Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cfp: "Ricoeur: On Memory, Politics and Forgiveness," Faculty of Philosophy and Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford, March 20-21, 2009.

Since Ricoeur's death in 2005 there has been a constant stream of interest in his Memory, History, Forgetting (2004), as well as Reflections on The Just (2007); these richly challenging works on some of the most timely and deeply human concerns being debated by philosophers today are ripe for discussion not only by philosophers, but also by theologians, political theorists and all those thinking about life, loss, evil and the need for justice alongside of ‘a difficult forgiveness’. Speakers to include: Dr Pamela Sue Anderson (Oxford), Professor David Klemm (Iowa-Glasgow) and Professor William Schweiker (Chicago); Chairs: Professor Paul Fiddes (Oxford) and Professor Morny Joy (Calgary). For more information, email: or

Speight, Allen. Review of John Gibson, et al., eds. A SENSE OF THE WORLD. NDPR (January 2009).

Gibson, John, Wolfgang Huemer, and Luca Pocci, eds. A Sense of the World: Essays on Fiction, Narrative, and Knowledge. London: Routledge, 2007. Much has been written about the "ancient quarrel" between philosophy and poetry – as has, by extension, the broader "quarrel" between philosophy and literature. Neither is, of course, in any sense a single-issue quarrel: from Plato alone stem epistemological and ontological debates about the status of images and the activity of mimēsis, ethical and political concerns over the emotional appeal of particular literary genres, as well as theological and philosophical arguments about the nature of good, evil and the gods as represented by literary works. The editors of this welcome volume have taken as their particular focus the question of literature's cognitive potential: whether and in what sense there is knowledge to be gained from our encounter with works of literary fiction. Stated in these terms, as Noël Carroll acknowledges in the second of this volume's essays, the question may strike non-philosophers as having an entirely obvious answer: of course we learn from literature, of course novelists, dramatists and poets expand our understanding of ourselves and the world. But there are many ways of expressing that immediate conviction about literature's cognitive potential that have given pause to philosophers -- both those who would be delighted to have poetry and literary artists in their city and those who wouldn't. Is there, for example, something which deserves to be called artistic truth? Is the knowledge involved propositional knowledge or not? And, if there is knowledge or truth of some sort "in" literary works, does it result from essential features of those works and is it the product of the intentional aims of their authors? The editors have wisely avoided an overly narrow construal of the cognitive issues that literature raises: in the widest sense, as John Gibson puts it in the volume's introduction, the concern is with "the relationship between life and literature itself" or "the worldly interest we take in the literary work of art." The twenty-two essays in the volume (only three of which appear to have been published previously) do have a wide and healthy variety of perspectives on how literature confronts, creates or appropriates the world. The volume's four-part organizational structure -- "Knowledge through Literary Fiction," "Narrating Worlds and Selves," "The Poetic, the Dramatic and the Real," and "Imagination, Objectivity and Culture" -- allows for some of the related issues involved here to be grouped together, but there is actually a much deeper cross-connection among many of the essays than this structure may first make apparent. Many of the essays address in some way, for example, the issue of fictionality and truth, in particular what has been called the "paradox of fiction": how can we respond (emotionally, intelligently) to literary characters and situations if what we are encountering are simply objects of make-believe? . . . Read the rest here:

Cfp: "Deconstruction and Science," DERRIDA TODAY (forthcoming).

In this special issue of Derrida Today, the editors wish to address thequestion of the meeting of deconstruction and science, the latter broadly defined. Since the 1960s and ‘70s, poststructuralist thought has garnered a reputation for being at odds with science and the Enlightenment worldview upon which modern science is based. This is understandable if for no other reason than the fact that the last four decades can historically testify to this tension. From the Sokal debate to the general sense within the scientific community that deconstruction is basically just a form of relativism that attacks science’s empirical method and the basic assumption that reason can have access to the world, there has been little attempt to find ways in which a positive dialogue can be had. One of the goals of this special issue is to allow the voices that might contribute to such a dialogue to come to the fore. Although any and all approaches to the topic will be considered, including essays dealing with the ways in which deconstruction calls the general project of science into question, the editors are especially interested in investigating what can be positively said rather than what can be criticized. That is, how might the insights of deconstruction change theway in which science is practiced? How might individual science practices (e.g., chemistry, physics, biology) be affected by an encounter with deconstruction? And, indeed, how is deconstruction altered by its encounter with science? Essays that are of a theoretical as well as a practical nature are thus welcome, and authors from any discipline are encouraged to submit. Deadline for submission of 300-word abstract: 30 June 2009 Deadline for submission of paper (no more than 6000 words): 30 November 2009 Co-edited by:
  • Nicole Anderson, Critical and Cultural Studies Department, Macquarie University, Australia, General Editor, Derrida Today
  • H. Peter Steeves, Professor of Philosophy, DePaul University, Chicago
All submissions should be prepared for blind review and emailed to with the title “Deconstruction and Science” as the subject title of the email.

Cfp: "Charles Darwin's ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES after 150 Years," Virginia Tech University, November 4, 2009.

There will be three concurrent sections of papers organized around:
  • Issues about the interpretation and reception of the Origin;
  • Issues about the social and political influence of the Origin and its relevance to the current century; and,
  • Continuing scientific debates related to issues raised or addressed in the Origin.

Six papers will be accepted for each of the concurrent sessions, with speaking time limited to one-half hour. The conference is strongly interdisciplinary: we encourage submission of papers that will be intelligible to a general university audience. Submissions by individuals from diverse backgrounds, including groups underrepresented in the sciences, are particularly encouraged. We anticipate arranging for publication of some or all of the papers derived from the conference presentations.

Please submit your abstract, with a maximum length of 500 words. Your abstract must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 15. The submissions will be refereed and notification of the panel's decision will be sent by Friday, June 19.

Further information may be found here:

Arthur, Richard. Review of Andrew Janiak's NEWTON AS PHILOSOPHER. NDPR (January 2009).

Janiak, Andrew. Newton as Philosopher. Cambridge: CUP, 2008. There has been a long tradition of hostility on the part of Newton scholars to attempts to situate Newton's philosophy in relation to his predecessors' and peers'. To claim any philosophical ancestry for Newtonian doctrines, from this point of view, is just to miss the point that Newton initiated a whole new style of doing philosophy, where quantitative reasoning and a careful subjection of nature to experimental interrogation (one is permitted here to allow a debt to Bacon) replaces the traditional argumentative approach of the Schools as the correct methodology for natural philosophy. Newton, on this view, was a natural philosopher, but one who changed the terms of the debate, and refused to get embroiled in fruitless controversies over metaphysics. Of course, this broadly positivist conception -- encouraged as it is by Newton's own remarks on method -- has not been without its detractors. In particular, Edwin A. Burtt (1925) showed how Newton's conceptions of space and time were deeply indebted to Henry More's notion of extension as a category of spirit, to Barrow's teachings regarding space and time as absolute quantums, and to contemporary controversies about the nature of God's relation to the natural world. Interest in Newton as a philosopher was rekindled, as evidenced by H. S. Thayer's publication in 1953 of Newton's Philosophy of Nature, which, like Janiak's own recent compilation (Newton 2004), contained excerpts from Newton's Principia, Cotes' 1713 preface, from his correspondence with Bentley, Cotes and others, and from the Queries to the Opticks, although not the important essay De gravitatione. Following in Burtt's footsteps, Alexandre Koyré and others also drew attention to the full metaphysical context in which Newton developed his ideas, and in the 1960s this trend of thought was built upon and developed by Thomas Kuhn, Paul Feyerabend and Imre Lakatos into a full-blown critique of positivism, calling into question the very idea that a scientific theory could be developed or justified independently of the constellation of specific commitments concerning ontology, scientific method, and so on, that constituted the framework for its gestation, birth and acceptance. In this milieu, Newton studies grew hugely more expansive, and in addition to the many fine specialist works on Newton by I. Bernard Cohen, R. S. Westfall, John Herivel, Ernan McMullin, A. I. Sabra, François De Gandt, George Smith, Nico Bertoloni Meli and others, studies of the broader aspects of Newton's natural philosophy were made by J. E. McGuire on Newton's Neoplatonism and connection with the Corpus Hermeticum, Betty-Jo Dobbs on Newton's Herculean labours in the non-mathematical tradition of alchemy/­chemistry, and Frank Manuel on Newton's natural theology. So it is somewhat surprising to be confronted with a book on Newton's philosophy that begins with a chapter, "Newton as philosopher, the very idea." . . . Read the rest here:

Cfp: "Levinas and Rhetoric." JAC (forthcoming).

Emmanuel Levinas's work has gained widespread attention in the years since his death in 1995, though it has been taken up only recently by theorists of rhetoric. This is, in many ways, surprising, since the indissoluble link of language and ethics in his work—not to mention his focus on how individuals are defined through utterance — would seem to be fertile ground for those working in the field. Of course, there are facets of Levinas's work that complicate matters: it is rooted in a Jewish, rather than a Greco-Roman, tradition; it is hostile to systems of any kind, rhetoric included; and it is wedded to theology perhaps more than it is to philosophy, among other issues. Suffice it to say, then, that while Levinas's work has been and will continue to be taken up by rhetoricians, it is fraught terrain. This special issue of JAC will include essays that take up the complicated relationship between the work of Emmanuel Levinas and rhetoric, the rhetorical tradition, and writing. Essays are invited on any facet of Levinas's work and its relation to rhetoric, cultural studies, and writing studies. Essay topics might include:
  • the relation of language, ethics, politics;
  • the connection between rhetoric and Judaism; the relation between Levinas's work and that of other rhetorical theorists;
  • Levinas's notions of trauma, suffering and/or otherness as foundational for rhetoric and writing;
  • the performative dimension of Levinas's idea of utterance;
  • other topics welcome.

