NYLA 2019 | Keynote Address

Philosophical Publics: Ruling Ourselves, Thinking Together

Thursday, November 14
9:00 - 10:15 AM

Democracy is a word we hear all the time, but we rarely pause to reflect on what it actually means. Building on her 2018 documentary “What Is Democracy?” and recent book, Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone, Astra Taylor will speak about democracy’s inherently paradoxical nature. Both ideal and action, a combination of theory and practice, democracy demands that every single one of us think philosophically—even though Plato, one of democracy’s first and most famous critics, lamented that democracy marginalizes the wise (in other words, philosophers like himself). This talk will address the challenge and urgent necessity of nurturing philosophical publics and creating spaces where people can come together to ask the Socratic question: How should we live?

About the Speaker

Astra Taylor is a filmmaker, writer, and political organizer. She is the director of the philosophical documentaries What Is Democracy?Examined Life, and Zizek!; the author of the American Book Award winner The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age; and a co-founder of the Debt Collective. She has written for The New York TimesThe London Review of BooksThe GuardianThe WalrusThe Bafflern+1, and many other outlets. Her new book, Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone, is now out from Metropolitan Books.