- "Did Nietzsche Follow Friedrich Ritschl to Leipzig?" by Anthony Jensen, Lehman College, CUNY
- "Writing, Reading, Thinking, Feeling: Nietzsche & the Art of Living" by Alan Milchman & Alan Rosenberg, Queens College, CUNY
- "Nietzsche as a Reader of Wilhelm Roux, or The Physiology of History" by Lukas Soderstrom, Université de Montréal
- "Is There Hope for History? The Meanings of 'History' in Nietzsche and Heidegger" by Chiara Ricciardone, SUNY, Binghamton
Friday, October 30, 2009
31st Annual Meeting, Nietzsche Society (USA) in conjunction with the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, Virginia, October 29, 2009.
Cfp: "New Conservatisms and New Approaches: a Conference of Conservatism Studies," Anglo American University, Prague, May 14-15, 2010.
Cfp: "Caribbeanscapes: the Vistas of Caribbean Literature," Department of Literatures in English, University of the West Indies, April 29-May 1, 2010.
Books can easily be found that offer to examine and account for the "science wars", understood as the ongoing turf battle between philosophers and sociologists. The focus of the conflict concerns how to explain what considerations actually determine what comes to be accepted as the received views in any one of the natural sciences. The main contenders consist of two apparently opposed explanatory strategies. On the one hand, some advocate the primacy of contextual factors in order to explain why a scientific community settles on a particular view. On such accounts, the norms of scientific inquiry represent only the contingent products of historical circumstance. On the other hand, "internalist" accounts typically seek to establish that evidence can be and is rationally determinative. Evaluative procedures can have validity that transcend their context. On this view, use of proper rational procedure explains what prevails and why within a scientific community. The former view denies and the latter affirms that standards of rationality simpliciter can and do explain accepted scientific views. Unfortunately, authors of such books all too typically begin by assuming the correctness of one of the usual suspects with regard to accounts of scientific rationality. William Rehg's book proceeds by urging that resources can be located for an account of rationality that embraces neither of these views and yet incorporates core contentions of each. Specifically, Rehg argues for the relevance of "argumentation theory", an area of inquiry that straddles several disciplines and with which most philosophers of science will probably be unfamiliar. The "argumentation theory" as Rehg portrays it refers to studies of argument that represent "an interdisciplinary endeavor that provides a set of categories -- drawn from logic, linguistics, dialectic, rhetoric, and so on -- for the description and evaluation of arguments" (4). Rehg offers a straightforward rationale for taking this approach: "Like other areas of human endeavor, the sciences exist and develop as social practices -- exercises in embodied social rationality . . . This trend challenged defenders of science to develop more realistic conceptions of scientific rationality" (3). Argumentation theory as Rehg conceives of it holds the promise of providing a general normative framework for the evaluation of scientific claims that is superior in specific ways to the alternatives scouted above. His book promises a sustained and detailed account of how to construct this framework. Rehg employs the term 'cogency' to connote the joint process of assessing both the psychological effect and the rational strength of an argument. The appeal to cogency arises inasmuch as no one set of factors -- logical, rhetorical, or sociological -- typically suffices to make the case in favor of one view over another. The question that Rehg poses, and the litmus test for the approach of his book, concerns whether or not Rehg's contextualist version of argumentation theory offers a more robust normative framework than any of the alternatives that Rehg finds inadequate to the task of adjudicating disputes on the cogency of scientific claims. The primary challenge to the cogency of scientific argument consists in the need to bridge what Rehg terms "Kuhn's gap", understood as "a gap between logical and social-institutional perspectives, a gap that rhetorics of science attempt to bridge" (33). More specifically, in order to close Kuhn's gap, an argumentation theory must reveal "how persuasion occurs within the transitional phase itself -- the microprocesses that generate agreement on the new paradigm" (47). Kuhn's work poses the question but provides no answer. The gap will only be closed, however, in a philosophically satisfactory way by providing an account of cogency that demonstrates that scientists were persuaded to shift theoretical allegiances for the "right" reasons, i.e., that no group made a weaker argument appear the stronger. . . .
Read the whole review here: http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=17905.