Deadline for completed papers is 1 May 2009; papers should be between 6000 and 8000 words in length. Questions and completed tss. (as attachments) should be sent to Professor Michael Bernard-Donals ( Tss. can also be sent by mail to Professor Bernard-Donals at the Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Helen C. White Hall, 600 North Park Street, Madison WI 53706.

Cfp: "Philosophy and its Others," 4th Annual Conference, North American Levinas Society, University of Toronto, June 28-30, 2009.

The North American Levinas Society invites submissions of individual paper proposals and panel proposals for the fourth annual meeting and conference. While we will organize the conference around the broad theme of “Philosophy and Its Others,” we will consider proposals for paper and panels on any topic related to Levinas in an effort to draw the widest array of interests. Especially in the Continental traditions, Levinas’ work is integral to a serious and sober examination of the history of philosophy and its priorities, blindnesses, insights, inner tensions, and possibilities. We pose this broad theme at a time when certain modes of rationality continue to prop up structures of economic inequality, perpetual war, and uncertainty. Given the current state of global economic and political relations, how must philosophy orient itself to help effect a healing and mending of the world? What is the relationship between philosophy and hope, activism, and reconciliation? We might begin by asking questions about Levinas’ difficult relationship with philosophy:
  • How has the discipline and history of philosophy affected Levinas’ thought, and how has Levinas impacted the discipline and history of philosophy?
  • How has Levinas’ philosophical critique of ‘the tradition’ been received and appropriated by other domains of inquiry, such as religious studies, Jewish studies, political science, women’s studies, gender studies, sociology, history, performance and media studies, race theory, legal studies and jurisprudence, literature, cultural studies, disability studies, environmental and ecology studies, medicine, and others?
  • How has Levinas’ reception and application in these various fields in turn affected the discipline of philosophy?

Certainly, these are only a few questions regarding “Philosophy and Its Others” broadly posed, but it is clear that such questions open our own work to a more difficult, and perhaps edifying, scrutiny. We are also interested in receiving panels that address the relation between philosophy, the ethical, community, justice, and pedagogy. Submissions: ● Individual paper proposals: Individual abstracts, prepared for blind review, should be 500 words outlining a 20-minute presentation. Accepted papers will be organized into panels of two or three presentations. ● Panel proposal: Panel proposals, consisting of 2-3 speakers, should be 1000 words for a 75-minute session. Please include the session title, name of organizer, institutional affiliations, discipline or department, along with the chair’s name and participants’ names in addition to 250 word abstracts detailing the focus of each paper. Prepare panel proposals for blind review as well. Please send materials via email attachment (preferably Microsoft Word) to: If you have questions regarding the Society or the conference, please send inquiries to

Leiter, Brian. Review of Tamsin Shaw's NIETZSCHE'S POLITICAL SKEPTICISM. NDPR (January 2009).

Shaw, Tamsin. Nietzsche’s Political Skepticism. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2007. Nietzsche's Political Skepticism (hereafter NPS) is a serious, learned, and novel contribution to the literature on Nietzsche's relevance to political theory. Against the two dominant strands in the secondary literature -- one attributing to Nietzsche a kind of flat-footed commitment to aristocratic forms of social ordering, the other denying that Nietzsche has any political philosophy at all -- Shaw stakes out a new and surprising position: namely, that Nietzsche was very much concerned with the familiar question of the moral or normative legitimacy of state power, but was skeptical that with the demise of religion, it would be possible to achieve a practically effective normative consensus about such legitimacy that was untainted by the exercise of state power itself. Although, as I will argue below, there are reasons to be quite skeptical that Nietzsche was interested in anything like these questions, Shaw has laid down a clear and invigorating challenge to existing scholarship on Nietzsche's politics, and it is one worth meeting. . . . Read the whole review here:

Cfp: "Communities and Transformations in Africa and African Studies," Queens University, May 4-7, 2009.

Annual Conference, Canadian Association of African Studies (CAAS). Striving for community is at the heart of ubuntu, the African philosophy that stresses mutual obligations and responsibility. From far-flung kinship networks, artisan guilds and women's informal associations to regional or pan-African political movements, Africans across the ages have looked to communities to give meaning to their lives and to resolve conflict or find protection. Community is also close to the heart of Africanist scholars and activists outside of Africa who seek to support each other and to express solidarity with African colleagues. Yetd ysfunctional communities such as gangs, cliques, and tribalist groups have been a bane to efforts to develop and democratize. New media are rapidly changing the ways that communities cohere and the ways that scholars and activists relate and research them. The Canadian Association of African Studies invites proposals for papers that consider transformations in the many different types of communities and community-building initiatives in Africa and among Africanists. As well, we invite papers on other changes that reflect both great potential and risk to Africa. Nature and beauty, for example, abound on the continent yet have also resulted in harmful stereotyping and exploitation through sex tourism and the expropriation of indigenous communities in conservation efforts. Talent abounds as well: in the arts, in scholarship and in economic and political leadership. How can African beauty and talent be understood, appreciated,and harnessed without reproducing destructive relationships,but rather imagining and moving towards stronger, healthier communities? Abstract due date: February 2, 2009; Please submit electronically to: Further information is here:

Cfp: "Cicero Rewriting Plato," Seminar Series, Centre for the Classical Tradition, University of Durham, February 6, February 27, and March 13, 2009.

The Durham Centre for the Study of the Classical Tradition( is in the early stage of developing a research project tentatively entitled 'Ciceroniani Sumus: the Influence of Cicero on the Cultural Imaginary of the West.' A central theme here is Cicero's role in mediating and transforming Greek philosophy, not least through his translations and adaptations of Plato. As a first sounding of this territory, the Centre will sponsor three exploratory seminars in Epiphany term 2009 that will look at Cicero's engagement with Plato in the de Republica:
  • Seminar 1: Cicero, de Republica 1.65-67 ~ Plato, Politeia 8. 562c - 563c.
  • Seminar 2: Cicero, de Republica 3.27 ~ Plato, Politeia 2.360e - 362b.
  • Seminar 3: Cicero, de Republica 6.26-29 ~ Plato, Phaidros 245cff.
The seminars are open to all. Indeed, an analysis of Cicero's reception ofPlato should ideally draw on expertise in an unusually wide range of areas within the field: ancient Greek, Greek philosophy, Latin, Roman history, and political theory, among others. The seminars are designed to bring together experts in all of these areas, in what we hope will be a mutually illuminating conversation. We shall work with the original texts, but also translations, and, even though we shall be discussing points arising from the Greek and the Latin, there is no expectation that participants have these languages.
Dates and times:
  • Seminar 1: Friday, 6 February, 1 - 2.30 pm
  • Seminar 2: Friday, 27 February, 1 - 2.30 pm
  • Seminar 3: Friday, 13 March, 1 - 2.30 pm
Further information may be found here:

Nelson, Alan, et al. Review of Philip Pettit's MADE WITH WORDS. NDPR (January 2009).

Pettit, Philip. Made with Words: Hobbes on Language, Mind, and Politics. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2008. This book is about Hobbes's science of politics in the context of his materialistic theory of nature, including human nature. The focus is on Hobbes's definitive presentation of his system in Leviathan, but Pettit frequently cites other writings too. In Leviathan, Hobbes defined 'science' as the knowledge of the consequences of well chosen definitions. 'Politics', then, is the science of "politic bodies" that are constituted by humans. The first of Leviathan's four parts is accordingly devoted to Hobbes's science of the human being. The second part, "Of Commonwealth", is carefully based on the first. Books about Hobbes's philosophy typically acknowledge this by emphasizing the centrality of self-interest in the Hobbesian human being, but little connection has been made between the specific theories of biology and psychology found in Part I and the politics in Part II. It has fallen to Pettit to interpret Hobbes's politics as firmly and systematically rooted in the science of the human being. In Made with Words the task is brilliantly executed. Pettit develops an interpretation of Hobbes that places the influence of language at the center of his philosophy. For Pettit's Hobbes the whole of human life -- the mental, social, and political -- is built from matter with the addition of language. This much is fairly close to the surface of the texts; Pettit's novel interpretive claim is that once we have the basic material mind, each further step is made possible by, and crucially depends on, language. The first two chapters offer an interpretation of what Pettit takes to be Hobbes's two step account of the human mind. First, the mind common to humans and animals -- the natural mind -- is located in matter; second, the distinctly human mind -- marked by its capacity for general and active thought -- emerges from the natural mind through the addition of language. . . . Read the whole review here:

Oksala, Johanna. Review of Marc Djaballah's KANT, FOUCAULT, AND FORMS OF EXPERIENCE. NDPR (January 2009).

Djaballah, Marc. Kant, Foucault, and Forms of Experience. London: Routledge, 2008. In this erudite study, Marc Djaballah analyses the specific character of Foucault's Kantianism. Despite the title suggesting that equal weight is given to Kant and Foucault, the book is primarily a contribution to Foucault scholarship attempting to show the extent of Foucault's proximity and debt to Kant. The main argument about their relationship takes the form of a structural reconstruction: Djaballah argues that the formal structure of their discursive practice -- the practice of criticism -- is the same. He analyses Foucault's Kantianism in formal terms by identifying his historical studies as an exercise of Kantian criticism. . . . Foucault's relationship to Kant is an important and timely topic that has received surprisingly little attention. Foucault's relationship to Nietzsche has been analysed repeatedly and even his cursory remarks about the importance of Heidegger have spawned a host of articles, but the scholarly treatment of his Kantianism has been sparse. Yet, it is beyond doubt that Kant was a central figure for Foucault. One of his earliest publications was a translation of Kant's lectures on anthropology including an extensive introductory monograph. In his late essays on the Enlightenment Foucault presented his whole project as a version of Kantianism -- an ontology of the present. . . . Read the whole review here:

Cfp: International Darwin Conference, University of Bradford, September 24-26, 2009.

