Teaching Power of Reason Is Philosophy Behind Match

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), May 8, 2010 | Go to article overview
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Teaching Power of Reason Is Philosophy Behind Match

Byline: Robin Turner

THE philosophers' football match in which Socrates scores with a diving header from a cross by Archimedes has become part of comedy history.

Now the 1972 Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch part written by Welsh funnyman Terry Jones has inspired a real-life football game.

Colwyn Bay-born Jones, 68, and Cardiff-born broadcaster John Humphrys, 66, will be on the substitutes' bench for tomorrow's game between Socrates Wanderers and Nietzsche Albion in North London.

The 49-year-old ex-soccer star turned TV presenter Gary Lineker and his wife Danielle, 30, from Cardiff will also be at the match.

The contest, being backed by former England manager Graham Taylor, has been set up to promote the Philosophy Shop.

The specialist education provider wants the match to highlight its campaign for philosophy to be taught to primary school children so reasoning becomes "the fourth R" in education.

Speaking yesterday, Gary Lineker said: "A great footballer achieves that status as much through his ability to think on his feet and read a game as from innate ability or training."

He said he thought most people would agree "teaching children to think about everything in their lives" would be "just as useful".

The famous sketch was originally recorded in Germany in 1972 for a German TV special Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus.

It depicted a football match in the Olympiastadion at the 1972 Munich Olympics between philosophers representing Greece and Germany.

Starring in the sketch were Archimedes (John Cleese), Socrates (Eric Idle), Hegel (Graham Chapman), Nietzsche (Michael Palin), Marx (Terry Jones) and Kant (Terry Gilliam).

During the heated encounter refereed by Confucius, Nietzsche receives a yellow card after claiming "Confucius has no free will". The referee tells him: "Confucius say, 'Name go in book'." In the 89th minute in a match dominated by theorising rather than any ball-kicking, Archimedes cries out "Eureka!" and instructs the Greeks to use the football.

Socrates then scores the only goal of the match.

The only action inspires a commentator with a cut-glass English accent (Michael Palin) to enthuse: "Socrates has scored! The Greeks are going mad!

"Socrates scores, got a beautiful cross from Archimedes. The Germans are disputing it. Hegel is arguing the reality is merely a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics, Kant, via the categorical imperative, is holding that ontologically it exists only in the imagination, and Marx is claiming it was offside.

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