John Lysaker, Ph.D. William R. Kenan Professor of Philosophy, Emory University

Public Lecture Title: "Become Who You Aren't: Friendship as Spectacle"
Monday, January 30, 2023, 5:00pm: Stackhouse Theater
If you can't attend, watch the livestream/recording at

"Friendship is a site of non-obligatory goodwill and care that shows us how a benevolent regard for others intensifies and expands a life, and in ways that expose series limits to standard distinctions between altruism and egoism."

John Lysaker works in multiple areas including ethics, the philosophy of art and literature, philosophical psychology, and 19th and 20th Century American and Continental Philosophies. His interdisciplinary scholarship interrogates phenomena like the good life, the nature and social function of art, and the nature of the self and its fate in schizophrenia. He has a particular interest in friendship.

Before joining the faculty at Emory University in 2009, Professor Lysaker taught Philosophy and Comparative Literature at the University of Oregon. He is the author of several books and some sixty-five articles and chapters, many of which explore the writings of various thinkers, poets, and artists such as Emerson, Adorno, Charles Simic, Anselm Kiefer, and Brian Eno. His most recent book, forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press and entitled Hope, Trust, and Forgiveness: Essays in Finitude, explores ethical life from the vantage point of some of its most ambiguous affects. Earlier books include Philosophy, Writing, and the Character of Thought (University of Chicago Press, 2018); Brian Eno's Ambient 1: Music for Airports (Oxford University Press, 2018), After Emerson (Indiana University Press, 2017), Emerson and Thoreau: Figures of Friendship (Indiana University Press, 2010), and You Must Change Your Life: Poetry and the Birth of Sense (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002), among others.

Future work will include two book length projects: an extended meditation on friendship entitled The Unqualified Good and Consider This: A Philosophy of Art.
Professor Lysaker was educated at Kenyon College and earned his PhD at Vanderbilt University.