The purpose of this conference is to bring together researchers in the natural science, the social sciences and the humanities and to provide a forum for the investigation of different aspects of Darwin's thought. The occasion for this conference is the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species on November 24, 1859 and the bicentenary of his birth (February 12, 1809). The Organizers are particularly interested in contributions to the following aspects: Darwinism in Approaches to the Mind; Darwinism in the Social Sciences; Darwinism in the Life Sciences; Reception of Darwinism. The conference webpage is here:

Cfp: "Enabling Complexities: Communities / Writing / Rhetoric," Rhetoric and Writing Program, Michigan State University, October 7–9, 2009.

Access the conference website here:

Original Post (November 8, 2008):
The 7th Biennial Conference on Feminism(s) and Rhetoric(s) of Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition.
We invite proposals that:
  • reflect the complexity and diversity of who "we" are as a scholarly community;
  • make manifest the deep structure of the connections, intersections, and overlaps that actually make us a community;
  • help articulate who "we" are as a deliberate community of scholars, and what that means about our responsibilities and relationships to one another across scholarly areas and institutional positions;
  • highlight scholarly and teacherly activities that deliberately create space for more complex notions of scholarship and teaching within the discipline of Rhet/Comp;
  • include and significantly engage communities outside of the academy;
  • focus on antiracist pedagogies and scholarship; present interdisciplinary scholarship in Afrafeminist Rhetorics; American Indian Rhetorics, Chicana Rhetorics, Asian American Rhetorics, post/neo-colonial rhetorics;
  • highlight the intellectual traditions of women’s communities, especially communities constellated around specific identity markers such as race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation issues, geographic origins;
  • explore the relationships between written, oral, and material discursive production;
  • and other topics that address the connections in the conference theme.
We also welcome proposals on relevant topics not directly addressed above, that significantly engage disciplines other than Rhet/Comp, and that have consequences for communities located outside of the academy. Although traditional presentations are acceptable, we encourage participants to create formats that go beyond the read-aloud academic paper. Interactive sessions that include discussions, dialogues, and performances are especially welcome. Proposals should be uploaded to the FemRhet 2009 web site (, and can be for: *20-minute individual presentations (250-word proposals) *90-minute 3–4 member panels (500-word proposals) *90-minute workshops or roundtables (500-word proposals) Please plan to submit a title, a proposal the length indicated above, and a program-ready, booklet-friendly 50-word blurb for the presentation. Proposal System: December 15, 2008 Open Proposal Deadline: February 1, 2009 Acceptances Distributed: April 30, 2009

For more information: Contact Malea Powell (, Nancy DeJoy (, or Rhea Lathan (

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hanson, Victor Davis. "The Humanities Move Off Campus." CITY JOURNAL 18.4 (2008).

Until recently, classical education served as the foundation of the wider liberal arts curriculum, which in turn defined the mission of the traditional university. Classical learning dedicated itself to turning out literate citizens who could read and write well, express themselves, and make sense of the confusion of the present by drawing on the wisdom of the past. Students grounded in the classics appreciated the history of their civilization and understood the rights and responsibilities of their unique citizenship. Universities, then, acted as cultural custodians, helping students understand our present values in the context of a 2,500-year tradition that began with the ancient Greeks. But in recent decades, classical and traditional liberal arts education has begun to erode, and a variety of unexpected consequences have followed. The academic battle has now gone beyond the in-house “culture wars” of the 1980s. Though the argument over politically correct curricula, controversial faculty appointments, and the traditional mission of the university is ongoing, the university now finds itself being bypassed technologically, conceptually, and culturally, in ways both welcome and disturbing. . . . Read the rest here:

Jaschik, Scott. "The State of the Humanities." INSIDE HIGHER ED January 7, 2009.

Between 1988 and 2004, the percentage of humanities faculty members feeling “very satisfied” with their jobs increased by 10 percentage points, to 45 percent. When adjusted for inflation, most humanities faculty members saw their salaries dip slightly in the early 1990s, and then saw increases for the next decade. The net increase from 1987 to 2003 was about 5 percent for assistant and associate professors and 3 percent for full professors. In 2003, college graduates who were 10 years out of their undergraduate institution were largely concentrated in two fields: education and business. These are among the statistics being released today in the Humanities Indicators Prototype, a project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The data come from a wide range of sources and cover graduate and undergraduate education, as well as elementary and secondary education, and indicators that relate broadly to American life. . . . Read the rest here:

Graff, Gerald. "It's Time to End 'Courseocentrism.'" INSIDE HIGHER ED January 13, 2009.

At a time when amazing new forms of connectivity are made possible by new digital technologies and when much of the best recent work in the humanities has made us more aware of the social and collective nature of intellectual work, we still think of teaching in ways that are narrowly private and individualistic, as something we do in isolated classrooms with little or no knowledge of what our colleagues are doing in the next classroom or the next building and little chance for each other’s courses to become reference points in our own. Indeed, we betray our assumption that teaching is by nature a solo act in our unreflecting use of “the classroom” as a synecdoche or shorthand for all teaching and learning, as if “the way we teach now” were reducible to “the way I teach now.” The isolated, privatized classroom is itself a product of a more affluent era for American universities, a luxury made possible by the generous economic support they enjoyed during the first two-thirds of the 20th century. In this heady economic climate, a university could grow by expanding its playing field, proliferating new courses, fields, subfields, and scholarly perspectives while giving each enough separate space to ward off unproductive turf wars. To make a long story short, we became terrific at adding exciting new theories, fields, texts, cultures, and courses to the mix, but we’ve been challenged, to say the least, when it comes to connecting what we’ve added. Interdisciplinary programs have helped make some connections, but ultimately they have reproduced fragmentation rather than lessened it, since interdisciplinary programs tend to be disconnected from each other as well as from the disciplines. And now that we don’t have the financial luxury to keep adding on — as is seen in our alarming overdependence on underpaid and overworked adjuncts — we need to get a lot better at putting the components into dialogue, which means getting on the same page in our teaching in ways we lack practice at and may find uncomfortable. . . . Read the rest here:

Some Interesting Recent Items on Publishing in Academe.

