[SydPhil] 'Inner West Council Philosophy Talk', Timothy O'Leary (Philosophy, UNSW): “What has COVID Taught Us About Things and Happiness?”, Thursday, August 11, 6:00pm-7:10pm, Leichhardt Library.

Simon Lumsden s.lumsden at unsw.edu.au
Wed Aug 3 08:14:12 AEST 2022

Details of the Next “Inner West Council Philosophy Talk"

Title: “What has COVID Taught Us About Things and Happiness?”

Speaker:  Prof. Timothy O'Leary  (Philosophy, UNSW)

Thursday, August 11
6:00pm - 7:10pm
Bookings online or call 9367 9266

Full details as well as registration for the event are available from this link:

Bio: Timothy O’Leary is Head of the School of Humanities and Languages, UNSW Sydney. Timothy has worked and studied in Ireland, Paris, Hong Kong and Australia. His main fields of study include contemporary European philosophy, ethics, politics and the philosophy of literature and art.

There are, quite simply, too many things in the world. We knew this before COVID struck, but it seems to be something that is even more obvious today. Not only do we spend most of our time producing and consuming stuff, but we have entire industries dedicated to helping us to manage and control the things we accumulate. This has always prompted some people — especially philosophers — to ask whether things are really necessary for our happiness; and if so, what kinds of things, how many things, and so on? But one of the effects of COVID was to force us all, as individuals and as societies, to grapple with the question of what, really, is essential for our well-being. Do we really need hairdressers? In the words of the NSW Health Minister, “Are essential oils essential?” Is close physical contact a crucial component of human well-being? By raising these questions, COVID also gave renewed urgency to the question of how we might replace a grasping, clutching attitude with an appreciative, light touch that takes a more flexible and resilient approach to what is essential. This talk will explore these questions through an examination of the works of two ancient philosophers: the Zhuangzi, a Daoist text from China from the 4th Century BC; and the work of Epictetus, a Greek Stoic, who was a slave in Rome in the 1st Century AD.

Simon Lumsden
(Inner West Council philosophy talks program coordinator)

Simon Lumsden | Philosophy | Environment & Society
Faculty of Arts, Design & Architecture
University of New South Wales | Sydney | NSW 2052 | Australia
work +  02 9065 9747
s.lumsden at unsw.edu.au<mailto:s.lumsden at unsw.edu.au>

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