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Brooklyn Public Library Cultural Services of the French Embassy and The Polish Cultural Institute New York present

Night of Philosophy and Ideas
Free, 12-Hour, Overnight Event Featuring Music, Rare Films, VR, Puppets and More Than 60 Speakers and Performers

Saturday, February 2, 2019 - Sunday, February 3, 2019

Central Library 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238,
Tickets: Free, 12-Hour, Overnight Event  

For the third consecutive year, Brooklyn Public Library and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy will present the hallmark edition of A Night of Philosophy and Ideas, bringing philosophers, authors, artists, and musicians from around the world together with the New York community through a series of intellectual and thought-provoking conversations and performances.



The event runs from sundown to sunrise—the only such event in the nation to do so—as the concept of the Institut français’ global La Nuit des idées expands across the country to Washington D.C., Houston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The nation-wide events are modeled after the New York intellectual marathon, created by the Brooklyn Public Library and the Cultural Services in 2017, and which attracted 8000 people in 2018.


Featuring more than 60 philosophers, intellectuals, researchers and artists, the event will explore the overarching theme “Facing the Present” and the most pressing issues in contemporary society in simultaneous conversations, performances, screenings, VR and 360 experiences. Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York University professor of philosophy and law and the author of “The Ethicist” column in the New York Times will deliver the night’s keynote address on identity and freedom.






This year will feature two Polish events:



Marcin Milkowski will talk about HOW TO ERR WISELY


Society, Sciences & Technology Division | 11:00PM to 11:30PM | 30 minutes


Attaining knowledge is as important as the ability to understand that it is never complete. Even if we had access to all pertinent information about anything, we could not avoid ambiguities and doubts in interpreting it. Thus, the question is how to face the human inevitability of error without being mired in doubts or dogmatic slumber. The answer will focus on how science was born: it was born from the plurality of points of view and public access to experiment. They make error part of the process of critical thinking. Even though we cannot get rid of all illusions, be it sensory illusions or cognitive illusions, we can tame their effects. The same goes for current social media: one will err, but can at least avoid echo chambers and require reliable evidence instead of blind authority.


Marcin Milkowski is an associate professor of logic and cognitive science at the Polish Academy of Sciences. His research has won him many awards, including the Tadeysz Kotarbinski Prize for outstanding young scholars in the social sciences and the Herbert A. Simon Award for significant contributions to computational neuroscience. Milkowski is the author ofComputational Mind (MIT Press, 2013).





Marcin Waligora will discus the ethical issues of performing clinical trials with children focusing on the core conflict of values. CHILDREN IN CLINICAL TRIALS? YES, IT’S ETHICAL!


History, Biography, Religion Division | 2:30AM to 3:00AM | 30 minutes


The lack of adequate number of clinical trials with pediatric population exposes our children to medicines which are not effective or are potentially even harmful to them. About 65% of medicines prescribed daily to children worldwide have never been tested on pediatric populations. It means that physicians prescribe them to children because there is no alternative. We definitely need more safe and effective medicines for children. But how to perform trials without compromising interests of participants?


He will discuss ethical issues of performing clinical trials with pediatric populations focusing on the core conflict of values: the interests, possible risk and benefits of the trial’s participants vs. interests of society and future patients.



Marcin Waligora is an Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy and Bioethics Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland. He directs the REMEDY, Research Ethics in Medicine Study Group, a team of experts in philosophy, biology, biomedical engineering, biostatistics and public health. The group works on ethics and policy of biomedical research focusing on pediatric oncology. Waligora spent the last year at the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics as the Fulbright Scholar.









2019 Night of Philosophy & Ideas is co-presented by Brooklyn Public Library and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. The program is made possible with major support from City Point. Generous support is provided by The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Penguin Random House, the Institut français, Nespresso, Sixpoint Brewery, the Wythe Hotel, Air France, Hilail Gildin Trust, Humanities New York, Onassis USA, The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, FACE Foundation, and event partners National Sawdust and The New York Times. WNYC is the Official Media Partner of the 2019 BPL Presents Season. Additional support is provided by the German Center for Research and Innovation, the Consulate General of Switzerland, the Polish Cultural Institute New York, The Earth Institute, the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation and Sofia University, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, the Lithuanian Cultural Institute, the Mexican Cultural Institute New York, the Université Lyon 2, New York University and Fordham University. In-Kind support is provided by Colson Patisserie, Pommery, Albertine, Bogota Latin Bistro, Miti Miti, Emma’s Torch and EVEN Hotel Brooklyn. Visual identity created by La Rêveuse.


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