The Accidental Philosopher

Hi! I’m Céline Leboeuf. I’m a professor in the Department of Philosophy at Florida International University. When I’m not writing and lecturing about feminism, death, or existentialism, you can find me fulfilling my duties as a dog mom to my little terrier, Carol. (She’s named after the character Carol in the novel The Price of Salt, played by Cate Blanchett in the adapted movie.) I’m a French-American transplant in Miami. After living in New York City, Paris, and Boston, I’ve found myself in a city of beaches, flashy cars, and few bookstores. Quite the change!

Me and my dog, Carol!

How Did…

The Three Authors Who Saved Me During an Existential Crisis

Skull and Hourglass by Christian Albrecht Jensen
Skull and Hourglass by Christian Albrecht Jensen

“Stench and worms.”

To use Leo Tolstoy’s words in A Confession, that’s what will become of us all after death. We toil through life. Our actions will inevitably come to an end. And all memory of us will eventually disappear. So, what’s the point of going on in the first place? Why do anything at all? Why live?

At the age of thirty-two, these questions plunged me into an existential crisis — a period of doubt about the value of my very existence given the inevitability of my demise. Did a fulfilling life simply mean checking off all the boxes…

Last year, I struck up a conversation with a man sitting next to me at the bar of a TGIF at Miami International Airport. I never learned his name, nor did he learn mine. Still, we enjoyed nearly an hour-long conversation: we discussed his son’s hesitance to pursue a degree in the humanities, despite his obvious aptitude for writing and his dismal performance in computer science courses. The man sought my advice as a philosophy professor about how to persuade his son to switch paths.

I will probably never see this man again. Yet there was something touching to the…

What the Existentialist Author Can Teach Us About Body Positivity

Most photographs of Simone de Beauvoir show her seated, typically in a café, often writing or enjoying a cigarette.

Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986)

What’s less well known is that the twentieth-century philosopher and novelist, best known for her groundbreaking feminist book The Second Sex, was also an avid hiker.

Her walking habits, like those of other philosophers (think Thoreau or Nietzsche), are well worth discussing since they reveal an important part of how we can cultivate healthier relationships with our bodies.

Beauvoir began hiking in 1931, at the age of 23, when she received a position as a philosophy teacher at a high school…

Why Marcus Aurelius Might Tell You to do a Digital Detox

Take a view from above — look at the thousands of flocks and herds, the thousands of human ceremonies, every sort of voyage in storm or calm, the range of creation, combination, and extinction. Consider too the lives once lived by others long before you, the lives that will be lived after you, the lives lived now among foreign tribes; and how many have never even heard your name, how many will soon forget it, how many may praise you now but quickly turn to blame. Reflect that neither…

Celine Leboeuf, Ph.D.

I’m a professor at Florida International University. I love applying philosophy to everyday life—and inspiring others to do the same!

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