All Events from 7pm


Thinking Through Europe: Citizenship, Membership & Exit

50 mins

What can the tools of philosophy offer the European political mindscape in the current context? This panel will draw on the expertise of European philosophers, both specialists of political philosophy and experts in other areas of study, in order to improve the debate on concepts underlying EU citizenship and the European public sphere.
Speakers include Dr Simon Glendinning (Reader in European Philosophy and director of the Forum for European Philosophy), Vernon Bogdanor (Research Professor at the Institute of Contemporary History, King’s College London), Marie Gaille ((philosopher and researcher at SPHERE, CNRS-Université Paris Diderot) and Lea Ypi (Lecturer in Political Theory in the Government Department, London School of Economics).
Chaired by Rana Mitter, Professor of the History & Politics of Modern China at Oxford, and a regular presenter of Night Waves.

In partnership with BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking, the European Commission Representation in the UK and La Vie des Idées


Art, Knowledge and Pleasure

Jean-Marie Schaeffer, 20 mins

Experiencing art aesthetically is nowadays the dominant way of approaching artworks. It is sometimes said that this way of experiencing art deprives works of art of their cognitive and social impact. Drawing  partly on evolutionary homologies my aim in this presentation is to defend the idea that aesthetic experience can be shown to  be a basic existential stance of humans. I try to illustrate how it draws on our generic cognitive resources, activating them in a very specific way as  a hedonically regulated perceptual, categorizing and affective experience.


What is Normal and What is Pathological? Reflections on Georges Canguilhem

Cristina Chimisso, 20 mins

The boundaries between states and behaviours that are considered normal and those that are considered pathological have considerably shifted in history. But how are these boundaries produced? Who should establish whether a state is pathological: the doctor, the patient, research institutions, society, other? I will examine Georges Canguilhem’s answers to these questions and assess their potential contribution to the current understanding of these issues.


Soylent Green

dir. Richard Fleischer | 97 min | in English

In an overpopulated futuristic Earth, a New York police detective finds himself marked for murder by government agents when he gets too close to a bizarre state secret…


Aristotle on Perceiving Objects

Anna Marmodoro, 20 mins

Would Aristotle be bereft of the experience of dark aromatic coffee, given his assumption that each type of perceptible quality in the world identifies a different sense faculty (sight for color, smelling for odours, etc.), with its own sense organ (eyes for sight, the nose for smelling, etc.), generating its own type of perceptual content (visual content, olfactory content, etc.)?


From Philosophy to Music

Laurence Bourreau, Ghislain Roffat, Seong Yun Jung (horns), Maïté Atasay and Joséphine Besançon (clarinets), 10 mins

The Paris Conservatoire, member of the PSL Research University, sends its brightest and most promising students to perform this highly original selection.

W. A. Mozart – Adagio for 2 clarinets & 3 bassett horns in B flat major, K. 411


Rationality and Delusions

Lisa Bortolotti, 20 mins

We tend to see delusions as the mark of madness. I shall argue that delusions are irrational beliefs, and their irrationality is not different in kind from the irrationality of many everyday beliefs. Delusions may fail to be consistent with the person’s other beliefs, be irresponsive to counterevidence, or fail to guide action in the relevant circumstances. These are all common epistemic failings in normal cognition.


Frege and the Invisible Realm

Charles Travis, 20 mins

Gottlob Frege represents one side of a dividing line between philosophers of two different sorts. Since his presence in continental philosophy is minimal, while his presence in Anglophone philosophy is large, one might think of the line as drawn between the continental and the Anglo-. More illuminating, though, would be to view it as drawn along the lines of the distinction Frege himself makes between the psychological and the logical, between the laws of holding true and those of being true.


The Many Faces of the Good

Monique Canto-Sperber, 20 mins

Can We Be Free in a Dominated Nature?

Catherine Larrère, 20 mins

We cannot be free when others are enslaved: this is what Rousseau says at the beginning of The Social Contract. Of course, he is speaking of interactions between men. But cannot this judgement be applied to the relationship between man and nature? We think of it as of a relation of domination. Can it not be otherwise?  


