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William James: What Makes a Life Significant?
1 Hr. 20 Min.
Join Harvard professor & Pulitzer Prize-winner Louis Menand, Princeton professor & author Cornel West, and philiosopher & writer Sissela Bok as they discuss the life and ideas of William James. Louis Menand starts the talk by giving a 20-minute introduction to the life of William James. Sissela Bok expounds on some of his ideas from James's essay "What Makes a Life Significant?", and Cornel West uses his trademark oratory skills to show how William James confronted American Empire and how we can still use James's ideas to do so today. The three then answer a wide range of questions from the audience.
Philosopher Sissela Bok, Harvard professor Louis Menand, and Princeton professor Cornel West discuss what makes a life significant, in a panel discussion moderated by James Kloppenberg.
A little over a century ago, the Harvard psychologist and philosopher William James gave a public lecture entitled "What Makes a Life Significant?" In honor of the 100th anniversary of his death and to celebrate his enduring influence, this panel of distinguished scholars revisits the question posed in that lecture from a range of historical and contemporary starting points. What do we, in the 21st century, think "makes a life significant"? What can the academy contribute to an exploration of that question?
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