Friday, November 27, 2009


Editorial Authors: Johan Siebers Page Start: 5 View Header/Abstract View PDF Beyond Bergson: the ontology of togetherness Authors: Elena Fell Page Start: 9 View Header/Abstract View PDF Communication between friends Authors: Dan O'Brien Page Start: 27 View Header/Abstract View PDF Communication or Confrontation – Heidegger and Philosophical Method Authors: Vincent Blok Page Start: 43 View Header/Abstract View PDF Self-observation, self-reference and operational coupling in social systems: steps towards a coherent epistemology of mass media Authors: Juan Miguel Aguado Page Start: 59 View Header/Abstract View PDF Content and sense Authors: Lydia Sánchez And Manuel Campos Page Start: 75 View Header/Abstract View PDF The public's right to know in liberal-democratic thought vs. The people's ‘obligation to know’ in Hebrew law Authors: Tsuriel Rashi Page Start: 91 View Header/Abstract View PDF The Soul of the Golem Authors: Daniel H. Cabrera Page Start: 107 View Header/Abstract View PDF Radical Interpretation, the primacy of communication, and the bounds of language Authors: Eli Dresner Page Start: 123 View Header/Abstract View PDF Reviews Authors: Laura Green And Mark Olssen And Nick Turnbull Page Start: 135 View Header/Abstract View PDF Further information is here:,id=1755/.

Romano, Carlin. "We Need 'Philosophy of Journalism.'" CHRONICLE November 15, 2009.

If you examine philosophy-department offerings around America, you'll find staple courses in "Philosophy of Law," "Philosophy of Art," "Philosophy of Science," "Philosophy of Religion," and a fair number of other areas that make up our world. It makes sense. Philosophy, as the intellectual enterprise that in its noblest form inspects all areas of life and questions each practice's fundamental concepts and presumptions, should regularly look at all human activities broad and persistent enough not to be aberrations or idiosyncrasies. (The latter can be reserved for Independent Studies.) Why, then, don't you find "Philosophy of Journalism" among those staple courses? Why does philosophy, the academic discipline charged to reflect the noblest intellectual enterprise, avoid the subject while departments teem with abstruse courses mainly of interest to the tenured professors who teach them? Read the rest here:

Audio: "Rethinking Secularism: Jürgen Habermas and Charles Taylor in Conversation," November 20, 2009.

This is audio and a transcript of the October 22 discussion between Jürgen Habermas and Charles Taylor, moderated by Craig Calhoun, in which the two leading philosophers discuss the place of religion in the public sphere and whether there are differences in kind between religious and secular reasons. Visit: Listen to the paper presentations that preceded this discussion here: Add your own voice to the discussion here

"Another World is Necessary: Crisis, Struggle and Political Alternatives," University of London, SOAS and Birbeck, November 27-29, 2009.



Cfp: "Truth Matters," Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto, August 18-20, 2010.

We live in an age of skepticism about the idea of truth. Contemporary skeptics question the nature and value of truth and the concomitant virtue of truthfulness. Skepticism about truth is not restricted to popular culture. It occurs within the academic world, where deflationists have argued that the idea of truth is not a substantive notion and some poststructuralists have portrayed it as primarily the scene of struggles for power. Such skepticism is surprising, for truth and truthfulness have been central to Western civilization and the academic enterprise. Historically, the idea of truth has helped organize Western intellectual culture since ancient times. It is a central theme in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the three monotheistic religions that have shaped Western society. Conceptually, the idea of truth sets a stage for fundamental debates about the point and worth of academic work: debates between realists and anti-realists in philosophy, theology, and the natural sciences, for example, or between relativists and anti-relativists in the humanities and social sciences. Societally, the idea of truth provides a normative background for ethics, law, and public discourse: we expect friends and colleagues to be truthful; we ask witnesses in courts of law to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth"; and we get upset when journalists deliberately fabricate their reports. Given both contemporary skepticism and the centrality of truth, we believe it is time to reconceptualize truth and to reclaim truthfulness for the academic enterprise. The conference organizers have undertaken an interdisciplinary philosophical effort to develop a new model of truth. Now we wish to expand the scope of our work by engaging with discussion partners from other schools and from across the disciplines. The Truth Matters conference will be an occasion for international dialogue and debate. Relevant topics for papers and proposals include: • artistic and narrative truth • power, truth, and ideology • realism, anti-realism, and truth • relativism, anti-relativism, and truth • religious truth • teaching and learning for truth • truth in ethics • truthfulness in public life We invite submissions in English of 700-word proposals or papers not exceeding 3500 words. Interdisciplinary approaches are welcome, and submissions by graduate students are encouraged. There will be up to two merit-based graduate essay awards of $250 Canadian. All submissions must be formatted for blind review. On a separate cover sheet give your name, contact information, and 2-4 key words. Please identify yourself as a graduate student if you wish to be considered for an award. Send your submission via e-mail to Submission deadline: March 1, 2010. Truth Matters continues a series of conferences on issues of faith and scholarship organized by four schools in the Reformed tradition. It is hosted by the Institute for Christian Studies, a graduate school for interdisciplinary philosophy in Toronto, and co-sponsored by Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI), Dordt College (Sioux Center, IA), and the Free University (Amsterdam). For more information, visit

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Divining the Message / Mediating the Divine," Graduate Students' Conference, Department of Religion, University of Columbia, April 2-3, 2010.

Update: The keynote speakers will be Bernard Stiegler, Samuel Weber, Mark C. Taylor, and Brian Larkin. Original Post (October 17, 2009): Whether sacred symbols or sanctioned authorities, intermediaries have been both conduits for and barriers to access to the divine. Mediating objects, forms, rituals, and people have long been central to religious practice and belief. They are conditions of both possibility and impossibility, at one and the same time providing glimpses of the heavens and anchoring us to the earth. Institutions such as the Catholic Church and the Imamate have at times dictated the ways in which humans commune with the divine. In other places and at other times, charismatic leaders or apprenticed specialists have mediated more directly. Some of these leaders prophetically mediate between a culture's past and its future, and in the example of the archive, between its past and its present sovereignty. At other times, previously religious spheres have undergone near total reinscription, leaving passive forces like evolution and the invisible hand of the economy to dictate what was previously the realm of a more intentional being. The institutions mediating faith in markets and divine faith have changed radically, leaving us to wonder what may persist through their reinscription. New media technologies have transformed not only how people commune with one another, but also how they communicate with the divine. With the printing press and telephone wires, and with television and the internet, we can now consider whether our message to the divine is best delivered by letter, email, voicemail, or text message. While many still attend brick and mortar churches, build a sukkah in their backyard, or chant at a Shinto shrine, the current moment of technological acceleration has changed the ways in which many people practice religion. Some study Buddhism in the virtual gaming world of Second Life, others visit a satellite campus of Saddleback Church to see Rick Warren's Sunday sermon streamed in from the other side of Orange County, and still others sit on the beach while reading the New International Version of the Bible on their Amazon Kindles. As intermediaries proliferate, and as our relationship to old mediations changes, so do the ways in which we practice religion, imagine the divine, and imagine ourselves. The 2010 Columbia University Religion Graduate Students' Conference seeks to bring together papers from a wide range of disciplinary, theoretical, historical, and geographical perspectives that examine varying conceptions of mediation, including: 1. The media of mediation (print, TV, internet, cinema, icons, translation, etc.) 2. The institutions of mediation (Church, state, theology, tradition, economy, culture) 3. The people who mediate (the Pope, gurus, pastors, priests, séance mediums, other spiritual leaders, and the spirit possessed) 4. Temporal mediations (prophecy, mourning, melancholy, and trauma, as mediating the past, present, and future) Presenters from the social sciences and humanities are equally welcome. We also invite visual art proposals exploring the conference's theme to be displayed in the gallery adjoining the panel rooms for the duration of the conference. Please submit an abstract (prepared for blind review) of no more than 300 words to by December 1, 2009. Final papers should be 9-12 double-spaced pages in length (presenters will have approximately 20 minutes to speak). Panel submissions are also welcome; for panels of 3 or 4 presenters, please include an abstract of 250 words detailing the common concerns tying the individual presentations together, in addition to the individual paper abstracts.

