“From Boring Rationality to Rational Boredom: Giacomo Leopardi´s Critique of Enlightenment Philosophy” by Geir Sigurðsson (24 May)

Better known as one of Italy‘s greatest modern poets than a philosophical thinker, Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837) is probably not included in many philosophical encyclopedias. However, Leopardi was indeed a peripheral philosopher living in one of the peripheries of Europe at the time. He was keenly aware of the dominant themes in Enlightenment philosophy, was profoundly critical of it, and even formulated an elaborate, albeit unsystematic, philosophical response, mainly in his chronological diaries, the Zibaldone di pensieri, but also in many of his essays, dialogues and aphorisms. This seminar will provide an outline of the Leopardian existential critique of the philosophical views dominating the late eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries, in particular those found in German Idealism and Romanticism, and offer a comparison of Leopardi‘s and Kant‘s visions of the relationship between rationality and “boredom”, a prevalent topic in Leopardi‘s thought. If time allows, an outline will be provided of Leopardi‘s “ultraphilosophy”, as he chose to call it himself, a kind of philosophy meant to overcome the ills of the progressive philosophy of his day.

Philosophy Seminar Series.
Date: Thursday, 24 May 2012
Time: 2-4pm
Venue: Philosophy Resource Room (AS3 Level 5)
Speaker: Geir Sigurðsson, Associate Professor,  University of Iceland
Moderator: Dr. Ben Blumson

About the Speaker: Geir Sigurðsson has studied philosophy, social sciences and Chinese studies in Iceland, Ireland, Germany, China and the United States. He concluded his PhD in philosophy from University of Hawaii in 2004. Presently, he is head of program and associate professor in Chinese studies at University of Iceland, where he has a broad range of teaching obligations, but focuses in his research mainly on Confucianism, Daoism and comparative Chinese-Western philosophy, while also taking an odd interest in peripheral Western thinkers. Having published a number of papers and translations in and out of his area of specialization, he is presently working on a monograph on ritualized action and education with an emphasis on Confucianism.

More information on the Philosophy Seminar Series can be found here. A list of past talks in the series can be found here.