‘Values’ and ‘Facts’ Once Again

Alain Montefiore, 20 mins

‘The principle that no value-judgment is ever strictly entailed by a statement of fact, is no mere principle of logic. To accept it is to commit to a view of individuals as themselves ultimately and inescapably responsible for determining their own most fundamental values. But there are serious problems in the way of knowing exactly how such a principle should be expressed, let alone of knowing whether it is to be taken as definitive.’
(i) R.M. Hare, The Language of Morals, Ch.2,(especially pp 31/32): (ii) K.R. Popper, “What can Logic do for Philosophy?’, Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume xxii (1948).


Philosophy, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life

John Cottingham, 20 mins

Can philosophy offer advice on happiness, or help us to find meaning and purpose in life? Traditionally, philosophers saw it as part of their role, but many contemporary academic philosophers avoid such questions. I will argue that philosophy can and should address these issues, and will examine some of the obstacles to finding true meaning within the framework of modern secularism.


Does Philosophy Need the Passions?

Elena Pulcini, 20 mins

What kind of relationship can there be between philosophy and the passions? None, if we believe that philosophy is purely rational thought and the passions are equal to chaos, excess, irrationality. But in fact the question is more complex. Firstly, through the analysis of passions, philosophy has revealed to us, each time, the deep meaning of the different epochs. Secondly, it has understood that passions are ambivalent and that negative passions can be contrasted, not by reason, but by positive passions.


Narrative and Personal Identity

Galen Strawson, 20 mins

Some people say that we should think of our lives as stories or narratives (récits). Others say that we shouldn’t do this. Others say that we can’t help doing it—whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing. Who is right?



dir. David Cronenberg | 97 min | in English

A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing trainee to determine if the game has been damaged.


The Will of the People

Peter Hallward, 20 mins

Democracy means rule of the people, and the people rule if they can exercise the power required to overcome the resistance of those who oppose them. Democracy applies insofar as the collective will of the people over-powers those who exploit, oppress, or deceive them — and as the old saying goes, whoever wills the end also wills the means.


A Metaphysical Puzzle for Consequentialists

Stephen Boulter, 20 mins

In this talk I present an argument to the effect that Consequentialism, one of the standard theories in normative ethics, is metaphysically incoherent. The gist of the argument is that consequences cannot be the right-makers of actions because the necessary relation between acts and consequences never obtains at the appropriate time.


Spinoza in Kiev

Performed by Sophie-Aude Picon and Caroline Binder, 45 mins

An adaptation by Mériam Korichi of Bernard Malamud’s novel The Fixer for two actors. Kiev 1911. A Jew, Yakov Bok, is unjustly accused of the (ritual) murder of a 12 year old boy. Yakov Bok, only in possession of his mind and his hands, leaves the Shtetl (a small exclusively Jewish town), to know more of the world and to be freer. When put in chains in prison, a book by Spinoza was found on him. B. A. Bibikov, the Invastigating Magistrate for Cases of Extraordinary Importance, happens to be very intrigued by this fact.

The live reading will be accompanied by a piano improvisations performed by Karol Beffa. 

Professor at the College de France (member of the PSL Research University), Karol Beffa is a multi-awarded pianist and composer who has long studied philosophy, most notably at Cambridge University. He will translate his philosophical musings into improvisations on the piano, for an unforgettable musical experience.


Ici Londres: Sartre Abroad


A panel of philosophers and critics discuss Sartre’s meaning and importance in the contemporary English-speaking world. This discussion will take place in London, and will be broadcast live in Paris during the Nuit Sartre held at the Ecole Normale Supérieure the same evening.
Chaired by Sarah Richmond (UCL), with Thomas R. Flynn (Emory University), Annie Cohen Solal (Université de Caen Basse Normandie) in Paris, and in London, Sebastian Gardner (UCL), Dr. Katherine Morris (University of Oxford), Alison Ainley and Peter Poellner.
In partnership with the Paris Ecole Normale Supérieure, via live broadcast.


Philosophy as Resistance

Orietta Ombrosi, 20 mins

I intend to look back with Theodor W. Adorno (Frankfurt School) the idea that, after the catastrophes of the 20th century, after the desolation of its ruins, the task of philosophy remains essential. Essential in its extreme vigilance, in the critical thinking, in the non-resignation because the dignity of philosophical  thinking  is in “its strength to resist.”


How To Tame a Zombie

David Papineau, 20 mins

In philosophy, zombies are beings who share all our physical properties, yet lack any conscious properties.  Materialists are people who think that conscious properties are one and the same as physical properties.  Many philosophers think that zombies mean death to materialists.  I shall show that materialists have nothing to fear from zombies.


How to Live with One’s Desires

Miguel Beistegui, 20 mins

Taking my point of departure in what I call archaic scenes of desire, borrowed from biblical and mythological sources, I will extract an image or ‘morphology’ of desire, and show how deep it runs in our Western culture.  I will then review a number of ‘strategies’ or ‘therapies’, borrowed from ancient and modern philosophy, aimed at dealing with the perceived intrinsic negativity of desire.


An Atheist’s View of Religious Belief

Tim Crane, 20 mins

The contemporary public debate about religion is intractable, giving the impression that the participants are talking past each other. The so-called ‘New Atheists’ accuse their opponents of scientific ignorance and irrationality, while defenders of religion accuse their opponents of missing the point. In this talk I explore the idea that the reason for this situation is that the ‘New Atheists’ have a misconception of what religious belief involves. They think of it primarily as a proto-scientific cosmology, and as such it obviously fails. By contrast, I will argue that although many religions make cosmological claims, the place of religion in people’s lives derives not from a desire to create a theoretical cosmology, but to make sense of the world and their place in it. At the heart of religious belief are two things: what I call a religious temperament, and a network of practice and ritual which gives structure to the believers’ lives.


Living with the Passions: Descartes

Michael Moriarty, 20 mins

Descartes draws a very sharp distinction between mind and body, conceiving the mind as a purely immaterial entity that could exist separately from the body. But he also insists that the two are in fact united: the self of everyday life is profoundly embodied. Nothing shows this more clearly than his account of the emotions and the role they play in our lives.


La Jetée

dir. Chris Marker | 28 min | in English

Time travel, still images, a past, present and future and the aftermath of World War III. The tale of a man, a slave, sent back and forth, in and out of time, to find a solution to the world’s fate.


Jean-Jacques Rousseau – Reveries of a Solitary Walker, 1st Promenade

Performed by Sophie-Aude Picon, 25 mins

“I am now alone on earth”, proclaims Rousseau in this Reveries written at the end of his life, presenting himself as an unwilling societal outcast.

The live reading will be accompanied by a recital by Paris Conservatoire students:
Maïté Atasay and Joséphine Besançon (clarinets)
J.-J. Rousseau – Duet for two clarinets


Ici Paris: A New French Moment


A panel of French philosophers at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris will discuss the rise of a new generation of French philosophers, at a time when the famous masters from the 20th century, such as Foucault, Derrida, and Deleuze, have become classics. This discussion will take place in Paris, and be broadcast live at the Institut français in London.
Chaired by Adèle van Reeth (tbc), with Frédéric Worms (Université de Lille III), Marc Crépon (École Normale Supérieure), Patrice Maniglier (Université de Paris X – Nanterre) and Frédéric Keck (CNRS) in Paris, and Elie During (Université Paris X – Nanterre), Marie Gaille (CNRS), and Mériam Korichi in London.
In partnership with the Paris Ecole Normale Supérieure, via live broadcast.


The Three Faces of Liberty

Jan Sokol, 20 mins

Poor understanding of freedom is probably at the roots of most public troubles, nevertheless a fitting definition has never been found. Using a phenomenological approach, I shall present three typical experiences of freedom to show its various facets. This could clarify the so called ‘paradox of freedom’ and contribute to a deeper understanding of the actual situation of an acting person in a free society.


From Philosophy to Music

Florian Hille (baritone), Fumie Onda (piano), 10 mins

The Paris Conservatoire, member of the PSL Research University, sends its brightest and most promising students to perform this highly original selection.
Nietzsche Lieder


Nietzsche’s Reevaluation of Wagner: a Reversal or a Deepening?

Performed by Dorian Astor

It is well known that the young Nietzsche first believed passionately in Wagner’s art as an important factor of a new cultural raising in Europe, and that he later reevaluated it as a symptom par excellence of modern decadence. But one fact has been more rarely pointed out: Nietzsche makes mostly use of the same arguments in both cases, and his laudatory Fourth Untimely Meditation (1876) anticipates secretly but in a large extent the sharp critics of The Case of Wagner (1888).