Dell Hymes (1927 - 2009).

Dell Hathaway Hymes (June 7, 1927, Portland, Oregon - November 13, 2009, Charlottesville, Virginia) was a sociolinguist, anthropologist, and folklorist whose work dealt primarily with languages of the Pacific Northwest. He was one of the first to call the fourth subfield of anthropology "linguistic anthropology" instead of "anthropological linguistics." The terminological shift draws attention to the field's grounding in anthropology rather than in what by that time was already become an autonomous discipline (linguistics). Further information on his life and career may be found here: His Faculty Page at the University of Virginia may be found here:

Cfp: "Video Game Cultures and the Future of Interactive Entertainment," Mansfield College, University of Oxford, July 7-9, 2010.

This inter- and multi-disciplinary conference aims to examine, explore and critically engage with the issues and implications created by the mass use of computers and videogames for entertainment and focus on the impact of innovative videogame titles and interfaces for human communication and ludic culture. In particular the conference will encourage equally theoretical and practical debates which surround the cultural contexts within which videogames flourish. Papers, presentations, workshops and reports are invited on any of the following themes: 1. Videogames and Gaming: Theories and Concepts of Gaming. Identifying Key Features and Issues. Critical Theory for Videogames: Moving past the Narratology/Ludology Debate. 2. Videogame Cultures: Emerging Practices in Online and Offline Gaming. Social Dimension of Online Gaming and Presence in Virtual Worlds. Videogame Modifications. 3. Ethical Issues in Videogames: Videogames for children. Depiction of Violence, Sex, Morality and their relation to Maturity. Propaganda Games. Censorship. 4. Videogame Technologies and the Future of Interactive Entertainment: New Forms of Interaction, Immersion and Collaboration in Videogames. The Role of Innovative Interfaces. 4. Reception, Temporality and Video Games: Player Generations. Old Originals vs. Retro games. Indie Games and Low-Tech Aesthetic. 5. The Relations between Cinema and Videogames: Crossmedia and Transmedia Approach to Videogames. Cutscene Production. Machinimation. Interactive Storytelling. 6. Art and Experimental Games: The Aesthetic Aspects of Videogames. Performative Use of Videogames. Art-Mods. 7. Serious Games and Virtual Worlds: Social Impact Simulations. Educational Use of Videogames. Documentary Videogames. Political Issues. The Steering Group welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 15th January 2010. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 28th May 2010. 300 word abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats with the following information and in this order: a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract. Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend. Joint Organising Chairs: Daniel Riha Charles University Prague, Czech Republic E-mail: Rob Fisher Network Founder and Network Leader Inter-Disciplinary.Net Priory House, Freeland, Oxfordshire OX29 8HR United Kingdom E-mail: For further details about the conference please visit:

Cfp: "Realisms in Contemporary Culture: Theories, Politics and Medial Configurations," FRIAS, Freiburg University, September 23-25, 2010.

In the context of structuralist and poststructuralist theory, realism, with its implication of a transparent representation of reality, was deemed at best out-moded and at worst ideologically insidious. Recent years, however, have seen a revival of the term in analyses of contemporary developments in literature and film, at times even as a yardstick for measuring the quality of individual works. A closer look shows that in critical debates widely differing concepts of realism are used, often connected with explicit or implicit ideological positions. The question of what may be understood by realism is thus still very much open to debate and, what is more, highly charged.

The aim of this conference is, firstly, to chart the territory of the usages of the term ‘realism’ in contemporary theory. Secondly, we want to discuss the validity and usefulness of the ‘realisms’ posited for describing and analyzing trends in contemporary literature and film. How does the debate on realism tie in with the ongoing controversies regarding the connections between ethics or politics and form? In what ways do ‘realist’ contemporary works relate to socio-cultural developments? In order to foster an interdisciplinary discussion, we invite papers from a range of different disciplines (e.g. literary studies, media and digital studies, art history) on topics such as Concepts of realism in contemporary critical debate Formal realism and reception aesthetics Medial developments and realism Transmedial comparison of the ‘reality effect’ Case studies of realism in contemporary culture Ethics / Politics and realism … Contributors are strongly encouraged to make explicit their own usage of ‘realism’ by reflecting on the question of what they see as realism and how they would distinguish it from other modes of representation. Application Please send your one-page abstract for a 30-minute presentation to Submission deadline is 31st January 2010. Organizing Institution The Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) is the University of Freiburg’s international research college. It was established after Freiburg’s success in the Federal Excellence Initiative in October 2007. As a centre-piece of the Albert-Ludwigs-University’s institutional strategy, FRIAS pursues three main objectives: to promote top level research, to develop new interdisciplinary areas of competence and knowledge, and to foster the advancement of outstanding junior scholars. Contact For further information, please contact Dr. Stella Butter ( or Dr. Dorothee Birke (

Furtak, Rick Anthony. Review of C. Stephen Evans, KIERKEGAARD. NDPR (November 2009).

Evans, C. Stephen. Kierkegaard: an Introduction. Cambridge: CUP, 2009. C. Stephen Evans has been established for decades as one of the most highly respected scholars of Kierkegaard's writings, and his newest book offers a concise introduction to Kierkegaard's thought, with particular attention to its significance for philosophy. Early on, he concedes that "there are many themes in Kierkegaard as well as whole works that this book barely touches on or omits entirely" (xi). This is inevitable for any one-volume work, of course. The task of a reviewer, accordingly, must be to comment on what Evans does an especially good job of illuminating, and also to say a few things about what else might be highlighted for the philosophical reader of Kierkegaard, beyond the themes and texts that are emphasized by Evans. To begin with, he is entirely right to point out that Kierkegaard's interpretation of human existence, although it involves decidedly religious categories, is not relevant only for readers who are already inclined toward religion (16). As George Pattison has noted in another recent book on Kierkegaard as philosopher, judicious readers ought neither to accept nor to reject his ideas solely by virtue of their affiliation with Christianity. We should first try to decide independently whether or not Kierkegaard's writings offer "a persuasive or adequate depiction of the human condition." One reason for doing this is that we cannot appreciate Kierkegaard's distinctive understanding of religiousness if we view his works through the lens of a prior acceptance or rejection of Christianity, as we already understood it before encountering Kierkegaard's writings. This would not be an appropriate way of coming to terms with an idiosyncratic author who shares the Socratic conviction "that individuals must discover the truth for themselves", as Evans observes, and who calls for a return to the "conception of philosophy that inspired the Greeks" -- that is, as the critical search for a general understanding of reality that could inform a life of wisdom (29, 4). This affinity for the spirit of Greek thought, which is evident in many of Kierkegaard's pseudonymous and signed writings, is being increasingly recognized as a key to understanding his work. Indeed, it may be that our attitude toward the classical notion of philosophy as a way of life will serve as a better indication of how much we could learn from Kierkegaard's writings than our feelings about religion -- although this last suggestion might be taking the analogy between Kierkegaard and the ancients more seriously than Evans believes we ought to do. . . . Read the whole review here:

Brockelman, Thomas P. Review of Alejandro Vallega, SENSE AND FINITUDE. NDPR (November 2009).

