By Larry Murray
I think Simon Critchley is a genius, and an honest man to boot. Somehow the thoughts of a great philosopher are so much more interesting when you learn that he tried to be a punk musician and political activist before he became a thinker. He didn’t have much success at that, but failure can be an amazingly sturdy foundation and today Simon Critchley is one of the world’s great thinkers, a living, sopping sponge of information, dryly stating the most outrageous truths in subdued, scholarly style. Find one or two videos of his talks and you will soon be in search of more. The one embedded above gives you a brief taste of his style. It is wonderfully understated, making it all the more illuminating.
So it was double good news when the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announced the return of the Observer Effects series. It begins again with Philosophy and the Art of Dying, a free talk by Simon Critchley that will recount stories of philosophers’ deaths and reflect on the role of philosophy in living a good life. The event will take place in EMPAC’s theater on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 6 PM.
Simon Critchley, author of The Book of Dead Philosophers, after extensive research and thought, he wrote a book, and now appears infrequently to relate his anecdotes of philosophers’ deaths since antiquity. They are totally fascinating since they range from the noble to the ridiculous.