Examined Life

Examined Life

| 1 h 28 min

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” —Socrates

Examined Life pulls philosophy out of academia and classrooms and puts it back on the streets.

Philosophers have long done their best thinking when directly engaged with the outside world, not in isolation from it. Socrates roved the Athenian agora, courting trouble with the authorities. Rousseau immortalized his rambles through nature on the printed page. Nietzsche once said that only ideas conceived while walking have any value.  

In Examined Life, filmmaker Astra Taylor accompanies some of today’s most influential thinkers on a series of unique excursions through places and spaces that hold particular resonance for them and their ideas.

Peter Singer's thoughts on the ethics of consumption are amplified against the backdrop of Fifth Avenue's posh boutiques. Michael Hardt ponders the nature of revolution while surrounded by symbols of wealth and leisure. Judith Butler and a friend stroll through San Francisco’s Mission District questioning our culture's fixation on individualism.

And while driving through Manhattan, Cornel West—perhaps America's best-known public intellectual—compares philosophy to jazz and blues, reminding us how intense and invigorating a life of the mind can be.

Offering privileged moments with great thinkers from fields ranging from moral philosophy to cultural theory, Examined Life reveals philosophy's power to transform the way we see the world around us and imagine our place in it.

Featuring Cornel West, Avital Ronell, Peter Singer, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Martha Nussbaum, Michael Hardt, Slavoj Zizek, Judith Butler and Sunaura Taylor.

Pedagogical evaluations and study guides are only available to CAMPUS subscribers.


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  • participant
    Cornel West
    Avital Ronell
    Peter Singer
    Kwame Anthony Appiah
    Martha Nussbaum
    Michael Hardt
    Slavoj Zizek
    Judith Butler
    Sunaura Taylor
  • producer
    Bill Imperial
    Lea Marin
  • executive producer
    Ron Mann
    Silva Basmajian
  • commissioning editor
    Jane Jankovic
  • sound recordist
    Sanjay Mehta
  • sound design
    John Laing
  • director of photography
    John Tran
  • editor
    Robert Kennedy
  • writer
    Astra Taylor
  • director
    Astra Taylor
  • independent production officer
    Linda Fong
  • production consultant
    Alexander Taylor
  • camera assistant
    Scott Burton
  • sound editor
    John Laing
    Josh Machado
  • re-recording mixer
    Keith Elliott
    Steve Moore
  • re-recording assistant
    Brandon Prodger
  • foley artist
    Marilee Yorston
  • additional camera
    Sean Kirby
    Laura Hanna
    Sanjay Mehta
  • post-production supervisor
    Mark Wilson
  • technical coordinator
    Branden Bratuhin
  • technical assistant
    Christopher Logan
  • coordinator
    Lena de Casperis
    James Westcott
  • location scout
    Heath Schultz
    Tara Taylor
    Alexander Taylor
    David Wallace
  • production assistant
    Lena de Casperis
    Renée Lottridge
    Alexander Taylor
    David Wallace
    James Westcott
  • post-production assistant
    Sam Yerraguntla
  • researcher
    Michael Boyuk
    Bill Imperial
  • transcription
    Reesa Del Duca
    Adina Frankel
    Sam Yerraguntla
  • words of wisdom
    Bill Schroeder
    Jeff Mangum
    Laura Hanna
    Aaron Levy
  • shot stitcher
    Nick Fairhead
  • typographer
    Nicholas Kennedy
  • graphics photography
    Cat O'Neil
  • colourist
    Chris Dover
  • online editor
    Chris Mackenzie
  • telecine assistant
    Rui Martins
  • video data centre operator
    Bernie Clayton
    Mike Seeley
    Ryan Logel
  • project manager
    Gary Brown
  • video transfer
    Precision Transfer
  • on-line lab
    Deluxe Toronto
  • production accountant
    Janet Drynan
    Eugene Gaudio
  • bookkeeper
    Patricia Rose
  • legal
    Gary Solway
    Kara Russell
  • insurance
  • foley recording mixer
    Rudy Michael
  • post sound
    Urban Post Production Inc.

  • pwcorner

    Why don't I have access to this film?

    pwcorner, 17 Feb 2012