Updated 25 May, 2013, 2:17 pm IST
Wednesday June 04 03:12 am
Authors@Google: Simon Critchley
The Authors@Google program was pleased to welcome philosopher, professor and author Simon Critchley to Google's NY office to discuss his new book "On Humor". Simon Critchley studied philosophy at the University of Essex in England (BA 1985, PhD 1988) and at the University of Nice in France (M.Phil 1987). Among his teachers were Robert Bernasconi, Jay Bernstein, Frank Cioffi, Dominique Janicaud and Onora O'Neill. Critchley's M.Phil. thesis dealt with the problem of the overcoming of metaphysics in Heidegger and Carnap and his Ph.D. dissertation was on the ethics of deconstruction in Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida. After a position as University Fellow at Cardiff University, Critchley was appointed Lecturer in Philosophy at Essex in 1989, where he became Reader in 1995 and Professor in 1999. Also at the University of Essex, he was Director of the Centre for Theoretical Studies and collaborated closely with Ernesto Laclau. Critchley was President of the British Society for Phenomenology from 1994-99. In 1997 and 2001, he held a Humboldt Research Fellowship in Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt. Between 1998-2004, Critchley was a Programme Director of the Collège international de philosophie, Paris. In 2006-7, he was a Scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Since 2004 he has been Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, New York, but also continues as a part-time Professor at Essex. In addition, he has held visiting professorships at Nijmegen (1997), the Universities of Sydney (2000), Notre Dame (2002), Cardozo Law School in New York (2005), and Oslo (2006). On Humour is a fascinating and beautifully written book on what philosophy can tell us about humor and about what it is to be human. Simon Critchley probes some of the most perennial features of humor, such as our tendency to laugh at animals and our bodies, why we mock death with comedy and why we think it's funny when people start to act like machines. He also looks as the darker side of humor, as when rife with sexism and racism, and shows how humor might remind us of people we would rather not be. Above all, Simon Critchley argues that humor can tell us much about the human condition, the meaning of life and why comedy itself begins in philosophy. This event took place on May 14, 2008.