Vallega, Alejandro A. Sense and Finitude: Encounters at the Limits of Language, Art, and the Political. Albany: SUNY Press, 2009. Alejandro Vallega's new book, Sense and Finitude: Encounters at the Limits of Language, Art, and the Political, is admirable both in its location of finitude as the key positive insight in Heidegger and in its effort, having admitted the cogency of Heidegger's technology-critique, nonetheless to maintain a certain distance from Heidegger's univocal understanding of Western History. Vallega's text also forms a significant contribution to the reception of Heidegger's Beiträge, his recently translated 1936 text documenting the German thinker's mapping of a project that, in hindsight, seems to have remained remarkably stable from the mid-1930s until his death in 1976. More problematically, Vallega argues for the continuity of Heidegger's thought from early through late, a task for which the Beiträge is especially handy. While, from my perspective, the chasm of his response to modernity opens between the two periods, there can be little doubt that, in some form, the question of finitude remains a constant for Heidegger. Recognizing this, the initial four chapters of Sense and Finitude use the Contributions to Philosophy to link the analyses of "mood", "thrownness", etc., from earlier texts such as Being and Time and the Basic Problems of Phenomenology to the later work with its technology critique and accompanying announcement of the "end of metaphysics". For Vallega, as was certainly true for Heidegger from 1936 onward, the task of living honestly as mortal human beings -- i.e., of living in a fashion that acknowledges the transcience of our experience and lives -- demands above all a response to modern technology as "what's happening" in our world. Of course, what "modern technology" means is best captured by the preferred term from the Beiträge, "machination", rather than any word implying criticism of technological objects or strategies: what Heidegger, and Vallega, have in mind, is the basic "way of seeing the world" that leads to the development of technologies -- a mode of being which increasingly reduces everything to its "potential usefulness" in such a project of control: "the future depends on the urgent production of results and technological implements for shaping and making the future safe and secure through the expansion ad infinitum of rational quantitative productions of meanings and goods" (p. 15). . . . Read the rest here:

Cfp: "Rhetoric 2.0: Continuity and Change from the Oral Tradition to the Digital Age," Texas Woman's University, February 12, 2010.

Federation Rhetoric Symposium 2010. Once a thing is put in writing, it rolls about all over the place, falling into the hands of those who have no concern with it just as easily as under the notice of those who comprehend; it has no notion of whom to address or whom to avoid. And when it is ill-treated or abused as illegitimate, it always needs its father to help it, being quite unable to protect or help itself. (Plato, Phaedrus) The Federation Rhetoric Symposium will provide an opportunity for a diverse group of scholars to investigate how today’s rhetors continue to use the wisdom of Sophistic, Classical, and Medieval rhetors who debated the validity of rhetoric, Renaissance and Modern rhetors who helped this art transition into a fully developed written tradition, and the contemporary debate about the validity of digital rhetoric. The Federation Rhetoric Symposium is now accepting proposals for papers and panels from faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and independent scholars investigating the ways rhetoric has and has not changed throughout the centuries and contemplating future continuities and changes. We are broadly defining the theme to emphasize rhetoric in all areas including but not limited to: Rhetorical Theory Rhetorical History Discourse Analysis Genre Analysis Composition Theory Communication Studies English Studies Journalism History Film Studies Digital Rhetoric New Media Studies Disability, Gender and Minority Studies Political Science Suggestions for possible areas of interest: Critical Theory Academia/Professional Issues Rhetoric & Philosophy ESL & Composition Pop Culture Rhetoric of Mass Media Literary Studies Rhetoric and Technology Computers and Writing Basic Writing Writing Center Theory & Practice Composition & Rhetoric Dr. Patricia Bizzell, 2008 Conference on College Composition and Communication Exemplar Award winner and distinguished scholar of rhetoric and public address, will be our keynote speaker at the conference. Dr. Bizzell is a prolific author and notable speaker who has written and presented on topics as diverse as composition theory, feminist research, Jewish rhetoric, the history of rhetoric. She is the founder of The Writer’s Workshop and the WAC program at College of the Holy Cross. The Federation Rhetoric Symposium is part of an ongoing series, "A Symposium in Rhetoric" that has welcomed many notable speakers since the first meeting in 1973. These keynoters have included Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, Kathleen Blake Yancey, Sonja Foss, Richard Enos, Cynthia Selfe, James Kinneavy, Kenneth Burke, Stephen Toulmin, and many others.

Cfp: "Nietzsche's Postmoralism," Department of Philosophy, University of Southampton, July 7–9, 2010.

Confirmed Plenary Speakers:
* Dan Conway (Texas & AM)
* Christa Davis Acampora (Hunter College, CUNY)
* Rainer Forst (Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt)
* Paul Loeb (Puget Sound)
* Alexander Nehamas (Princeton)
* Robert Pippin (Chicago)
* Tamsin Shaw (Princeton)
* Ivan Soll (Wisconsin-Madison)

Possible topics include (but are by no means limited to):
  • What ‘postmoralism’ is or means;
  • What sort of alternative to ‘morality’ Nietzsche intends (e.g. perfectionist or otherwise, social or individualistic);
  • Who is to bring about, or engage in, this alternative ideal;
  • Nietzsche’s ideal type;
  • How ‘immoral’ Nietzsche’s postmoralism is;
  • Which values might survive Nietzsche's critique of morality and/or feature in his positive ideal;
  • Whether Nietzsche’s postmoralism is adequately motivated by his critique of morality;
  • The justificatory/metaethical status of Nietzsche’s positive normative/evaluative claims.
We especially encourage papers that connect Nietzsche’s postmoralism to the project’s wider remit: namely, a critical assessment of Nietzsche’s significance for modern moral philosophy. For further details, see

Cfp: "Who Am I Online?," University of Aarhus, May 10-11, 2010.

As time and technology progress, how we interact with the world and each other becomes increasingly complex and articulated. The quantity and diversity of information in our environment, and the ease with which we can access that information and integrate it into our daily lives, have increased exponentially over the past decade. For many of us, the environment with which we interact has changed to make possible entirely new ways of working with information and being with others. Interest in these topics has recently been amplified by the advent of the so-called “Web 2.0”, a (continuing) expansion of interactive venues such as social networking, blogging and microblogging such as Twitter, and “pro/sumer”activities in which consumers of media content such as music and videos are simultaneously its producers. Psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists - including those whose research is gathered under the general domain of computer-mediated communication (CMC) - have for some time been interested in the ways in which such changes in our informational environment might affect us and our self-conceptions. The relevance of new technologies to our lives has attracted academic attention in large part because it appears to raise questions about how new kinds of interactions with others and our environment might alter, shape or otherwise affect our self-conceptions,our thoughts and other aspects of our cognitive, emotional and moral lives. And the project of ascertaining which properties of ourselves and our activities make essential contributions to our moral and mental lives and personhood is one in which philosophers are traditionally engaged. Yet these topics have, thus far, been relatively neglected by philosophers. This is especially strange when considered alongside the emphasis in recent philosophy of mind on the essential contributions that the embedding environment and our modes of interaction with it can make to our mental lives. If it's possible that our informational environment and our capacities for interaction with it can constitutively shape our mentalityand our moral conduct, we should consider whether radical changes in that environment and its interactive affordances may have implications for the character of our mental and moral lives, and perhaps for the sorts of persons we are. There is already significant evidence that such changes are upon us in both what we used to call the Western and Eastern worlds - most obviously, asapparent changes in self-conception are affiliated with dramatically changing understandings and expectations of ‘privacy,’ especially informational or online privacy. So, what implications do new informational environments and affordances have for philosophical and ethical views of personal identity? And what light, if any, can existing philosophical work on personal identity shine on the conceptual issues that arise when talkingand thinking about agents, environments and interactions that span or blur the real/virtual and online/offline divides? The workshop will address these issues. We welcome proposals for papers dealing with the construction of personal identities online. Please submit extended abstracts (between 1000 and 1500 words all included, preferably in MS Word format) for papers suitable for 40-minute presentations to Dave Ward ( by 31 March 2010.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cfp: Annual Conference, Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric, Concordia University, June 2-4, 2010.

