This Life: Why Mortality Makes Us Free

Free Public Lecture

This Life: Why Mortality Makes Us Free

Glyn Davis Building (Melbourne School of Design)
Masson Road


The philosopher Martin Hägglund will talk about his groundbreaking book 'This Life', which challenges our received notions of faith and freedom. The faith we need to cultivate, he argues, is not a religious faith in eternity but a secular faith devoted to our finite life together. He shows that all spiritual questions of freedom are inseparable from economic and material conditions. What ultimately matters is how we treat one another in this life, and what we do with our time together.

Hägglund develops new existential and political principles while transforming our understanding of spiritual life. His critique of religion takes us to the heart of what it means to mourn our loved ones, be committed, and care about a sustainable world. His critique of capitalism demonstrates that we fail to sustain our democratic values because our lives depend on wage labor. In clear and pathbreaking terms, Hägglund explains why capitalism is inimical to our freedom, and why we should instead pursue a novel form of democratic socialism.

In developing his vision of an emancipated secular life, Hägglund engages with great philosophers from Aristotle to Hegel and Marx, literary writers from Dante to Proust and Knausgaard, political economists from Mill to Keynes and Hayek, and religious thinkers from Augustine to Kierkegaard and Martin Luther King, Jr. This Life gives us new access to our past – for the sake of a different future.

This public lecture is organised in conjunction with the 2019 annual conference of the Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy.


  • Professor Martin Hägglund
    Professor Martin Hägglund, Yale University