The Philosophy of Solitude

19 Jun, 2014 120 Epistemology

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the philosophy of solitude. The state of being alone can arise for many different reasons: imprisonment, exile or personal choice. It can be prompted by religious belief, personal necessity or a philosophical need for solitary contemplation. Many thinkers have dealt with the subject, from Plato and Aristotle to Hannah Arendt. It’s a philosophical tradition that takes in medieval religious mystics, the work of Montaigne and Adam Smith, and the great American poets of solitude Thoreau and Emerson.

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  • Melissa Lane 10 episodes
    Professor of Politics at Princeton University
  • Simon Blackburn 4 episodes
    Professor of Philosophy at the New College of the Humanities and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge
  • John Haldane 8 episodes
    Professor of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews

Reading list

  • St Augustine
    Confessions (Penguin, 2002)
  • Boethius
    The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin, 1999)
  • Susan Cain
    Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking (Broadway Books, 2013)
  • Albert Camus (trans. Carol Cosman)
    Exile and the Kingdom (Penguin, 2006)
  • Daniel Defoe (ed. John Richetti)
    Robinson Crusoe (Penguin, 2003)
  • Philip Koch
    Solitude: A Philosophical Encounter (Open Court Publishing Company, 1994)
  • Jon Krakauer
    Into the Wild (Villard Books, 1996)
  • Brother Lawrence
    The Practice of the Presence of God (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2010) Google Books →
  • Michel de Montaigne (trans. M.A. Screech)
    The Complete Essays (Penguin, 2013)
  • Anthony Storr
    Solitude: A Return to the Self (Free Press, 1988)
  • Henry David Thoreau (ed. J. Lyndon Shanley)
    Walden (Princeton University Press, 2004)

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Auto-category: 128 (The Human Condition)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 1845, the American writer Henry David Thoreau moved into a small log cabin he had built in the woods of Concord, Massachusetts.