Worsham, Lynn. "What Editors Want." Chronicle of Higher Education September 8, 2008:
Familiarize yourself with the types of articles that a journal publishes and only submit work appropriate for that journal. Pay close attention to the tone and style of work published in the journal and try to duplicate it in your own work. Follow, religiously, the style guide used by the journal. No hybrid styles! Only submit work that you believe to be final, publishable copy. A poorly proofread manuscript wastes your time and mine. Placing your work in the context of articles previously published in the journal is good scholarly practice and helps make your article a better "fit" for the journal. Follow the journal's submission rules — exactly. Develop a healthy attitude toward rejection. You know from the outset that competition is fierce, so maintain a positive attitude. . . .
(Read the rest here:
Brown, Kevin. "What Professors Want from Editors and Peer Reviewers." Inside Higher Ed October 2, 2008:
As professors we are not afraid of a healthy debate about ideas, and we seek honest feedback on our work. However, insults, whether directed at those ideas or at us personally, have no place in the critical debate. We would never allow our students to write essays using some of the responses I have seen from readers, nor would we write those comments on our students’ papers. Instead, we would tell them to focus on the ideas of the critics, as we focus on the ideas our students present in their essays. We put aside our personal feelings about the students and try to truly engage the ideas in and of themselves.
What professors truly want is constructive feedback that will make them better writers, thinkers and researchers. If, especially in our early days, we have somehow overlooked a seminal work (or a work that a reader at least believes is seminal), or have faulty logic, then, please, tell us so, but do so in an effort to make us and, therefore, the discipline, stronger. . . .
(Read the rest here:
Bauerlein, Mark. "The Future of Humanities Labor." Academe Online (September-October 2008):
“Publish or perish” has long been the formula of academic labor at research universities, but for many humanities professors that imperative has decayed into a simple rule of production. The publish-or-perish model assumed a peer-review process that maintained quality, but more and more it is the bare volume of printed words that counts. When humanities departments and committees and chairpersons examine a professor’s record, all too often they measure the output, not the excellence. And the other duties of mentoring and service slip into secondary requirements. Middling teaching does not much hurt, and great teaching does not help. Administrative work pleases colleagues, but it does not lead to promotions from within or offers from without. Research is all, or rather, research mass eclipses everything else. We have witnessed a steady slide into quantification, evaluation by lines of the vitae containing words in italics.
A friend who teaches at a large midwestern school says that salary increases correlate with book and article publication to the dollar, and he hopes that his next book comes out before year-end recommendations are due. “What if your book isn’t any good?” I ask with a half-smile. “Doesn’t matter,” he replies. When I returned to my own institution after two and a half years of government work and wondered how much credit I would get for pieces appearing during my time away, a dean skipped the quality question and replied, “Well, you have lots of titles, but how many pages do they amount to?” . . .
(Read the rest here:
Çakmak, E. Efe and Mark C. Taylor. "Forget Journals! An Interview." Eurozine December 30, 2008:
Books and journals as we have known them are a thing of the past. Unfortunately, the last to understand this fact are universities and academics. Having said that, the question of how to respond remains to be addressed. In the coming decades, computing will become increasingly distributed and embedded. The movement from the PC to the handheld radicalizes decentralization and changes the nature of communication. People often complain – at least, professors do – that young people do not read anymore. But that is not true. They read all the time but they do not read books or long texts. Mobile technologies scramble everything and make it necessary to recast the terms of analysis. I do not think "transnational" is a useful term here. Again, it smacks of the past and does not help us to understand the reconstitution of political space that has already occurred. Think of everything as a web with constantly shifting nodes, which might be personal, social, economic or biological. The question is where and how to plug into this network.For the most part, presses and journals as they now exist do not serve the interests of intellectual or cultural development. To the contrary, their proliferation is symptomatic of increasing hyper-specialization in which there is more and more about less and less. This is going in the opposite direction of history, in which there is increasing interconnectedness. So my advice is to forget journals – I no longer read any academic journals and I stopped publishing in them years ago. The only function presses and journals serve is to authorize those who write for them among a dwindling group of peers. If ideas are to matter – and I believe it is crucial that they do – we must completely change the way in which they are communicated. . . .
(Read the rest here:
McLemee, Scott. "Here Comes the Flood." Inside Higher Ed January 21, 2009:
In the January issue of The Journal of Scholarly Publishing, Lindsay Waters, an executive editor at Harvard University Press, tries to imagine a world in which “the well-wrought, slowly gestated essay” has replaced the monograph as the gold standard for scholarship in the humanities. Some of his argument seems familiar. For one thing, Waters tried out an earlier version as a keynote address to the Council of Editors of Learned Journals when they met at MLA in 2007, where I heard it. For another thing, one idea in it came from me: the daydream of a world in which people would be penalized for publishing too much and too early in their careers. This is among the most cherished of my crackpot ideas. By now Waters has doubtless been subjected to some variation of it at lunch, probably more than once. Of course there would be occasions when some wunderkind had so many ideas that brisk and frequent publication became a matter of urgent necessity. But that would be rare. A strictly enforced set of proscriptions would add excitement to things. Picking up a book or journal, you would know that it had involved some risk. Scholars might begin to publish pseudonymously, if they felt it was absolutely urgent to get a piece of research out. The spirit of adventure would probably be good for people’s prose as well. Well, someone has to draw up the floor plans for utopia. I found the page proofs of Waters’s article while trying to clear my desktop before the start of the new administration. (Emphasis on “trying.") The title of the essay is “Slow Writing; or, Getting Off the Book Standard: What Can Journal Editors Do?” Another version ran as a Views piece here at Inside Higher Ed last year — and if you missed it, as I did at the time, I’d recommend a look. . . .
(Read the rest here:
Waters, Lindsay. "A Call for Slow Writing." Inside Higher Ed March 10, 2008:
What will it take to make essays the standard of achievement once again in the scholarly world? This is not where we are: Books are the gold standard for tenure in most of the humanities and some of the social sciences, so much so that journal articles almost don’t even count. As august a figure as Helen Vendler assured me recently that essays could never replace books as a basis for tenuring junior colleagues. So, in departments of English as on Wall Street, counting is all that counts. “It’s the bottom line, stupid.” Countability is the thing whereby you’ll catch the conscience of the dean, as a friend of Hamlet might advise the young Danish assistant professor or the young Shakespeare scholar. Articles don’t make a thumping sound when you drop them on a table the way a body might in Six Feet Under. I have claimed elsewhere (subscription required) that the book-for-tenure system is coming to an end, that it is unsustainable, that its growth has been an obscenity, because it was mindless, because it sought to make something automatic and machine-like play the role that should only be played by the soul. Please excuse my antiquated language: The “soul,” I remind you, is that faculty of the human body whose juices are made to flow by the exercise of judging myself whether something is of merit. In earlier publications I have charged that professors have been seeking to dodge the one activity that is most essential to their own development when they outsource tenure decisions to bureaucracies and counting replaces reading as the central job of tenure committees, because in that situation content goes by the by. Personally, for me as a publisher, the situation that has arisen is sad beyond endurance. I believe the contents of the books I publish matter. I am not selling milk, which does sustain life, but is homogenized by comparison to book. In fact, milk’s the very definition of homogenized. Each of the books I publish is different. . . .
(Read the rest here:

Darnton, Robert. "Google and the Future of Books." NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS 56.2 (2009).

How can we navigate through the information landscape that is only beginning to come into view? The question is more urgent than ever following the recent settlement between Google and the authors and publishers who were suing it for alleged breach of copyright. For the last four years, Google has been digitizing millions of books, including many covered by copyright, from the collections of major research libraries, and making the texts searchable online. The authors and publishers objected that digitizing constituted a violation of their copyrights. After lengthy negotiations, the plaintiffs and Google agreed on a settlement, which will have a profound effect on the way books reach readers for the foreseeable future. What will that future be? No one knows, because the settlement is so complex that it is difficult to perceive the legal and economic contours in the new lay of the land. But those of us who are responsible for research libraries have a clear view of a common goal: we want to open up our collections and make them available to readers everywhere. How to get there? The only workable tactic may be vigilance: see as far ahead as you can; and while you keep your eye on the road, remember to look in the rearview mirror. . . .

Mamatas, Nick. "Poe at 200." THE SMART SET January 6, 2009.

2009 marks the bicentennial of Edgar Allan Poe, arguably the most famed and influential writer in American history. Not only does his work entirely limn the culture, but he also created no fewer than two genres of popular fiction — mystery and modern horror — almost single-handedly. Virtually anyone in the U.S. can recite his poetry (a few lines here and there, at least). His personal life and ambitions inform the clichés of the starving writer in his garret and that of the mad genius. And it's nigh impossible for someone to graduate from an American high school without having read him. Poe was also a player of hoaxes, a plagiarist, had a substance abuse problem, and couldn't keep a roof over his head. Poe was a proponent of slavery, the worst sort of would-be social climber, and married a 13-year-old girl in his cousin Virginia Clemm. None of this information is new, of course — these fun facts are probably the answers to a fill-in-the-blank quiz given each year in some sixth-grade classroom in Ohio. The problem is that Poe has been so completely taught that he is very rarely read with the eyes of a reader. . . . Read the rest here:

Deresiewicz, William. "The End of Solitude." CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION January 30, 2009.

What does the contemporary self want? The camera has created a culture of celebrity; the computer is creating a culture of connectivity. As the two technologies converge — broadband tipping the Web from text to image, social-networking sites spreading the mesh of interconnection ever wider — the two cultures betray a common impulse. Celebrity and connectivity are both ways of becoming known. This is what the contemporary self wants. It wants to be recognized, wants to be connected: It wants to be visible. If not to the millions, on Survivor or Oprah, then to the hundreds, on Twitter or Facebook. This is the quality that validates us, this is how we become real to ourselves — by being seen by others. The great contemporary terror is anonymity. If Lionel Trilling was right, if the property that grounded the self, in Romanticism, was sincerity, and in modernism it was authenticity, then in postmodernism it is visibility. So we live exclusively in relation to others, and what disappears from our lives is solitude. Technology is taking away our privacy and our concentration, but it is also taking away our ability to be alone. Though I shouldn't say taking away. We are doing this to ourselves; we are discarding these riches as fast as we can. I was told by one of her older relatives that a teenager I know had sent 3,000 text messages one recent month. That's 100 a day, or about one every 10 waking minutes, morning, noon, and night, weekdays and weekends, class time, lunch time, homework time, and toothbrushing time. So on average, she's never alone for more than 10 minutes at once. Which means, she's never alone. . . . Read the rest here:

CFP: "Nietzsche and Phenomenology," Annual Conference, British Society for Phenomenology, St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford, April 3-5, 2009.

Update 2 (January 25, 2009): The programme, etc. is available here: Update (December 20, 2008): (See the new dates above.) The Programme is now available: Ullrich Haase (Manchester Metropolitan University), ‘History: Heidegger on Nietzsche’s 2nd Untimely Meditation’ David Krell (Depaul University), ‘Nietzsche in Derrida's Politiques de l'amitié’ Will McNeill (Depaul University), ‘The Descent of Philosophy: On the Nietzschean Legacy in Heidegger's Phenomenology’ Graham Parkes (University College Cork), ‘Nietzsche on Experiencing the Natural World - As It Really Is?’ Andrea Rehberg (Bilkent University), ‘Nietzsche and Merleau-Ponty: Physiology, Body, Flesh’ John Sallis (Boston College), ‘Perspectives on Shining: Nietzsche and Beyond’ Jim Urpeth (Greenwich University), ‘The Phenomenology of Religious Life; Nietzsche and Bergson’ Book Discussion Session: Prof Douglas Burnham (Staffordshire University)and tbc will discuss Jill Marsden’s book After Nietzsche (Palgrave) Jill Marsden (University of Bolton) will respond. Original Post (June 23, 2008) Nietzsche has been important for many thinkers in the phenomenological tradition, yet the relation between his work and phenomenology remains very much in question. This conference will examine both phenomenological readings of Nietzsche and the influence of Nietzsche on phenomenology. If there are connections between Nietzschean thought and phenomenology, what form do they take? Can Nietzsche be seen as a phenomenologist, or is phenomenological method fundamentally different from his way of thinking? What links can be drawn between Nietzsche’s genealogical method and any of the various forms of phenomenology practised today? In what respects are Nietzsche’s hermeneutics those of phenomenology: for example, is a ‘physician’ of culture still a phenomenologist, and if so, how? In dealing with the theme of ‘Nietzsche and Phenomenology’ it is impossible to ignore Heidegger’s monumental study of Nietzsche. But is it still the paradigm for phenomenological approaches to Nietzsche? By assessing Nietzsche’s relation to the various phenomenological projects of the 20th and 21st centuries, the conference aims to reconsider the parameters of phenomenology itself – what it aspired to be in the past, and what its validity is for us today. Speakers:
  • Ulli Haase (Manchester Metropolitan University)
  • David Farrell Krell (DePaul University)
  • Jill Marsden (University of Bolton)
  • Will McNeill (DePaul University)
  • David Parkes (University College Cork)
  • Andrea Rehberg (Bilkent University)
  • John Sallis (Boston College)
  • Jim Urpeth (University of Greenwich)

If you have any queries, please contact: David Webb Faculty of Arts Media and Design Staffordshire University College Road Stoke-on-Trent ST4 2XW UK

Further information, including registration details, will appear on the web-site of the British Society for Phenomenology in due course: see,

Cfp: 31st Annual Meeting, Nietzsche Society in conjunction with the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, Virginia, October 29, 2009.

