Text full multimedia monochrome

First time here?

Find out more about how The Lecture List works.

Do you organise talks?

Register to tell us about them. The Lecture List is a great place to be listed, but it's also an easy place to upload your information to. It's very simple and costs nothing. Find out more

Help!

Find out what you can do to keep The Lecture List online

The Immortalization Commission: Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death

Forum For European Philosophy Literary Festival lecture


During the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century science became the vehicle for an assault on death. The power of knowledge was summoned to free humans of their mortality. Science was used against science and became a channel for faith.

Science had disclosed a world in which humans were no different from other animals in facing final oblivion when they died and eventual extinction as a species. That was the message of Darwinism, not fully accepted even by Darwin himself. For nearly everyone it was an intolerable vision, and since most had given up religion they turned to science for escape from the world that science had revealed.

In Britain a powerful and well-connected movement sprang up aiming to find scientific evidence that human personality survived bodily death. Psychical researchers, supported by some of the leading figures of the day, believed immortality might be a demonstrable fact. At the same time that sections of the English elite were being drawn into psychical research another anti-death movement was emerging in Russia. As in England science and the paranormal were not separate, but mingled in a current of thought that aimed to create a substitute for religion.

Science and faith have interacted at many points. They came together in two revolts against death, each claiming that science could give humanity what religion had promised – immortal life.

John Gray is most recently the acclaimed author of Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia, and Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals. Having been Professor of Politics at Oxford, Visiting Professor at Harvard and Yale and Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics, he now writes full time. His selected writings, Gray’s Anatomy, were published by Penguin in 2009. The Immortalization Commission: Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death is published in February 2011.


Speaker(s):

Professor John Gray | talks
Dr Simon Glendinning | talks | www

 

Date and Time:

19 February 2011 at 5:00 pm

Duration:

1 hour 30 minutes

 

Venue:

Sheikh Zayed Theatre
New Academic Building
London School of Economics and Political Science
London
WC2A 2AE


Show map

Organised by:

London School of Economics & Political Science
See other talks organised by London School of Economics & Political Science...

 

Tickets:

Free

Available from:

All events in the Literary Festival programme are free and open to all, but a ticket is required. Tickets will be available to request online from Monday 31 January. Please visit the event weblisting from 10am on Monday 31 January for full details of how to request a ticket.

Event weblisting: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/publicEvents/events/2011/20110219t1700vSZT.aspx

Additional Information:

From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend that if you plan to attend this event you check the listing for this event on the LSE events website on the day of the event.
For any queries email events@lse.ac.uk or call 020 7955 6043.

Register to tell a friend about this lecture.

Comments

If you would like to comment about this lecture, please register here.



 

Any ad revenue is entirely reinvested into the Lecture List's operating fund