To what extent is play an integral part of your everyday life? Is there something intrinsically, inescapably ludic about the basic processes of thinking, reading, and being? In this interdisciplinary panel a philosopher, a literary critic, and an historian will discuss the role of play in (respectively) the imagination, the novel, and the self.
Historian Hannah Dawson will investigate the pre-modern view that being a member of a community involves playing a part, or putting on a mask, that selfhood is inherently performative. Philosophy scholar John Callanan will explore Kant’s view that if we want to be creative, if we want to make beautiful things, we need to let loose the ‘free play of the imagination’. Literary critic and author Jon Day will look at how the novel, which began as an exercise in linear causation, is being transformed into a sort of game, an exploration of contingency and chance.
JOHN CALLANAN is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, focussing mainly on Kant. His most recent book is Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals: A Reader’s Guide.
HANNAH DAWSON is a Lecturer in the History of Political Thought. She is a regular contributor to mainstream print and broadcast media, most recently in Marx: Genius of the Modern World for BBC4. Her latest book is Life Lessons from Hobbes.
JON DAY is a Lecturer in modernist fiction in the Department of English. His criticism has appeared in the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, n+1, Apollo, the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Financial Times. He is a 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction judge. His most recent book is Cyclogeography.