For further information on the event, contact Prof. Babette Babich by visiting her faculty page at Fordham University ( or emailing her at

Cfp: "Resistances: Technologies and Relationalities," Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture Program, SUNY Binghamton, April 17-18, 2009.

19th Annual PIC Conference. This conference seeks to explore the interconnectedness of technology, relationality and practices of resistance. We conceptualize technology broadly, as referring to systems, methods of organization, visual/imaging techniques, and political strategies and tactics, as well as to specific material objects and systems of objects – tools, commodities, bodies. We seek papers which explore the polyvalent deployments of technologies in both reproducing extant systems of power relations and their attendant practices of subjectification, as well as their role in fashioning resistant subjects, practices, and communities. We understand these processes and poïetic productions as thoroughly embedded, in terms of both historical contingency and geopolitical location. Relationality is the cloth of subjectification processes. It is real and imagined, and inextricably linked to the production of subjects and technologies in both oppressive and resistant logics across different geopolitical locales. This conference also aims at igniting discussion and debate on the contrasting logics of resistance as they are enacted from disparate geopolitical positionalities. In keeping with the interdisciplinary emphasis of Binghamton University’s Program in Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture, we seek work that flourishes in the conjunction of multiple frames of epistemological inquiry, from fields including, but not limited to: postcolonial studies, decolonial studies, queer and gender studies, ethnic studies, media and visual culture studies, urban studies, science and technology studies, critical theory, continental philosophy, and historiography. Workers/writers/thinkers of all different disciplinary, inter-disciplinary, and non-disciplinary stripes welcome, whether academically affiliated or not. Submissions may be textual, performative, visual. Submission Guidelines: Submission deadline: January 31, 2009. Please submit a 300-500 word abstract along with a cover letter that includes your name, academic affiliation, contact numbers, complete mailing address, and e-mail address, as well as information regarding any technological equipment you may need for your presentation. Papers will be considered for a 20 minute presentation, followed by discussion, so please limit the length of paper to 10-12 pages. Email address for inquiries and electronic submission of abstracts: Further information is available here: (From

Eldridge, Richard. Review of Garry Hagberg, ed. ART AND ETHICAL CRITICISM. NDPR (January 2009).

Hagberg, Garry L., ed. Art and Ethical Criticism. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008. Over the past twenty or so years, both the philosophy of art and literary and art studies have progressively returned, albeit somewhat fitfully, to considering human subjects and the powers and interests they bring to the construction and reception of art. In the philosophy of art, Stanley Cavell and Arthur Danto called attention to the expressive and revelatory powers of art, helping us to overcome flatter institutional theories of art and one-sided obsession with the epistemological problem of the justification of judgments of taste. In literary studies, the New Critical formalism that reigned up through the mid-1960s was displaced first by deconstruction and then by various forms of sociohistorical analysis. Though much interesting and valuable work was done, a feeling began to emerge that this latter analysis scanted too much both the powers of authors to think productively and critically about their social circumstances and the powers of their audiences to follow their densely specific lines of thought. These two lines of disciplinary development have now begun to converge under the heading of ethical criticism: "criticism" because the philosophical thoughts about the powers and interest of literary art are often urged substantially via engagement with particular works, and "ethical" because it is oriented toward human subjects and what they might learn about values rather than toward generalizing sociohistorical explanation. A list of central figures in this line of development would include not only Cavell and Danto, but also Martha Nussbaum, Frank Farrell, Noël Carroll, John Gibson, and the present reviewer in philosophy, Wayne Booth, Charles Altieri, and Frank Kermode in literary studies and James Elkins and Michael Fried (all along) in the visual arts. In each case, the effort is to accept and incorporate, rather than deny, the insights afforded by deconstruction and sociohistorical criticism (beyond formalism) while focusing nonetheless centrally on the powers and interest of art as itself a form of productive critical thought. A related but narrower line of thinking within philosophy has focused specifically on the question of the relation between the artistic value of a work and the moral value of a work. Does the fact that a given work embodies a noxious moral attitude detract from its artistic value, and does a praiseworthy moral attitude in a work add to its artistic value? Or is artistic value centrally formal and aesthetic, so that embodied moral attitudes have no implications for artistic value? Within discussions of these questions, Leni Riefenstahl and the Marquis de Sade are often under consideration. Important work on this topic has been done by Berys Gaut, Matthew Kieran, Marcia Eaton, Richard Posner, and Noël Carroll, among others. Jerrold Levinson's collection Aesthetics and Ethics provides a valuable overview of the various positions as does my An Introduction to the Philosophy of Art, Chapter 9, "Art and Morality." A difficulty that has frequently been thought to attach to raising the topic of art and morality in just this way, however, is that it is not so clear how to distinguish the art-relevant features of a work sharply and exhaustively from its ethical features. Are Pynchon's manic wordplay or Powell's sympathetic reserve from overt judgment or Robbe-Grillet's geometric coolness artistic or moral features of their texts? Likewise for Francis Bacon's or David Hockney's ways of handling the painting of their human subjects. If it is hard to say with any assurance that these features are ethical rather than artistic (or vice versa), then it courts obtuseness to ask how the ethical affects the artistic. Garry Hagberg's new anthology Art and Ethical Criticism consists of twelve new essays -- ten by philosophers, one each by an art historian and a professor of French -- together with a short foreword. The overall argument that emerges from these essays is that the first, broader topic (the powers and interest of art for human subjects) is more important than the second, narrower topic (the relation between artistic and moral value), and the essays are strongest exactly when they illuminate the powers and interest of art, precisely by not separating the artistic and ethical features of a work sharply from each other. . . . Read the rest here:

Cfp: "Novelty, Transformation and Change." PLI 21 (forthcoming).

"Some values are eternally new, forever untimely, always contemporary with their creation, and these, even when they seem established, apparently assimilated by a society, in fact address themselves to other forces, soliciting from within that society anarchic forces of another nature." ~ Gilles Deleuze, 'On the Will to Power and the Eternal Return', in Desert Islands "For a truth to affirm its newness, there must be a supplement. This supplement is committed to chance. It is unpredictable, incalculable. It is beyond what is. I call it an event." Alain Badiou, Philosophy and Truth, Infinite Thought "The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. (One is unable to notice something – because it is always before one's eyes). The real foundations of his enquiry do not strike man at all. Unless that fact has at some time struck him. – And this means: we fail to be struck by what, once seen, is most striking and most powerful." ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations Attempts to explain the genesis of novelty require and engender reappraisals of our metaphysical or ontological assumptions. The sense of novelty and the possibility of experiencing it are in turn open to debate. Further, the relation of novelty to the concepts of change or transformation stands in need of analysis. Thought which critically engages with the world engenders a pressing interest in how change or transformation can be brought about. We are then faced with the question of how we can move beyond our current existence and relation to the world from within these conditions. If we are interested in radically changing our own existence then how do we navigate between the Scylla and Charybdis of losing the hope of real novelty and alienating the goal of change from human possibility? Can we convey the need for and goal of a transformation that would imply a break with our current terms of representation? Do accounts of the genesis of novelty offer the key to bring about deliberate change, or are they in tension with the concept of change? For the next edition of Pli we welcome papers that engage with or challenge these questions and the paradigms surrounding novelty, transformation and change. Possible topics include (but are not limited to): The event as the irruption of novelty in Badiou. Difference and novelty. Understanding novelty in terms of discovery or creation, and the relation between discovery and creation (epistemologically, phenomenologically, ontologically, ethically, or in terms of philosophical anthropology). What role, if any, does the imagination play in the recognition or production of novelty? Nietzsche's thought of the Übermensch. Bergson's account of duration. The incommensurability of the event: Deleuze's conception of the new. The relation between a given metaphysics and ontology and the possibility of deliberate change. For instance, do ontologies of becoming allow for agency? Discussions of the possibility, intelligibility and theoretical consequences associated with the notion of the 'cure' or other psychological alterations in psychoanalytic discourse as a form of radical change. The deadline for submissions is 30th June 2009. Submissions, no longer than 8,000 words should be sent by email to: Alternatively submissions can be sent in the form of a single hard copy plus a copy on disk as a Word or RTF file. We only accept articles and will not review abstracts. Please refer to the "Notes for Contributors" available on our website:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Houlgate, Stephen. "Hegel's Aesthetics." STANFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY January 20, 2009.

