What we're about

The Existentialist Society is for those who question whether life has a meaning and a purpose. And for those who despairingly ponder whether one can live without self-deception or without hedonistic escapism. Yet who, despite the anguish of life's futility and meaninglessness, still seek purpose and an authentic existence.

The Existentialist Society is for those who are fascinated by the ideas of Simone de Beauvoir, Nicholas Berdyaev, Martin Buber, Rudolph Bultmann, Albert Camus, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Viktor Frankl, Martin Heidegger, Karl Jaspers, Franz Kafka, Nikos Kazantzakis, Soren Kierkegaard, R.D. Laing, Gabriel Marcel, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Max Stirner, Paul Tillich, Colin Wilson, etc.

'Existentialism' is an umbrella term covering diverse and often conflicting schools of thought. Consequently we are not agreed on who or what is an Existentialist; we simply agree to disagree.

Inspired by the Student Revolt of the late Sixties, the Existentialist Society commenced in 1971.

LECTURES take place at 8pm on the first Tuesday of the month (except January). All are welcome. Admission is free. No prior booking is necessary.

NOTE: Due to the pandemic, our physical Meetups and lectures have been suspended for the time being.

Following our monthly lecture, during the extended question and discussion period, additional comments are encouraged from those of our audience who may have more knowledge than the speaker on particular aspects of the topic, as well as from those who have an alternative viewpoint.

Sometimes our lecture topics have no direct bearing upon Existentialism. The speakers on such topics may or may not be conversant with Existentialism.

The Existentialist Society has no formal membership, so there is no membership fee. Nevertheless, we pass the 'begging-bowls' around in an attempt to cover expenses. If one can afford it, $2 is adequate. Attendances vary from a low of 30 in the winter months to a high of 70-80, depending on speaker and topic.

Venue: Unitarian Hall, 110 Grey Street, East Melbourne (Melways Map 2G D2). Adjacent to the Epworth Freemasons Hospital. Opposite the old Mercy Hospital (now St Vincents Private Hospital).

Additional car parking from 7pm at rear of Hall, via laneway on left of building. Beware of 'Permit Only' parking restrictions in surrounding streets.

For links to other Melbourne "Philosophical Activities", find our Message Board: https://www.meetup.com/Existentialist-Society/messages/boards/

See the Existentialist Society website for future lectures, past transcripts, links, etc: http://www.existentialistmelbourne.org

Facebook: Please comment on the lectures, and join in the ensuing discussions - https://www.facebook.com/Existentialist-Society-866984573402226/

Upcoming events (5)

Hypatia of Alexandria

Online event

Sea of Faith in Australia (SoFiA). Some of us are participating in SoFiA's online lecture/discussion. January topic: "HYPATIA OF ALEXANDRIA" Martyr of Science. Born circa[masked] C.E. Died 415 C.E. Prominent Woman, Philosopher, Mathematician, Astronomer, and Inventor. Mike Vallis will present the topic and lead the discussion. The Zoom link will be posted on this page for those who RSVP. Meeting ID:[masked] - - - Passcode:[masked] SoFiA promotes the open exploration of religion, spirituality and the search for meaning. They welcome ALL viewpoints, including Atheism. (Before the pandemic, Melbourne SoFiA had been meeting monthly since the year 2000, and had a regular attendance of 15 to 25.) SOFiA Website - http://www.sof-in-australia.org/ Facebook: 'Sofiatalk' - Please join and have your say: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sofiatalk/ -

Nietzsche's Active Nihilism

Online event

"Nietzsche's Active Nihilism." Some of us are participating in this Sydney-based 'Continental Philosophy Group' online discussion. Presenter: Noel Tointon. ZOOM link will appear for those who RSVP. Looking at Nietzsche's active Nihilism through a creative lens. The topic is an overview of Nihilism whilst exploring different kinds of Nihilism. Asking if Buddhist Philosophy is a type of Nihilism? Asking if a Nihilist can believe in anything, be happy living as a Nihilist, etc? And how Phenomenology, Hermeneutics and Existentialism can mutually correct/corroborate each other, as a way of redefining a critical philosophy. (Apologies for this Meetup being previously publicized as occurring a week earlier). Noel Tointon's paper: http://noelshomepage.homestead.com/Prescience1B.pdf

Do Moral Consequences Justify Human Rights?

Online event

"Do Moral Consequences Justify Human Rights?" Some of us are participating in this 'Philosophy Matters' online dialogue with Leslie Allan and Akiva Quinn. Followed by Q&A and discussion. Details: https://www.meetup.com/Philosophy-Matters/events/275638902/ NOTE: Also RSVP on their page in order to obtain their Zoom link.

Karl Popper's Theory of Objective Knowledge

Online event

"How Popper's theory of objective knowledge can help us all be more tolerant". Some of us are participating in this Canberra-based 'Karl Popper Philosophy Group' online presentation/discussion, hosted by Todd Kliendienst. Details: https://www.meetup.com/Karl-Popper-Philosophy-Group-Canberra-Improving-the-World/events/275721347/ PLEASE NOTE: Also RSVP on their page in order to obtain their Zoom link.

Past events (178)

Deleuze and Guattari: A Thousand Plateaus

Online event

Photos (8)