Coping When Life is Hard: can philosophy help?

Hosted by the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science

Online and in-person public event (Old Theatre, Old Building)


Professor Luc Bovens

Professor Luc Bovens

Dr Susanne Burri

Dr Susanne Burri

Professor Kieran Setiya

Professor Kieran Setiya


Dr Jonathan Birch

Dr Jonathan Birch

All human lives, even very comfortable ones, involve some degree of suffering and hardship. We face personal losses and traumas, and confront a world that seems full of injustice, misery and absurdity. Can philosophy help us to cope?

Two recent books - Kieran Setiya's Life is Hard and Luc Bovens's Coping - argue that it can. In this panel event, the authors will talk to Susanne Burri and Jonathan Birch about their ideas.

Meet our speakers and chair

Luc Bovens is Professor of Philosophy at UNC Chapel Hill. Before moving to Chapel Hill, he was based at LSE. His latest book Coping: A Philosophical Guide, discusses hope, death, love, reconciliation and self-management.

Susanne Burri is a Junior Professor of Philosophy at Universität Konstanz, specializing in the ethics of war and peace, the philosophy of death, and how to make good decisions in the face of uncertainty and risk.

Kieran Setiya (@kieransetiya) is Professor of Philosophy at MIT. His new book, Life is Hard, combines philosophy with personal essay, discussing infirmity, loneliness, grief, failure, injustice, absurdity – and hope. His previous book, Midlife: A Philosophical Guide, offered a philosophical analysis of the "midlife crisis". He has also written about baseball and philosophy, H. P. Lovecraft, stand-up comedy, and the meaning of life.

Jonathan Birch (@birchlse) is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at LSE. He is Principal Investigator on the Foundations of Animal Sentience project and teaches a course called The Big Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy.

More about this event

The Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (@LSEPhilosophy) promotes research into philosophical, methodological and foundational questions arising in the natural and the social sciences.

You can order the book Life Is Hard: How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our Way (UK delivery only) from our official LSE Events independent book shop, Pages of Hackney.

You can download the open access book Coping: A Philosophical Guide.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEPhilosophy

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