Durham Castle Lecture Series
3 December 2014 – 8pm
Great Hall, Durham Castle
“Suicide – A Defence”
Prof. Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor, New School of Social Research, New York

Abstract: I have a very simple idea: to write a philosophical defense of the right to suicide in the attempt to get us all to think more clearly, more soberly and less hypocritically about the perennial question: should I live or die? The legal frameworks that define suicide are still hostage to a Christian metaphysics that declares that life is a gift of God and therefore to take your own life is a sin. In killing oneself, it is claimed that one is assuming a power over one’s existence that only God should have. In the contemporary world, the state has taken the place of God and suicide is either deemed illegal or regarded as a kind of moral embarrassment. We think it is wrong without knowing why.

Biography: Simon Critchley is Hans Jonas Professor at the New School for Social Research. His books include Very Little…Almost NothingInfinitely Demanding, The Book of Dead Philosophers, The Faith of the Faithless, The Mattering of Matter. Documents from the Archive of the International Necronautical Society (with Tom McCarthy) and Stay, Illusion! The Hamlet Doctrine (with Jamieson Webter). An experimental new work, Memory Theatre, and a book called Bowie were published in September 2014. He is moderator of ‘The Stone’, a philosophy column in The New York Times, to which he is a frequent contributor.

This lecture is free, and open to all. No tickets or registration are required. Seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis: Doors open 7.30pm, lecture commences 8pm. Please contact castle.lectures@durham.ac.uk with any enquiries.



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