Cfp: "The Place of Psyche: Politics, Art, Nature," Department of Philosophy, Villanova University, April 23-24, 2010.
Cfp: "Plato's PHAEDRUS," West Coast Plato Workshop, Department of Philosophy, University of California, San Diego, May 22-23, 2010.
Roth, Paul A. Review of Robert Piercey, THE USES OF THE PAST FROM HEIDEGGER TO RORTY. NDPR (OCtober 2009).
Monday, October 26, 2009
Philosophy Summer School, Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy, January 25 - February 19, 2010.
- Postphenomenology and Technoscience: the Peking University Lectures. Albany: SUNY Press, 2009.
- Ironic Technics. Automatic Press, 2008.
Ihde's notion of postphenomenology serves as something of the master-concept in his view, and so it may be best to begin with it. If we confine ourselves at the start just to Ihde's choice of terminology, the principal question appears to be one concerning how to situate Ihde's notion in relation to what it presents itself as succeeding, namely phenomenology. There is, of course, no single notion of phenomenology -- Husserl himself changed his conception of phenomenology over his career, and the various "existential" phenomenologists such as Heidegger, Sartre, and Merleau-Ponty offered their own distinctive takes on the notion -- and this makes the task of delineating a successor method a rather delicate maneuver (one may be a post-Husserlian phenomenologist, for example, but still be doing plain old phenomenology in, say, Heidegger's sense). What makes Ihde's approach phenomenological is its appropriation of several key ideas from the phenomenological tradition -- and especially from Husserl -- which are then projected into a new domain, namely the philosophy of technology. Ihde claims that technology is not just a particular object of study, but is itself a way in which experience is mediated. This means that intentionality itself -- the principal subject matter of phenomenology in the traditional sense -- is modified by technology: "Technologies can be the means by which 'consciousness itself' is mediated. Technologies may occupy the 'of' [in the 'consciousness of ____' formula of intentionality] and not just be some object domain" (PT, p. 23). What I take this to mean is that technology can play an adverbial role with respect to intentionality, so that it is not so much what we experience (some technological object) as a way we experience: we experience things technologically in that technology modifies -- sometimes modestly, sometimes radically -- both what and how we experience the world. Postphenomenology is interested in documenting these forms of mediation, and so Ihde's discussions abound with examples where technology has shaped the object domain (e.g. the popular song, whose length was determined by the limits of recording technologies) and opened up new domains for exploration (considerable attention is devoted to imaging technologies). . . .
Read the rest here: http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=17865.
Friday, October 23, 2009
- Bedient, Calvin. The Yeats Brothers and Modernism’s Love of Motion. Notre Dame: U of Notre Dame P, 2009.
- Vendler, Helen. Our Secret Discipline: Yeats and Lyric Form. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2009.
William Butler Yeats has been called the twentieth century’s greatest poet. He may even deserve the title. As Richard Ellmann wrote in his classic study Yeats: The Man and the Masks, “it is not easy to assign him a lower place.” Others may have attempted more; none achieved it. Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, and all the other contenders of Yeats’s illustrious generation—none stakes quite the same claim on the imagination, or on the idiom, of our time. “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold”; “A terrible beauty is born”; “Now days are dragon-ridden, the nightmare / Rides upon sleep.” Even Joyce has his protagonist Stephen Dedalus murmuring lines from Yeats’s early poem “Who Goes with Fergus?” on Sandymount strand: “And no more turn aside and brood / Upon love’s bitter mystery.” Like Shakespeare, Yeats is inescapable.
Yet few critics, including Ellmann, have seemed entirely comfortable with this fact. As a man, Yeats could be personally unappealing, even arrogant and intolerant, although not more so than Eliot and less so than Pound. The problem with casting Yeats as the ne plus ultra of twentieth-century poets stems from the fact that his work defies preconceptions about what a sufficiently modern—and specifically Modernist—poetry should be. Yeats’s ties to the nineteenth century and the legacy of Romanticism were vital and strong. Most importantly, Yeats forsook radical formal innovation and was instead a lifelong advocate of traditional poetic meter and form. However, as Calvin Bedient writes in The Yeats Brothers and Modernism’s Love of Motion—his lively new study of the poet and his brother, the painter Jack Yeats—“Yeats knew what technical resources to call upon to convey movement as force.” Despite the conventionality of its composition, Bedient maintains, Yeats’s work is a revelation and enactment of the twentieth century’s discoveries about the nature of the physical world and of the human psyche. He is the poet of dynamism, of “creative destruction,” and also of violence and horror. . . .
