Simon Critchley Interviewed on Swedish Television

A series of philosophical discussions
Simon Critchley
For me, the essence of humour consists in laughing at oneself: in finding oneself ridiculous. My hero in this regard is Samuel Beckett; Beckett has this idea of what he calls 'the pure laugh', the risus purus, which he says is the essence of laughter, which is the laugh that laughs at the laugh. The laugh that laughs at the laugh. And what goes on in genuine humour is that we laugh at ourselves, find ourselves ridiculous. What is interesting about humour in particular, is that humour is a powerful example of people philosophizing in their everyday lives.

Simon Critchley
British philosopher Simon Critchley has been interviewed on Swedish television for the philosophical discussion programme Konsten att börja oroa sig och sluta leva. Over the course of four episodes, the host Carl Cederström invites Critchley to discuss his formative influences, and asks Critchley he feels to be the role and position of philosophy in contemporary culture. The series goes on to debate a wide range of topics of interest to Critchley, and outlines a number of key debates in modern theoretical discourse.

If you can survive the questionable title sequence, and get what you can from the Swedish introductions, the programme is broadcast primarily in English (with the inclusion of Swedish subtitles). The show opens the floor to some fascinating areas of discussion, and I was left feeling a little awestruck by the programme's existence. I don't think I've ever seen anything similar on British or American television to date: what cultural body would fund such a project, I wonder? It's a splendid little series.

From the second episode onwards, Simon Critchley is joined by a series of special guests. Firstly, there is Alexander Bard, artist and philosopher, followed by Lars Gustafsson, philosopher and author, and finally Christer Sturmark. author and chairman of the humanists. 

Each episode lasts approximately thirty minutes, and all are available to watch on Youtube in ten-minute installments. To start watching, simply click on one of the links below. Enjoy.

Konsten att börja oroa sig och sluta leva interviews Simon Critchley:
(Originally broadcast from Saturday 11 April 2009.)

Episode One: The Role of Philosophy

Episode Two: Philosophy and Death (with Alexander Bard)

Episode Three: Philosophy and Literature (with Lars Gustafsson)

Episode Four: Religion and Science (with Christer Sturmark)