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February 2017

Existentialism is Easy (the Forum at the LSE Literary Festival)

24 February, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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"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. We ask 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.

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To Be Born: Birth, Existence, and Responsibility (the Forum at the LSE Literary Festival)

25 February, 11:00 am12:30 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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In this event, world-renowned philosopher Luce Irigaray will speak about her new book, To Be Born, which reflects upon the nature of human existence through an analysis of birth. Examining the mysteries of human origins, Irigaray will discuss the ways in which, despite the accidents of our birth, we can take responsibility for our own lives. Respondents Tanja Staehler and Mahon O’Brien will consider the philosophical, practical, and political implications of Irigaray’s claims.

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March 2017

The Minds of Whales (the Forum)

2 March, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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What is it like to be a whale? How do they think and what do they feel? How are their social groups structured, and how do whale ‘cultures’ arise? And how has human thought and human culture been influenced by interaction with whales? In this dialogue, two internationally recognized whale experts — prize-winning author Philip Hoare and marine biologist Luke Rendell — discuss the inner lives of whales.

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To Infinity and Beyond: Psychoanalysis, Philosophy, Literature (the Forum)

7 March, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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What does the infinite mean to us as finite beings? Can we root our thinking in the finite, or does the idea of the infinite always return? Does thinking philosophically about the infinite inevitably lead us to theology? Thinkers from philosophy, psychoanalysis, and literary studies will assess whether the idea of the infinite is something that we should cultivate, avoid, or simply try to understand.

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Citizen Science (the Forum)

16 March, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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From medicine and GMOs to cyber-security and climate change, scientific research is vital to modern life. On the other hand, many of us struggle to get to grips with its increasingly complexity. How does this fit with our ideals of democracy? And in an era of mistrust of experts, does science have a legitimacy problem? Our panel considers a radical proposal to rethink the distinction between scientist and citizen.

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Philosophy and Nazism (the Forum)

23 March, 6:00 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Nazism pervaded every level of German society, and philosophers were not immune. While much scholarship has understandably focused on recriminations of key figures, tonight’s panel reflect on some broader questions raised: Can philosophy help us understand the nature of evil? And does thinking philosophically really help us live better lives?

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