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Parr Center Presents: Nick Riggle (University of San Diego), “This Beauty: A Philosophy of Being Alive”
March 9 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
“This Beauty: A Philosophy of Being Alive”
Why, if at all, should you value what you didn’t choose? The question applies to life itself: why should you value this life that you were unwittingly given? We encounter clues to this question—I call it The Question—in everyday clichés about embracing life: “you only live once,” “live in the moment,” “seize the day.” Thinking about your one and only life can be enough to inspire you to action, to embrace the life you did not ask to live. Why do these ‘existential imperatives’ work on us? What do they say about the meaning of life? A careful look at different existential imperatives reveals that they tap us into a source of the value of being alive, its beauty. And this in turn reveals an important dimension of the practice of valuing beauty: we can learn to see our continued and collective engagement with beauty as the practice of giving each other our best answers to The Question.
Nick Riggle is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Diego. He writes on mainly aesthetic themes for both academic and general audiences. He has published articles in a range of philosophical journals, and a collection of his scholarly essays (Understanding Aesthetic Life: Essays on Style, Freedom, and Community) is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. His books for general audiences include On Being Awesome: A Unified Theory of How Not to Suck (Penguin, 2017) and the forthcoming This Beauty: A Philosophy of Being Alive (Basic Books, 2022). In a previous life Dr. Riggle was a professional rollerblader and competed in the ESPN X Games three times.