Examined Life

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This article is about the film by Astra Taylor. For other uses, see The Examined Life.
Examined Life
Examined Life documentary poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Astra Taylor
Produced by Ron Mann
Silva Basmajian
Starring Cornel West
Slavoj Žižek
Judith Butler
Kwame Anthony Appiah
Michael Hardt
Martha Nussbaum
Avital Ronell
Peter Singer
Sunaura Taylor
Distributed by Zeitgeist Films
Release date(s)
  • September 5, 2008 (2008-09-05) (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • February 25, 2009 (2009-02-25) (United States)
Running time 88 minutes
Country Canada
Language English

Examined Life is a 2008 documentary film directed by Astra Taylor. The film features eight influential contemporary philosophers walking around New York and other metropolises and discussing the practical application of their ideas in modern culture.

The philosophers featured are Cornel West, Avital Ronell, Peter Singer, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Martha Nussbaum, Michael Hardt, Slavoj Žižek, and Judith Butler, who is accompanied by Taylor's sister Sunny, a disability activist.

The film appeared in the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival, the 2009 Melbourne International Film Festival and the 2009 Kingston Canadian Film Festival. It is co-produced by Sphinx Productions and the National Film Board of Canada, in association with the Ontario Media Development Corporation, TVOntario and Knowledge Network.

Reception has been generally favorable (Rotten Tomatoes gives it 76%),[1] however Martha Nussbaum subsequently complained in The Point that although Examined Life displays "a keen visual imagination and a vivid sense of atmosphere and place" it nonetheless "presents a portrait of philosophy that is ... a betrayal of the tradition of philosophizing that began, in Europe, with the life of Socrates".[2]

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