10.30pm – 11.20pm



in French with English subtitles | 4x26min | episodes 1, 5, 6 and 8

Karine is a promising porn star – which suits her parents very well. But after a health problem, she decides to change her life around and, going against her friends’ and family’s wishes, to study philosophy at the Sorbonne.


Intimate Markets

Véronique Munoz-Dardé, 20 mins



Is Law like Literature?

Julie Saada, 20 mins

Modern thought often opposes law and literature. Law is related to order, rationality, hierarchy and regulating society, while literature is linked, comparatively, to imagination, creativity, passion and subversion. This lecture aims to expose the interrelations that exist between the both fields, or how law can be understood as a literary genre, as narration, and as matter of imaginative interpretations and literary critique.


From Music to Philosophy

Alexander Swan (tenor), Fumie Onda (piano), 10 mins

R. Wagner – Lieder
Graduated from the Paris Conservatoire, the Anglo-French opera singer Alexander Swan sings a wide range of repertoire, going from classical, romantic, to contemporary music. He will interpret excerpts from the Wesendonck Lieder, making people experience the specificity of musical “ideas”, in reference to the Nietzsche-Wagner quarrel.


How to be a True Judge: Hume on Taste

Michael Martin, 20 mins



Evaluative Phenomenology

Michelle Montague, 20 mins

Conscious emotions are complex intentional phenomenon. They not only represent objects and states of affairs, but they essentially represent objects and states of affairs in an evaluative way—that is, emotions essentially represent evaluative properties.  I will argue that an emotion represents evaluative properties in virtue of its own distinctive sui generis kind of phenomenology, which I call ‘evaluative phenomenology’. It is in virtue of emotions having evaluative phenomenology that I say that they are ‘experiences of value’ rather than just representations of value.


Nietzsche on the Value of Truth

Ken Gemes, 20 mins

“What in us really wants “truth”?… a still more basic question. We asked about the value of this will. Suppose we want truth: why not rather untruth?” – from Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil. This talk examines how Nietzsche provides us with perspectives that allow us to see that truth need not be an absolute value rather than one of a matrix of competing and often conflicting values.


What Is Love?

Simon May, 20 mins

What is the nature of love?  How did genuine love come to be thought of as unconditional and selfless and enduring?  I will trace some of the key ways in which love has been conceived in the “West” since Plato and Hebrew Scripture, and ask whether we need to re-think the nature and role of this supreme emotion.


David Hume – The Quarrel with Rousseau

Performed by Caroline Binder, 30 mins

In 1766, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and David Hume became friends. The friendship, though, quickly fell apart. As Hume sadly noted, its collapse “made [a] great … noise all over Europe”, still reaching us today, reminding us of the fragility of reason, even when exercised by the most lucid minds. Rousseau, his mind increasingly undone by years of persecution, came to believe Hume was leading a conspiracy to silence him. Stunned by the mad accusation, Hume published his correspondence with Rousseau to protect his reputation.

The live reading will be accompanied by a recital by Paris Conservatoire students:
Laurence Bourreau, Ghislain Roffat, Seong Yun Jung (horns), Maïté Atasay and Joséphine Besançon (clarinets), 10 mins
W. A. Mozart – Adagio for 2 clarinets & 3 bassett horns in B flat major, K. 411


The Problem with ‘Theory’: Surrogate Philosophy, or Stylized Doxa?

François Cusset, 20 mins

On issues such as gender, postcolonialism, social critique, or the cultural industry, ‘theory’ has been enjoying a renewed interest, and a great success, for quite a while now, as a sort of para-philosophical discourse, both more accessible and more blurry, transdisciplinary and quite literary. What is it really worth?


How Ethics Meets Religions and Science

Janet Radcliffe Richards, 20 mins

Different approaches to ethical reasoning are intimately connected with different metaphysical presuppositions. The advance of science has radically changed many people’s understanding of the way things are, but much of their moral reasoning still depends on intuitions that are more deeply rooted than, and often incompatible with, such changes. Making these matters explicit explains much confusion and conflict in moral debate.


Another Way To Be

Sadie Jemmett (singer-songwriter), 20 mins

Sadie Jemmett’s extraordinary songs reflect a remarkable life. Behind the eloquence of her lyrics and the subtle acoustic beauty of her music lies a restlessly seeking spirit. Lawrie Wright will provide a piano accompaniment.


