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Is Literature Good for Us? Presented by Rebecca Goldstein


The conflict between literature and moral philosophy is so old that Plato referred to the "ancient quarrel" between them. He only intensified the quarrel by banishing the poets from his utopia. But which has contributed more to the moral advances we have made?

internationally renowned philosopher, novelist, psychologist, and Harvard University Research Associate, Rebecca Goldstein, is presenting this year’s Shelley Lecture asking the question ‘is literature good for us?’

The lecture will investigate the conflict between literature and moral philosophy, a battle that Plato referred to the "ancient quarrel" (one that he only intensified by banishing the poets from his utopia). Goldstein, whose previous works include Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel, Thirty-Six Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction, and Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity, through the lecture will explore literature and moral philosophy and discuss which has contributed more to the moral advances we have made.

Rebecca Goldstein is an internationally renowned novelist and a Research Associate in the Department of Psychology, Harvard University. She has been described as a writer whose novels and short stories “dramatize the concerns of philosophy without sacrificing the demands of imaginative storytelling. Goldstein’s writings emerge as brilliant arguments for the belief that fiction in our time may be the best vehicle for involving readers in questions of morality and existence.”


Rebecca Goldstein | talks


Date and Time:

5 June 2013 at 7:00 pm


2 hours 30 minutes



Nelson Mandela Lecture Theatre
Saïd Business School
Park End St

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Organised by:

British Humanist Association
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£12 general admission, £7 members and students

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