John Gray Meets David Baddiel | How To Academy



Wed, 27 September 2023

6:00 pm - 7:15 pm BST

John Gray Meets David Baddiel

Leviathans – Thoughts After Liberalism

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“The closest thing we have to a window smashing French intellectual” (Andrew Marr), John Gray joins David Baddiel to deliver a provocative and urgent account of our twenty-first century crises.

In the two decades since his masterpiece Straw Dogs urged us to radically rethink our understanding of human nature, John Gray has proven time and again that political philosophy has a far more important role to play than simply shoring up our existing ideals and beliefs, revealing a radically new, iconoclastic, and profound vision of the world in our time.

Now he joins David Baddiel live on stage and via livestream to share a new understanding of the 2020s: with all its contradictions, moral horrors, and disappointments.

Inspired by and building upon the work of Thomas Hobbes – another iconoclastic philosopher who unsettles and challenges our world view, coldly exposing our political and ethical vanities – Gray will offer a powerful meditation on historical and current folly.

The collapse of the USSR ushered in an era of near-apoplectic triumphalism in the West: a genuine belief that a rational, liberal, well-managed future now awaited humankind and that tyranny, nationalism and unreason lay in the past. Since then, so many terrible events have occurred and so many poisonous ideas flourished, and yet still our liberal certainties treat them as aberrations which will somehow dissolve away. Hobbes would not be so confident.

As a species we always seem to be struggling to face the reality of base and delusive human instincts. Might a more self-aware, realistic and disabused ethics help us all?

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John Gray

Political Philosopher

John Gray is a political philosopher, whose books include Seven Types of Atheism, Straw Dogs, Black Mass, The Soul of the Marionette, The Silence of Animals and Feline Philosophy. He now principally writes for the New Statesman.

David Baddiel

Comedian and author

David Baddiel is a comedian and author. He began his career as a writer after graduating from Cambridge with a double first in English literature in 1986. He was a judge for the Guardian First Book Award in 2000 and the Man Booker Prize in 2002. David’s first children’s book The Parent Agency won the inaugural LOLLIES (Laugh Out Loud) award in 2016.  He lives in London with his family.