‘Why are there beings at all instead of nothing?’ asks Martin Heidegger in his Introduction to Metaphysics. In this panel, we explore the ideas of being and nothing as described by existentialism’s most famous thinkers: Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus. What is the allure of the existentialists that their reputations should endure in popular and contemporary culture? And how is it that existentialist philosophy can be, at once, avidly consumed by modern audiences and unapologetically esoteric? Coffee, French cigarettes, and black polo necks not provided; intelligent discussion and provocative questions most definitely are.
Sarah Bakewell (@Sarah_Bakewell) is author of three biographies, including the bestselling How to Live: A Life of Montaigne, which won the Duff Cooper Prize for Non-Fiction and the National Books Critics Circle Award for Biography in the US, and was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award and the Marsh Biography Award. Her latest books is At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being and Apricot Cocktails.
Andy Martin (@andymartinink) is a lecturer in French at Cambridge University and author of Stealing the Wave, Napoleon the Novelist, Waiting for Bardot and The Boxer and the Goalkeeper: Sartre vs Camus.
Stella Sandford is Professor of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London and a member of the Radical Philosophy Editorial Collective. She is author of How to Read De Beauvoir.
Shahidha Bari (@ShahidhaBari) is a lecturer in Romanticisma at Queen Mary, University of London and Forum for European Philosophy Fellow.
The Forum for European Philosophy (@ForumPhilosophy) is an educational charity that organises a full and varied programme of philosophy and interdisciplinary events in the UK.
Suggested Twitter hashtag for this event: #LSELitFest
This event is organised in the memory of Professor Maurice Fraser and with the support of the French Embassy.This event forms part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2017, taking place from Monday 20 - Saturday 25 February 2017, with the theme "Revolutions".
A podcast of this event is available to download from Existentialism is Easy
Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.