TV Series as Forms of Shared Experience

When and Where

Tuesday, October 18, 2022 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Innis College
2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto, ON M5S 1J5


Sandra Laugier


TV series accompany us in our ordinary lives, and they can also be a resource or refuge in extraordinary situations. They provided us during lockdown with comfort universes, full of things that seem like distant memories: worlds in which people go to the coffee shops, travel…. The relevance and importance of series (there are now series in all countries, and they circulate far beyond their countries of origin) is in their creation of what we may call elementary forms of shared experience. Philosophy has not yet sufficiently observed or analyzed this democratization of experience, and the constitution of a new set of values through the mass and digital distribution of TV series. They are the sites of the education of individuals, an education that amounts to a form of subjective perfecting through sharing and discussing public and ordinary material, which is integrated into individuals’ lives. We need to rethink what we mean today by popular culture by connecting it to the Deweyan notion of the public . Public and popular forms of cultural production ascribe to each individual the capacity to trust her judgment; the intertwining of the private and the public, and even the privatization of the public space, challenge our conceptions of the place of TV series since the pandemic. My talk will draw on her recent work on television series, in particular Series-Philosophy the forthcoming English translation of her 2019 book Nos vies en séries (Exeter UP forthcoming 2023)

Sandra Laugier is Professor of Philosophy at the Sorbonne. Her research covers the philosophy of language and knowledge, analytic philosophy, the philosophy of ordinary language (Wittgenstein and Austin), classical and contemporary American philosophy (from transcendentalism and pragmatism to Cavell), contemporary moral philosophy, and the philosophy of popular culture. She is author of 18 books in French and English, including Why We Need Ordinary Language Philosophy (Chicago, 2013) and Politics of the Ordinary (Leuven, Peeters, 2020), and edited a recent special issue of Open Philosophy Taking Television Seriously. She is also one of the primary French language translators of Stanley Cavell.


2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto, ON M5S 1J5