“If we don't let go of the consumer society, the climate crisis is unsolvable”

According to Thomas Wallgren, professor of philosophy, Wittgenstein’s later philosophy can promote the development of global democracy.

What are your research topics?

I study the foundations of modern culture. Throughout my career, my work has been guided by a single question: how is it possible that we are able to send people to the moon and build nuclear weapons while being unable to feed starving children and help refugees? The topics I have explored in my career include enlightenment as well as the use of reason and its value to society.

I am specialised, among other fields, in the notions of Wittgenstein, the Pyrrhonists and Socrates on the use of reason, as well as the connection of these notions to what is known as critical theory.

Where and how does the topic of your research have an impact?

My research has an impact on, among other things, how we perceive democracy, the climate crisis and the fundamentals of modern art. For instance, I offer grounds for why we cannot solve the climate crisis without letting go of the industrial society founded on growth and the illusion according to which the modern consumer society could be a permanent way of life.

What is particularly inspiring in your field right now?

I am massively enthusiastic about how a sceptical reading of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy opens new avenues for the promotion of global democracy.
 

Thomas Wallgren is a professor of philosophy at the Faculty of Arts.