Tuesday, 5 October 2010

In het licht van de dood - Filosofisch Cafe, Nijmegen

What meaning is there in death for living human beings? Dare we think about our own death? What can death teach us about our lives? For the Greek philosopher Epicurus it was not a problem: for as long as we are alive, death is not there, and when death occurs, then we are no more.

Gert-Jan van der Heiden, lecturer in metaphysics at Radboud University, Nijmegen disagrees. Man lives not before death but “after death.” After the death of others, for example. There are also people who have seen their own death.

What does it mean to live “after death”? Gert-Jan van der Heiden deals with these issues tonight by looking at both philosophy and literature.

*My own English translation from the Dutch. I hope to go tonight and will comment later.

Over Filosofisch Café Nijmegen

Iedere eerste dinsdag van de maand kan iedereen in het Filosofisch Café Nijmegen terecht voor een stevig staaltje hersengymnastiek. Tijdens deze avonden filosoferen publiek en gastsprekers op een toegankelijke manier over vragen die in de samenleving spelen. Diepgravende interviews en debatten tussen spraakmakende filosofen worden afgewisseld met prikkelende columns, Augustinus’ boekentafel en live muziek.


Frederik Mulder said...

Fascinating evening! Gert-Jan gave a short overview of Socrates and Plato (focussing on escape form the body, and the blissful immortality of the soul). He then discussed Derrida's The Gift of Death and focussed in particular on the Frensh philosopher Maurice Blanchot (a friend of Levinas)and Martin Heidegger's existentialism.
In short, if I understood Gert-Jan correctly, he wants to argue that we should live as if we've already experienced death - but did not actually die. That experience creates in us a new way of living now, opening up new possibilities. For Gert-Jan Heidegger's existentialism is crucially important for this purpose.
But what about death itself? What about the fear of death? In response to Elainne's question (from the Radboud Soeterbeeck Program)Gert-Jan made it quite clear that he always has a problem with Christianity claim of life that wil come after death.
After the discussion a jong musician called Pelgrim sang a song with fitting word? I wrote part of it down:

"Why don't you just save yourself
All the little things we try to disappear
We could slowly disappear
We're so lost its clear

Change yourself, change yourself,
Lets escape from the ground
We're lost, its clear"

francois mulder said...

Thanx for the report ... I just love certain Dutch words like "hersengymnastiek" and "Diepgravende interviews" en "spraakmakende filosofen."