Read the rest here: http://bostonreview.net/BR34.5/huddleston.php.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
"Scientific Philosophy: Past and Future," Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Tilburg University, April 13, 2010.
Cfp: "The Politics of Peace," Annual Conference, Society for Continental Philosophy and Theology, Messiah College, April 16-17, 2010.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
- Alexander, Edward. Lionel Trilling and Irving Howe, and Other Stories of Literary Friendship. Somerset, NJ: Transaction, 2009.
- Kimmage, Michael. The Conservative Turn: Lionel Trilling, Whittaker Chambers, and the Lessons of Anti-Communism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2009.
Why the persistent fascination with Lionel Trilling? An English professor, literary critic, and one-book novelist, Trilling continues to generate interest three decades after his death, while his contemporaries—Newton Arvin, Cleanth Brooks, F.O. Matthiessen, Philip Rahv, Yvor Winters—go quietly into obscurity. Two new books by academics of distinction—one with a long career and the other at the outset—wrestle with Trilling’s legacy only three years after Gertrude Himmelfarb named Trilling as the summit of The Moral Imagination in her book of that title three years ago. Just last year, an unfinished novel called The Journey Abandoned appeared in print for the first time and was the occasion of essays everywhere, including in these pages, just as the New York Review of Books reissued The Liberal Imagination, his best-known -volume, in a “classic” edition.
There is something peculiar in this. After all, liberal anti-Communism, the cause Trilling was most closely identified with, is no longer relevant. The Soviet Union outlived him by just a decade and a half, and those who claim the present-day mantle of liberal anti-Communism, like the journalists Peter Beinart and Paul Berman, have had an exceptionally clumsy time of it. There is no liberal anti-Islamism to speak of. Those who now declare themselves liberals (“a word primarily of political import,” Trilling wrote, “but its political meaning defines itself by the quality of life it envisages”) are more impatient to prosecute Bush-administration officials than the war on terror.
What is more, the style of literary criticism practiced by Trilling—and by Irving Howe, whose long friendship with Trilling is lovingly detailed in Edward Alexander’s book Lionel Trilling and Irving Howe—might itself share some of the blame for its current dreadful state. The rise of “literary theory” in the late 70s entailed the “reduction of literature to politics,” Harold Fromm charged in Academic Capitalism and Literary Value (1991), and since then critics have been “more interested in political goals than intellectual activity or aesthetic response.” The same might have been said of Trilling (and Howe).
As a literary man, Trilling was the sworn enemy of the so-called New Critics—his chief rivals to preeminence in the literary criticism of the time—who sought to disconnect literature from an external reality and study poems only in relation to what R. P. Blackmur, one of their more articulate spokesmen, called “the analyzable features of the forms and techniques of poetry.” The effect was to sever literature from any relation to politics.
Trilling believed that withdrawal from politics was unforgivable in an era in which human freedom was threatened by a Soviet totalitarianism that “wants not so much a liberated humanity as a sterilized humanity” and “would gladly make a wasteland if it could call the silence peace.” Intellectual passivity, he warned, was an invitation to violence. Literature had a very immediate connection with politics—though politics did not mean practical arrangements for the improvement of social existence but “the politics of culture, the organization of human life toward some end or other.” The aesthetic effect of the greatest literature was to be found in its “intellectual power,” in the “mind’s success” at confronting social reality. The greatness of literature, in other words, is measured in the level of its engagement with society and therefore with politics. . . .
Read the whole review here: https://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/the-never-ending-journey-15249?page=all.