Special Session: "Rhetorics of the Exception, the Exceptional, Exceptionality" (Chair: Michael Purves-Smith, Wilfrid Laurier University) Scholars are invited to propose papers on the topos of the exception and exceptionality. When and how does "exception" create a rhetorical space? How does rhetoric depend on a dialectic of the expected as opposed to the exceptional? Is there then a tension between endorsing the unusual and distancing oneself from something when we make or take exception? The answer might include any rhetorical strategies that may be described or defined in connection with "to except." The subject may encompass both exceptional rhetoric and the exceptional rhetor. A few possible approaches: • What persuasive strategies are available to those who would rise in the court of public opinion when everyone and everything is seen to be exceptional? • Is the appeal to the exceptional, pervasive in the realm of advertising, the last resort of rhetoric in the midst of a landscape of communication dominated by "twitter?" • What is the rhetorical impact of American exceptionalism? Do we have permission to take it for granted and is there any parallel between it and the exceptionality implied by Quebec as a distinct society or special status for aboriginal people? • Finally, is the subject of exception contained by the classical topos of difference? Open Sessions on Rhetoric: Papers concerning more general aspects of rhetoric are always welcome: • Rhetorical theory • Rhetorical criticism • History of rhetoric • Rhetoric in popular culture • Media communication • Discourse analysis • Rhetoric of political and social discourse • Pedagogy of communication • Rhetoric and the media • Sociolinguistics and pedagogy • Semiotics • Professional and technical communication Further information is available at the CSSR website:

Wiedebach, Hartwig. Review of Benjamin Pollock, FRANZ ROSENZWEIG AND THE THE SYSTEMATIC TASK OF PHILOSOPHY. NDPR (November 2009).

Pollock, Benjamin. Franz Rosenzweig and the Systematic Task of Philosophy. Cambridge: CUP, 2009. In 1921, Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1929) published his philosophical-theological opus magnum: Der Stern der Erlösung (The Star of Redemption, SE), in the Kauffmann-Verlag in Frankfurt, a renowned publishing house for Jewish studies. The book had a mixed reception, marked by both interest and puzzlement. Consequently, four years later, Rosenzweig published "additional remarks" regarding the book. He explained that SE was not a Jewish book in the common understanding of the term. Almost provocatively, Rosenzweig wrote: "rather it is merely a system of philosophy". Benjamin Pollock's book is the most extensive and detailed study to date on this assertion. It presents all the earlier stages in Rosenzweig's thought that led to this conception, and then discusses the systematic construction of SE itself. The presentation is clear and understandable (and particularly accessible because of its wise use of cross-references and frequent restatements of the main theses). Pollock documents in a highly illuminating manner the extensive dispute Rosenzweig waged with Kant, with the tradition of German idealism nourished by Spinoza and Jacobi's counter-criticism, and with a number of contemporary comrades in thought and friends in his own circle. That is manifest, for example, in looking at the question of what actually motivated Rosenzweig to engage in constructing a system. Pollock discovers this motivation in Rosenzweig's well-known early works. . . . Read the whole review here:

Polt, Richard. Review of Martin Heidegger, BASIC CONCEPTS OF ARISTOTELIAN PHILOSOPHY. NDPR (November 2009).

Heidegger, Martin. Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy. Trans. Robert D. Metcalf and Mark B. Tanzer. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2009. This volume presents a lecture course delivered by Heidegger in Summer Semester 1924 at the University of Marburg in which he examines a variety of Aristotelian texts, elucidating key concepts and exploring how these concepts are rooted in the Greek experience of the world. The book was first published in German in 2002 as volume 18 of the collected edition of Heidegger's writings. We now have access to many of Heidegger's interpretations of Aristotle from the 1920s, and most of these are now available in English. Texts such as these make it clear that, despite the revolutionary impact of Being and Time (1927), Heidegger developed some of its central ideas by the most traditional of routes: commentary on the Philosopher. To be sure, Heidegger's is an unusual sort of commentary, which retrieves Aristotle as a proto-phenomenologist and reads him in terms of a larger agenda that is not always explicit. So it would be wrong to call Heidegger an Aristotelian, but it would also be wrong to say that he turns Aristotle into a Heideggerian. Such labels presume that a philosophy consists of a set of propositions to which a philosopher has given assent. But for Heidegger, propositional meaning depends on a deeper, lived engagement with one's situation; he tries to cultivate that engagement in his students and himself by finding evidence of such engagement in Aristotle. In this way, antiquity may give a "jolt to the present, or better put, to the future" (5). No theorems of Aristotelian or Heideggerian philosophy are brought into a system here. Instead, by weaving through a wide range of Aristotle's texts, Heidegger gradually familiarizes us with the Greek sense of being and tries to motivate us to attend to the phenomena just as seriously as Aristotle did (12, 229). If this is not what one expects from a philosopher, then Heidegger prefers not to call what he is doing philosophy at all: let it be called philology (4, 225). As for biographical considerations, he makes the famous statement, "Regarding the personality of a philosopher, our only interest is that he was born at a certain time, that he worked, and that he died" (4). The volume under review presents a major textual challenge that the editor, Mark Michalski, has met in a responsible and reasonable way. The frequent quotations and paraphrases from Aristotle and others require numerous footnotes; a more serious problem is that only about a third of Heidegger's lecture notes are extant, and the rest of what Heidegger actually said must be reconstructed from student transcripts (not "Student Writings", as the translation has it [1]). Since Heidegger's notes are brief and often cryptic, we must admire the improvisational skill with which he apparently delivered an organized, fleshed-out presentation at the lectern. We must also be grateful for the shorthand skills of Walter Bröcker and Gerhard Nebel, the students who recorded Heidegger's spoken German and Greek (275); thanks to their efforts, we can imagine ourselves following along in the lecture hall in 1924. If we had actually been there, we would have had some very gifted classmates, including Hans-Georg Gadamer, Helene Weiss, Jacob Klein, Hans Jonas, Leo Strauss, and Karl Löwith. These promising students were drawn to Marburg by a "rumor of the hidden king", as Hannah Arendt, who joined them in the next semester, was to recall. Heidegger was developing a reputation for thinking in a fresh and exciting way, for bringing the ancients back to life, and even for reviving philosophy itself in Germany. Courses such as the one reconstructed in this volume were to inspire Heidegger's students permanently, even if most came to resist his thought after the shock of his support for the Nazi regime. . . . Read the whole review here:

Cfp: GLOSSATOR (Fall 2010).