G. W. F. Hegel's aesthetics, or philosophy of art, forms part of the extraordinarily rich German aesthetic tradition that stretches from J. J. Winckelmann's Thoughts on the Imitation of the Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks (1755) and G. E. Lessing's Laocoon (1766) through Immanuel Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgment (1790) and Friedrich Schiller's Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man (1795) to Friedrich Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy (1872) and (in the twentieth century) Martin Heidegger's The Origin of the Work of Art (1935–6) and T. W. Adorno's Aesthetic Theory (1970). Hegel was influenced in particular by Winckelmann, Kant and Schiller, and his own thesis of the “end of art” (or what has been taken to be that thesis) has itself been the focus of close attention by Heidegger and Adorno. Hegel's philosophy of art is a wide ranging account of beauty in art, the historical development of art, and the individual arts of architecture, sculpture, painting, music and poetry. It contains distinctive and influential analyses of Egyptian art, Greek sculpture, and ancient and modern tragedy, and is regarded by many as one of the greatest aesthetic theories to have been produced since Aristotle's Poetics. . . . Read the rest here:

Cfp: "Kierkegaard and the Religious Crisis of the 19th Century," ACTA KIERKEGAARDIANA 4 (forthcoming).

In the wake of the Enlightenment, Europe in the nineteenth century was left in a deep religious crisis, which called into question most of the traditional Christian dogmas and beliefs. The aim of this volume is to explore this religious crisis as a background to Kierkegaard’s work, and his work as a response to it. How, exactly, does Kierkegaard characterise the religious crisis of his age? How is his work intended to solve that crisis? Moreover, does the religious crisis of the nineteenth century bear any similarity to our own contemporary ethical and religious dilemmas? If so, what solution can Kierkegaard’s work provide to our problems? Papers which address this topic are invited for submission. For further information, visit:

Cfp: 10th International Conference on the Study of Persons, University of Nottingham, August 3-7, 2009.

Papers in any area or discipline are welcome, so long as their themes are of concern to the ideas and concepts of persons, personhood, and personality as a philosophical, theological, psychological, social, political, historical, creative or linguistic concern. Papers must not exceed a length of 3000 words and should be prepared for blind review. In the e-mail or letter sent with the submission, we require the following eight items: word count -3000 words maximum author's name academic status (professor, unaffiliated, graduate student) institutional affiliation (if any) mailing address e-mail address the paper's title an abstract -200 words maximum. Submission deadline is MAY 1st, 2009. Abstracts will be accepted on that date, with full texts of paper due by July 1. All submissions which do not include items 2-8 (if only abstract is being submitted) will be disqualified. Word count is due when full paper is submitted. No more than one submission by the same author will be considered. Email as an attachment a copy of your paper and/or abstract in rich text format to: Prof. Randy Auxier, Philosophy Dept, Southern Illinois University, Faner Hall, MC-4505, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA, or to; Papers and/or abstracts will be reviewed by a committee. Notification of acceptance will be made via email in late May. For full details of the Conference (accommodation, fees, application and payment, travel to Nottingham, places to visit, etc.) go to

Ann: Spinoza Research Network.

Announcing the Spinoza Research Network: a two-year project funded by the AHRC, based at the University of Dundee The Spinoza Research Network is an interdisciplinary network of researchers whose work connects with Spinoza. To join the network, email The network will host - a website - a meeting of members in May 2009 in London - a conference on "Spinoza and Bodies" in September 2009 in Dundee (to be announced soon) - a conference on "Spinoza and Texts" in April 2010 in Dundee. The two-year AHRC Spinoza Research Network brings together researchers in multiple disciplines to discover how people within and outside philosophy are using Spinoza, and to investigate Spinoza's contemporary relevance. The AHRC grant will fund two international, interdisciplinary conferences, and the establishment of an interactive website to encourage participation from academics, postgraduates, undergraduates, and the public. The research will result in an edited collection of papers on interdisciplinary uses of Spinoza, and the network will form the basis of a permanent UK Spinoza Society. The website is now up and running at The site is under development: to add Spinoza-related events or links, email with details. The site features a network blog to which anyone may contribute. Postgraduates, undergraduates, academics and non-academics from any discipline are welcome to join - please circulate this email to anyone who may be interested. To join the network, or find out more about our conferences and events, email Dr. Beth Lord Lecturer in Philosophy School of Humanities University of Dundee Dundee DD1 4HN tel: 01382 384439 email:

Cfp: "MacIntyre at 80: What Happened in and to Moral Philosophy in the Twentieth Century?," School of Philosophy, UC Dublin, March 6-8, 2009.

Update: Terry Eagleton will give the UCD Philosophy Society's inaugural lecture on Wed 4 March at 7 pm, entitled "The Irish Sublime". The following papers will be presented:
  • Alasdair MacIntyre, “On Having Survived the Moral Philosophy of the Twentieth Century”
  • Kelvin Knight, “MacIntyre’s Revisionary Aristotelianism”
  • Owen Flanagan, “What do the Human Sciences have to do with Ethics?”
  • Raymond Geuss, “Marxism and the Ethos of the Twentieth Century”
  • Richard Kearney: “Forgiveness: Possible or Impossible? - Arendt, Derrida, Ricoeur, Jankelevitch”
  • Stephen Mulhall, “Naturalism, Nihilism and Perfectionism: Stevenson, Williams and Nietzche in 20th Century Moral Philosophy”
  • Jonathan Rée, “The Fetishism of Morality”
  • James McEvoy, “Parallel projects: Alasdair MacIntyre's Virtue Ethics, Thomistic Moral Theology (Servais Pinckaers OP) and thirteenth-century Pastoral Theology (Leonard Boyle OP)”
  • Adam Chmielewski, TBA
  • Arthur Madigan, “Alasdair MacIntyre, Thomistic Aristotelianism, and Revolutionary Aristotelianism.”
  • David Solomon, “MacIntyre and the Applied Ethics Revolution”
  • Joseph Dunne, "Strong Demands: What Sources?"
  • Michael Sherwin, “Rediscovering Aquinas’ Augustianism: An interpretation of Some twentieth century Dominican Theologians.”
  • Steven Long, “The Perfect Storm: On the Loss of Natural Teleology as a Normative Theonomic Principle in 20th Century Moral Philosophy”
  • Elijah Milgram, “Relativism, Coherence, and the Problems of Philosophy”
  • Hans Fink, “Against the Self Images of the Age. MacIntyre and Løgstrup”
Original Post (November 30, 2008): Alasdair MacIntyre will deliver an autobiographical paper entitled "On Having Survived the Moral Philosophies of the Twentieth Century." Speakers include: Raymond Geuss, Richard Kearney, Elijah Milgram, Stephen Mulhall, Jonathan Rée. Panel Sessions:
  • Philosophy of Alasdair MacIntyre: Adam Chmielewski, Joseph Dunne, Owen Flanagan, Kelvin Knight, Arthur Madigan, David Solomon;
  • Aquinas' Moral Philosophy: Steven Long, James McEvoy, Michael Sherwin .
Visit the conference page here:

Cfp: "The Spirit of German Idealism," Nordic Network for German Idealism, Department of Philosophy, University of Aarhus, March 10-12, 2009.

During the next three years the Nordic Network for German Idealism (NNGI) will be arranging various conferences and workshops for researchers and post-graduate students with interest and expertise in the vast and varied field of philosophy, which takes the philosophies of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel and Kierkegaard as its most crucial points of reference. The inaugural session will be on the 10th to the 11th of March 2009 at the Department of Philosophy, University of Aarhus, Denmark. There will be a conference with invited speakers (see preliminary program below), and subsequently there will be a workshop for students (primarily at the PhD.-level). Here all the participating speakers at the conference have agreed to sit in at the sessions and discuss the presented papers with the students. The papers for the workshop are not restricted with regards to theme, but they should discuss or deal with the philosophies of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel or Kierkegaard. Since the general theme for work within the NNGI is Spirit (Geist), we particularly welcome papers that deal with this particular theme. They may be historically oriented or deal with systematic issues as the authors see fit. Papers should be of a length suitable for a presentation of no more than 30 minutes. The deadline for submission of abstracts is February 6th. The deadline for submission of papers is March 1st. Conference Program: Tuesday 10th: Lectures by Kenneth Westphal, Dina Emundts, Thomas Schwarz-Wentzer, Aleš Bunta and Arto Laitinen. Wednesday 11th: Post-Graduate Workshop Practical issues: NNGI will provide funding for travel reimbursement and accommodation during the conference for all participating students up to a maximum of 2500 DKR (about 330EURO). There will be lunch provided for all participants and an optional conference dinner. Abstracts and papers should be submitted in electronic form to associate professor Anders Moe Rasmussen, Department of Philosophy, University of Aarhus, Denmark: For more information on NNGI go to

Moriarty, Michael. Review of Thomas Parker's VIOLITION, RHETORIC AND EMOTION IN THE WORK OF PASCAL. NDPR (January 2009).

Parker, Thomas. Volition, Rhetoric, and Emotion in the Work of Pascal. London: Routledge, 2008. Thomas Parker rightly identifies the will as an absolutely central concept in the work of Pascal, and one deserving a specific study. Moreover, he seeks, very sensibly, to link Pascal's concept of the will with his strategy of persuasion. It is good to see a philosophical study of Pascal from the English-speaking world, in which his work, apart from the Wager, is often ignored by philosophers. Parker's work, moreover, draws on the best French-language scholarship on Pascal -- Philippe Sellier, Gérard Ferreyrolles, Jean Mesnard, Hélène Michon, Vincent Carraud are all cited -- as well as on English-language sources. It seeks to position Pascal's discourse of the will with respect to the seventeenth-century intellectual context and to investigate the relation between the will and knowledge, and between the will and eloquence. This is a promising basic framework. . . . Read the rest here:

Hurka, Thomas. Review of Raymond Geuss' PHILOSOPHY AND REAL POLITICS. NDPR (January 2009).

