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Discussion: The Philosophy of the Underground Man (Anja Steinbauer)

"Here it is, here it is at last, the encounter with reality. . . . All is lost now!" - In Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, the story’s anonymous hero, the Underground Man, a minor civil servant living in nineteenth-century St. Petersburg, has withdrawn completely into what he calls the "underground,"a state of total alienation and isolation from society. Is he right in thinking that life in community with others can never truly work? Would it be better for us too to choose the life of an Underground Man over life in our society? Is Aristotle therefore wrong when he claims that humans are by nature "social animals"?

The presenter will take a few minutes to introduce the topic, and will then open the topic to the floor and moderate the discussion. The event will run from 2.30 to 4 pm.

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  • Steve F.

    The talk appealed to two different audiences - those interested in the philosophical issues raised by the book and those interested in Russian literature. I think both were kept on board although it obviously would have helped to have an idea about what the book was about and the complex background to its composition. Notes from the Underground appeals to (or appals) a very wide audience and its themes of alienation and ennui transcend its original setting. There is, as Bakhtin wrote, No I without the Other, and being the other to Dostoevsky's nameless narrator is not an easy task but one worth taking up.

    February 9, 2013

  • David G.

    To fully appreciate the talk I think you have to (a) read the book and (b) have either a degree, or a deep interest, in philosophy. Whilst I could keep up with the discussion I couldn't see the point in debating what alienation means or aspects of shame. I could see that a lot of the attendees did find it interesting though.

    February 9, 2013

  • Aamer

    Going to be late....

    February 9, 2013

  • Aamer

    Going to be late....

    February 9, 2013

  • Karen K.

    I can't bloody wait!

    February 8, 2013

  • Nick

    I'm working, but I enjoyed the last meetup and look forward to making to another.

    February 7, 2013

  • Aamer

    Provisional Yes

    February 2, 2013

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