April 22, 2019


Heyman Center Common Room

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Event Organizer

Anupama Rao

Event Sponsor

Event Co-Sponsor(s)

Institute for Comparative Literature
South Asia Institute

Virtual Subjects, Fugitive Selves: simulations of subjectivity in Fernando Pessoa’s philosophy of self

Correction: This event begins at 5:30 PM, NOT 5:00 as previously stated.

A talk by Jonardon Ganeri, Professor of Philosophy, NYU

Fernando Pessoa has become many things to many people in the years that have passed since his untimely death in 1935. For some, he is simply the greatest poet of the 20th century, certainly in Portuguese and arguably more widely. For others, he has gradually emerged as a forgotten voice in 20th century modernism. And yet, Pessoa was also a philosopher, and it is only very recently that the philosophical importance of his work has begun to attract the attention it deserves. His heteronymic work, decisively breaking with the conventional strictures of systematic philosophical writing, is a profound and exquisite exploration in the philosophy of self. Ganeri will demonstrate the extraordinary explanatory power of Pessoa’s theory by applying it to the analysis of some of the trickiest and most puzzling problems about the self to have appeared in the global history of philosophy.

Jonardon Ganeri is a philosopher whose work draws on a variety of philosophical traditions to construct new positions in the philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and epistemology. He is the author of Attention, Not Self; The Concealed Art of the SoulThe Lost Age of Reason; and Semantic Powers, all published by Oxford University Press. He joined the Fellowship of the British Academy in 2015 and won the Infosys Prize in the Humanities the same year; he was the first philosopher to do so.

The featured image  is a manuscript page from a work penned under one of Pessoa’s heteronyms, Alberto Caeiro, from the collection of the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal.

 The Heyman Center for the Humanities, Room B-101
74 Morningside Drive
New York, NY, 10027
  (212) 854-4541
  (212) 854-3099