Voltaire, Italy and Catholicism: A Scalene Triangle

Antonio Gurrado, 20 mins

Voltaire famously never went to Italy but always kept it in his mind as a cultural landmark. He sent some 200 letters in Italian to celebrated addressees: authors, philosophers and a remarkable number of ecclesiastical, including two Popes. He tout court identified Italy with Catholicism and was rather charmed by such combination. His attitude helps us define better his religious views as a Catholic reformer.


20th Century French Philosophers from A to Z

in English or with English subtitles | 581 min

A collection of archives and contemporary films with or about the French philosophers of the 20th century: Louis Althusser, Georges Bataille, Albert Camus, Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas, Michel Foucault, Guy Debord, Henri Bergson, Luce Irigaray, Jean Baudrillard, Alexandre Koyré, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, GastoN Bachelard, Maurice BlanchOt, Paul Ricoeur, JacQues Rancière, Jean-François LyotaRd, Jean-Paul Sartre, Vladimir JankeleviTch, Pierre BourdieU, Simone de BeauVoir, Simone Weil, FéliX Guattari, RaYmond Aron, Gilles DeleuZe.


A Necessary Music

film by Beatrice Gibson - 20’

A musically conceived piece, the film explores the idea of utopian modernist landscape. It employs the resident of New York’s Roosevelt Island. The film self-consciously dissolves from attempted realism to imagined narrative and questions our sense of reality and perception. From an ethnographic study to an investigation into the mechanics of representation itself.


Natural Continuants

Bill Brewer, 20 mins

I present an account of ordinary material objects that makes a significant distinction between Natural Continuants, whose unity at an over time is entirely natural and independent of our concepts and categorization, and Artificial Continuants that are grounded on these by various modes of conceptual abstraction, including spatial and temporal partition and collective approximation. I illustrate how this account solves certain familiar metaphysical puzzles.


Free Speech

Nigel Warburton, 20 mins

What are the acceptable limits of free speech? Is it wrong to cause offense? Is hate speech intolerable? Social media have transformed the nature of global communication and have raised new issues for those who wish to speak their minds. Can philosophy clarify what is at stake?


A Portrait of the Philosopher as a Young Diplomat. Some Reflections on Latour’s Inquiry into Modes of Existence

Julien Piéron, 20 mins

Deleuze used to say that there is no philosophy without creation of conceptual characters: the philosopher as an attorney (Leibniz), as an inquirer (Hume), as a judge (Kant), as a physician (Nietzsche), as an archivist (Foucault). Latour’s work depicts a new character: the philosopher as a young, inexperienced diplomat. But what is a diplomat? What kind of new interconnection between ontology, epistemology and politics stands in the background, behind the figure of the philosopher as a young diplomat?



Karol Beffa (piano), 10 mins

Professor at the College de France (member of the PSL Research University), Karol Beffa is a multi-awarded pianist and composer who has long studied philosophy, most notably at Cambridge University. He will translate his philosophical musings into improvisations on the piano, for an unforgettable musical experience.

12.50am – 1am | 1.20am – 1.30am


Retrofuturism: Introducing Virtual Futures

Elie During, 20 mins

“Retrofuturism” is generally conceived as a nostalgia for “retro” visions of the future, but its full anachronistic power is revealed when elements of the present—or its near future—are retroprojected into the past.  Dreamlike memories of the future actively shape the present, which in turn pictures itself as the past that it will be. These two moves are in fact two sides of the same coin.


Can Kids Do Kant?

Dennis Hayes, 20 mins

Various training schemes present philosophy for children as a way of introducing them to rigorous thinking, but some critics see it as another example of the therapeutic turn in education. Others think philosophy is simply too difficult for children. How realistic is it for children to ‘do philosophy’ when traditionally the subject has been withheld from the young until at least university level precisely because it requires levels of abstract thinking way beyond the average pre-pubescent youth, let alone infants? Does Philosophy for kids wise up children or dumb down philosophy?


Spinoza and the Origins of Nihilism

Lorenzo Vinciguerra, 20 mins




Karol Beffa (piano), 10 mins

Professor at the College de France (member of the PSL Research University), Karol Beffa is a multi-awarded pianist and composer who has long studied philosophy, most notably at Cambridge University. He will translate his philosophical musings into improvisations on the piano, for an unforgettable musical experience.


