Thoughts of an Inaugurator

Inaugural lecture by Professor Gary Peters

Inaugural lectures are typically the occasion to celebrate the past achievements of the new professor, past triumphs understood as a series of ends for someone usually nearer the end than to the beginning of their illustrious careers: the beginning of the end perhaps! This lecture explores what happens when, instead of understanding the professor as one who is inaugurated, he/she is cast in the role of inaugurator, responsible for the creation of beginnings rather than the attainment of ends.

Gary Peters is Professor of Philosophy and Performance in the School of Performance and Media production. Over recent years his research has concentrated on the nature of improvisation across a wide range of disciplines from philosophy to literature, theatre, music and dance. Rooted in continental philosophy and aesthetics, his writings also engage with wider issues of aesthetic education, cultural memory, affirmation, solitude, death and irony.

Outside of academia Gary Peters is a multi-instrumentalist, an active composer, performer and improviser, producing music across a wide range of genres, from C & W to electronica; avant-garde jazz to bluegrass and beyond.

Publications include Improvising Improvisation: From Out of Philosophy, Music, Dance and Literature (Chicago University Press 2017); The Philosophy of Improvisation (Chicago University Press 2009); Irony and Singularity: Aesthetic Education from Kant to Levinas (Ashgate 2005). He has also co-edited (with his wife Fiona Peters) Thoughts of Love (Cambridge Scholars 2013).

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