English philosopher Simon Critchley, chair and professor of Philosophy at The New School for Social Research, discusses his 2009 New York Times bestseller, The Book of Dead Philosophers.
Starting with Cicero's axiom, "To philosophize is to learn how to die," Professor Critchley leads us to his conclusion that to die is to learn how to live. The Daily Telegraph called the book "rigorous, profound, and frequently hilarious" and described Critchley as "an engaging and deadpan guide to the metaphysical necropolis" as well as "bracingly serious and properly comic."
Simon Critchley was born in Hertfordshire in 1960, and currently lives and works in New York as Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research. He works in continental philosophy, the history of philosophy, literature, ethics and politics.
Critchley argues that philosophy commences in disappointment, either religious or political. These two axes may be said largely to inform his published work: religious disappointment raises the question of meaning and has to, as he sees it, deal with the problem of nihilism; political disappointment provokes the question of justice and raises the need for a coherent ethics. The Book of Dead Philosophers is his eighth book.
From suicide by a love potion to suffocating in cow dung, Simon Critchley gives a brief history of the deaths of famous philosophers -- stories he describes as "weirdness, madness, suicide, murder, bad luck, pathos and some very dark humor."