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Facts, Fiction and Philosophy

  • 21 January - 2 March 2013 and Exhibition in the LSE Atrium
  • Presented by the LSE Language Centre 
  • Key contributions from the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method.
  • Supported by the LSE Annual Fund

Facts, Fiction and Philosophy| explores the intimate link between philosophy and the arts that is nowhere better demonstrated than in the LSE’s own Latin motto, drawn from a line by the great Roman epic poet Virgil (70-19 B.C.). The line in full reads ‘felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas’ – ‘happy is he who has been able to discover the causes of things’, a tribute to the philosopher of the same period Lucretius, who wrote, not as we would expect of a philosopher today, in prose, but, like Virgil, in verse. Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura ‘On the Nature of Things’ was a major text of the Epicurean school of philosophy, which flourished in the first century B.C. While there might be no philosophical texts conceived in verse in the twenty-first century, as recently as the end of the nineteenth century, Friedrich Nietzsche was as well known for his poetry as for his philosophical works in prose, and in the twentieth century two of the seminal figures of existentialism, Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, produced both purely philosophical treatises as well as plays and novels. This exhibition argues that literature and philosophy have been inextricably intertwined from the ancient world through to the present day.