Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Socratic Showdown

A. O. Scott reviews a documentary film, Examined Life: Philosophy is in the Streets (trailer here), in which the filmmaker Astra Taylor interviews (and goads, as a gadfly should) seven prominent theorists: K. Anthony Appiah, Martha Nussbaum, Cornel "I'm a jazz man in the world of ideas" West, Peter Singer, Judith Butler, Slavoj Zizek, and Avital Ronell.

Scott says
Part of the fun of “Examined Life” comes from watching these very intelligent people try to make themselves intelligible.
Cornel West, the Princeton professor whose back-seat ramblings punctuate the film (everyone else has a single, uninterrupted minicolloquium), clearly takes great pleasure in talking, and it is hard not to share it, at least in small doses. A man of great, one might say compulsive, erudition — not one to drop the name of a single great writer, composer or sage if five are available — he makes the case that thought can be a kind of performance art.
Showing at the Dryden Theater April 11 and 12.

No comments: