The philosopher Socrates famously said that the unexamined life was not worth living. But what makes for an examined life? Join us in the beautiful port village of Molyvos on the Greek island Lesvos for a week-long course devoted to this question.
You will explore different aspects of being human: what it means to think; our relationships with friends, fellow citizens and strangers; happiness and meaning; goodness and virtue; health and illness. The emphasis throughout is on conversation and reflection rather than formal instruction. The conversations will be facilitated by philosophers Vasti Roodt and Isabelle Wienand, both of whom are experienced in bringing philosophical thinking to a non-specialist audience.
You will be challenged to grapple with difficult questions, to think beyond what you already know, and to step away from everyday life in order to think about it anew. The course is for anyone interested in this kind of questioning and reflection, and does not require any background in philosophy.
Mo 13 July 2020: Arrival
Tue 14 July: Thinking about thinking. How do unexamined mental models, concepts and values shape our thinking and our experience of the world? How can deep-seated assumptions lead us astray, and how can we learn to reason better?
Wed 15 July: Thinking about happiness. Is happiness a matter of luck or a lifelong attempt to lead a meaningful life? Is happiness the highest good, or can it be outweighed by other values?
Thu 16 July: Thinking about friendship. What is the value of friendship, and what does it take to be a friend? Is genuine friendship still possible in the age of social media?
Fri 17 July: Thinking about health and illness. At first sight, illness appears as the undesirable opposite of health, yet both are equally intrinsic parts of a human life. How can we make sense of this conundrum?
Sat 18 July: Thinking about justice. Is it possible to live a good life in an unjust society? What would a just society look like, and is it achievable?
Sun 19 Jul: Thinking about virtues. What are virtues and why do they matter? Are they inborn inclinations or can they be cultivated? What is the relationship between virtues and a good life?
Departure: after 12:00. Allow for two and a half hours before flight departure.
Prof. Vasti Roodt is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the Head of PROSPER (Promoting Research in Social and Political Ethics) at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She specialises in moral and political philosophy, and has published on the work of Friedrich Nietzsche and Hannah Arendt, identity politics, happiness, violence and conceptual ethics.
Dr. Isabelle Wienand is a lecturer in modern moral philosophy and medical ethics at the Universities of Basel and Fribourg, Switzerland. She holds a doctorate in philosophy and German letters from Sorbonne University, Paris. She has published widely on moral issues in Descartes’ and Nietzsche’s philosophy, and is also a professional translator of philosophy and literature.
This a place where people eat and talk together. Our home base is the village of Molyvos, a medieval port village with ancient roots.
Our guests at The Talking Table share breakfast and a long-table style meal together each day, mostly in the evenings. We serve generous Greek food mostly, but equally important to the food is the conversation around the table. In this we follow the guidance of a Greek philosopher with ties to Lesbos: Epicurus, who once taught here.
At The Talking Table we have workshops and classes in the mornings, leaving the rest of the day until dinner free to roam, explore, rest or prepare.
The fee of €1 200 includes transfers to and from the ports*, breakfast and a long-table meal each day, course fee and art supplies. Accommodation and travel are excluded.
Sign up (click the blue button at the top) and we will email you details of payment plus options for accommodation. There is a list of beautiful venues to suit every budget.
50% deposit secures your place.
Otherwise, email us at email@example.com
* An hour and a quarter's drive each way. Only applicable on the arrival and departure days. If you stay longer there are taxis available.