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How Should One Live? Ancient tragedy and modern philosophy - Prof Sue Mendus (March 2021)


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"In his 1985 book, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy, Bernard Williams claims that the
central question of moral philosophy is ‘How Should One Live?’. If that is indeed the central question, then where should we look for an answer? Many modern philosophers deny that ‘the ancients’ especially the ancient Greek poets and tragedians – can give us much help: our lives are so different from theirs that they cannot illuminate our predicament. Or so it is said. In this talk, I will dispute that claim and try to show how ancient tragedy can inform modern philosophy."






Sue Mendus is Morrell Professor Emerita of Political Philosophy. She has published widely on topics in modern and historical political philosophy, with a special emphasis on the concept of toleration. In 2004 she was elected a Fellow of the British Academy, and from 2008 to 2012 she was Vice President (Social Sciences) of the Academy. She is a Founding Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.

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