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The Meaning of Life

12 June 2019

Cardiff University’s annual philosophy festival fuses jazz with deep reflection

Philosophy at Cardiff joined forces with the Royal Institute of Philosophy to inspire public interest in the biggest question of all for its annual Philosophy Festival this summer.

In one jazz-philosophy fusion evening, six philosophers from three UK universities gave short talks alongside two live sets from Jazz-Phi, a new quintet featuring the philosophers James Tartaglia of Keele University and Andrew Bowie of Royal Holloway college of the University of London on saxophones and on philosophy, with Steve Tromans on piano, Mike Green on bass, and Tymek Jozwiak on drums.

The bite-size talks focused on existentialism, technology, and purpose, led by Cardiff University philosophers Alex Dietz, Mary Edwards, Orestis Palermos, and Jonathan Webber, and by visiting speakers Kate Kirkpatrick from Kings College London and Marieke Mueller from Aberystwyth University,

It followed last year’s Festival on the philosophy of technology at the Sherman Theatre and Cardiff philosophers speaking at the Eisteddfod, the Edinburgh Festival, and the How The Light Gets In fringe festival at Hay-on-Wye.

“Philosophical ideas matter to people and ought to be presented in an engaging way”, says philosopher and saxophonist Professor James Tartaglia. “Jazz, the music of the moment, has never had any trouble engaging people, and throughout its history has always been open to new and surprising fusions.”

Festival organiser Professor Jonathan Webber adds: “People often think that philosophers are people who worry about the meaning of life. But until recently, this has not been a question much discussed in university philosophy departments. This is now beginning to change, partly because of two new books from Professor Tartaglia.”

The Meaning of Life: A Jazz-Philosophy Fusion Event took place on Thursday 27th June from 7.30pm at Ten Feet Tall in the city centre. The Philosophy Festival event is completely free and all are welcome.

The festival is part of the annual series of public events jointly held by the Royal Institute of Philosophy and Philosophy in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy.

Philosophy at Cardiff University ranked 4th for the impact of its research on society in REF2014, the latest national research assessment exercise. Its new MA in Philosophy for 2019/2020 is available both full-time and part-time, with online application including related scholarship information such as the University’s Master’s Excellence Scholarships.

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