Examined Life


Published by The New Press
Philosophy reconnects with daily life in these conversations with eight renowned thinkers—the uncut interviews from the documentary film Examined Life.

Astra Taylor’s documentary film Examined Life took philosophy out of the academy and into the streets, reminding us that great ideas are born through profound engagement with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, not in isolation from it. This companion volume features the complete and uncut interviews with eight influential philosophers, all conducted while on the move through public spaces that resonate with their ideas.

Slavoj Žižek ponders the purpose of ecology inside a London garbage dump. Peter Singer’s thoughts on the ethics of consumption are amplified against the backdrop of Fifth Avenue’s posh boutiques. Michael Hardt ponders the nature of revolution while surrounded by symbols of wealth and leisure. Judith Butler and a friend stroll through San Francisco’s Mission District, questioning our culture’s fixation on individualism. And while driving through Manhattan, Cornel West—perhaps America’s best-known public intellectual—compares philosophy to jazz and blues, reminding us how intense and invigorating the life of the mind can be.

Offering exclusive moments with great thinkers in fields ranging from moral philosophy to cultural theory to gender studies, Examined Life reveals philosophy’s power to transform the way we see the world around us and to imagine our place within it.

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