Geuss, Raymond. Philosophy and Real Politics. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2008. In this short book, which expands a lecture he gave in Athens in 2007, Raymond Geuss defends a "realist" approach to political philosophy against an "ethics-first" view that he sees dominating contemporary analytic work in the field. On the latter view political philosophy starts by stating universal normative principles that are independent of the facts about any particular political agent or society; those facts become relevant only when the principles are applied to particular cases. Geuss takes Nozick and Rawls to typify the ethics-first view and subjects their work to vigorous and even belligerent criticism. But his own realist view doesn't emerge as a clear philosophical alternative. . . . Read the whole review:

Cfp: "Disorderly Conduct," Interdisciplinary Conference, Wilfrid Laurier University and University of Waterloo, July 24-26, 2009.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Steven Angelides, Department of Women’s Studies, Monash University The conference, "Disorderly Conduct" will bring together scholars from around the world and from such disciplines as sociology, philosophy, health studies, history, women's studies, and medicine to explore and problematize the notion of a "disorder". The conference seeks to bring front-line medical and mental health personnel who treat various "disorders" together with humanities, social science and health and disability studies scholars who work (in one way or another) on theoretical questions related both to specific "disorders" and to the notion of a disorder simpliciter. In workshops and symposia, conference participants will engage questions like the following: What, if any, are the downsides of being diagnosed with a disorder? Does the concept of a disorder provide treatment advantages or disadvantages? Are there other advantanges or disadvantages that it incurs – besides those related to the treatment itself – for those diagnosed with a disorder? Can we reasonably expect to avoid problems of stigmatization and marginalization by turning to a medicalized language of disorder to apprehend and explain embodied difference? Conference organizers kindly invite submissions from scholars and health (physical and mental) professionals in all disciplines. Submissions from all scholarly traditions and from all theoretical/methodological approaches are welcome. Abstracts (500 words), papers (2500 words, 20 minute papers for delivery in 30 minute time slots), symposium proposals, workshop proposals, and roundtable discussion proposals will be considered. Proposals for symposia should include the names and affiliations of all participants and their papers or abstracts. Authors submitting abstracts should be prepared to submit final versions of their papers to the conference organizers by June 30. All submissions will be anonymously reviewed; names should appear only on a cover page, and cover pages should be attached in a separate file. Authors’ names or other identifying information should be removed from the properties of files before submission. Authors should indicate on their title pages if they wish to have their submissions considered for inclusion in the published proceedings of the conference. All submissions should be emailed to both Morgan Holmes at mholmes at wlu dot ca and at Shannon Dea at sjdea at uwaterloo dot ca by midnight February 27, 2009. Authors should expect to know the decision of the program committee by around March 1, 2009. Authors might consider submitting a proposal concerning one of the following (but should not feel confined by what is merely intended as a suggestive list):
  • What relationship (if any) holds between the concepts, diagnosis and treatment of gender identity disorder and disorders of sexual development?
  • What lessons should the editors of the inchoate DSM V take from the DSM IV?
  • Is old age treated as a disorder? Should it be?
  • What role does "big pharma" play in the identification of various disorders?
  • Does our current notion of a disorder adequately reflect our understanding of the social determinants of health?
  • In what ways is the language of 'disorder' open to deployment and/or interrogation by post-structuralist or analytic ethicists?

Conference organizers are currently seeking federal funding to support this conference. Contingent upon their success, they may be able to financially assist speakers with their travel and accommodations costs.

Submissions Deadline: February 27, 2009 For more information on "Disorderly Conduct," see the conference website at

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cfp: Second Annual Conference of Film and Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, University of Dundee, July 16-18, 2009.

In Association with Keynote Speakers: Alain Badiou (Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris) Edward Branigan (University of California, Santa Barbara) Caroline Bainbridge (Roehampton University) Martin McQuillan (University of Leeds) The last ten years has seen a burgeoning interest in the relationship between philosophy and film, both within the Continental and Analytic philosophical traditions. The steady stream of books, journals, symposia, and websites dedicated to bringing the two subjects together is a testament to this fact. It is also notable just how philosophical film theory always has been: raising philosophical questions and engaging with a variety of philosophical figures has marked its trajectory for over forty years. Building on the success of last’s year’s inaugural conference at UWE, Bristol, the second annual Film-Philosophy Conference continues in its aim to be the major international forum for scholars from both disciplines to examine all aspects of this interdiscipline, both historical and contemporary, practical and theoretical. As last year, there is no specific conference theme, and proposals are invited on any conjunction between film and philosophy. We welcome submissions that range from general and methodological observations about the two fields, to analyses of specific films, film movements, or film-makers, as well as specific philosophical concepts, movements, or philosophers. Topics include (but are not limited to): Film as philosophy Philosophy as cinematic The ontology of cinema The use of film to teach philosophy Particular philosophical approaches to film (Rancière, Deleuze, Badiou, etc.) The Epistemology of film Film affect The philosophical world-view of particular directors Subjectivity and cinema Film Theory as philosophy Aesthetics and film Political philosophy and film Historical developments in film-philosophy Genre and philosophy Philosophy and film movements (German Expressionism, Soviet Montage, Italian Neo-realism etc.) Cinema as thought experiment Morality and movies Feminist philosophy and film practice Film making as philosophical practice Methodologies for philosophical film analysis Contributions are invited for: Individual papers (20 minutes + 10 minutes for discussion) Panel topics (2-4 speakers) Please send proposals (500 word abstract) by Friday 3 April, 2009 to: Dr John Mullarkey -- email: We prefer email submissions, but you can also post your abstract to: Dr John Mullarkey Senior Lecturer in Philosophy School of Humanities College of Arts & Social Sciences University of Dundee Nethergate Dundee DD1 4HN Scotland UK

Cfp: "Nietzsche and the Becoming of Life," Institute of Humanities, Diego Portales University, Santiago de Chile, November 2-4, 2009.

This conference offers an occasion for a wide-ranging exploration and analysis of Nietzsche’s conception of life. While it is generally acknowledged that Nietzsche throughout his writing career advocates the affirmation of earthly life as a way to counteract nihilism and asceticism, the question of what this affirmation entails is still very much up for discussion. This conference wishes to consider the multiplicity of meanings - metaphysical, aesthetical, ethical, political,and scientific - that the idea of life recovers in Nietzsche’s work. Additionally, this conference wishes to provide a space for the presentation and discussion of Latin American Nietzsche scholarship. Confirmed plenary speakers include: Keith Ansell-Pearson, Warwick University, Mónica Cragnolini, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Germán Cano Cuenca, Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Christa Davis Acampora, Hunter College, City University of New York, José Jara, Universidad de Valparaíso, Herman Siemens, University of Leiden, We welcome proposals for 30-minute papers on all topics relevant to the conference theme, including the following:- Nietzsche and biology, evolutionary theory and psychology; Nietzsche’s conception of the body, of lives of animals/plants and of nature; Life and historicity; life, culture and memory; the future of life Fate and freedom; will to power; guilt, responsibility and the innocence of becoming; Dionysus and Apollo; tragedy and comedy; life and literature; the philosophical life; Nietzsche and philosophies of life Nietzsche and biopolitics; Nietzsche, geopolitics and the meaning of the earth Papers on other relevant topics will also be considered. Early submissions are welcome. Conference languages are Spanish and English. We will work with simultaneous translation during plenary sessions. Please send an abstract of a maximum of 600 words and an abbreviated CV (1 page) via e-mail by 15 March 2009 to Notification of acceptance will be sent no later than 15 April 2009. For further information, please visit the conference website (under construction) at or contact the organizers at Organization: Vanessa Lemm, Institute of Humanities, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago de Chile --

Cfp: Colloquium on Plato’s PHAEDRUS, Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge, April 16-18, 2009.

The Phaedrus is one of Plato’s most explicitly ‘literary’ dialogues, both in the sense that it is crafted in a particularly ingenious fashion and in so far as it explicitly discusses the worth of literature, especially as a medium for philosophy. Of course, the Phaedrus also has much to say about the key Platonic issues of moral psychology, metaphysics, love and rhetoric. The aim of this colloquium is to encourage collaborative discussion of both the literary and philosophical significance of the dialogue. To this end, our programme combines formal papers with sessions of collaborative close reading of selected passages. Participants include: Douglas Cairns (Edinburgh), John Henderson (Cambridge), Matthew Hiscock (Cambridge), Richard Hunter (Cambridge), AlexLong (St Andrews), Jessica Moss (Oxford), Liz Pender (Leeds), Christopher Rowe (Durham), Dominic Scott (Virginia), Frisbee Sheffield (Cambridge), Robert Wardy (Cambridge) and Harvey Yunis (Rice). For more details please contact Jenny Bryan ( or Helen VanNoorden (

Goldman, Alan H. Review of Noel Carroll's ON CRITICISM. NDPR (January 2009).

Carroll, Noel. On Criticism. London: Routledge, 2009.

Noël Carroll's latest book contains what we have come to expect from him: above all, clarity of exposition and argument directed at the fundamental issues in the topic under discussion. His topic here is art (construed broadly) criticism, and he lays out for us in greater detail than before his positions on the interpretation and evaluation of works in different genres. Carroll is one of the major figures in aesthetics, and anyone interested in the field will have to know and address his views. The main thesis of his book is that criticism aims ultimately and essentially at the evaluation of works, aims to uncover their artistic value, and that it supports its evaluations with reasons. In indicating the sources of value in artworks, critics help audiences to appreciate the works. Criticism is distinguished from other related fields, such as art history, by its evaluative aim. Reasons supporting evaluations are provided by classification, description, analysis, and interpretation of the works, all of which activities are analyzed by Carroll. He maintains that evaluations backed by reasons can be objective, in that categorization or classification of works into types is objective, and these types of works pursue certain artistic purposes in terms of which the works can be evaluated. Critics evaluate artworks, as we evaluate other things, in terms of how well they fulfill their intended purposes. Artworks are therefore to be judged on their own terms, and the central question is always whether the artists succeeded in fulfilling the artistic aims they intended. . . .