- Sara Newman, review of Carol Berkenkotter, Patient Tales: Case Histories and the Uses of Narrative in Psychiatry;
- Brenda Griffith-Williams, review of Edwin Carawan, ed. The Attic Orators;
- Christopher Coffman, review of Tina Skouen, Passion and Persuasion: John Dryden’s The Hind and the Panther;
- Richard Hunter, review of Casper C. de Jonge, Between Grammar and Rhetoric. Dionysius of Halicarnassus on Language, Linguistics and Literature.
Download the reviews here: http://www.nnrh.dk/RR/june09.html.
"Crises, Corruption, Character and Change," 9th International Conference on Organizational Discourse (ICOD), Amsterdam, July 14-16, 2010.
"Art and/or Entertainment," 5th Annual Conference on Philosophy and Popular Culture, University of Southern Denmark, November 6, 2009.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Cfp: "Caribbean Enlightenment," Caribbean Discussion Group, University of Glasgow, April 8-10, 2010.
Trotsky has always been something of an icon for the intelligentsia, and it is not hard to see why. He fitted the perception that dissenting intellectuals like to have of themselves. Highly cultured, locked in struggle with a repressive establishment, a gifted writer who was also a man of action, he seemed to embody the ideal of truth speaking to power. The manner of his death solidified this perception, which has shaped accounts of his life ever since.
Trotsky was a charismatic leader whose appeal extended across the political spectrum. When Trotsky was on the run from Stalin, H L Mencken offered to give him his own library (Trotsky refused because he did not want to be indebted to a reactionary). The Bishop of Birmingham signed a petition on Trotsky's behalf, and he was invited to become rector of Edinburgh University. Maynard Keynes tried to secure asylum for him in England, a campaign supported even by the power-worshipping Stalin-lover Beatrice Webb. Literary notables like Lionel Trilling, Edmund Wilson and Mary McCarthy joined the chorus of adulation. A hero-martyr in the cause of humanity, Trotsky deserved the support of every right-thinking person.
This has never been a terribly plausible view of the man who welcomed the ruthless crushing of the Kronstadt workers and sailors when they demanded a more pluralist system of government in 1921, and who defended the systematic use of terror against opponents of the Soviet state until his dying day. Introducing a system of hostage-taking in the Civil War and consistently supporting the trial and execution of dissidents (Mensheviks, Social Revolutionaries, liberal Kadets, nationalists and others), Trotsky never hesitated to endorse repression against those who stood in the way of communist power. This much has long been clear, but the full extent of Trotsky's role in building Soviet totalitarianism has not been detailed - until now. . . .
Read the rest here: http://www.literaryreview.co.uk/gray_10_09.html.
The theory of evolution really does explain everything in biology. The phenomena that Darwin understood in broad brush strokes can now be accounted for in the precise language of DNA. And though biological systems have attained extraordinary levels of complexity over the passage of time, no serious biologist doubts that evolutionary explanations exist or will be found for every jot and tittle in the grand script.
To biologists and others, it is a source of amazement and embarrassment that many Americans repudiate Darwin’s theory and that some even espouse countertheories like creationism or intelligent design. How can such willful ignorance thrive in today’s seas of knowledge? In the hope of diminishing such obscurantism, the prolific English biology writer Richard Dawkins has devoted his latest book to demonstrating the explanatory power of evolutionary ideas while hammering the creationists at every turn.
Dawkins invites the reader to share the frustration of an imaginary history teacher, some of whose students refuse to accept that the Roman Empire ever existed, or that Latin is the mother tongue from which the Romance languages evolved. Instead of concentrating on how Western culture emerged from the institutions of the Roman state, the teacher must spend time combating a school board that insists he give equal time to their alternative view that French has been spoken from time immemorial and that Caesar never came or saw or conquered. This is exactly analogous to the plight of the biology teacher trying to acquaint students with the richness of modern biology in states where fundamentalist opponents of evolution hold sway.
Dawkins has a nice sense of irony, deployed without mercy on the opponents of evolution. . . .
Read the rest here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/books/review/Wade-t.html?pagewanted=all.
Cfp: "Cultures of Differences: National, Indigenous, Historical," Annual Conference, International Association of Philosophy and Literature, University of Regina, May 24-30, 2010.
