Locke in: All-night philosophy fest takes on Trump

Brooklyn Paper
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Kant stop won’t stop!

An all-night philosophy marathon at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central branch starting on Jan. 28 will have brainy types tackling questions of morality, consciousness, and the biggest head-scratcher facing political philosophers today: what’s the deal with Trump? One thinker aims to help Brooklynites who stay up all night worrying about the state of the country with his early-morning talk “Reasoning after Trump,” which moves past doom-and-gloom thinking.

“I kind of want to challenge people who are feeling dour and pessimistic that things can be alright,” said Bhaskar Sunkara, a political writer, editor, and publisher of Jacobin magazine. “Trump doesn’t have a mandate and the main way we confront him is with, to me, a degree of hope and optimism.”

Sunkara, a Fort Greene resident, will deliver his Trump treatise at 1:30 am, near the midway point of the 12-hour marathon, which will also feature talks from dozens of philosophers and thinkers, screenings, readings, and music.

There may be no reasoning with the commander-in-chief, said Sunkara, but liberals should try engaging his supporters on issues they both care about.

“I think with a strong minority of his supporters, maybe a third of them can be won over to a different set of ideas,” he said. “At the very least, we need to try to engage them with good faith arguments.”

The talk will last about 20 minutes, he said, followed by a free exchange of ideas with the audience.

Other political panels that night include “The post-truth era: Modern politics and the linguistic turn” and “Understand­ing totalitari­anism,” along with lighter topics such as “What would Socrates do with pornography?”

Sunkara said he’s not a night owl and is usually in bed by midnight, but has a special strategy to keep himself awake throughout the program.

“I don’t drink coffee, which is actually a good thing because if I have one cup at 6:30 pm I’ll be wired until 3 am,” he said.

The marathon will include a breakfast at 5:30 am for those staying up for the final activity: a 7 am dance performance from Trisha Brown Dance Company.

A Night of Philosophy and Ideas at Brooklyn Public Library Central branch (10 Grand Army Plaza at Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights, Jan. 28–Jan. 29, 7 pm–7 am. Free.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Really? says:
Stop the presses - Muslim immigrant dislikes USA and it's president. What an 'unusual' occurance! Judging by his fellow countrymen, the only thing muslims hate more than America is soap and water.
Jan. 26, 2017, 2:52 pm
Tyler from ppd says:
Mr. Really.

Umm, Mr. Sunkara is not an immigrant and nothing to suggest he's muslim. But, I know, he's brown, has a funny sounding name. And the fact that he's seemingly successful and intelligent is an affront to you. So he must be evil and "other."

I guess it's better that these dimwitted ignoramuses are outing themselves, but sheeesh, how can there be so many of them still spewing their irrational hatred in 2017?
Jan. 27, 2017, 12:41 pm
Samir Kabir from downtown says:
Free Melania. She likes soap and water, I bet.
Jan. 27, 2017, 5:43 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
Their rationalizations are probably more interesting than "the Russians did it". But it amounts to the same.
It does not take a philosopher (or even a brain surgeon) to figure out why Hillary lost. She was a terribly, terribly flawed candidate, for so many reasons, who conducted a pathetic campaign. The worst of which was giving the finger to the Bernie Left after using the media and the DNC to cut him down.
Jan. 29, 2017, 5:49 pm

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