Simon May

Simon May was born in London, the son of a violinist and a brush manufacturer. Visiting professor of philosophy at King’s College London, his books include Love: A New Understanding of an Ancient Emotion; Love: A History; Nietzsche’s Ethics and his War on ‘Morality’; The Power of Cute; and Thinking Aloud, a collection of his own aphorisms. His work has been translated into ten languages and regularly features in major newspapers worldwide. For many years he has intended to move ‘back’ to Berlin, but has yet to do so.
Love Is
Love rules our lives. Philosopher Simon May, in a radically new theory of love, examines its real aim. For all its wild unpredictability, why is love so pertinacious? Indeed why do we love at all? Clinical psychologist Frank Tallis takes a look at the darker side of love – obsession – demonstrating that ultimately love dissolves the divide between what we judge to be normal and abnormal. Simon and Frank, in conversation with cultural commentator...
In Search of Isaiah Berlin: A Literary Adventure
Isaiah Berlin was one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century – a man who set ideas on fire. His defence of liberty and plurality was passionate and persuasive and inspired a generation. His ideas – especially his reasoned rejection of excessive certainty and political despotism – have become even more prescient and vital today. But who was the man behind such influential views? Henry Hardy, Berlin’s decades-long editor and collaborator, offers an intimate and rev...
Learning from the Germans

Philosopher Susan Neiman grew up in the segregated American South during the civil rights movement. She has spent most of her adult life in a Germany still coming to terms with its Nazi past. Susan, from her unique perspective, examines how nations deal with their pasts. She argues that failure to confront our history permits phenomena such as Brexit and Trump to become not merely possible, but inevitable.

Primo Levi: the Elements of a Life
In 1987 the Italian writer Primo Levi fell to his death in the house where he was born. More than 40 years after his rescue from a Nazi concentration camp, it now appeared that Levi had committed suicide. Levi’s writings, including his account of his time in Auschwitz, If This is a Man, incisively interrogate our recent moral history, conveying profoundly the horror of the Nazi genocide. He is among the foremost writers of our time. Ian Thomson’s ‘true and perfect’ bio...
How to be a Refugee
Philosopher and author Simon May joins us to discuss his powerfully moving family memoir, taking on questions of home and belonging that continue to press in on us today. Most Jews living in Hitler’s Germany faced emigration or deportation to concentration camps but there was also the much rarer route: self-concealment in the shadow of the Third Reich, denial of your origins to the point where you manage to erase almost all consciousness of it and refuse to believe that you...