Friday, 1 January 2016

Meditations on Time. Raymond Tallis conducts Inner Circle Seminar 227 (10 July 2016)

Raymond Tallis

Meditations on Time

Raymond Tallis
conducts Inner Circle Seminar No. 227
introduced by Anthony Stadlen
Sunday 10 July 2016
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

When Professor Tallis was the castaway on Desert Island Discs on 25 March 2007, he chose for his one permitted desert-island book (in addition to the Bible and Shakespeare) Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time, which, as he pointed out, has been called the greatest philosophical work of the twentieth century.

Raymond Tallis himself has written a remarkable book, A Conversation with Martin Heidegger (2002), followed by a magnum opus of three volumes: The Hand (2003), I Am (2004), and The Knowing Animal (2005) – philosophical inquiries into, respectively, human being, first-person being, and knowledge and truth. In, especially, the second and third volumes of this trilogy, Tallis challenged what he saw as Heidegger’s failure adequately to address the problem of embodiment, and also began a discussion of time, taking Heidegger’s thinking into account. He further developed his thinking on time in his formidable Inner Circle Seminar for us last June, Tensed Time and Free Will, and he has written a 444,000-word book, soon to be published, Of Time and Lamentation: Reflections on Transience.

Today, he invites us to continue engaging in conjoint Meditations on Time. Existential therapists, steeped in Heidegger, surely have something special from our everyday practice and thinking to bring to this dialogue, in which Professor Tallis will focus on many thinkers’ reflections on time. The seminars are open to beginners as well as advanced practitioners, and to people from all disciplines or none. Your contribution, if you are moved to make one, will be warmly welcomed; but you are equally welcome to remain silent.

To prompt the discussion, Raymond Tallis will give a series of short (15-20 minute) talks during the day on five topics, which he summarises as follows:

The Study of Time
Is there a metaphysics of time? Does physics offer the last word on time? Killing time: from lived time to ‘little t’.

Static and Dynamic Time
Is there such a thing as the passage of time? Now as a moving spotlight and as a growing point. Is time a dimension? Spatialisation of time: static time.

Time Travel
What is time travel? The troubled journey of the time traveller. The difficulty of arrival. The necessary impotence of the time traveller.

Some Thoughts on Lived Time
Reflections on Now, on the reality of the past, and on whether the future is open or closed. The nature of tensed time. Human freedom and tensed time. Events as tense tourists.

The Idea of Eternity
Different conceptions of eternity: everlastingness; timelessness; the intersection between time and eternity.

Raymond Tallis was a Professor of Geriatric Medicine and consultant physician in Health Care of the Elderly. He has published 200 research articles in the neurology of old age and neurological rehabilitation, as well as a novel, short stories, three volumes of poetry, and 23 books on philosophy of mind, philosophical anthropology, literary theory, the nature of art, and cultural criticism. He has received many awards and honorary degrees. In 2009, the Economist listed him as one of the world’s 20 leading polymaths.

Nicholas Fearn wrote in The Independent:

When Kirsty Young was asked to name her favourite guest on Desert Island Discs, the rock star Paul Weller was beaten into second place, for her own luxury item would be the writer Raymond Tallis.

Raymond Tallis has given two of our best loved and best remembered Inner Circle Seminars. He kindly confirms that our seminar structure, in which dialogue is of the essence, enables him to communicate and reflect on his ideas. He wrote, after his first Inner Circle Seminar, The Intellectual Plague of Biologism, on 2 December 2012:

The seminar was for me an incredible experience. I have never previously had the opportunity to discuss the topics we covered in such depth with a group of people who came at it from such different angles but in a way that I found illuminating. I learned a lot. It was a tremendous privilege.

Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £120, others £150, some bursaries; coffee, tea, biscuits, mineral water included; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra Avenue, London N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857  +44 (0) 7809 433 250

For further information on seminars, visit:

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools and universities.

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