The editors of Glossator: Practice and Theory of the Commentary ( invite submissions of COMMENTARIES for the next open issue, Fall 2010. Essays and articles relating to commentary will also be considered. What is commentary? Although the distinction between commentary and other forms of writing is not an absolute one, the following may serve as guidelines: A commentary focuses on a single object (text, image, event, etc.) or portion thereof. A commentary does not displace but rather shapes itself to and preserves the integrity, structure, and presence of its object. The relationship of a commentary to its object may be described as both parallel and perpendicular. Commentary is parallel to its object in that it moves with or runs alongside it, following the flow of reading it. Commentary is perpendicular to its object in that it pauses or breaks from reading it in order to comment on it. The combination of these dimensions gives commentary a structure of continuing discontinuity and a durable utility. Commentary tends to maintain a certain quantitative proportion of itself vis-à-vis its object. This tendency corresponds to the practice of "filling up the margins" of a text. Commentary, as a form of discourse, tends to favor and allow for the multiplication of meanings, ideas, and references. Commentary need not, and often does not, have an explicit central thesis or argument. This tendency gives commentary a ludic or auto-teleological potential. Submissions may be sent through the journal website or as Word attachment to Deadline: March 1, 2010. ABOUT GLOSSATOR Glossator publishes original commentaries, editions and translations of commentaries, and essays and articles relating to the theory and history of commentary, glossing, and marginalia (catena, commentum, gemara, glossa, hypomnema, midrash, peser, pingdian, scholia, tafsir, talkhis, tika, vritti, zend, zhangju, et al). The journal aims to encourage the practice of commentary as a creative form of intellectual work and to provide a forum for dialogue and reflection on the past, present, and future of this ancient genre of writing. By aligning itself, not with any particular discipline, but with a particular mode of production, Glossator gives expression to the fact that praxis founds theory. Glossator is a peer-reviewed open-access journal, sponsored by The Graduate Center, CUNY. It is available online at Editors: Nicola Masciandaro (Brooklyn College, CUNY), Karl Steel (Brooklyn College, CUNY), Ryan Dobran (Cambridge University). Section Editors: Nadia Altschul (Johns Hopkins), Stephen A. Barney (UC Irvine), Erik Butler (Emory University), Mary Ann Caws (Graduate Center, CUNY), Alan Clinton (Georgia Institute of Technology), David Greetham (Graduate Center, CUNY), Bruno Gullí (Long Island University), Daniel Heller-Roazen (Princeton University), Jason Houston (University of Oklahoma), Heather Jackson (University of Toronto), Eileen A. Joy (Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville), Anna Klososowka (Miami University), Erin Labbie (Bowling Green), Carsten Madsen (University of Arhaus), Sean McCarthy (Lehman College, CUNY), Reza Negarestani, Daniel C. Remein (NYU), Sherry Roush (Penn State University), Michael Sargent (Graduate Center, CUNY), Michael Stone-Richards (College for Creative Studies), Eugene Thacker (Georgia Institute of Technology), Frans van Liere (Calvin College), Jesús R. Velasco (Columbia), Robert Viscusi (Brooklyn College, CUNY), Valerie Michelle Wilhite (Miami University), Scott Wilson (Lancaster University), Yoshihisa Yamamoto (Chiba University). FORTHCOMING THEMED VOLUMES The Poetry of J. H. Prynne. Special Co-Editor: Ryan Dobran. Spring 2010. Contributors: Justin Katko, Sam Ladkin, Ian Patterson, Neil Pattison, Reitha Pattison, Robin Purves, Thomas Roebuck, Matthew Sperling, Josh Stanley, Michael Stone-Richards, Keston Sutherland, Mike Wallace-Hadrill, John Wilkinson. Occitan Poetry. Special Co-Editors: Anna Kłosowska & Valerie Wilhite. Spring 2011. Contributions: Vincent Barletta, Bill Burgwinkle, Charles Fantazzi, Marisa Gálvez, Virginie Greene, Cary Howie, Erin Labbie, Deborah Lyons, Simone Marchesi, Jean-Jacques Poucel, Jesús Rodríguez-Velasco, Luke Sunderland, Valerie Wilhite. Black Metal. Special Co-Editors: Nicola Masciandaro & Reza Negarestani. Spring 2012. Contributors: Lee Barron, Ray Brassier, Erik Butler, Dominic Fox, Nicola Masciandaro, Reza Negarestani, Benjamin Noys, Steven Shakespeare, Aspasia Stephanou, Eugene Thacker, James Trafford, Stewart Voegtlin, Scott Wilson, Alex Williams, Evan Calder Williams, Ben Woodard.

Vessey, David. Review of John Arthos, THE INNER WORD IN GADAMER'S HERMENEUTICS. NDPR (November 2009).

Arthos, John. The Inner Word in Gadamer's Hermeneutics. Notre Dame: U of Notre Dame P, 2009. Gadamer refused to separate doing philosophy from doing the history of philosophy. To philosophize well, he argued, you had to become conscious of the role tradition plays in shaping your concepts and your conclusions. To do the history of philosophy well you have to philosophize well, for to understand a philosopher's views you need to discern what questions his or her views are answering, and that means understanding what questions are good philosophical questions to ask and what would count as good philosophical answers to those questions. Consequently, Gadamer's philosophizing is done in constant dialogue with philosophers of the past and often lying behind even brief references are unarticulated intellectual richness. Readers of Gadamer are just now starting to appreciate all that is in play in his readings of the history of philosophy. John Arthos' 400-page book -- essentially on nine pages of Truth and Method -- will be a model for future scholarship on Gadamer's intellectual inheritance. In the section "Language and Verbum" in the third part of Truth and Method Gadamer makes the remarkable claim that "the human relationship between thought and speech corresponds, despite its imperfections, to the divine relationship of the Trinity." He inststs that a proper understanding of how language connects to the world can only come through reflecting on Augustine's doctrine of the Verbum interius. Arthos not only presents Augustine's doctrine (in Chapter Three, "Hermeneutic Anticipations: The Circular Ontology of the Word in Augustine") he explores in great detail the historical, philosophical, and theological background to Augustine's views. His first chapter, "The Graeco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian Word" presents the origins of the Logos doctrine in Hebrew scripture; in ancient, pre-Attic, Greek; in Hellenistic Greek and Judaism (Philo); in Neo-Platonism; and, leaping ahead in time, in early Protestant theology. His second chapter, "Immanence and Transcendence in the Trinity", covers the developments of Patristic Christology and Trinitarian theology. Chapters 4-6 look more closely at the Thomistic (Chapter Four, "'The Word Is Not Reflexive': Mind and World in Aquinas and Gadamer"), Hegelian (Chapter Five, "The Pattern of Hegel's Trinity: The Legacy of Christian Immanence in German Thought") and Heideggerian (Chapter Six, "Heidegger: On the Way to the Verbum") influences on Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics. As you can tell from his widely cast net, Arthos provides a general overview of Gadamer's thought. His presentation is distinctive not only for how it emphasizes medieval theological influences on Gadamer's philosophy of language, but also for how it highlights Gadamer's debts to humanism and to the history of rhetoric. In the second part of his book, Arthos provides a new translation of, and an extraordinarily detailed and insightful commentary on, the "Language and Verbum" section from Truth and Method. In that section Gadamer claims that
there is an idea that is not Greek that does more justice to the being of language, and so prevented the forgetfulness of language in Western thought from being complete. This is the idea of Christian incarnation.
The "forgetfulness of language" is the view that since Plato (according to Gadamer) language is understood as standing in a merely semiotic, instrumental relationship to things. Words are signs, they typically have a different kind of being than the things they signify, and we relate to them as tools of use for thought and communication. Gadamer disagrees with this view and argues over the course of the final third of Truth and Method that there is a fundamentally ontological connection between words and things and that language is not first and foremost a tool for our use, but the medium through which the world is disclosed to consciousness. Gadamer holds that we are able to escape the "forgetfulness of language" only because we've inherited the conceptual resources generated by medieval interpretations of the Trinity. He is quick to point out that he is not interested in the theological implications of Trinitarian thought; still, we owe a great debt to Arthos for working out in detail how something that is literally a theological mystery can provide substantive conceptual resources for solving a philosophical problem absolutely central to Gadamer's hermeneutics. Indeed because it sheds light on Gadamer's theory of language, and language is so fundamental to his hermeneutics, through addressing this topic Arthos provides a coherent, systematic overview of Gadamer's philosophy. Although his focus is the small section of Truth and Method, he draws widely from Gadamer's Gesammelte Werke. . . . Read the rest here:

Cfp: "Academic Writing and Beyond in Multicultural Societies," Tel-Aviv, July 28-29, 2010.

