Ryerson University

On October 24, Chris Norris, a world renowned scholar of deconstruction, presented a lecture at Ryerson University on the topic of "Philosophy, Poetry, and 'Creative Thinking.'"

 

 
 
"Poetry has always stood for creativity," Dr. Norris argued in an exuberant and impassioned lecture, which fleshed out the relationship between philosophy and poetry starting with the ancient Greek quarrels, through Friedrich Schleiermacher (literally, "veil maker"), for whom "all language was figural," through Friedrich Nietzsche and Ludwig Wittgenstein, to Gaston Bachelard, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault. Norris, who views metaphor as "a creative tool," argued that metaphor is especially important in prerevolutionary times, when theories take the form of metaphors. In turn, metaphors are subsequently subjected to testing and conceptual elaboration. "If they are not elaborated on, these metaphors will fall by the wayside."
 
Dr. Norris also impressed us with his free-associative speaking skills. He took the podium with a one-page folded sheet, containing a few hand-written notes, and talked compellingly for 50 minutes, before engaging the audience members' questions. At the reception, Dr. Norris read his latest poetry, and showcased the creative/philosophical nexus theorized in the lecture.
 

 
I would like to thank the students, faculty and general public who attended the lecture and engaged the ideas. There was an impressive cross-section of audience members from Ryerson, York, University of Toronto, and OCAD University, including members from the Engineering faculty, alongside the philosophers, literary scholars, semioticians, psychologists, and creative practitioners.
 
I would like to thank Dr. Jean Paul Boudreau (Dean of Arts), Dr. Andrew Hunter (Chair of Philosophy) and Dr. Randy Boyagoda (Chair of English) for co-sponsoring this event with us and also for addressing the audience. I would like to thank Dr. John Wrighton (MLC International Research Fellow seconded from the University of Brighton) and Dr. John Caruana (Philosophy) for introducing the speaker and fielding questions. It was a true pleasure working with everybody!
 
Special thanks go to MLC team, especially, Amy Smith, who put her heart, soul and creativity into assisting with the organization of this event, and helped make everything run smoothly within a tight time window. Thank you to Jason Wang for staffing the registration table. I want to thank Sharmaine McKenzie (Dean's Office) for the lovely reception following the event. The room looked like a work of art!
 
My most profound thanks go to Dr. Chris Norri, for an inspirational lecture and poetry reading. We hope this conversation will be the beginning of future stimulating interactions.
 

 
Dr. Irene Gammel
Director, MLC Research Centre
 

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