One of the most commonly accepted topics in all philosophical traditions is that philosophy is legitimate as a discipline mainly due to its capacity to propose new ways of thinking through its questions, over its possibilities to find answers. This way, the questions that my conference poses are:
Is it reasonable in late modernity to consider philosophy as a way of life? Does the old Socratic question "how should life be lived" have any meaning to us now? What sense can it have in the world that we live now the statement that defined philosophy as the best possible life? Why is philosophy, either in the analytical English-speaking tradition or the continental tradition, defined once again as an art of living, self-caring, a spiritual exercise? Do the questions filling self-help manuals (what is the value of my life, how to succeed, how to be a better person) have any philosophical sense? Can this worry for the excellence of life answer any of the challenges we face today? Challenges such as the difficulties we have when trying to imagine models of excellence and exemplarity, of good living, all for democratic and mass culture. The crisis of universal values, and at the same time, the need of the modern world to reinvent models of life, of justice, of cohabitation, valid for different cultures and societies. The need to re-think the place of mankind in the universe due to the ecological crisis we are experiencing. The urgency to redefine the sacred value of the human life use secular values due to the possibility of the human being to genetically duplicate.
Also, can the question founding the Western philosophical reflexion allow us to understand the Spanish modern philosophical tradition? How would our concept of Unamuno, Ortega, and Zambrano change if we considered them philosophers of the art of living? What can we learn about the art of living from other contemporary philosophers (Luc Ferry, Michel Foucault, Pierre Hadot Alexander Nehamas, Martha Nussbaum, Bernard Williams, etc.) using Unamuno, Ortega, and Zambrano as reference? Can life (understood in its biological and political dimension, as well as the crossroads of both) be defined once again as the greatest problem of philosophy?
Life may very well be the only philosophical concept that still has importance in the most important spheres of knowledge and human praxis: art, science, and policy. Can the universal nature of life be used in the different spheres of human action and thought to propose a dialogue between the beautiful, the good, and the truth?
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