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Examined Life (2008)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 20 November 2009 (UK)
2:05 | Trailer

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Examined Life pulls philosophy out of academic journals and classrooms, and puts it back on the streets. In Examined Life, filmmaker Astra Taylor accompanies some of today's most ... See full summary »


Astra Taylor


Astra Taylor



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Director: Astra Taylor


Credited cast:
K. Anthony Appiah ... Himself
Judith Butler Judith Butler ... Herself
Michael Hardt Michael Hardt ... Himself
Martha Nussbaum Martha Nussbaum ... Herself
Avital Ronell ... Herself
Peter Singer ... Himself
Sunaura Taylor Sunaura Taylor ... Herself
Cornel West ... Himself
Slavoj Zizek ... Himself


Examined Life pulls philosophy out of academic journals and classrooms, and puts it back on the streets. In Examined Life, filmmaker Astra Taylor accompanies some of today's most influential thinkers on a series of unique excursions through places and spaces that hold particular resonance for them and their ideas. Peter Singer's thoughts on the ethics of consumption are amplified against the backdrop of Fifth Avenue's posh boutiques. Michael Hardt ponders the nature of revolution while surrounded by symbols of wealth and leisure. Judith Butler and a friend stroll through San Francisco's Mission District questioning our culture's fixation on individualism. And while driving through Manhattan, Cornel West - perhaps America's best-known public intellectual - compares philosophy to jazz and blues, reminding us how intense and invigorating a life of the mind can be. Offering privileged moments with great thinkers from fields ranging from moral philosophy to cultural theory, Examined Life ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

philosophy | f rated | See All (2) »


Philosophy is in the streets.




Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

20 November 2009 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Sorgulanmis yasam See more »

Filming Locations:

Chicago, Illinois, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,085, 1 March 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$120,555, 5 July 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sphinx Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


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Did You Know?


Slavoj Zizek: This is where we should start feeling at home. Part of our daily perception of reality is that this
[points to garbage]
Slavoj Zizek: disappears from our world. When you go to the toilet, shit disappears. You flush it. Of course, rationally, you know it's there, in canalization and so on, but at a certain level of your most elementary experience, it disappears from your world. But, the problem is, that trash doesn't disappear. I think ecology, the way we approach ecological problematic is maybe the crucial ...
See more »

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User Reviews

Lacks of cinematographic creativity...
2 March 2009 | by taviraSee all my reviews

The idea of making this documentary is great. Recently, I've read an article which says that the result of the arrogance of the academic philosophy is that it's place has been taken by new age prophets, self-esteem gurus, etc. Philosophy needs to be brought back to the streets. And to do that it must start questioning all those problems which analytics have rejected (life meaning, foundations of ethics, etc.).

Considering that, the motives of this film are very clear. However, I must say that while this work is overflowed with philosophic ideas, it lacks of cinematographic creativity. Sincerely, the ideas those people transmit are so interesting that to visually limit them to the philosophers face is wrong. I think it would've been more dynamic and less tiring for the viewer if the interviews with the philosophers would've been combined with some images of what they were talking.

About the philosophers who are interviewed, I couldn't stop thinking about Plato, who says that philosophers should rule the society. Everything which they say is so coherent and it's difficult to find an objection to what they think (perhaps with the exception of Zizek, who's opinions are very controversial but without a doubt express how brilliant he is). West and Butler are very cool, and the political views of Hardt and Nussbaum are very interesting. I mean: it seems that taking a cup of coffee with anyone of this people would change your mind in some many things.

Very good the idea in general, but poor in the way that is expressed. 7 out of 10.

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