Lars Fr. H. Svendsen
Lars Fr. H. Svendsen was born in 1970 in Norway. A professor at the Institute of Philosophy, University of Bergen, the editor of Norwegian Philosophical Magazine, and a prolific philosophical writer. After several books about the forms of ‘philosophical’ ideas about the world, he decided to tackle the title What is philosophy? “Philosophy is not just a need for knowledge,” he said, “it includes facing one’s own lack of knowledge and self-examination, challenging what we believe and what we are.” Most of his works have been promptly translated into Croatian – his books on Fear, Fashion, and A Philosophy of Boredom, A philosophy of Evil, A Philosophy of Freedom, A Philosophy of Loneliness – and he himself has already visited these parts of the world to discuss his inspirations. His objective is clearly illustrated in a treatise on boredom, which, he says, referring to Heidegger, could be “a privileged condition”: “In order to lead a meaningful life, people need answers, a certain understanding of essential existential issues. These ‘answers’ do not need to be fully explicit, since a lack of words does not necessarily point to a lack of understanding, but they have to be able to establish and build a relatively stable identity. The establishment of such an identity is possible only if a relatively coherent story could be told about who one was and who one plans to be.” Speaking about the experience of social occurrences, such as the manifestation of evil, Svendsen of course faces the problem of applying philosophical terms: “’demonic’ evil or evil for the sake of evil, in the l’art pour l’art sense, in only a construct of our imagination.” That way, judging by his speech in Zagreb, “liberal terror” seems at least to a certain extent acceptable “because it still contains the relevant truth that people, as individuals, should re-examine the values of the group they belong to.” We are up for a writer who speaks of the inescapable world in a simple, and yet critically binding way.
(Photo © Sturlason)