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Dark Futures: A Philosophical Archaeology of Hope

Calendar Tuesday, 17 October 2023
Calendar 20:30-22:00

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Photo of child's face in profile in darkness. Child is looking towards the right of the image, towards a source of a light not shown.

Royal Institute of Philosophy Cardiff Annual Lecture 2023

Professor Paul Taylor (University of California, Los Angeles)

On the eve of World War I, Virginia Woolf wrote these words: “The future is dark, which is on the whole, the best thing the future can be….” It is tempting to assume that darkness simply hides the unknown and the threatening. It is more challenging to think of it as Woolf did: rich with possibility in even the most desperate times. As Howard Thurman put it, the darkness may be luminous.

We live in what many would readily describe as dark times. These times have brought (among much else) a once-in-a-century public health crisis, the continued redemption of toxic white supremacy and autocratic leadership, declining trust in and support for public institutions, and growing evidence of impending climate devastation. What luminous possibilities await in this gloom?

“Dark Futures” will consider some scenes of devastation that define our desperate times, and mine them for insights into our predicaments and our prospects.

​Everyone is welcome! This event is produced by Cardiff University and the Royal Institute of Philosophy.

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