Past event

Gifford Lectures 2024 --- Clare Carlisle, King's College London Transcendence for Beginners: Life Writing and Philosophy -- Lecture 3: The Milieu

This is the third of a series of six Gifford Lectures by Prof. Carlisle. They are open to all.

Transcendence for Beginners: Life Writing and Philosophy

Biography is a humble literary genre, yet it opens up grand philosophical questions. What is the shape, purpose, value and meaning of a human life? Which parts or aspects of a life are most important? How much freedom and responsibility went into making this particular life? What kind of truth is at stake in answering these questions? Even more fundamentally: what is a human life? Clare Carlisle's lectures will explore life writing across a broad philosophical terrain traversing European and Indian traditions, and according to a Spinozist view of ‘Natural Theology' (the subject-matter specified by Lord Gifford when he endowed these lectures) which sees all singular things as expressions of ‘God or Nature.' Along the way she will consider childhood and mortality, art and religion, beauty and loss. Drawing on her own experience as a biographer of Søren Kierkegaard and George Eliot, Professor Carlisle will ask what one whole human life can reveal about the world, and how writing can transmit its truth.

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