Workshop With Professor Richard Shusterman

Workshop With Professor Richard Shusterman

Philosophy and the Art of Writing

A Workshop With Professor Richard Shusterman

IFILNOVA / NOVA University of Lisbon

April 26, 2023

Colégio Almada Negreiros, Room 219 & Online

What is the relationship between philosophy and literature? What is the importance of literary genres for philosophical writing? How was writing understood and practiced in different philosophical traditions, epochs and cultures? What roles can literature play in a vision of philosophy as something essentially lived, rather than merely written? These are some of the questions that Richard Shusterman tackles in his recently published book Philosophy and the Art of Writing (Routledge, 2022)Exploring thinkers from Socrates and Confucius to Foucault and Simone de Beauvoir, and giving particular attention to authors who straddle the literature/philosophical divide (from Augustine and Montaigne through Wordsworth and Kierkegaard to T.S. Eliot, Georges Bataille, Maurice Blanchot, and Bertrand Russell), the book examines the ways philosophy deploys literary means to advance its practice, particularly as a way of life that extends beyond literary forms and words into physical deeds, nonlinguistic expression, and subjective moods and feelings.

With the presence of Prof. Richard Shusterman and participation of members of the group Forms of Life and Practices of Philosophy, this workshop will promote discussion on the main topics of the book, including the complex and intimate relationship between philosophy and literature, the importance of writing for the philosophical life and practice, the uses of writing for the art of living of key authors in the Western philosophical-literary tradition (such as Plato, Augustine, Montaigne, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, James Joyce, Fernando Pessoa, and Cioran), and the pursuit of an art of writing in other philosophical traditions, in particular China. There is perhaps something in literature that is out of reach of the philosopher. Literature can bring us to a region where the philosopher is not comfortable nor can control. It is in this space where the encounter between the philosopher and the writer of literature can happen: a vulnerability is opened on both sides to inspire the creating of a new concept in the philosopher and a new form and linguistic gesture in literature. It is precisely this space that this workshop aims to explore.


I. Art of Writing in Chinese Thought
14h00 Richard Shusterman: “Somaesthetics and Self-Cultivation in the Chinese Tradition of Writing, Visual Art, and the Art of Living”
14h45Eli Kramer: “The Philosophical Way of Life as Sub-Creation” (response to Shusterman)
15h00Shusterman’s response and general discussion
II. Philosophy and Literature: The Quarrels of Intimacy
15h45 Hélder Telo: “Can We Overcome the Limits of Philosophical Discourse? On Language and Truth in Plato and Heidegger”
16h00Marta Faustino: “Blurring the Lines Between Truth and Fiction: The Art of Living and the Literary Self”
16h15Shusterman’s response and general discussion
III. Writing, Identity, and the Unity of Self: Expressing the Ineffable
17h00Antonio Cardiello: “The Inconvenience of Pursuing the Art of Living by the Art of Writing”
17h15Bartholomew Ryan: “‘Who’s There?’ ‘To Whom Am I Speaking?’: Inventing the Self and Conversing With the Dead”
17h30Shusterman’s response and general discussion
UTC+1 (Lisbon time)
Registration required via email to