Philosophy festival - Vulnerable and valuable — SOLD OUT

The Philosophy Festival 2023 is sold out, there will be no tickets at the door.

Keynote speaker Julian Savulescu cannot make it to Leuven due to family-related reasons. He will be replaced by fellow philosopher Brian Earp (University of Oxford & Yale University). Just like Savulescu, Earp believes in human enhancement - improving people by means of biomedical techniques. In his lecture Earp wonders if and how we can use psychedelics to take better moral decisions.

Vulnerable and valuable

With lectures by Brian Earp, Olivia Laing, Anton Jäger, Luckas Vander Taelen, Marjolijn van Heemstra and more.

‘Everything of value is vulnerable,’ or so the Dutch poet Lucebert once wrote. What is closest to our hearts is often exceptionally vulnerable. It confronts us with our own helplessness. We make efforts to protect it from external threats. Yet how can we prevent our compassion from becoming a stranglehold into which the voice of the precious drowns? Moreover, what do we do when what is precious to us begins to express itself against the values we ourselves defend? Sometimes it seems that only blind trust will allow us to fully appreciate the precious.

This year’s Philosophy Festival is all about value and vulnerability. How do we know what is valuable, for example, when it has lost its naturalness? How do we track value? Even the precious does not ultimately escape calculation. The pandemic showed us the price of a human life. Medicine does often wrestle with the value of life. Can we genetically enhance people? Should we? Or will we then open yet another Pandora’s box? And to what extent can something that intuitively seems grim, such as illness, be valuable and meaningful?

At the same time, we are exploring the value of living together, both with other people and other animals. The super-diversity of metropolises brings beauty but also tension. The same goes for the wolves that wander into our living environment, which bring the dilemma between grasping and letting go to a head. We also probe the limits of our imagination and explore whether a computer can model human creativity. Or can we still find value by shifting our gaze to the little stories that give our lives meaning?

This year, the Philosophy Festival starts at the Schouwburg and continues at the Institute of Philosophy in Leuven. Non-Dutch participants can opt for an all-English series of afternoon sessions.

The lectures of Brian Earp, Olivia Laing and Ann Dooms are in English, all other activities in Dutch.

This lecture is an initiative of the Institute of Philosophy (KU Leuven), in collaboration with STUK, 30CC and Dito vzw and is part of the Maand van de Filosofie. With the support of Eos Wetenschap, Uitgeverij Peeters and Pelckmans.

Sat 1 Apr 2023 13:00