What, Then, Is Time?

Joseph Diekemper, 20 mins

I offer some 20th century responses to Augustine’s perennial question, beginning with McTaggart’s famous (or notorious) argument for the unreality of time and ending with the picture of time suggested by modern physics. It will be a whirlwind tour, but it will give the listener an idea of the conceptual issues which are at the heart of the nature of time.


Reading our Brain, Changing our Mind

Pierre Cassou-Noguès, 20 mins

We will study various models of brain readers: (imaginary for the
most part) machines capable of reading our thoughts in our brain. We will
show that these machine not only open our skull for public view but
literally change our mind, the very nature of what we call thought.


Taking Position in the Face of Things

Charlie Jeffery, 30 mins

 A physical conference, with guitar on the one hand, slides on the other, grappling with such issues as how to stand, where to sit, when to sleep and how much to dream.


Hegel, Switzerland and Speculative Reason

Michael Bloch, 20 mins

What is the link between Hegel, Switzerland, and speculative reason? What is speculative reason anyway? Would one not think that speculation constitutes a particularly unreasonable activity? Hegel believed that speculative reason is a valid form of philosophical inquiry, which finds its workplace in practical reality. Let us be Hegelian for a while and speculate, taking contemporary Switzerland as an example.


Freedom and the Press: Whose Truth Is It?

60 mins

John Milton’s passionate 1644 Areopagitica railed against the idea that the press should be licensed by higher authorities.  Today there is a greater appetite for restraining so called “unethical journalism” expressed by the Leveson Inquiry. Is a venal media a price worth paying for a free press dedicated to scrutinising power and the pursuit of truth? Who decides what constitutes the truth and public interest? Are there some truths which should be concealed, even in a free society? Is freedom the only route to the truth?
Chaired by Claire Fox (Institute of Ideas), with Dr Justin Schlosberg (Birkbeck, University of London), Lorenzo Vinciguerra (Université de Picardie), Thais Portiho Shrimpton (journalist, ex-campaigns co-ordinator of Hacked Off), Mick Hume (editor of Spiked online magazine), Nigel Warburton (author and philosopher), and other speakers to be announced.
Presented by the Institute of Ideas


Why Anthropology Should be the New Philosophy

Maurice Bloch, 20 mins



The Case for An Ethics of Vulnerability

Corine Pelluchon, 20 mins

Born in the context of an inquiry into the conditions of respect for patients at the end of life or suffering from cognitive impairs, the ethics of vulnerability is not only focused on the passivity of the body, but it also highlights the primacy of responsibility over liberty. It implies that we change the conception of man and ethics that still founds contractualism.


Things That Must Be Seen to Be Seen

Amélie Mourgue d’Algue, 20 mins

Amélie Mourgue d’Algue is an artist and writer. Working on the representations of the figures and roles of the mother, she explores the essay as form across a plurality of media. Things That Must Be Seen to Be Seen is a performative lecture on an encounter with an advertising slogan.


Enforcing the Rule of Law: on Hobbes’ and Pascal’s Anthropologies and Political Philosophies

Christophe Litwin, 20 mins

Both Pascal and Hobbes address the issue of founding the rule of Law in counterpoint to a seemingly common state of civil war. The former, however, argues that this state of war allows for a rational contractual foundation of the State, whereas the latter concludes that any political establishment relies inevitably on violence and deception. Can the experience of civil war truly legitimize the State’s authority?


Solidarity, A New Idea?

Marie Gaille, 20 mins

Both French social and political history and theory is intimately associated, at least since the French revolution, with the idea of solidarity. The idea of solidarity has received various contents in connection with body’s weaknesses, social despair or working conditions. Today, solidarity as an ideal is a disputed idea – but still deemed necessary by some. Which stance should we adopt? How could we imagine a new solidarity?


The Power of Creating Ourselves: Bergson’s Original Theory of Human Personality

Yannis Prelorentzos, 20 mins

I will focus on the main aspects of Bergson’s approach of human personality. I will examine his theses about a) the reality, the unity, and the substantiality of our person, b) memory and the anticipation of the future, c) the interpenetration of innumerous personalities in every human consciousness, and d) our “power to expand, to increase, even partially to create” ourselves.


