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AC Grayling

Philosophy and Life

Hay Festival 2023, 

There is a question everyone has to ask and answer – in fact, has to keep on asking and keep on answering. It is ‘How should I live my life?’, meaning ‘What sort of person should I be? What values shall I live by? What shall I aim for?’ The great majority of people do not ask this question, they merely answer it unthinkingly in conventional ways. This is the ‘Socratic Question’, challenging us to examine the philosophy of life we live by. Everyone has a philosophy of life, but most people do not know that they have one, because they imbibed it unconsciously from society, parents, schools, friends. What are the assumptions of that unconscious philosophy, and the reasons for living according to it? Do these assumptions and reasons survive scrutiny? If one really thought about one’s life and the philosophy that underlies it, what changes would one make?

In Philosophy and Life Grayling explores how to answer the Socratic challenge and examines the most important questions that arise in doing so: death, the great inevitable, love, the great desirable, meaning, the great mystery – and the great hope, happiness. What do these concepts mean – really mean? And what difference will exploring them, and other equally important questions, make to one’s life and its choices? A serious but accessible and stimulating account of what philosophy offers in thinking about life, its value and its meaning.

AC Grayling