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Kurt Borg | To Philosophize is to Learn to Die | 11.04.2023
In a talk held at the University of Malta Valletta Campus, Aula Prima held on the 11th of April 2023, Dr Kurt Borg explored an idea that comes down to us from ancient times: that to do philosophy is to learn to die. This characterisation considers philosophy as something to do, rather than a solely intellectual matter; philosophy is conceived as a way of life, a meditation, a spiritual exercise. Among the principal experiences that occupies the philosopher in antiquity is death. This is an idea that colours Socrates’ conversations with his friends on his death bed. It is also an idea that resurfaces in later Roman writers such as Cicero, Seneca and Boethius as they faced death or encountered the death of their loved ones. In Christian philosophy, too, the meditation on death features prominently in works such as the spiritual exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. Even Montaigne, the 16th century inventor of the modern essay, was inspired to dedicate one of his texts to the ancient idea that regarded philosophy as learning to die. The concern with death and dying also features as a central theme in the work of existentialist thinkers in the 20th century who define the human as a being-towards-death. In some way, to learn to die also implies learning to live, or learning how loss and grief shape life. This talk unpacked further the idea of learning to die, and considered how this idea can still speak to us in contemporary times and in light of our current ethical and political predicaments.
Ian Rizzo | The Philosophy of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon | 23.03.2023
March 2023 marked the 50th anniversary of the album 'The Dark Side of the Moon' released by Pink Floyd in 1973. As one of the first conceptual albums in rock music to deal with the pressures of modern life, this album has long been hailed as revolutionary. Most of the songs are accompanied by sound effects, spoken elements and beautiful melodic tunes. With the Dark Side of the Moon, the band managed to provide an insightful perspective of experiences, concepts and ideas contemplated in philosophy. In the talk held at the University of Malta Valletta Campus on the 23rd of March 2023, Ian Rizzo highlighted the philosophical perspective relevant to the message and content of each song.