What Makes a Representation Erotic?

Jean Khalfa, 20 mins

This talk will propose some ideas on the nature of the erotic by presenting the reactions of a number of significant contemporary writers to the photographic image, focusing on the case of Henri Maccheroni’s erotic images. Denis Roche saw in them: ‘L’absolu rugissement débraillé d’une absence insensée de la métaphore’ (The abolute, dishevelled roar of a senseless lack of metaphor).


Café Philo

60 mins

Our popular weekly rendezvous is the perfect forum for a discussion of philosophical questions in an informal setting. For this special edition during My Night with Philosophers, come and discuss ’Are sexual fantasies immoral?’ with our resident philosopher Christian Michel.


Earworms, Between the Market and the Psyche

Peter Szendy, 20 mins

Earworms are apparently innocuous melodies that take “instant and entire possession” of us, as Mark Twain wrote in a short story about an unlucky character who has fallen prey to musical obsessions. These haunting hit songs can be heard in various films by Fritz Lang or Hitchcock. They deserve philosophical attention, since they dwell on a powerful homology between the (capitalistic) market and the psyche.


The Sensory and the Multisensory

Barry Smith, 20 mins

How many senses do we have? Five? Contemporary neuroscience tells we have as many as twenty-two. Who is right? And do the senses interact or work in in solation? Can hearing affect what we taste? Do we sometimes hear with our eyes? It may be time to re-think our experience.


How I Learned to Love Vitalism: Embodied Life in the Radical Enlightenment

Charles T. Wolfe, 20 mins

This talk looks at what vitalism might mean if it is not a vision of life-forces, supernatural entities and other anti-science attitudes. Radical Enlightenment vitalism was a doctrine of embodiment and organism that was neither hostile to materialism, nor afraid of the march of science (albeit not the mechanistic science of the Scientific Revolution).


A Necessary Music

film by Beatrice Gibson - 20’

A musically conceived piece, the film explores the idea of utopian modernist landscape. It employs the resident of New York’s Roosevelt Island. The film self-consciously dissolves from attempted realism to imagined narrative and questions our sense of reality and perception. From an ethnographic study to an investigation into the mechanics of representation itself.


A Rare Kind of Self-Knowledge

Katalin Farkas, 20 mins

Philosophers often explore self-knowledge as a universal human predicament: for example the knowledge we are all supposed to have of simple conscious episodes, like feeling pain. This lecture investigates a different, much rarer kind of self-knowledge: knowledge of our character, our motives, our values, and will ask the question of whether there is a connection between the universal and the rare kind of self-knowledge.


Who Is Watching? Film, Philosophy and Amorous Animals

Tom Tyler, 20 mins

Interpellation, according to Althusser, is the means by which cultural processes ‘hail’ us. In this talk, I examine the ways in which a selection of films address their audience, entreating viewers to identifying themselves as part of a collective. Microcosmos, Crash and Planet of the Apes all invite our identification as human, whilst Earthlings, Finding Nemo and Green Porno exhibit quite different, more-than-human solicitations.


What Is Wrong with Slavery?

David John Owens, 20 mins

Slavery is the attempt to institutionalise relationships of personal domination by supposing that people can be owned. This attempt to treat people as property gives rise to several paradoxes. We’ll explore one or two of them.


Action in Life and Art

Constantine Sandis, 20 mins

In this talk I propose that the things we say and do are completely divorceable from our acts of saying and doing these things.  By the same token, the art we create cannot be evaluated in relation to the process of its creation.  I conclude by applying these thoughts to recent attempts to ban or lampoon works of art that are of dubious origin.


In Defence of Sentimentality

Anja Steinbauer, 20 mins

It is never socially advisable to confess to being sentimental. A liking for any kind of cosy fluffiness is generally associated with being uncritical, unsophisticated, even pathetic. But is there really anything wrong with sentimentality? When and why exactly is sentimentality objectionable? I will discuss the difficulties of adequately defining “sentimentality” and consider its status in the contexts of truth, ethics, politics and aesthetics.


The Meaning of Existence

Markus Gabriel

In my presentation I will argue that we need to draw a clear distinction between metaphysics and ontology. The former is an attempt to answer the question what holds the whole as a whole together by giving an account of the fundamental nature of reality. The latter is the systematic investigation into the meaning of “existence”. I will argue that the right analysis of “existence” is incompatible with the possibility of metaphysics. By necessity there is no such thing as the fundamental nature of reality.

