Reinventing philosophy as a way of life

L-R: Professor Keith Ansell-Pearson (Warwick), Dr Aurelia Armstrong (University of Queensland) and Dr Michael Ure (Monash).

L-R: Professor Keith Ansell-Pearson (Warwick), Dr Aurelia Armstrong (University of Queensland) and Dr Michael Ure (Monash).

Could philosophy once again become a practical art of living rather than just an abstract set of theories?

This question was explored during a two-day workshop held last week at which leading philosophy academics and graduate students from Monash University, the University of Warwick and other Australian and international universities discussed reinventing philosophy as a new way of life.

From a current-day view, the speakers examined the classical idea of philosophy being an art of living, including the view that philosophy could cure human suffering with philosophers seen as akin to physicians or doctors.

Guest speaker at the workshop was Professor Keith Ansell-Pearson, who holds a Personal Chair in Philosophy at the University of Warwick and is the author and editor of numerous books on philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri Bergson and Gilles Deleuze.

Professor Ansell-Pearson has collaborated with Dr Michael Ure from the Monash School of Social Sciences for six years and in 2010 they received seed funding from the Monash Warwick Allianceto support their research. Together they also supervise Monash Warwick Joint PhD student Thomas Ryan.

Dr Ure, who organised the workshop, said the event and Professor Ansell-Pearson’s keynote lecture provided key insights and helped develop research.

“With over 100 participants during the two days, we engaged with the latest local and international scholarship in our field and started building a research network to take this project further,” Dr Ure said.

“Professor Ansell-Pearson and I also finalised our plans for a major book series and international conference that will bring together Monash and Warwick scholars and graduate students.

“This event has clearly enhanced the Monash-Warwick research and graduate network that has coalesced around this philosophy project.”

The workshop was the first in a series supported by a three-year Australian Research Council Discovery Grant, the Monash Warwick Alliance and Monash University’s Research Unit in European Philosophy.

The next workshop will be held at Monash University’s Prato Centre in July 2015, in conjunction with a Monash Warwick student-led initiative being organised by Thomas Ryan and one of Professor Ansell-Pearson’s PhD candidates, Matthew Dennis.

The Monash Warwick Alliance is an innovative approach to higher education and research that is accelerating the exchange of people, ideas and information between Monash and Warwick Universities.

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