Examined Life (image 1)

Examined Life has a certain flavor of intellectual game show or high-concept magazine article about it, and I say that with affection.

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com

Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

Examined Life 2008

Directed by Astra Taylor

Eight of the world’s most provocative philosophers express themselves in ten minutes flat. With Peter Singer, Cornel West, Slavoj Žižek, Martha Nussbaum, Michael Hardt, Judith Butler, Avital Ronell, Kwame Anthony Appiah.

Canada In English
88 minutes DigiBeta



Bill Imperial
Lea Marin


John M. Tran


Robert Kennedy


John Laing


Kwame Anthony Appiah
Judith Butler
Michael Hardt
Martha Nussbaum
Avital Ronell
Peter Singer
Cornel West
Slavoj Žižek
Sunaura Taylor


Toronto 2008


Persuading eight of the world’s most provocative philosophers to express themselves in ten minutes flat, director Astra Taylor’s project is designed to revive academic discourse as a force capable of influencing the way we actually live. “Ideas beam out from Astra Taylor’s engaging new philoso-doc Examined Life; the viewer basks in the intelligence on-screen and, occasionally, soaks up the rays. A purveyor of intellectual vaudeville, the thirty-ish Taylor has mobilized a group of professional philosophers. Coaxed from their classrooms to hold forth in the midst of life are Cornel West, Avital Ronell, Peter Singer, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Martha Nussbaum, Michael Hardt, Judith Butler, and… Slavoj Žižek, who typically steals the show by staging his rant – a critique of ‘ecology’ – in a garbage dump.” — J. Hoberman, Village Voice

“The ideas themselves are never fusty or hermetically sealed; Taylor’s organizing principle, a refreshingly intellectual one, is that rigorous thinking brings us closer to a global awareness.” — Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York