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The University of Southampton
PhilosophyPart of Humanities

'Philosophy and the Art of Tragedy'

Published: 2 July 2013
Professor Alex Neill

Alex Neill, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education) and Professor of Philosophy has delivered his inaugural lecture ‘Philosophy and the Art of Tragedy’ which was chaired by Dean of Humanities, Professor Anne Curry.

Philosophy’s interest in the art of tragedy is as ancient as tragedy itself. This interest has manifested itself in a variety of ways, but in all of these manifestations we can see a common thread: an attempt to come to terms with the value of tragedy. This is one of the most notorious of the issues on which Plato and Aristotle disagreed, and the centuries since have seen some of the most influential figures in the history of Western philosophy address the question of tragedy’s nature and particular value as a form of art.

He focused on one of the most active episodes in the history of philosophy’s engagement with tragedy, that which took place in 18th century British philosophical thought and developed a line of argument, to the effect that even in this intellectually rich period, when philosophy’s preoccupation with tragedy was so concentrated, its attempt to provide an account of why tragedy holds the importance that it has done virtually since the birth of Western civilisation left some of the fundamental issues at stake unanswered.

An end of lecture collection raised £293 for the Antokia Children’s Charity in Uganda.

To listen to a recorded interview with Alex or watch a video of the lecture please click on the link to the right of this page.  


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