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Margin Notes

Philosophy is cool

Montreal just had its philosophy marathon, and a new documentary features some of today’s most influential philosophers.


Philosophy is becoming downright cool. Need evidence? Look no further than the 24-hour philosophy marathon held last weekend in Montreal sponsored by Université du Québec à Montreal.

Titled “La nuit de la philosophie,” and now in its fourth year, it attracted more than 8,000 people to 200 activities held over a 24-hour period that began Saturday, Mar. 21 at 10 a.m. There were panel discussions, lectures, quizzes, movies, exhibits and more. You could listen to “Philosophical Improvisations on the Piano,” attend a comparative philosophy lecture on “Buddhism and Science,” see a show by Quebec political humorists the Zapartistes, and on and on.

There is also the new documentary, Examined Life, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September to good reviews and is currently making the rounds in cinemas across Canada. The film’s title is, of course, taken from a quote by Socrates that “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

In the film, by Astra Taylor and co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada, the filmmaker accompanies some of today’s most influential thinkers on a series of excursions as they expound on their ideas. It is “a fresh and delightfully engaging look at how some of the most notable philosophers on the academic scene today see the world,” says one reviewer.

Finally, you may have noticed that in the right-hand column of most pages on our website (just under the ad), there is a box featuring the most read, most e-mailed and most discussed articles on our site. The most-read story of all time (well, OK, since we launched our redesigned site last October) is “Philosophy’s makeover,” a feature which examines the bright job prospects of philosophy grads. Cogito, ergo sum (sorry, that’s about the extent of my Latin philosophical phrases).

Léo Charbonneau
Léo Charbonneau is the editor of University Affairs.
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  1. Sophi / March 27, 2009 at 16:50

    I take Higher Philosophy, and i love it. I quote it the whole time, and it’s so cool.
    I <3 Descartes. He rocks.

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