"Crisis of Meaning," a Day of Φιλο-ΣοΦια (Philo-Sophia): Friendship and Philosophical Discussion, Murdoch University, November 27, 2009.
In choosing Crisis of Meaning as the theme of this year’s Colloquium, we hope to encourage contributions from a range of disciplines that consider philosophical questions relating to the nature of meaning and truth, and their significance in human lives.
Papers might examine the theme along broad philosophical lines, for example, in terms of humanistic compared with scientific forms of meaning, historical and timeless understandings of meaning, phenomenology, hermeneutics, language and interpretation, the meaning of meaning itself, philosophy and truth. Papers might also approach the theme as a question, exploring, for example, the notion that every generation sees itself as having a crisis of meaning (or of circumstance), asking what it means to think of something as a crisis and whether this idea is especially appropriate in particular contexts or whether it is an essential part of the human condition.
Alternatively papers might offer a philosophical examination of a currently perceived crisis, whether philosophical, social, political, psychological, etc., in contexts such as ‘ethics’, ‘the good life’, ‘sustainability’, ‘education’, ‘welfare’, ‘rationality’, ‘communication’, ‘depression’, etc.
Dr Lubica Ucnik, Philosophy Program, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Murdoch University, Western Australia 6150 (L.Ucnik@murdoch.edu.au).
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Cfp: Freedom and Power in the Caribbean: the Work of Gordon Lewis, Centre for Caribbean Thought, University of the West Indies, Mona, September 30-October 2, 2010.
The VIIth Caribbean Reasonings Conference is hosted in association with Africana Studies at Brown University and the Institute of Caribbean Studies, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. Professor Gordon K. Lewis, (1919 – 1991) taught for many years at the University of Puerto Rico and wrote path-breaking books on the Caribbean’s history, politics and intellectual development. Texts such as Puerto Rico: Freedom and Power in the Caribbean (1963), The Growth of the Modern West Indies (1968), and Main Currents in Caribbean Thought: the historical evolution of Caribbean society in its ideological aspects (1983), exemplify the breadth of his interests as well as the range and quality of his output. Lewis’ work transcended the region’s linguistic fragmentation and was consistent with the view that “No one could really claim to be a full practitioner in Caribbean Studies until he came to write ultimately, on the Caribbean as a whole.” (Main Currents in Caribbean Thought, (1983) Maingot, introduction vi). This conference in 2010 will reopen inter-territorial networks to enable studies across language barriers, a goal the Centre for Caribbean Thought has articulated and continues to realize since 2001 through several conferences and the “Caribbean Reasonings” book series with Ian Randle Publishers. It will also seek to introduce the seminal work of Gordon K. Lewis to a new generation of young scholars, interested in moving beyond constricting national barriers, in order to study the region in its entirety.
There is limited space on the conference programme for individual papers and panels, thus we are suggesting that proposals that fall within the following broad categories will be given serious consideration:
- Critical examination of Gordon K. Lewis’s scholarship, particularly The Growth of the Modern West Indies; Main Currents in Caribbean Thought; Puerto Rico: Freedom and Power in the Caribbean; and Grenada: the Jewel Despoiled.
- Critical work on the present state and the future of social sciences research in the Caribbean, with particular emphasis on pan-Caribbean research and inter-disciplinary studies.
- Critical exploration of the state of Caribbean Thought in the contemporary period beyond Lewis’ assessment in Main Currents in Caribbean Thought
- The state of politics in the Caribbean, forty years beyond The Growth of the Modern West Indies.
- The existential condition of Caribbean Intellectuals and intellectualism in the 21st century. Reflections on the Grenada Revolution and Lewis’s assessment of its collapse in Grenada: the Jewel Despoiled.
- Critical reflection on the state and status of Puerto Rico, beyond Lewis’ analysis in Puerto Rico: Freedom and Power in the Caribbean.
- Critical analysis of the state and future of Pan Caribbeanism and integration movements. Sports, culture and the future of Caribbean unity.
Visit the conference webpage here: http://myspot.mona.uwi.edu/cct/gordon-lewis-conference-2010-call-papers-and-panels.