first_imgA 72 year old philosopher plans to protest by sleeping outside Balliol College next week, in protest that his controversial theories on Plato have not been acknowledged by Oxford academics.Dr Julius Tomin, a Czech philosopher and former fellow of Charles University in Prague, will protest in front of the college on the 8th to 9th of June in an effort to engage with students, and to persuade the university to allow him to present his paper on “Socrates and the Laws of Athens” to an audience of Oxford students and academics.The philosopher, who has already staged one protest outside Balliol on 16th May, plans to return to the college with a placard bearing the message “A philosopher from Prague appeals to Oxford Academics: let us discuss Plato”.He said that he chose Balliol as his place of protest because of his long-standing links with the college, which date back to the late 1970s, when Balliol academics were involved in organising Oxford visits to Tomin’s philosophy seminars in Prague.Tomin told Cherwell this week that the theories which he is proposing, which will involve a profound rethinking of the dating of Plato’s dialogues, “radically challenge views which have been inherited from past generations of scholars”, yet claimed that although he sent his paper to various Oxford classicists and philosophers over a year ago, he has received no response from them as yet.When questioned as to why he thought they had not replied to him, he said, “the answer is that they cannot defend their views, and if they tried, their patchy acquaintance with Plato’s work would come to light.”Tomin expressed strong criticism of the treatment which he claims to have received, insisting, “I cannot understand how Oxford University can claim to be a true centre of excellence, if its Classics and Classical Philosophy departments are in such a sorry state, and how Oxford students, who will be paying off their tuition fees for decades to come, can tolerate such a state of affairs. I believe they deserve better.”When asked what he thought the protest would achieve, Tomin replied, “spending the night in front of Balliol is not a prospect I am looking forward to”, but he also expressed the hope that “students will come and discuss the matter with me, and as a result will organise a meeting to which they will invite Oxford classicists and classical philosophers”.Representatives of Balliol College were unavailable to comment on the imminent protest, while four members of the Philosophy Faculty, when contacted by Cherwell, also declined to comment on the situation.However, a source who wished to remain anonymous pointed out that Tomin’s assertion that he has not been granted a platform for his views may not be totally justified: the philosopher has in the past had papers published in a widely read journal, Classical Quarterly, and was also invited some years ago to speak in Oxford.A first year Classics student commented, “It seems likely that if he’s been published in the past, his claim that he can’t find a platform this time doesn’t hold water.”last_img