Friday, April 30, 2010

Cfp: "Who is Calling? Responsible Hermeneutics – Hermeneutics of Responsibility," Aarhus University, June 3-4, 2009.

Update: Senior Speakers include: Richard A. Cohen, Buffalo Georg Bertram, Berlin Santiago Zabala, Baltimore Søren gosvig Olesen, Copenhagen Adam Graves, Denver Jay Mootz III, Las Vegas Aïcha Liviana Messina, Santiago Ejvind Hansen, Aarhus Original Post (December 9, 2009): Hosted by the Research Group in Philosophical Hermeneutics, Institute of Philosophy and History of Ideas. Philosophical hermeneutics, in the broadest sense of the term, has grown to signify a current within contemporary thinking loosely united by the insistence on the historical and linguistic nature of human existence and experience. As such, the primary object or concern of any philosophical-hermeneutical thinking seems to be the understanding and interpretative relations between man, language, and history – a concern that provides common ground for dialogue between a wide variety of thinkers, ranging at least from Nietzsche and Dilthey, through Heidegger, Gadamer, and Ricoeur to Derrida and Vattimo. In dealing with understanding and interpretative relations, philosophical hermeneutics runs the risk of assigning unrestricted privilege to the relation itself at the expense of its individual terms. Since the advent of structural semantics, linguistics, and historiography, this risk has become even more apparent. One of the questions emerging in this regard concerns the status and role of the concept of responsibility within philosophical hermeneutics. This problematic contains at least two dimensions. Firstly, in what sense can hermeneutical subjectivity be disclosed as being-responsible? Whether one turns to Nietzsche’s “second innocence”, Heidegger’s concept of conscience, Lévinasian substitution, or Gadamer’s and Ricoeur’s separate re-interpretations of Aristotelian phronesis, this question seems to be central to any examination of hermeneutical subjectivity – a question becoming just the more pressing by the advent of structuralism, the alleged “death” of the subject, and the unclear status and role of philosophical anthropology within hermeneutics. Secondly, in what sense can hermeneutics itself be posited as a responsible way of thinking? This question pertains to the status of hermeneutical thinking within the more general field and tradition of philosophy. Can hermeneutics be construed as the responsible philosophy par excellence? Here, one might focus on Heidegger’s concept of Andenken, an ethically inspired or animated concept of deconstruction, or Vattimo’s articulation of hermeneutics as a response to a certain “nihilistic vocation”. At any rate,the question of responsibility here turns back upon itself, questions itself as a responsible way of thinking the question as such. In this regard, the question also becomes the more general question of the relation between philosophy and its “other”. Aims and Topics: The aim of the conference is to explore the status or role responsibility within philosophical hermeneutics. Participants may do this by discussing this concept within a philosophical-hermeneutical framework, focusing on the problem of responsible subjectivity, on the problem of responsible thinking, or on the relation between the two. Questions that can be addressed include,but are not limited to: • What is the relation between responsiveness and responsibility? • Are we compelled to defend a strong notion of subjectivity if we want to keep on considering ourselves as responsible persons? • In what sense is responsibility connected to the concept of freedom, and what does a hermeneutical concept of freedom entail? • Is there such a thing as a hermeneutical ethics? • Is responsibility necessarily connected to our behavior towards other persons? In what sense can one be responsible for institutions, traditions or languages? • What is the contribution of, say, Heidegger, Gadamer, Ricoeur, Vattimo, Levinas or Derrida to our understanding of responsibility? For further information please contact Jon Utoft Nielsen (

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