Saturday, February 25, 2012

Examined Life

by Drew Martin
As I am writing this I am watching this film, Examined Life. As the artwork details here, it is a documentary about philosophy: Judith Butler and Sunaura Taylor on Interdependence, Kwame Anthony Appiah on Cosmopolitanism, Michael Hardt on Revolution, Martha Nussbaum on Justice, Avital Ronell on Meaning, Slavoj Žižek on Ecology, Peter Singer on Ethics and Cornel West on Truth.

It is also a film about movement, especially walking, the sport of philosophers. Butler and Taylor take a walk through San Francisco. Appiah strolls through the JetBlue terminal at JFK airport. Hardt rows around Central Park. Nussbaum walks along a lakefront. Ronell exchanges dialogue while walking around Washington Square Park in the Village. Žižek ponders while walking around a sanitation yard. Singer walks up and down 5th Avenue. West speaks during a car ride through the streets of New York.

All of these modern day philosophers speak directly to the director, Astra Taylor, who has created with this cast of characters a wonderful film about ideas and thinking. While driving, Taylor asks West in the back seat,

"So, do you have to go to school to be a philospher?"
to which he responds...
"Oh, God no. Thank God you don't have to go to school. No. A philosopher is a lover of wisdom. It takes tremendous discipline. It takes tremendous courage to think for yourself."

Click here to see the trailer for Examined Life