A monthly event featuring debates, talks, interviews, music and film. LIVE.


Monday 8th January - 06:00 PM GMT

Loving Oneself and Loving Others

The trouble with altruism

The headline debate in a programme of unmissable online events exploring the puzzle of altruism, the dangers or selflessness, and the contradiction of irrational behaviour.

Loving Oneself and Loving Others

From charity-givers, to those who sacrifice themselves in war for others, we see altrusim and selflessness as virtues to be applauded. Those who take no heed of their own interests are highly praised in Western culture. But many point to a danger. Studies show that altruism gone awry leads to tolerating abusive partners, eating disorders and depression. And critics argue that some of history's most horrific episodes rose from appeals to altruistic tendencies. Forced sterlizations in the West were justified as "better for all the world". And Hitler opined, “When I appeal . . . for sacrifice, the first spark is struck”.

Should we see unhampered altruism not only as futile, but actively dangerous? Are these virtues merely a device to defend outcomes we think beneficial for ourselves and exert power over others?  Or is selflessness in fact vital and would relegating it to secondary status only see more corruption and self-absorption in society?

Join us on January 8th to watch the world leading experts debate the dangers and virtues of altruism.


17:20 GMT - Morality without principles The Lounge

18:00 GMT - Loving Oneself and Loving Others arena

19:20 GMT - The secrets of irrationality arena

19:30 GMT - This Is The Kit stage

Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek

Leading utilitarian thinker

Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Lodz. She is best known for her work on utilitarianism in collaboration with Peter Singer, most famously, The Point of View of the Universe (2014).

Carol Gilligan

Legendary feminist

Carol Gilligan is a Professor of Humanities and Applied Psychology at New York University. She is a feminist icon, and the mind behind the revolutionary "ethics of care". She is best known for the classic In a Different Voice (1982).

Robert Lawrence Kuhn

Acclaimed public intellectual

Robert Lawrence Kuhn is the creator, writer, host and executive producer of Closer To Truth; bridging science and philosophy to unravel the enigmas of existence, Kuhn has written or edited over 30 books, including 'The Mystery of Existence: Why is there Anything At All?' and 'Closer to Truth: Challenging Current Belief'.

Richard Wrangham

Celebrated anthropologist

Richard Wrangham is a Research Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University. He is best known for his seminal work on primate social behaviour and the evolution of violence.

Loving Oneself and Loving Others

Carol Gilligan, Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and Richard Wrangham debate the nature and morality of altruism, discussing its dangers and its origins. Hosted by Robert Lawrence Kuhn.

Please join us after the debate for the "Meet the Speakers" session, where you will have the opportunity to ask our speakers your questions directly in a live audience Q&A.