5.10 – 5.30am


The Imagination

Derek Matravers, 20 mins

Philosophers have distinguished the ‘creative imagination’ (used to create works of art) and ‘the reproductive imagination’ (used to engage with works of art). I argue that the usual analysis of the creative imagination is less useful than it appears and that the usual analysis of the reproductive imagination fails to do what it sets out to do.


Approaching the Real

Ian James, 20 mins

Recent French philosophy has shifted away from the textual, discursive and linguistic paradigms of structuralism in order to re-engage with the materiality of the ‘real’. The challenge that has been taken up by French thinkers is to give the real the thought that it merits, to find the best technique by which thinking might ‘approach’ the material real and do justice to it.


Shorts from the collection La Faute à Rousseau

in English | 42 min

For the 300th anniversary of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s birth, filmmakers from around the world were asked to make short films inspired by the philosopher’s life and work. The result is a collection of 55 short films entitled La Faute à Rousseau, which make the great philosopher’s thought come alive in new and original ways. We will present a selection of 8 films from the collection.

Goal / Fulvio Bernasconi, Switzerland, 6’13”
A coach is giving a pep-talk to a football team of Philosophers who are getting ready to take on a dangerous team of Physicists.

It’s not an Ad for Washing Powder / Yüksel Patir, Germany, 5’40”
Mysterious signs appear throughout the town, with one word on them: Emile. Who is Emile? What is Emile? Passers-by stare and wonder: isn’t it an ad for washing powder?

Du Contrat Social / Frédéric Mermoud, Switzerland, 6’22”
Pierre’s rabbit is his only source of comfort. In a school playground where he is the butt of jokes and the victim of his schoolmates, the boy tries to find a way to fit in.

Art isn’t fair / Allan Sekula, USA, 5’24”
Allan Sekula wanders around the Art Basel Miami Beach contemporary art fair, camera in hand, and reveals the strange interactions between artists and collectors, between art and money.

Rousseau chez Alain Tanner / Alain Tanner, Switzerland, 4’29”
A poetic and inspired remake of Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000, shot in 1976.

Le bilboquet / Noël Tortajada, Switzerland, 4’23”
Rousseau is back in the world, and plays a cup-and-ball game when he has nothing to say.

Le cul bordé de haies / Nicolas-Alexandre Tremblay, Canada, 4’32”
The journey of a young man from the ghetto who is looking for strong emotions. He wanders looking to take control of his destiny and of the passions that inhabit him.

Un oncle d’Amérique / Anna Luif, Switzerland, 5’02”
A lost girl travels alone in a train. She turns out to be rather clever, and starts talking to one of her fellow passengers.



film by Imogen Stidworthy - 5’

Every morning a flood of people passes through the gates of Tian Tan Park, Beijing. 7AM focuses on their morning exercises and the social and acoustic space they generate. The film shows how a special human language – sonic and bodily – is created in such a social landscape.

Staring at the Sea

Les Chiens de Navarre (Anne-Elodie Sorlin, Jean-Luc Vincent)

At the end of the seventies, Marguerite Duras said that in the new millennium there will be only answers and no more questions. Everything will be blocked by a constant information. But one day, some of us would stay still, looking at the sea. They would just talk, and everything would start again.

Disjunctions: A Live Dialogue with Alain Badiou

Francesca Bancelli, Emiliano Zelada, Alain Badiou

Unfortunately this event is cancelled and postponed to next year’s edition of My Night with Philosophers.

P… is not Dead

Luminous Frenzy

The DJs of Luminous Frenzy Sound System will provide the soundtrack to My Night with
Philosophers, a 12 hour musical and philosophical journey with a special focus on Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

All Night

Philosophy Tee-Shirts

Wear the face of your favourite philosopher with the awesome designs of Tresnormale, on sale during the night. See what’s in store at

All Night

Book Sale

Oxford University Press and Librairie La Page will be selling philosophy books (in English and in French) in the foyer of the Institut.

All Night

Food & Drinks

The Bistrot will be open all night, and will serve food and drinks. You can also enjoy free coffee all night long, and free St Emilion wine from 1.00am to 2.00am!