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The Existentialist Café

Named after and inspired by Sarah Bakewell's work, the Existentialist Café is a series of reading seminars, in which a small group of interested attendees gather to read and discuss a chosen philosophical piece. New to philosophy? Is Kant merely a whispering cadence from the past? Never heard of phenomenology? No worries, previous knowledge is not of importance. Rather, we seek to ignite a spark of interest in the philosophical field, where we will jointly explore pieces from history’s plentiful corners.

Philosophy – an invitation to think of what we believe we know, and to challenge those very thoughts and beliefs. It is not an attempt to immerse ourselves in a sea of facts, so much as it is to explore perceptions and concepts with clarity and criticality, dissecting and analysing arguments and assumptions that we encounter is our research across disciplines. It’s simultaneously a never-ending exercise to rationalize everything, while realizing the need to co-exist with the irrational, and accepting the existence of what is yet-to-be rationalized.

Together we will dig into the writings of a vast array of thinkers throughout the times. A reading group open to those with interest – the objective of the Philosophy Library is to make philosophy more accessible, and discussions of it more inclusive and open even to those who haven’t much engaged with it before. We read chosen writings of a philosopher at each session, sharing and discussing our own understandings of the concepts and arguments that surface, challenging ourselves, and learning from the uphills ahead.

Welcome to the Methods Lab's Existentialist Café!

We will read both the works that have been marketed at the front desk for years, but also seek out hidden pieces from the dusty racks where no one has looked for a very long time. New and old, dead and living - in reading together we hope to revitalize the spirits from the past and call upon those who will come next!

Upcoming Existentialist Cafés:

18 May 2021

Bonjour Merleau-Ponty!

Absences, presences, flesh, and perception. Throughout the past year the intellectual Maurice Merleau-Ponty has regained attention for actualizing many of the fundamental aspects of corporeality that have been so traumatically dismantled in a time of isolation. We think it is time we sat down at the existentialist café and discuss matters close to the flesh through the voice of its most prominent advocate. So please join us in a reading of a chapter from “Phenomenology of Perception” (we will share the reading in a PDF with those who are interested in joining).

Our hope is also that we will be able to host these readings in “flesh and blood” at our beautiful library at Stockholm School of Economics in due time, but until then we will carry out these readings online to ensure the safety of everyone who wishes to attend.

When: May 18th, 16:00 - 18:00 CET

Where: Zoom, a link will be shared upon registration

To Do: Nothing - the idea is that we will read the text together so no need to prepare!

RSVP: No later than May 17th

A copy of the reading will be sent upon registration. Please come with your questions to make the most out of the session :-)

Please sign up before the 17th of May by emailing us at methodslab@hhs.se.