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Jonathan Lear - November 01, 2007

Jonathan Lear

John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor, Committee on Social Thought, The University of Chicago

"Dignity, Integrity, and Courage in the Face of Cultural Attack"

8:00 PM Thursday, November 01, 2007
University Center Ballroom

A philosopher and psychoanalyst, Professor Lear will discuss the ideas and implications of his most recent book, Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation (2006). In this highly acclaimed study of the courage and wisdom of the last great chief of the Crow peoples, Plenty Coups, he seeks to pin down the ways in which societies and the individuals who lead them carry on in the face of cultural catastrophe. For people interested in the final years of the Crow nation and the ethical challenges faced by defeated societies, his book has been a revelation.

Professor Lear has declined the option of having his lecture recorded; a pod cast will not be available.

"The Use of Myth in Plato’s Republic"

3:40 PM Thursday, November 01, 2007
Gallagher Business Building 123

You are cordially invited to attend a seminar with Jonathan Lear. He trained in philosophy at Cambridge University and the Rockefeller University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1978. He also trained as a psychoanalyst at the Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis and now serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and theJournal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. In the contemporary controversies that have enveloped psychoanalysis, he has been an ardent defender of Sigmund Freud against charges of charlatanry by Jeffrey Masson, Frederick Crews, Adolf Grunbaum, Karl Popper, and others. Before coming to The University of Chicago, he was the Kingman Brewster professor of humanities at Yale University and the director of studies in philosophy at Clare College, Cambridge. He teaches courses on Plato, Kierkegaard, Freud, Socrates, Lacan, Foucault, and Derrida. His published work includes:

  • Aristotle and Logical Theory (1980)
  • Aristotle: The Desire to Understand (1988)
  • Love and Its Place in Nature: A Philosophical Interpretation of Freudian Psychoanalysis (1990)
  • Open Minded: Working out the Logic of the Soul (1998)
  • Happiness, Death, and the Remainder of Life (2000)
  • Therapeutic Action: An Earnest Plea for Irony (2003)
  • Freud (2005)

In his most recent book, Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation (2006), Professor Lear analyzes the courage and wisdom of the last great chief of the Crow peoples, Plenty Coups, in seeking to pin down the ways in which societies and the individuals who lead them carry on in the face of cultural catastrophe. For people interested in the final years of the Crow nation and the ethical challenges faced by victims of cultural destruction, his book has been a revelation. About it, the philosopher Charles Taylor wrote in the New York Review of Books: “Lear’s book breaks new ground in an extremely interesting way….As a story of courage and moral imagination, it is very powerful and moving. But it also offers the kind of insight that would-be builders of 'new world order' desperately need.” As do we all.