Café Philosophique 6: Samuel Beckett, Krapp’s Last Tape

Monday, 5 November 2018, at 6.00 pm Blackwells Bookshop, South Bridge, Edinburgh

This meeting of the Café will be introduced by Mike Wheeler, Professor of Philosophy at Stirling University.

For our fourth Café at Blackwells, we have chosen Samuel Beckett’s play ‘Krapp’s Last Tape’.
An old man, Krapp, listens to a tape recording made by his younger self, one of many such recordings that Krapp has made over the years. During the recorded monologue, the younger Krapp recalls and comments on an even younger version of himself. So there are three different Krapps, or editions of him anyway, all somehow present during the play. In this context, how should we understand the contribution made by Krapp’s system of ledgers, magnetic tapes and recording/playback equipment to his self-knowledge?
Focusing on a distinction between, on the one hand, storing and retrieving information about oneself, and, on the other, coming to an understanding of oneself, Prof Michael Wheeler (University of Stirling) will bring the play into contact with some contemporary philosophical thinking in order to argue that the technology to which Krapp is intimately connected doesn’t merely mediate and support his self-knowledge, it is, in an important sense, part of it.
This will allow us to notice some interesting things about self-knowledge, most notably, perhaps, its inevitably partial and precarious character.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *