The last time we did this we sold out the room to a fun, lively crowd for our discussion of Brave New World. If you can make the trip, it’ll give you a chance to meet not just us but fellow PEL fans.
Tickets are $15 to purchase online and $20 at the door. You can livestream for $10. Purchase tickets here: https://www.caveat.nyc/events/partially-examined-life-4-15-2023
Can Human Suffering be Redeemed?
Does faith make sense, in a world with so much suffering? Ivan Karamazov has his doubts. In particular, it seems impossible to accept the kind of theodicy that treats evil as the necessary by-product of some greater good, such as free will. In Ivan’s famous tale of the Grand Inquisitor, Jesus is indicted for resisting the devil’s temptation to use his powers to create an earthly socialist utopia, just because doing so would mean depriving human beings of their freedom. Because we are by-and-large too irrational to make good use of free will, this seems to be a very bad bargain, and all Jesus has done is to condemn humanity to misery. The only way out of this plight is to undo the decision that Jesus got wrong, and establish an authoritarian regime on earth, in which the collective material good of human beings is served by their political and spiritual enslavement. With this tale, Dostoevsky asks us to connect religious theodicy to its political inversion, in particular to the justifications of his contemporaries for violent, socialist revolution. Against this point of view, he argues that freedom is too central to individual human wellbeing to be sacrificed to the collective good. Our redemption—and capacity for the experiences of faith and meaning—lie not in social and political control, but in the cultivation of the individual human conscience and spirit, in particular our capacity for love.
Join the hosts of The Partially Examined Life philosophy podcast for a conversation about Fyodor Dostoevsky’s iconic existentialist novel, The Brothers Karamazov. We’ll discuss how its brilliant moral psychology can be brought to bear on the classic philosophical dilemmas it evokes: faith vs reason, free will vs determinism, meaning vs nihilism, and religion and tradition vs scientific and social progress.