Hosted by the Institute of Research, Curriculum and Program Development for Teacher Education. At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, more and more educators have come to realize theimportance of academic writing programs both in and beyond academia. The view that thoseentering higher education are able to cope with their writing tasks without guidance has been widelychallenged. The need for quality writing ability after leaving higher education is clear. Beyond theacademy, with globalization in today’s worlds of business, research, and culture, writing skills are anecessity for all who wish to advance professionally. Especially in multicultural societies wherestudents come from many different cultural and linguistic traditions and are often expected to writein more than one language, supporting student writers at all levels of study and preparing them forwriting after their studies are pedagogical imperatives. Two years ago, the Israel Forum for Academic Writing held its first meeting at Tel Aviv University.Its purpose was to connect people engaged in the teaching and research of academic writing in Israel. Instructors in academic writing in Hebrew and English from colleges and universities throughout thecountry attended this meeting. Since then, our organization has grown – we now have over 150members on our mailing list. Visitors from abroad as well as local members have addressed issuessuch as responding to and assessing student writing, the use of technology in the teaching of writing,and how to gain administrative support for our programs. We have been fortunate in finding a homeand support for our organization through the MOFET Institute. In keeping with the intercultural and multi-linguistic nature of today’s societies, invited speakers atthe first international conference on academic writing in Israel will address current issues in firstlanguage, second (third, fourth, etc.) language and foreign language writing. We are also planning to present a panel of writers in English, Hebrew, Arabic, and perhaps other languages on the topic,“Universals and Specifics of Academic Writing across Languages”. Participants will address thequestion of what it means to write in their various languages. Parallel sessions will include individualpresentations, round table discussions, and workshops. The program is designed to engage all those interested in academic writing programs and the writersthey educate. Keynote and plenary sessions will be delivered in English. Papers and small grouppresentations may be given in Hebrew, English, or Arabic. Research-based contributions, as well aspractical approaches to the teaching and learning of academic and professional writing are welcome. Types of Presentations • Individual paper or presentation: 40 minutes including at least 10 minutes for discussion • Panel presentation: three 25-minute presentations with 15 minutes for discussion • Workshop: 90 minutes allowing at least 30 minutes for non-presenter participation • Round-table discussion: 90 minutes including non-presenter participation • Poster presentation Organizing Committee: Trudy Zuckermann — Achva Academic College of Education; Hebrew University of Jerusalem Bella Rubin — Tel Aviv University Hadara Perpignan — Bar Ilan University Sue Schneider — David Yellin College of Education; Open University of Israel Michael Dickel — Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Ohalo College Miri Yochanna — Seminar Hakibbutzim College of Education; CET (the Center for EducationalTechnology) Bev Stock — David Yellin College of Education Ziona Snir — Tel Aviv University; Seminar Hakibbutzim College of Education Cherryl Smith — California State University in Sacramento Further information is available from the conference chair, Dr. Trudy Zuckermann,

Monday, November 09, 2009

"Nietzsches Wissenschaftsphilosophie / Nietzsche's Philosophy of Science," Technische Universität Berlin, July 18–21, 2010.

Science in the wide sense of the German word 'Wissenschaft', covering the natural and the social sciences as well as the humanities, is one of the most significant and efficient features of modern culture. Nietzsche's philosophical work counts among the most prominent and influential reflections on this modern culture and he always put special emphasis on 'Wissenschaft'. From Nietzsche's philosophical point of view, science on the one hand is a specific mode of constructing and defending knowledge-claims, which could be qualified epistemologically, but on the other hand it is a historically contextualized and socially relevant cultural technique. On the basis of these ideas, this conference focuses on the significance and current topicality of Nietzsche's philosophy of science. Moreover, we would like to contextualize Nietzsche within the framework of his contemporary debates and investigate how his thoughts about "the problem of science" influenced the development of the 20th and 21st centuries' philosophy of science. Therefore, we will have keynote- lectures and contributed papers on these four internally connected fields: 1. Topicality: What would be Nietzsche's contribution to current issues in the philosophy of science? 2. Reception: How were Nietzsche's ideas adopted by philosophers of natural and social sciences and humanities in the 20th and 21st centuries? 3. Content: How should we understand central themes and motives of Nietzsche's philosophy of science? 4. Context: What is the significance of Nietzsche's reception of the sciences and contemporary and classical text for his philosophy of science? Conference languages are German and English. If you want to contribute to this conference, please send a one page abstract of your paper and a brief CV to Dr. Helmut Heit: Deadline for contributed papers is Jan.,17th 2010. For further information please consult:

Cfp: "The Futures of Phenomenology," Department of Philosophy, National University of Ireland, Galway, March 6-7, 2010.

Spring Conference of Irish Philosophical Society. Keynote Speaker: Prof. Rudi Visker (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium) The conference is dedicated to raising and addressing some of the fundamental issues and concerns in post-Husserlian thought. Hence, we are seeking papers which address the theme of phenomenological critique, its limits and its relevance, from both a historical and a contemporary perspective. Papers which take up the relationship between phenomenology and other philosophical traditions such as hermeneutics, feminism, Thomism, critical theory, analytic philosophy, etc., are also welcome. We invite individual e-mail submissions for papers on any aspect of Husserlian and post-Husserlian phenomenology, including critiques and applications of phenomenological thinking in any area of contemporary continental thought. Please send an abstract of approximately 750 words, which should be formatted for anonymous review and sent by email to Dr. Michael Dunne (, Dr. Niall Keane ( and Dr. James McGuirk ( by December 15th, 2009. In addition, on a separate sheet please include your full contact details. Submitters will be notified of the committee’s decision regarding their submission via e-mail no later than January 15th, 2010.

"The Future of Philosophy: Metaphilosophical Directions for the 21st Century," Institute of Philosophy, University of London, December 11, 2009.

PROGRAMME 9.00 Registration & coffee 9.30 Terrell Ward Bynum (Southern Connecticut State), "Two Philosophers of the Information Age" 11.00 Timothy Williamson (Oxford), "Philosophical Expertise and the Burden of Proof" 12.30 Lunch (own arrangements) 1.30 Philip Kitcher (Columbia), "Philosophy Inside Out' 3.00 David Papineau (King's College London), "The Importance of Philosophical Intuition" 4.30 Tea 5.00 Panel: The Future of Philosophy: Metaphilosophical Directions for the 21st Century Chair: Armen T. Marsoobian (Editor in Chief, Metaphilosophy) 6.00 Reception hosted by Metaphilosophy Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Further information is here:

"Subject and Appearance: On Alain Badiou's THEORY OF THE SUBJECT and LOGICS OF WORLDS, Middlesex University, November 20, 2010.

Hosted by the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy. 10.00 Registration 10.20 Introduction, Peter Hallward 10.30 SUBJECT
  • Bruno Bosteels, Theory of the Subject (Cornell University, NY)
  • Kristin Ross, "Badiou, Mallarmé and the Commune" ( New York University)

11.15 Discussion Chair: Peter Hallward

12.30 Lunch Break


  • Alberto Toscano, Logics of Worlds (Goldsmiths, London)
  • Ali Alizadeh "Badiou and Hegel" (CRMEP, Middlesex University)

2.30: Discussion Chair: Peter Osborne

3.45 Break

4.00 Subject, Appearance, Politics Panel:

Ali Alizadeh, Bruno Bosteels, Nina Power, Kristin Ross, Alberto Toscano Chair: Éric Alliez 4.30 Closing discussion 5.00–6.30 Reception Further information is here:

Macarthur, David. Review of Jack Ritchie's UNDERSTANDING NATURALISM. NDPR (November 2009).

Ritchie, Jack. Understanding Naturalism. Cheshire: Acumen, 2008. Naturalism is the current orthodoxy within Anglo-American philosophy, an outlook that shapes the way philosophers understand the mission and problems of philosophy. But what is naturalism? This is not an easy question to answer although the general outlines of an answer are clear. Naturalism wants to make philosophy properly responsive to the successes of modern science (rather than traditional philosophy) in providing fruitful explanations and extensive knowledge of natural phenomena. It also wants to make sense of the human condition in non-supernatural terms. Ritchie takes these two tasks to align so that making philosophical sense of ourselves and our world is best approached by looking to science, and only science, for guidance. But how is one to go beyond a general attitude of admiration for science or chanting such vague slogans as "Philosophy is continuous with science" and "There is no first philosophy"? Ritchie's clearly written, well-exampled and engaging book is an attempt to answer this question by distinguishing various kinds of naturalism within the landscape of contemporary scientific naturalism and by providing an overview of some of the most prominent naturalistic projects and programs over the past 50 years concerning knowledge, ontology, science, mind, meaning and truth. Collected volumes have covered this ground before but this is the first book that I am aware of to do so from a single point of view . . . Read the whole review here:

"Thirty Years After: Richard Rorty & the Mirror of Nature," Royal Holloway College & Institute of Philosophy, University of London, November 6, 2009.

