This March, join Distinguished Research Fellow at Oxford University’s Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, David Edmonds, to hear all about his illuminating biography of the the most famous philosopher most people have never heard of: Derek Parfit.
Derek Parfit (1942-2017) is widely regarded as one of the greatest moral thinkers of the past hundred years. His ideas have shaped the way philosophers think about things that affect us all: equality, altruism, what we owe to future generations, and even what it means to be a person. Parfit, however, was anything but a public intellectual. In _Parfit_, David Edmonds presents us with the first biography of an intriguing, obsessive, and eccentric genius.
Believing that we should be less concerned with ourselves and more with the common good, Parfit dedicated himself to the pursuit of philosophical progress to an extraordinary degree. He always wore gray trousers and a white shirt so as not to lose precious time picking out clothes, he varied his diet as little as possible, and he had only one serious non-philosophical interest: taking photos of Oxford, Venice, and St. Petersburg. In the latter half of his life, he single-mindedly devoted himself to a desperate attempt to rescue secular morality-morality without God-by arguing that it has an objective, rational basis. For Parfit, the stakes could scarcely have been higher. If he couldn't demonstrate that there are objective facts about right and wrong, he believed, his life was futile and all our lives were meaningless.
Connecting Parfit's work and life and offering a clear introduction to his profound and challenging ideas, _Parfit_ is a powerful portrait of an extraordinary thinker who continues to have a remarkable influence on the world of ideas.
David Edmonds is a philosopher and the author of many books, including _The Murder of Professor Schlick, Would You Kill the Fat Man?_ and (with John Eidinow) the international best-seller _Wittgenstein’s Poker_. He’s a Distinguished Research Fellow at Oxford University’s Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics . He is an ad hoc columnist for the Jewish Chronicle and he is a former contributing editor to Prospect Magazine. With Nigel Warburton he produces the popular podcast series Philosophy Bites which has had over 44 million downloads. He also runs Philososphy247 and presents Social Science Bites. For three decades he was a multi-award winning presenter/producer at the BBC and the host of The Big Idea. He remains a regular presenter on BBC Analysis
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