17 April 2018

Philosophy at the Showroom: Regret, moral emotions and "The Great Beauty"

Showroom cinema

Philosophy at the Showroom is a series of sessions probing the philosophical questions raised by some of cinema’s most intriguing films, and discussing books that have philosophical themes (either philosophical texts, or other works that raise philosophical questions).

26 April 2018, 6pm - Showroom Cinema

For the April 2018 session, Jules Holroyd will introduce a screening of Paolo Sorrentino’s ‘La Grande Bellezza' (The Great Beauty) (2013) and lead a discussion on regret and moral emotions.

In 'La Grande Bellezza' (The Great Beauty), the main protagonist, Jep Gambardella, looks back on his life and reflects on his regrets. The film provides us with the opportunity for reflection on the nature of regret. The attitude of regret is something familiar to many of us – some regrets are small (I regret not leaving more time to catch the bus) others greater, affecting a whole life – one might regret having spent too little time with loved ones, or not having relocated to Rome. Some philosophers have been concerned with characterising regret, but pinning it down is not as easy as it might first appear.

A first cluster of questions concerns what the object of regret can be. Can I regret that you forgot the passports, or that the storm delayed the plane? Or does the regretted event have to be connected to myself and my agency in some way?

A second cluster of questions concerns exactly how we might characterise the attitude of regret. Is it simply a wish that some event has not happened? Or can I regret an event whilst also maintaining that things should not have been otherwise? A third cluster of questions concerns the value of regret. Is it a self-indulgent attitude that it is better to avoid? Or is regret important in indicating what we value, and perhaps informing our attitudes towards the future?

Tickets and further information

The standard Showroom admission charge applies

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