With the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the world of cinema has lost a giant, an Oscar-winning actor who could basically fit in every role, from a maverick CIA agent to a Catholic priest, from Arthur Miller’s Willy Loman to Truman Capote.
Just over a year ago philosopher Simon Critchley met with Philip Seymour Hoffman for the final in a series of on-stage conversations called Happy Talk. During a very lively discussion, the actor wrestles with the concepts of happiness, love, and death with the same courage and compelling insight that he brought to his roles.
‘Knowledge kills action; action requires the veils of illusion – that is the Hamlet Doctrine.’ Friedrich Nietzsche’s interpretation of Hamlet forms a core around which the philosopher Simon Critchley and the psychoanalyst Jamieson Webster construct their by turns bold and subtle analyses of Hamlet. Critchley and Webster write in The Hamlet Doctrine that Hamlet ‘turns on the corrosive dialectic of knowledge and action, where the former disables the latter and insight into the truth induces a disgust with existence’.