Tue, 4 October 2022

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm BST

Life is Hard – How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our Way

Kieran Setiya In Conversation With Oliver Burkeman

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MIT philosophy professor Kieran Setiya is here to advise us against striving for our ‘best life’ and to think instead about how to live well.

Life is hard – as the past few years have made painfully clear. From personal trauma to the injustice and absurdity of the world, sometimes simply going on can feel too much.

But could there be solace – and even hope – in acknowledging the hardships of the human condition? Might doing so free us from the tyranny of striving for our “best lives” and help us find warmth, humanity, and humour in the lives we actually have? Could it inspire in us the desire for a better world?

MIT philosophy professor Kieran Setiya joins journalist Oliver Burkeman to show how philosophy can help us find our way. He will share his own experience with chronic pain and the consolation that comes from making sense of it. He will ask what we can learn from loneliness and loss about the value of human life. And he will explore how we can fail with grace, confront injustice, and search for meaning in the face of despair.

Drawing on ancient and modern philosophy, as well as fiction, comedy, and social science this livestream event is a powerful acknowledgement of what it means to be alive.

Praise for Kieran Setiya’s Life is Hard:

‘Anyone susceptible to life’s hardships must read this book — which means that everyone must read it.’ Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of Plato at The Googleplex

‘Life may be hard, but Kieran Setiya shows us better ways to think about it and how, despite everything, that can give us hope.’ Katherine May, author of Wintering

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Kieran Setiya

Philosopher, MIT

Kieran Setiya was born in Hull and now teaches philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of Midlife: A Philosophical Guide, and is the host of a podcast, Five Questions, in which he asks contemporary philosophers five questions about themselves. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, the London Review of Books, and The New York Times.

Oliver Burkeman

Columnist and Author

Oliver Burkeman is the author of Four Thousand Weeks, The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking, and for many years wrote a popular weekly column on psychology for the Guardian, ‘This Column Will Change Your Life’. His work has also appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Psychologies and New Philosopher.