fascination. Philosophy is the most fundamental area of human enquiry for it deals with the very fabric of reality, of what Is. A PGCE followed a Master's degree which followed a BA (Hons) degree. Attempted a M.Phil/PhD. but suspended it out of boredom.

Over the years I have taught A-level Philosophy, Access to HE, numerous Adult Education courses in the Philosophy of Politics and contributed book reviews to amongst others, The Philosopher magazine. However, a tension exists between my interest in Philosophy and the social structural expectations of having a professional full time job teaching it in some capacity. If teaching full time, I have no time to think and create — this being stifled by the linear production line worker culture of Education. So I've had a succession of part-time occupations which enable me to think and create. So, presently I am a tutor for an on-line College, contribute answers for Ask a Philosopher, am a mentor for the Pathways to Philosophy and am a part-time project worker with Homeless people. Having had articles on Political Philosophy/ Praxis published in specialised journals, I feel very strongly that the practice of Philosophy ought not to be a self-referential abstract practice — intellectual crossword puzzle solving — but is the source of practical interventions in society. In this respect, Academic Philosophy stands condemned.

For my BA dissertation, inspired by the writings of Marx and Wittgenstein I enquired whether there were any eternal moral truths or whether language creates our reality. For the MA dissertation I examined Aristotelian essentialism in the humanistic readings of Karl Marx.

Having critical doubts about the veracity of Marxist Philosophy, I explored post-modern philosophies including those of Lyotard, Foucault, Delueze and Levinas. They emphasise the marginal, the different from reductive holistic totalities. Although this might sound attractive and is understandable in the wake of totalising German Idealism, fetishization of difference can isolate and make vulnerable. And if non-humanist post-modernism does not begin from a foundational subject which is also a causa finalis then how is human freedom possible?

My dissertation for the ISFP Fellowship award is on Friedrich Nietzsche's doctrine of the Will to Power and its applications. I am familiar with most areas of Philosophy but specialise in Political Philosophy, the Philosophy of Religion and European Philosophy — especially Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger. De omnibus dubitandum.