Read the rest here:

Pinker, Steven. "My Genome, My Self." NEW YORK TIMES January 7, 2009.

Update: Pinker's essay has provoked a variety of responses, including Augustin Fuentes' "My Genome is Not my Self" Neuroanthropology Blog January 16, 2009:
We are not our genes and they are not us. Knowing what copies of genes we carry can tell us a little about getting sick and losing our hair, and maybe even add insight into our ancestry. But that does not tell us about how and why we do the things that we do. Steven Pinker, in his recent New York Times Magazine article My Genome, My Self, argues that genes do have great influence on our behavior. As an anthropologist, evolutionary theorist, and a researcher of human and other primate behavior I am here to tell you that he is overshooting the mark. Human behavior is simultaneously biology, culture, experience and more. (
See also the links to other critical responses to Pinker found at the end of Fuentes' post. Original Post (January 12, 2009): ONE OF THE PERKS of being a psychologist is access to tools that allow you to carry out the injunction to know thyself. I have been tested for vocational interest (closest match: psychologist), intelligence (above average), personality (open, conscientious, agreeable, average in extraversion, not too neurotic) and political orientation (neither leftist nor rightist, more libertarian than authoritarian). I have M.R.I. pictures of my brain (no obvious holes or bulges) and soon will undergo the ultimate test of marital love: my brain will be scanned while my wife’s name is subliminally flashed before my eyes. Last fall I submitted to the latest high-tech way to bare your soul. I had my genome sequenced and am allowing it to be posted on the Internet, along with my medical history. The opportunity arose when the biologist George Church sought 10 volunteers to kick off his audacious Personal Genome Project. The P.G.P. has created a public database that will contain the genomes and traits of 100,000 people. Tapping the magic of crowd sourcing that gave us Wikipedia and Google rankings, the project seeks to engage geneticists in a worldwide effort to sift through the genetic and environmental predictors of medical, physical and behavioral traits. . . . Read the whole article here:

Hart, Keith. "Marxism and Economic Anthropology." THE MEMORY BANK BLOG January 9, 2009.

An ‘anthropology’ is any systematic study of humanity as a whole. The modern academic discipline has its origins in the democratic revolutions and rationalist philosophy of the eighteenth century. The question then was how the arbitrary inequality of the Old Regime might be replaced by an equal society founded on what all people have in common, their human nature. It was thus a revolutionary critique of the premise of inequality and a source of constructive proposals for a more equal future. Such a future was thought to be analogous to the kinship organization that preceded societies based on the state and class division and that could still be observed among contemporary savages. This framework for thinking about social development was retained and elaborated in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. But it is no longer the leading anthropological paradigm, having been replaced by an ethnographic relativism that is more compatible with a world society fragmented into nation-states. Marx was a political economist, to be sure; but he also developed a coherent view of the place of capitalism in human history as a whole. For this reason, I consider Karl Marx to have been the greatest economic anthropologist of all time. Marxism was shaped by the tradition I call the ‘anthropology of unequal society’ and became its most sustained source of development. Rousseau’s example inspired Morgan and Engels a century later; while Wolf and Goody have brought the tradition up-to-date. The most influential marriage of Marxism and anthropology was the French school that flourished in the 1960s and 70s. So this essay will have three parts: the economic anthropology of Karl Marx; a sketch of the anthropology of unequal society; and French structuralist Marxism. . . . Read the rest here:

Pippin, Robert. Review of Richard Eldridge's LITERATURE, LIFE AND MODERNITITY. NDPR (January 2009).

Eldridge, Richard. Literature, Life, and Modernity. New York: Columbia UP, 2008. In Literature, Life, and Modernity Richard Eldridge focuses on the question of a reader's or a viewer's response to a literary or dramatic work in a specific historical epoch ("modernity"). That is, in contrast with many other philosophical approaches to literature, he avoids fixing attention on any putative doctrinal (moral or political or diagnostic) claims in a literary work. Thereby, and in many other admirable ways, he avoids the danger of treating literature as philosophy manqué, concedes the distinctness of literary experience, and only then asks about the significance of this experience. (In this way his approach is reminiscent to some extent of Schiller's; not bad company to be keeping.) This all amounts to a philosophy of literature of sorts but avoids a forced "philosophy in literature" or "literature as philosophy" treatment. There are themes and ideas at stake of course, but for distinct historical reasons, Eldridge also thinks of what he generally calls "modern" literature as characterized precisely by the absence of any thematic resolution, and so by a kind of play of possibilities, unsettledness, even homelessness. But, he argues, this is a play of ambiguity that nevertheless (and here the first controversial aesthetic claim) invites and sustains a compelling, valuable attentiveness, an attentiveness and involvement that (and here the second controversial philosophical claim) can be said also to inspire or provoke or in some way lead to this kind of attentiveness and involvement in, simply stated, life. (I should note too that this approach means that Eldridge has focused much more, though not exclusively, on issues of figuration and poetry, and not narrative. The latter is much more important for interpreters who take the fate suffered by characters in a narration as evidence of philosophical judgment. Eldridge's account of poetic figuration, even in dramas like Stoppard's and novels like Sebald's, allows him to stay much closer to a genuinely literary response, and that seems to me all to the good.) Let me first state more carefully the three cornerstones of Eldridge's position: (i) the unique and unprecedented historical condition that he thinks we face, "modernity"; (ii) the unique historical response summoned up by "modern literature"; and (iii) the value -- not the moral or political value, but something like the existential value -- of such a responsiveness for what is simply called "life." Modernity, Literature, and Life, then; as in his title, but re-arranging things a bit. . . . Read the rest here:

Kauffman, Bill. "Darwin in the New World." WALL STREET JOURNAL January 9, 2009.

Werth, Barry. Banquet at Delmonico's. New York: Random House, 2008. Herbert Spencer, the 19th-century British philosopher, is remembered today as the forbidding -- almost forbidden -- father of "Social Darwinism," a school of thought declaring that the fittest prosper in a free marketplace and the human race is gradually improved because only the strong survive. In Barry Werth's satisfying "Banquet at Delmonico's," Spencer is also a querulous 62-year-old celibate whose 1882 American tour culminates in a feast to which are invited the "mostly Republican men of science, religion, business, and government" who shared and spread the Spencerian creed. Applying Darwinian insights about evolution to political, economic and social life -- though he did not himself use the term "Social Darwinism" -- Spencer concluded that vigorous competition and unfettered capitalism conduced to the betterment of society. He predicted that the American, raised in liberty, would evolve into "a finer type of man than has hitherto existed," dazzling the world with "the highest form of government" and "a civilization grander than any the world has known." Somehow I don't think he had Rod Blagojevich and Justin Timberlake in mind. Though as Henry Adams commented at the time: "The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant, was alone evidence enough to upset Darwin." . . . Read the rest here:

Cfp: "THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES at 150: a Celebratory Conference," University of Toronto, November 21-24, 2009.

Sponsored by the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and the Department of Philosophy. Darwin wrote in his autobiography, “In July [1837] I opened my first notebook for facts in relation to the Origin of Species, about which I had long reflected, and never ceased working for the next twenty years.” In 1842, he wrote a “very brief abstract” of his theory (35 pages), which in the summer of 1844 he expanded to 230 pages. Beginning in September 1858, after receiving an essay from Alfred Russell Wallace, “On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type,” which outlined the central mechanism of evolution on which Darwin had been working, he began work on completing the manuscript of The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. John Murray, the publisher, launched the book on November 24, 1859 by releasing 1,250 copies. The impact of The Origin of Species has equalled the impact of Newton’s Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica. It is the unifying theoretical framework for all modern biology. November 24, 2009 marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin and the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and the Department of Philosophy at University of Toronto are mounting a Gala Celebratory Conference. The conference will culminate in a gala dinner on November 24 at which participants will toast the tremendous achievement of Charles Robert Darwin. Five multi-disciplinary symposia have been organized. For each symposium, the panel consists of a biologist, a historian of biology and a philosopher of biology. Visit the conference homepage here:

Cfp: "The Tenacity of the Nature/Nurture Divide," Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, March 20-21, 2009.

The formula nature/nurture (Na-Nu) has captured a very basic split in the causal structure we assign to the constitution of the human. The divide determines explanatory strategies in scientific and non-scientific arenas. We aim to further our understanding of the tenacity of this binary distinction by contextualizing it within a large time scale, and through different cultures. This workshop will bring together scientists, historians and philosophers, who will tackle the Na-Nu complex from different and complementary angles and will contribute to the collective answering of questions linked to it. Is there for instance something inevitable about such dramatic dichotomous structure? Why does it seem to recur, under ever new shapes, with every new shift in the life and social sciences? Or has it progressively weakened under the strain of criticism and alternative frames? Are we then witnessing its last incarnations? What would a future con¬ceptual field of humanities and the life sciences look like without such a conceptual and ontological divide? Speakers: Evelyn Fox Keller, Lisa Gannett, Peter Hammerstein, Tim Ingold, Ursula Klein, Geoffrey Lloyd, Federico Navarrete, Eric Turkheimer, Elizabeth Williams. For more information, please visit: