About the Series:
Inaugurating the new David L. Wagner Distinguished Lectureship for Humanistic Inquiry Series, Jonathan Lear of the University of Chicago delivers three lectures on how our fears of catastrophe—from climate crisis to political collapse—shape the ways we imagine the ends and purposes of human life.
Part I: We Shall Not Be Missed!
We live in a time when the extinction of human life on earth is a real possibility. Meanwhile, newspapers, TV, and social media amplify the apocalyptic forecasts. But does all this attention encourage us to imagine ways of meeting our challenges, or does it cripple our imagination with fear, anger, and despair? In short, what are the psychological—and especially imaginative—challenges of living in our times?
In this lecture, Lear investigates our preoccupation with the end of the world—in the sense of catastrophe—and asks what that has to do with the end—in the sense of purpose and meaning—of human life. Throughout, he will pay special attention to the activity of mourning in the broadest sense: the unusual way in which humans relate to the past as a way of making room for the present and future.
About the Speaker:
Jonathan Lear is the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago. His work focuses on the philosophical understanding of the human psyche—and the ethical implications that flow from our being the kind of creatures we are.
The David L. Wagner Distinguished Lectureship for Humanistic Inquiry Series is funded by David L. Wagner and Renie B. Adams.
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