Friday, 16 September 2011

Being and Tim diaries!

Yes folks that's right, it's time for the 'Being & Tim Diaries' again!

Some of you might have been lucky enough to purchase a Being & Tim diary last year. For those of you who didn't and might be wondering what they look like, here's a picture of my Mum reading one, looking bemused but educated I like to think ;-). Of course she got a copy cos she's my supportive Mum, but don't let that make you think they're not good diaries

Each diary is hand-bound, and A5 size, with about 121 pages. This works out at 2 weeks to view and 18 Being & Tim cartoons from the site! (There'll be a new lot in this year, for those of you who bought a diary last year). There's also the regular diary stuff: month to view, year to view, holidays (UK on the whole), and a small notebook section. There are even quotations on some pages, although I used up most of the funny quotations last year. Philosophers really can be quite dull.

You can see a couple of photos of  last year's diary below. This year they'll be bound with faux-suede, which is a lot nicer. They'll cost £20 each to preorder (as opposed to £23 when they come on sale in December) and while I know that's quite alot, they do take me ages, and I am pretty proud of how they look at the end.

If you'd like to pre-order one for £20 then please email me at, or contact me through my Etsy shop at

Hope to hear from you! becca xo

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

If Immanuel Kant was Batman....

...then Derrida would be the Riddler. As it is Kant is clearly Superman, so Derrida might be some sort of Lex Luther type, he's certainly more sultry than the Riddler in Batman Forever. Similar hair though......hmm...

How to introduce Derrida? It seems a little bit silly to try and quote wikipedia at this juncture, as his project, the infamous DECONSTRUCTION was precisely an attack on systems as totality.

Before I try, let's just go back to Monsieur Descartes, with his famous 'catchphrase' : 'I think therefore I am.' In trying to doubt everything Descartes found that the only thing he could be absolutely sure of was his own thoughts: you can't doubt your own existence without...well...thinking, which undermines the whole exercise really. But for Descartes, you can doubt your own body, physical reality might all be an illusion, like the Matrix or some video game brain in jar situation. (I nearly put brian-in-a-jar, but that would be something completely different).

So from Descartes comes one of the key discussions of Western Philosophy: how can we ever be sure that physical reality is not an illusion?  Descartes does some fancy intellectual footwork appealing to God, which isn't very convincing. Berkeley says that things only really exist when we perceive them. Samuel Johnson kicks a stone and Hume just plays a game of bridge, just saying we should get on with the fact we can't be certain. Kant tries to join both together by appealing to two separate realms, saying that there is a structure to thought which presupposes certain things, that while they can't be verified they must be believed for our thoughts to make sense. Now that's the quickest summary of Kant's thought ever!

We can return to Derrida here. His point is that the way language works (developing Ferdinard Saussure's theory) precisely makes an appeal to a 'structure of thought' impossible. Language works differentially: that is to say, we recognise sounds and symbols in contrast to other sounds and symbols, not by reference to things outside of language. There isn't a point where we can say 'ah look there's that thing beyond language that justifies language' because we're using language! As such ' language depends on nothing, no fundamental ground of logic, science or society' (Holcombe: 2007), it just can't be determined absolutely. Any interpretation of a text is going to depend solely on the choice of some words over others, a suppression of some meanings in favour of others. Kant's interpretation of a structure of rationality would for Derrida be equally supressive.

Derrida thought this had huge ramifications for philosophical discourse, and to a certain extent this is true. On the grounds of this argument any concept claiming original authority, whether that be Heidegger's notion of authenticity, or concepts like absolute truth, meaning, identity and essence are simply stepping beyond their remit. Being cannot be said to be continually and statically 'present', a reference point for language that exists outside of it, because the structure of language disrupts this. Instead language is a constant flux of different interpretations, in which Being is neither present, nor absent. Of course this is impossible to draw, so instead I put him playing his Nintendo DS.

Lecture over, see you soon!

becca xo

p.s I cited John Holcombe's article from 
Check it out if you want to learn more about Derrida!
p.p.s Being & Tim 2012 diaries will be ready to order soon! Photos to follow this week!
p.p.p.s I'm very welcome to hear comments from those who might have more knowledge than me on Derrida's work. As Holcombe suggests, ''Derrida himself was a good deal more astute and learned than his followers.'' (ibid.)


Monday, 12 September 2011

Philosophical Investigations....


You may have been wondering what we at Being &Tim Towers have been up to the last few months, as things have been more than a little quiet on the blog of late. I've been working on number of different projects, scattered all over empirical reality and the world-wide-interweb, and the next year should be pretty busy, which is very exciting.

Most relevantly, I've been doing some little pics for Peter Baron's brilliant site Philosophical Investigations: which is choc-ful of all sorts of resources and discussions for A-level students and their teachers. You can see an old Being & Tim on the site here and the commissions like the one below will be uploaded onto the site very shortly. Welcome to anyone coming from there, and for the rest of you  I recommend a little peek...!

''Kant believed human experience could be divided between two realms, the realm of ideas [noumenal realm] and the realm of experience [phenomenal realm], and that morality came from the realm of ideas''' Peter Baron, for more have a look around

I've also been busy working on a children's book with author Sal Macip, and going to become a self-employed illustrator from next month, both of which are very scary, but you can see what I've been up to at my illustration blog: (Still very much under construction!) Hopefully at some point in then next few weeks I'll be launching a new website that will combine all my comics, illustrations and pictures of pigs in pants into one lovely home! But I'll keep you posted...

The last piece of exciting news is that I've finally relocated my MA dissertation! All 20,000 words of it. And to celebrate me being able to navigate my google account I'm going to release this 'lost treasure' to you, a piece at a time.....mwaahahahahah. I'll post the first section at some point this week, as well as a new Being & Tim exciting!

see you soon,

becca xo