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Strangers on the Threshold: Love, Wisdom, and the Task of Philosophy

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Event Series Event Series: Love in the Time of Crisis

May 29, 2022 @ 6:00 pm 8:00 pm CEST

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Strangers on the Threshold: Love, Wisdom, and the Task of Philosophy

with Will Buckingham

Sunday May 29, 2022
9:00 PDT | 12:00 EDT | 17:00 BST  |  18:00 CEST

2-hour session

The session is live and you will be sent the RECORDING.

What is philosophy? Why do we philosophise? And why, in a time of crisis, does philosophy matter?

A familiar answer might be that philosophy is the love of wisdom, that we philosophise out of a hunger for wisdom, and that this deep need for wisdom is all the greater when we navigate through times of crisis. But for the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, this gets things back to front. Philosophy, Levinas writes, is not the love of wisdom. It is, instead, the wisdom of love in the service of love. Why do we philosophise? Why do we awaken to philosophical questions? Levinas’s answer is clear: we philosophise, or awaken to love’s wisdom, because we are called to do so by another – by the proximity of a stranger on the threshold, by someone who is not us.

In a time of crisis, the temptation is often to withdraw, to fall back on our own resources, or to batten down the hatches. But in this talk, writer and philosopher Will Buckingham will explore how Levinas sets out a more challenging, and more fruitful, path. Weaving together philosophy and storytelling, he will argue that in a time of crisis, the greatest philosophical demand may be this: to open up the door.

To see the Full Love in a Time of Crisis Program

Will Buckingham is a writer from the UK with a PhD in philosophy and an MA in anthropology. He has previously been associate professor of writing and creativity at De Montfort University, Leicester, and visiting associate professor in the School of Literature and Journalism at Sichuan University. He now works as a freelance writer, and is on the visiting faculty at Parami University, Myanmar. His most recent book is Hello, Stranger: How We Find Connection in a Disconnected World (Granta 2021). https://www.willbuckingham.com


May 29, 2022
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm CEST