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EIU Humanities Center

Being Mortal Banner

“American medicine has prepared itself for life but not for death."       Malcolm Gladwell


Samuelson Cover

Interested in joining us for a good read?

After reading Atul Gawande's powerful Being Mortal, and Caitlin Doughty's humorous Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, we thought it's time to read a book whose author we will have the opportunity to meet!  

Scott Samuelson will speak at EIU on Thursday, September 25 @6pm in The Doudna FAC Lecture Hall, and we have a few copies of his latest book!

He is the author of The Deepest Human Life: An Introduction to Philosophy for Everyone (University of Chicago Press 2014), and more recently Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering: What Philosophy Can Tell Us about the Hardest Mystery of All (2018).

If you'd like to join us for a lecture discussion later in September, either in the days leading up to his lecture on September 25 or afterwards, please use our simple form to sign up! We ask only for your name, email, how you'd like to obtain the book, and some idea of your schedule.

We'll keep you up-to-date on meeting times and venues. All are welcome.

Scott SamuelsonMore about Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering:

“Another great merit of Samuelson's insightful, informative and deeply humane book is that it is a genuine pleasure to read. Herein lies a final challenge to the reader: after luxuriating in his reflections, we must close the book and return to daily life with renewed determination and courage to apply its lessons.” – Times Higher Education, Book of the Week

In this eminently readable but subtle book, Scott Samuelson opens up new ways of thinking about suffering. Weaving together philosophical reflections with compelling stories of his time teaching in prison, Samuelson shows us the various roles undeserved suffering plays our lives, and indeed in life itself. This book is a necessary read for those of us who want to reflect on the place of pain in human existence.” – Todd May

Most people want to avoid thinking about suffering, but Scott Samuelson―a professor of philosophy at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids―took a job teaching at Oakdale Prison in Coralville, Iowa. There, he discovered a lot about suffering, and a lot about how we do and don't think about the role of pain in the lives of many of those around us, and our own lives.


This program is made possible in part by a grant from Illinois Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Illinois General Assembly.

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Contact Information

Director: C.C. Wharram

Doudna Fine Arts Center 1343
(217) 581-3968

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