Update: Download podcasts of the presentations here: Original Post (April 10, 2009): Programme: 9.30 Registration & coffee 10.00 Bjorn Ramberg (Oslo), "For the sake of his own generation: Rorty on destruction and edification" -- Respondent/Chair: Neil Gascoigne (Royal Holloway) 11.30 Robert Brandom (Pittsburgh), "Global Anti-Representationalism?" -- Respondent/Chair: Tadeusz Szubka (Szczecinski) 1.00 Lunch (own arrangements) 2.30 Albrecht Wellmer (Berlin), Rereading Rorty (II) -- Respondent/Chair: Andrew Bowie (Royal Holloway) 4.00 Tea 4.30 Michael Williams (Johns Hopkins), "" -- Respondent/Chair: Mark Kalderon (UCL) 6.00 Close Further details are available at:

Cfp: "Marxism and Psychology," Department of Psychology, University of Prince Edward Island, August 5-7, 2010.

In the history of social thought, it is difficult to find a more divisive figure than Karl Marx. For many, the mere mention of his name conjures up images of totalitarian regimes dominating nearly every aspect of an individual’s existence. Yet for others, Marx’s critique of the capitalist mode of production draws attention to the fact that our beliefs, thoughts, and desires inevitably emerge against the background of specific cultural, historical, and social practices. The purpose of this conference is to bring students, scholars, and activists together to discuss exciting issues at the intersection of Marxism and Psychology. While it is clear that a number of organizations are making important contributions to this area of study, we believe that the time is right to open up a space for students, scholars, and activists from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds to reflect on the role that Marxism can play in psychological theory, research, and practice. In bringing together scholars at the forefront of research in Marxism and Psychology, we also hope to give new students and activists an opportunity to interact with individuals who have made significant contributions within this area. By organizing an impressive collection of plenary participants, we hope to foster an environment where students, activists, and scholars can identify potential graduate advisors, research assistants, and participatory investigators. This year, confirmed plenary participants include: John Cromby Raquel Guzzo Lois Holzman Gordana Jovanovic Joel Kovel Athanasios Marvakis Morten Nissen Ian Parker Carl Ratner Hans Skott-Myhre Thomas Teo Biographical information for the plenary participants can be found on the conference website. We welcome submissions for individual papers and panel sessions. For individual papers, please submit an abstract (150-200 words) no later than January 15, 2010. For panel submissions, please include an abstract (150-200 words) for each paper as well as a brief description of the panel (150-200 words). Please submit all materials to Abstracts should either be in the body of the email or sent as an attachment (DOC or PDF format). For further information, please visit the conference website:

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Jacobson, Eric. Review of Stephane Moses, THE ANGEL OF HISTORY. NDPR (November 2009).

Mosès, Stéphane. The Angel of History: Rosenzweig, Benjamin, Scholem. Trans. Barbara Harshav. Stanford: Stanford UP, 2009. Stéphane Mosès's The Angel of History is a classic in modern Jewish philosophy and a fine choice for the Stanford series Cultural Memory in the Present edited by Mieke Bal and Hent de Vries. The new translation by Barbara Harshav has made a meaningful contribution to this chain of tradition, carefully rendering complicated phrases from French that once served as interpretations in thought and deed from German. Since the first publication of this pioneering study in 1992, it is surprising to note how much has changed in the scholarship on Franz Rosenzweig, Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem. For one, it is no longer common to place Benjamin under the lens of Marxism. Equally, Rosenzweig is more commonly viewed in the light of Levinas, Expressionism and Heidegger today than in the shadow of Martin Buber. But perhaps even more, our picture of Scholem has considerably changed with the ongoing scholarship of the Kabbalah. We have generally come to see all three figures in their intellectual context more deeply rooted in modern German history and our understanding of the tensions evident in their work -- between thought and action, rupture and causality, and indeed a Jew in a Christian world -- has expanded considerably since the first publication of this book. The first English translation cannot help but raise questions regarding the study of modern German-Jewish thought two decades on. The book is divided into three equal parts with each figure receiving three chapters, yet Rosenzweig emerges as the dominant figure. This is perhaps inevitable from a scholar whose earlier work entitled System and Revelation is a close reading of Rosenzweig's magnum opus, The Star of Redemption. Still there are formal grounds for Rosenzweig's preeminence. An exchange of letters from 1921 establishes the influence of The Star of Redemption on Benjamin and Scholem. There is evidence to suggest that Benjamin shapes his early Messianism in relation to The Star. Scholem's debt to Rosenzweig is evident in many places, not least in a 1930 lecture delivered in Rosenzweig's memory. With Rosenzweig as the benchmark, Mosès seeks to uncover the affinities between the three figures in the notions of history, time and language. He is the first to recognize the conceptual mutuality of the three authors and the need to understand them as part of a common tradition. However, in emphasizing their commonality, thematic structures meant to suggest fraternity occasionally ring hollow and the contrasts insufficient. For example, the association of the three with the categories of "religion", "revolution" and "Zionism", as Mosès suggests in the opening chapter, yields very little ground. Whereas the religion as leitmotif for Rosenzweig is self-evident, there is a very narrow road to revolution in Benjamin and little practical Zionism in Scholem. Much stronger is the notion of a common approach to history, which Mosès understands as a revolt against the idea of progress, a history leading to greater forms of reason that finds an epiphany in Hegel. As he remarks: "Past suffering is not abolished even by a triumphant future, which claims to give them meaning, and more than thwarted hopes are refuted by the failures that seem to sanction them" (11). . . . Read the whole review here:

Frazer, Michael L. Review of J. G. Pocock's POLITICAL THOUGHT AND HISTORY. NDPR (November 2009).

Pocock, J. G. A. Political Thought and History: Essays on Theory and Method. Cambridge: CUP, 2009. As J. G. A. Pocock is wholly aware, Thomas Kuhn's paradigm of "paradigms" is of only limited usefulness outside the natural sciences. It can, however, help give us some sense of Pocock's place in recent intellectual history. Just as political philosophers today cannot help but understand their work in terms of its relationship with that of John Rawls, historians of political thought cannot help but understand their work in terms of its relationship with the Cambridge School, of which Pocock was a founding member. Pocock was coauthor of a paradigm -- or, as he would now put it, a "political language", a new method for talking about political phenomena. The essays collected in the volume under review were selected by their author because they "indicate what I have taken (and still take) this method and its intimations to be" (vii). The method developed by Pocock and his Cambridge colleagues now wields hegemony within its self-proclaimed domain, which includes all scholars of political thought who consider themselves historians, and pointedly excludes those who consider themselves philosophers. The Cambridge School placed a barrier between political theorists and their history. It is incumbent upon those living comfortably on their respective sides of the fence, as well as those who attempt to breach it, to understand why it was erected in the first place. As such, Political Thought and History is an indispensible volume for all of those working within and across these enclosed fields today. The essays collected in this volume span most of Pocock's career. Those in Part I -- entitled "Political Thought as History" -- are, by and large, older, the last dating from 1987. Although Part II -- "History as Political Thought" -- contains two essays from the 1960s, the other three are much more recent, as is an "intermezzo" on Quentin Skinner. For those new to Pocock's take on the Cambridge method, these essays can serve as an accessible introduction. For those already familiar with Pocock's work, the convenience of having many (if not all) of his major methodological writings together is considerable. Political Thought and History is meant not only as an elucidation of the Cambridge method, but also as an application of it. At this late stage in his career, Pocock can look back at his place in the emergence of the Cambridge School in a distinctly Cantabrigian way. While others have already begun explaining the emergence of Cambridge contextualism as a product of its historical context, there is something strange and fascinating in watching a great scholar attempt this procedure on himself and his own ideas. . . . Read the whole review here:

"Animal(s) Matter(s): the Future of Critical Animal Studies," Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool, April 23, 2010.

Sponsored by the Institute for Critical Animal Studies, Society for Applied Philosophy, Mind Association. Speakers: Alistair Currie (PETA) Gauging, Changing and Mobilising Public Opinion: Challenges for AR Advocates. Prof Celia Deane-Drummond (Chester & CAFOD) Taking leave of the animal: transhumanity as transanimality. Jasmijn de Boo (Animals Count) Animal protection on hold in conservative UK Prof Robert Garner (Leicester) In Defence of Sentiency: A Critique of One Version of Animal Rights Dr Simon James (Durham) Animal Minds and the Demand for Evidence Dr Dan Lyons (Uncaged Campaigns) Advancing animal protection: Strategic action in an adverse structural context Dr Karen Morgan (Cardiff) Ethical veganism and animal rights: learning from feminist research and activism Dr Anat Pike (UEL) Creaturely Ethics: Beyond the Discourse of Rights Dr Richard Twine (Lancaster) Putting the ‘critical’ in Critical Animal Studies. What does it mean? Dr Richard White (Sheffield Hallam) Building Alliances between academic and activist communities. Cost (including lunch & refreshments): £40 (waged); £30 (students & unwaged), payable to University of Liverpool. Further information from Stephen R. L. Clark, Dept of Philosophy, University of Liverpool, 7 Abercromby Square, Liverpool L69 7WY or srlclark@LIVERPOOL.AC.UK.

DEATH: Claude Levi-Strauss (1908 - 2009).

Update: See the following obituaries: Original Post (November 3, 2009): Claude Levi-Strauss, the eminent Structuralist anthropologist, died today, November 3. For more information on his life and career, see the Wikipedia entry in English here ( or for information on his publications, visit his PhilWeb page here ( See also the BBC article on his passing here:

Sunday, November 01, 2009

"Symposium on Joshua Glasgow, A THEORY OF RACE." SGRP (Fall 2009).

Glasgow, Joshua. A Theory of Race. London: Routledge, 2009. The SGRP has posted its Fall 2009 Symposium on Joshua Glasgow's book, A Theory of Race. Commentaries are by Michael O. Hardimon (UCSD), Sally Haslanger (MIT), Ron Mallon (U. Utah), and Naomi Zack (U. Oregon) with Joshua Glasgow's reply. Please have a look and post your comments! Download the symposium here:

McWhorter, John. "The Cosmopolitan Tongue: the Universality of English." WORLD AFFAIRS JOURNAL (Fall 2009).

What makes the potential death of a language all the more emotionally charged is the belief that if a language dies, a cultural worldview will die with it. But this idea is fragile. Certainly language is a key aspect of what distinguishes one group from another. However, a language itself does not correspond to the particulars of a culture but to a faceless process that creates new languages as the result of geographical separation. For example, most Americans pronounce disgusting as “diss-kussting” with a k sound. (Try it—you probably do too.) However, some people say “dizz-gusting”—it’s easier to pronounce the g after a softer sound like z. Imagine a language with the word pronounced as it is spelled (and as it was in Latin): “diss-gusting.” The group speaking the language splits into two groups that go their separate ways. Come back five hundred years later, and one group is pronouncing the word “diss-kussting,” while the other is pronouncing it “dizz-gusting.” After even more time, the word would start shortening, just as we pronounce “let us” as “let’s.” After a thousand years, in one place it would be something like “skussting,” while in the other it might be “zgustin.” After another thousand, perhaps “skusty” and “zguss.” By this time, these are no longer even the same language. This is exactly why there are different languages—what began in Latin as augustus became agosto in Spanish and, in French, août, pronounced as just the single vowel sound. Estonian is what happened when speakers of an earlier language migrated away from other ones; in one place, Estonian happened, in the other, Finnish did. And so while Finnish for horse is hevonen, in Estonian it’s hobune. Notice that this is not about culture, any more than saying “diss-kusting” rather than “diz-gusting” reflects anything about one’s soul. In fact, all human groups could, somehow, exhibit the exact same culture—and yet their languages would be as different as they are now, because the differences are the result of geographical separation, leading to chance linguistic driftings of the kind that turn augustus into agosto and août. In this we would be like whales, whose species behave similarly everywhere, but have distinct “songs” as the result of happenstance. Who argues that we must preserve each pod of whales because of the particular songs they happen to have developed? The diversity of human languages is subject to the same evaluation: each one is the result of a roll of the dice. One school of thought proposes that there is more than mere chance in how a language’s words emerge, and that if we look closely we see culture peeping through. For example, in its obituary for Eyak, the Economist proposed that the fact that kultahl meant both leaf and feather signified a cultural appreciation of the unique spiritual relationship of trees and birds. But in English we use hover to refer both to the act of waiting, suspended, in the air and the act of staying close to a mate at a cocktail party to ward off potential rivals. Notice how much less interesting that is to us than the bit about the Eyak and leaves and feathers. For the better part of a century, all attempts to conjure any meaningful indication of thought patterns or cultural outlook from the vocabularies andgrammars of languages has fallen apart in that sort of way, with researchers picking up only a few isolated shards of evidence. For example, because “table” has feminine gender in Spanish (la mesa), a Spanish speaker is more likely—if pressed—to imagine a cartoon table having a high voice. But this isn’t exactly what most of us would think of as meaningfully “cultural,” nor as having to do with “thought.” And in fact, Spanish speakers do not go about routinely imagining tables as cooing in feminine tones. Thus the oft-heard claim that the death of a language means the death of a culture puts the cart before the horse. When the culture dies, naturally the language dies along with it. The reverse, however, is not necessarily true. Groups do not find themselves in the bizarre circumstance of having all of their traditional cultural accoutrements in hand only to find themselves incapable of indigenous expression because they no longer speak the corresponding language. Native American groups would bristle at the idea that they are no longer meaningfully “Indian” simply because they no longer speak their ancestral tongue. Note also the obvious and vibrant black American culture in the United States, among people who speak not Yoruba but English. The main loss when a language dies is not cultural but aesthetic. The click sounds in certain African languages are magnificent to hear. In many Amazonian languages, when you say something you have to specify, with a suffix, where you got the information. The Ket language of Siberia is so awesomely irregular as to seem a work of art. . . . Read the rest here:

IN OUR TIME with Melvyn Bragg. BBC Radio 4 October 29, 2009.

Melvyn Bragg is joined by A.C. Grayling, Beatrice Han-Pile, and Christopher Janaway to discuss the dark, pessimistic philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, which set the tone for much twentieth century thought. Download the podcast here:

Rosenbaum, Ron. "The Evil of Banality." SLATE October 30, 2009.

Will we ever be able to think of Hannah Arendt in the same way again? Two new and damning critiques, one of Arendt and one of her longtime Nazi-sycophant lover, the philosopher Martin Heidegger, were published within 10 days of each other last month. The pieces cast further doubt on the overinflated, underexamined reputations of both figures and shed new light on their intellectually toxic relationship. My hope is that these revelations will encourage a further discrediting of the most overused, misused, abused pseudo-intellectual phrase in our language: the banality of evil. The banality of the banality of evil, the fatuousness of it, has long been fathomless, but perhaps now it will be consigned to the realm of the deceitful and disingenuous as well. . . . Read the rest here: