Monday, January 25, 2010

Cfp: "The Cartesian 'Myth of the Ego' and the Analytic/Continental Divide," Radboud University of Nijmegen, September 3-4, 2010.

Themes and Objectives: The philosophical scene has been dominated for many years by the analytic/continental divide. This protracted history of antagonism has tended to obscure the fact that at least on one point the two traditions seem to be remarkably close, if not convergent. Despite all the differences in style and choice of topics, both traditions have been strongly shaped by a profound discussion with “Cartesianism”. Obviously, the term “Cartesianism” here does not necessarily refer to the historical positions defended by René Descartes. Quite to the contrary, both traditions seem to battle against a certain image of Cartesianism, broadly understood as the cluster of philosophical convictions grounded upon the supposition that philosophy should start from “the immediate data of consciousness” and not, for example, from human behaviour or man’s practical relation to reality as the existentialists and pragmatists would have it. One of the Cartesian doctrines that both analytic and continental philosophers generally found most unacceptable was that of the supposition of a pure Self, a pure Ego. What we could call the Cartesian “Myth of the pure Ego” stands for a number of theses: These roughly include two groups of convictions: 1) the metaphysical and epistemological claim that the conscious mind is an inner realm, connected to the outside world via the senses, to which only the ego has privileged access and about which it has incorrigible knowledge. 2) the methodological idea that this self forms the self-evident starting point of a philosophical system. Cartesian philosophy of mind has been a favourite target for analytic philosophers from the very beginning. Think only of Ryle’s critique of substance dualism as a category mistake. In recent days, Dennett’s use of the term “Cartesian Theater” is a prototypical example of the strawman-like position labelled ‘Cartesianism’. The term is used to denounce the view that consciousness is an inner space in which an ego, homunculus or other fictitious entity watches the data coming in from the ourside world. For its part, the continental tradition only became obsessed with combatting “Cartesianism” after Husserl revived the Cartesian ego in the shape of his transcendental phenomenology. In this sense, Husserl’s “Cartesianism” became profoundly influential exactly because it was so unacceptable to most of his followers. Continental philosophers have portrayed Descartes’s/Husserl’s “pure self” as a “phantastical invention” (Heidegger) or as a linguistic fiction (Derrida). This colloquium aims at a critical evaluation of the hidden anti-Cartesian consensus between analytic and continental philosophy. In this context, the colloquium will ask both historiographical and philosophical questions. Examples of historiographical questions include: to what extent did Descartes actually defend the “myth of the pure ego”? In other words, to what extent is “Cartesianism” a twentieth-century construction? What philosophical purposes does this construction serve? Is the rift between analytical and continental philosophy as deep as many have portrayed it? Philosophical questions include: which elements of the Cartesian tradition now still seem worth defending? Which ones should definitively be rejected, be it on the basis of insights gathered in analytic or on the basis of continental philosophy? Can philosophy really do without a “pure self”? Are there viable alternatives for a “pure self”? The organizers of this colloqium do not take an a apriori stand on these questions but invite participants to come to terms with “Cartesianism”, both from historical and contemporary philosophical perspectives. It is the hope of the organizers that in this fashion a fruitful dialogue not only between historical and systematic scholarship, but also between analytic and continental perspectives may result. Confirmed Speakers: Tom Sorell, Kathalin Farkas, Dan Zahavi, Shaun Gallagher Requirements: Papers are invited on any topic related to the theme of the conference. Please send us a brief summary of your paper (maximum 500 words) and a short CV. Submission deadline: 1 April, 2010. Decisions will be reported by 1 May, 2010. Inquiries and submissions should be directed to: Costs for travel and accomodation will be covered by the organizers. There is no conference fee.

Major, William, and Bryan Sinche. "Giving Emerson the Boot." CHRONICLE REVIEW January 17, 2010.

Americanists of the world, unite! Weary with the cult of Ralph Waldo Emerson—the Sage of Concord, the Father of American Transcendentalism—ours is a call to arms. We have awakened from a century-long sleep to find ourselves confronted with a grave mistake, an intellectual blunder: an unseemly idolatry for one of the most confounding of American writers. Speed thee to thy rest, pernicious Sage, for we will submit our students to you no more. What is it about the old man that so vexes? To begin, there's the ego. Other than the odd English major, virtually every student encountering Emerson for the first time (there's almost never a second) gains very little from the exercise other than a rough appreciation for what it must be like to sit in the company of a boorish deity. Emerson writes from on high. (Is it any wonder that another boor, Frank Lloyd Wright, was such a devoted follower?) Our man has taken in a holy draught of air and unfortunately decided to let it out, and his followers have been keen on following the scent ever since. Our students, however, rightly detect something more foul. What a student finds, in fact, is a set of contradictory, baffling, radical, reactionary ideas that offer no practical guidelines for actual human behavior. And that's the good news. Most students can hardly be expected to grapple with Emerson's Nature or "Experience" with any degree of efficacy. They may come to understand some of the major principles and tensions and perhaps, later on in some dark hour, Emerson will re-emerge to teach a lesson about not trusting appearances or the value of stoicism. In all likelihood, students will leave Emerson having been immersed in a confused stew of 19th-century occultism offered up in schizophrenic prose. And we, their professors, often act as if their difficulties stemmed from their own lack of imagination. The fault, though, is that of the author. Because of Emerson's obscurantist and peripatetic style, his meanings—assuming there are some—are hidden. Consider this koan, one among many: "It is essential to a true theory of nature and of man, that it should contain somewhat progressive. Uses that are exhausted or that may be, and facts that end in the statement, cannot be all that is true of this brave lodging wherein man is harbored, and wherein all his faculties find appropriate and endless exercise. And all the uses of nature admit of being summed in one, which yields the activity of man an infinite scope." That is the prose of a crazy person. . . .

Read the rest here:


Kierkegaard, Soren. Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Crumbs. Ed. and trans. Alastair Hannay. Cambridge: CUP, 2009. There have so far been three discernible phases -- three stages, appropriately enough -- in the enterprise of translating Kierkegaard into English. The first began during the Great Depression, and was something of a religious stage. Its spearhead was Walter Lowrie, an Episcopal minister who cast himself as Kierkegaard's "missionary", and promoted Kierkegaard's vision of faith as a bulwark against liberal theology. The translations of Lowrie and his cohort are marked by a lyrical and solemn enthusiasm, which is often sustained by deft tinkering with the text. A second stage, which it is tempting to call "ethical", was launched in the 1970s by Howard and Edna Hong of St. Olaf College. Its fruit is Kierkegaard's Writings, the comprehensively annotated Princeton edition of Kierkegaard's complete works. The Hongs prized consistency and literal precision, if at times at the expense of English flow. Their books remain indispensable tools for the scholar. This leaves the third and ongoing stage of Kierkegaard translation, which I cannot resist calling "aesthetic". Its main engine is Alastair Hannay, a Scottish-born philosopher recently retired from the University of Oslo. Hannay's offerings are deservedly popular: they are not only highly accurate, but also packaged dextrously for a wide readership. Until now, Hannay's translations -- Fear and Trembling (1985), The Sickness Unto Death (1989), an abridged Either/Or (1992), selections from Kierkegaard's Papers and Journals (1996), and A Literary Review (2001) -- were carried by Penguin. The translation here under review is Hannay's latest, the Concluding Unscientific Postscript, and his first with Cambridge (in the series "Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy"). It is a colossal achievement. . . . Read the whole review here:

Ferreira, M. Jamie. Review of Sharon Krishek, KIERKEGAARD ON FAITH AND LOVE. NDPR (January 2010).

Krishek, Sharon. Kierkegaard on Faith and Love. Cambridge: CUP, 2009. Krishek's general aims in this bold book are to show that Kierkegaard's normative revisioning of the concept of religious faith entails a normative revisioning of the concept of love, and that Kierkegaard's project in Works of Love fails to do justice to his best insights about love. In particular, Krishek argues that the model of faith in "two movements" found in Johannes de Silentio's Fear and Trembling is a necessary corrective to the model of love found in Works of Love. This entails a re-examination of both works, prefaced by a re-consideration of the ways in which Kierkegaard's various presentations of love raise issues about loss and resignation. The re-examinations of Fear and Trembling and Works of Love can be judged independently -- that is, the success of her argument about Fear and Trembling does not depend on the success of her argument about Works of Love. Moreover, whether or not her boldest challenge to Works of Love is convincing, her analysis makes illuminating distinctions and in the process introduces the reader to the most recent scholarship on Works of Love. For these reasons, the book is worthwhile reading for any Kierkegaard student or scholar. To an academic audience chastened over the decades by warnings not to put all the writing done by Søren A. Kierkegaard into one melting pot (but to distinguish clearly between pseudonymous writings and signed writings), Krishek's attempt to illuminate and amend one of Kierkegaard's signed religious texts (Works of Love) by reference to an earlier pseudonymous text (Fear and Trembling), and to show "how two of Kierkegaard's most noticeable voices, when joined together, create a clear and interesting ensemble" is provocative (141). Her justification is, I think rightly, that "the core of some of Kierkegaard's most important ideas can be traced back to his pseudonymous writings, and in some cases their expression in these writings is particularly lucid and illuminating" (141). In other words, Krishek usefully reminds us not to overlook the continuity, repetition, and complementarity in Kierkegaard's works. . . . Read the whole review here:


James, C. L. R.  You Don't Play with Revolution: the Montreal Lectures of C. L. R. James. Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2009.

Revolution is a serious business, and C.L.R. James knew more than most. Our brand-new collection presents eight never-before-published lectures by the celebrated Marxist cultural critic, delivered during his stay in Montreal in 1967 and 1968. Ranging in topic from Marx and Lenin to Shakespeare and Rousseau to Caribbean history and the Haitian Revolution, these lectures demonstrate the staggering breadth and clarity of James' knowledge and interest.

Strikingly little information exists today about the period of time James spent working with West Indian intellectuals and students in Canada in the late 1960s, but the research of editor David Austin demonstrates the critical role these encounters played in the development of James' more mature critical theory. Readers just beginning to delve into James work will find this collection accessible and engaging, an ideal introduction to a complex and multi-faceted body of scholarship. Also included are two seminal interviews produced with James during his stay in Canada, selected correspondence from the time period, and an appendix of essays on James' work, which includes the seminal Marty Glaberman essay, "C.L.R. James: The Man and His Work.".

You Don't Play With Revolution also includes a preface by Robert A. Hill, co-founder of the C.L.R. James Study Circle and historical advisor to the new James archive at Columbia University, and a lengthy historical introduction by David Austin.
Further information is available here:

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Contemporary philosophy has been broadly conceived as divided into two camps, analytic and continental. These two camps often ignore each other, sometimes criticize each other, and most rarely discuss matters together in a friendly and constructive spirit. There are various reasons for this situation. Some of the reasons are historical, having to do with the unfortunate developments between the two World Wars that stopped the dialogue and communication between various philosophical schools in Germany and Central Europe. The gap went on widening, and now we have to deal with it. There are exceptions, however. On the topical side, there is already a fledgling tradition of dialogue in various areas. In philosophy of mind and philosophy of psychology there is work being done in mediating between Husserlian phenomenological approach on the one hand and the approaches of cognitive science and analytic philosophy of mind on the other. Shaun Gallagher is one of the exemplary authors doing such a crossing-boundary scholarly work. In philosophy of science there is a beginning of a dialogue between a more hermeneutically oriented approach and the traditional philosophy of science. An exemplary work is the 206 volume of Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science devoted to “Hermeneutics and Science”. In political philosophy there are authors who combine the tradition of German idealism with inspiration from Rawls and Scanlon.

The philosophical situation in the Balkans has always been characterized by day to day contacts and collaboration between philosophers belonging to different schools and orientations. We see this as an opportunity for our journal: why not extend this spirit of tolerance and collaboration, and offer a space for dialogue between the two still antagonistic camps?

Those who are interested to contribute to the Special Issue of BJP for 2011 can find the guidelines for submission at

The deadline for submission of papers is 31 December, 2010.

"Georg Lukács's 'Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat,'" Marx and Philosophy Society, London Knowledge Lab, February 6, 2010.

  • Gordon Finlayson (Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Sussex and is the author of many books and articles on the Frankfurt School);
  • Tim Hall (Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of East London.  His article "Reification, Materialism and Praxis: Adorno's critique of Lukács" is forthcoming in Telos [2010] and he is the co-editor of The Fundamental Dissonance of Existence: New Essays on the Social, Political and Aesthetic Theory of Georg Lukács [New York: Continuum, 2010]);
  • Michalis Skomvoulis (PhD student at the University of Paris 1: Panthéon-Sorbonne and has written extensively on Lukacs).
Attendance is free and open to all. To register e-mail Meade McCloughan:

Marx and Philosophy Society:

Cfp: "Thinking the World in the 21st Century," School of Philosophy, University of Tasmania and Australian Phenomenology and Hermeneutics Association (APHA), April 30-May 1, 2010.

"Thinking the World in the 21st Century" will feature keynote addresses by Prof. Peg Birmingham (DePaul University, Chicago, USA) and Prof. David Wood (Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA). Currently Prof. Birmingham, whose research focuses upon political philosophy, ethics, and feminist theory, is working on a project titled ‘A Lying World Order: Deception as a Philosophical and Political Problem’. Prof. Wood, whose research ranges from continental philosophy to ecology to art and creativity, is working on ‘Things at the Edge of the World’.

‘World’, then, relates their thought, and ‘world’ is the theme around which this colloquium is gathered. With this as the rather open background, we are seeking contributions with a worldly bent: they may be steeped in phenomenology or graced with the lightest of hermeneutic touches. They might take the shape of a standard conference paper, or be entirely creative. Together we hope to create a collegial, challenging, and inspiring colloquium.

Please email your 250-500 word abstract to by February 15th.

Cfp: "Attending to the Other: Critical Theory and Spiritual Practice," St. Catherine's College, University of Oxford, September 23-26, 2010.

15th Biennial Conference, International Society for Religion, Literature and Culture (ISRLC).

Short papers are invited for the following panels; contributors should aim to deliver a 20-minute piece with 10 further minutes for questions and discussion. Please send the proposed title of your paper, with an abstract of not more than 500 words, to the convenor of the panel for which it seems most appropriate.
  • Literature
  • Modern Theology
  • The Bible
  • Islamic Studies
  • Judaism
  • Religion and Modernity
  • German Idealism
  • Postcolonialism
  • Movies
  • The Visual Arts
  • Higher Education
  • Spirituality and Reconciliatio
  • Continental Philosophy of Religion
  • Critical Theory
  • Gender
  • Theological Humanism
  • Music
The deadline for receipt of abstracts is 30th March 2010.

Visit the conference webpage here:

Pub: RETHINKING 1968. PHAENEX 4.2 (2009).

Editorial Introduction: "Rethinking 1968" by KEVIN W. GRAY i-ii
  • "May 1968, Sartre and Sarkozy Abstract by JEAN-PIERRE BOULÉ 1-25
  • "Saving 1968: Thinking with Habermas against Habermas" by KEVIN W. GRAY 26-44
  • "The May 1968 Archives: a Presentation of the Anti-Technocratic Struggle in May 1968" by ANDREW FEENBERG 45-59
  • "May ’68 and the One-Dimensional State" by CHRIS REYNOLDS 60-77
  • "The Frankfurt School’s Interest in Freud and the Impact of Eros and Civilization on the Student Protest Movement in Germany: a Brief History" by PETER-ERWIN JANSEN 78-96
  • "Les événements de Mai as Theory and Practice" by ADRIAN SWITZER 97-129
  • "Sartre’s Pure Critical Theory" by JOHN DUNCAN 130-175
Download the issue here:

Cfp: "Making Sense Of: Health, Illness and Disease," Oriel College, University of Oxford, September 11-13, 2010.

This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary project aims to explore the processes by which we attempt to create meaning in health, illness and disease. In previous years, this interdisciplinary conference has attracted delegates from around the world, including practising clinicians, academics from a variety of disciplines, and persons involved in community-based organizations. At the beginning of the 21st Century, the world is facing a plethora of health problems, some of which could not have easily been predicted as recently as the last two decades of the last century. Globally, there are critical conditions brought about by war, persecution, mass migration, famine and gross social inequalities. In the 'developed societies', a combination of demographic and life-style factors is putting increasing pressures on health-care facilities that are in danger of fragmentation and under-funding. For its part, the general public is presenting practitioners with a challenging contradiction: on the one hand, people live longer than ever before and are, in some respects, healthier – but, on the other, the burden of chronic disease and 'un-wellness' is increasing, and so is the concern with health-related matters on the part of the 'man and woman in the street'. The wellness/illness profile of to-day's communities renders prevention as important as therapy – which, in turn, implies that prevailing social attitudes have a key role in the dynamics of health, illness and health care as an inter-related system.

The 2010 conference is extending a call for papers on any aspect of this complex set of circumstances. Because this is a very broad brief, we particularly welcome papers that address the following themes:
I. Health, Illness and Disease in a Globalised World
* Health, human rights and social justice
* Health, disease and citizenship
* Health and place
* Diasporas and disease
* Health, disease and international medicine
II. Systemic Problems in Health Care
* Managerial vs clinical imperatives
* Professional hierarchies and internal conflicts
* The speed of innovation
* The contested nature of evidence-based medicine
* Patients or clients?
III. Beliefs about Health
* Positive thinking, tranquillity and mindfulness
* Faith in diets (including water), eg vegan, low-carb, natural/organic
* Exercise, breathing
* Belief vs practice
* Fears: allergies, sensitivities, negativethinking, stress, contamination
* Puritanism and health beliefs
* 'Healthism' as the new religion
IV. Attitudes to Medicine/Healing
* Medicine as science
* Alternative/non-western approaches: evidence or ideology?
* Mistrust in 'the system' ('medicine/science cannot explain everything')
* Mistrust in the practitioners (lack of knowledge/competence/professionalism)
* Risk and trust in the medical encounter (including hospital stays)
* Litigation in the context of health care; the underlying complexities
V. Purveyors of information
* The media and the popularity of medical programs
* Personal networks
* Dr C. O. M. Puter – the role of the Internet
* Reflexivity in the system – how does public information feed back into health care?

300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 26th March 2010. If your paper is accepted for presentation at the conference, an 8 page draft paper should be submitted by Friday 13th August 2010. 300 word abstracts should be submitted to both Organising Chairs with the subject line HID9.  Abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats, following this order: author(s), affiliation, email address, title of abstract, 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 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:

Cfp: "Concepts of Health and Illness," University of the West of England, September 1-3, 2010.

Keynote Speakers:
  • KWM Fulford (Warwick, UK), "Delusion and Spiritual Experience: Facts, Values and Concepts of Disorder in Mental Health"
  • Lennart Nordenfelt (Linköping, Sweden), tba
  • Fredrik Svenaeus (Södertörns högskola, Sweden), "What is phenomenology of medicine? Embodiment, illness and being-in-the-world"
Over the past three decades, various accounts of health, illness and disease have been proposed by researchers from history, sociology, law, philosophy, public health and economics. Often, however, proponents of various accounts have been isolated within their own discipline with an apparent unawareness of competing accounts. As a result, while there are now a number of different accounts of health, illness and disease available, there is no consensus about which, if any, of these accounts is ultimately acceptable and what implications each account may have.

This three-day international conference will explore differences and overlaps between these different accounts. The conference aims to bring together researchers from multiple disciplines to create dialogue between them, as well as between researchers and healthcare practitioners, on the concepts of health, illness and disease.

We welcome contributions from philosophers, historians and sociologists of medicine on any topic that falls within the broad remit of the conference title. Each paper will be allotted 20 minutes for presentation, followed by a ten-minute discussion. We aim for the conference to be inclusive and to represent a broad range of views and approaches. We particularly welcome contributions from healthcare practitioners. There will be a number of slots reserved for graduate papers and graduate bursaries will be available.

Please send proposals (500 word abstract) via email by Monday 12 April, 2010 to both organisers:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cfp: "Translation and Philosophy," Humanities Institute, University College Dublin, March 25-26, 2010.

Update: Note the change of dates (see comment 2 below). Original Post: The aim of the symposium is to explore the relationship between these two disciplines and papers are welcome from across a range of disciplines including, but not limited to: Translation Studies, Philosophy (both Continental and Analytic), German, French and English Literature, Linguistics and Intercultural Studies. Papers are particularly welcome from graduate students working in relevant areas. Papers may focus on some of the below questions, or on any aspect of the relationship between these two traditions: What is the nature of the relationship between translation and philosophy? In their mutual search for meaning and greater understanding in what way can they be said to be similar? What are their differences? With philosophy, perhaps more than any other genre, translation is pushed to the limits in an effort to carry across terms that are not existent in the target language – words like différance, Geist, Dasein, to name but a few, are common currency in the English speaking philosophical world, how does this impact on English as a language in general? Could philosophy be said to be a type of translation? Is translation itself philosophical? Given that many of the great philosophical works are read in translation, to what extent is philosophy dependent on translation? To what extent has translation modified and re-invented the work of philosophers? From Descartes to Ricoeur, philosophy has often strived to provide a ‘theory of translation’, what impact, if any, do these theories have on translation in practice? Is there a ‘perfect’ translation? Papers should be appropriate for a 20-30 minute presentation. Full paper and abstracts (of 200-400 words) should be emailed to no later than FEBRUARY 26, 2010; please indicate ‘Translation and Philosophy Symposium’ in the subject line. For further information, visit:

Cfp: "Philosophy in Literature," University of Vaasa, Finland, May 27-28, 2010.

Plato, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche are classical examples of the philosophers who discuss philosophical ideas with literary style. Writers of world literature such as Dostoyevsky, Hesse, and Beauvoir, for their part, are known as novelists whose books discuss philosophical questions or are otherwise considered to be philosophical or profound. These and many other examples from different countries and continents show that literature can enrich and stimulate the discussion on philosophical themes. Again, philosophical concepts and thematizations may offer tools for literary research of literature. The goal of this conference is to bring together philosophers and scholars of the study of literature to discuss the aptness of literature in the discussion of philosophical questions and the suitability of philosophical concepts and theories in literary research. The papers to be proposed can be case studies in which examples of literature are discussed. The papers can also be theoretical studies that aim to contribute to the theory of the study of literature or philosophy.

Some suggested questions and subtopics are the following:
  • Examples of the philosophical themes or questions discussed in world literature by different authors from different periods
  • Examples of the approaches to philosophical themes or questions in literature
  • Which philosophical themes, fields (e.g., metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics) or questions are or have been especially apt to be discussed in the forum of world literature? Why?
  • Which philosophical themes or questions are difficult to be discussed by means of fiction? Why?
  • Which literary genres or types of novels are especially suitable to be forums of philosophical discussion?
  • In what ways does philosophical imagination differ from fiction? In what sense is imagination similar in philosophy and in fiction?
  • What special tools are available in literature to deal with philosophical questions - tools that are lacking from standard academic philosophical prose?
  • In what ways can philosophical tools (concepts, views, theories) be used for the analysis of literature of different countries and cultures? In what ways should philosophical tools not be used in literary research?
  • What philosophically interesting differences and similarities can be found in the literature of different cultures and continents? Are the differences related to philosophical themes and questions, or rather to approaches or the ways of discussing?
  • What gender differences are there in male and female novelists' approaches to philosophical questions? How do philosophically oriented novelists discuss gender?
  • How have feminist philosophers treated issues relating to gender, sexuality and embodiment in literary works? What kinds of philosophical concepts or theoretical approaches can be productive from the feminist perspective when studying the above mentioned questions in literature?
Conference Directors: Chandana Chakrabarti, Davis and Elkins College, and Tomi Lethonen, University of Vassa, Finland

Please send 150 words abstract by email to Panos Eliopoulos by February 15, 2010.

Cfp: "Shifting the Geography of Reason: Music, Rhythm and Movement," 7th Annual Conference, Caribbean Philosophical Association, Cartagena, Colombia, August 11-14, 2010.

We invite proposals from scholars in any discipline who aim to 'shift the geography of reason' by exploring critical, theoretical, and creative questions about or relating to the Caribbean, its Diaspora, and the 'global south' more generally, including the South in the North. We particularly welcome North-South and South-South intersections and/or dialogues. In recognition of the central importance of music, dance, festivals, and performance in the Caribbean, this meeting will focus on shifting the geography and bio-graphy of reason through music, rhythm, and movement. Both, paper and panel proposals that address the broader and ongoing organizing theme of the CPA (“shifting the geography of reason”), and those that focus on any of the specific themes highlighted in this year’s conference, are welcome. We invite explorations of race and racism, gender, colonization and decolonization, sexuality, imperialism, and migration, social and intellectual movements, and related areas, not only in the Caribbean, but globally. We accept proposals in English, French, and Spanish.

Send submissions for panels and abstracts of individual presentations by March 31st, 2010,by email to  Visit the conference website here:


Twenty-one years ago, the publication of Giovanna Borradori’s anthology Recoding Metaphysics (1988) and of Gianni Vattimo’s The End of Modernity (1988) signaled that the post-war generation of Italian philosophers was ready to join the theoretical debate that was going on in the English-speaking world. The translation of other works by Vattimo generated an interest that went way beyond the boundaries of Italian Studies. A few years later, the English publication of Giorgio Agamben’s The Coming Community (1993), immediately followed by other volumes, made the Italian philosopher a household name in comparative literature departments and continental philosophy programs. The philosophical geography of the North-American universities was indeed opening up to new territories. The appearance of Carlo Sini’s Images of Truth (1993), Massimo Cacciari’s Necessary Angel (1994), Mario Perniola’s Enigmas (1995), Adriana Cavarero’s In Spite of Plato (1995), Antonio Negri’s Marx Beyond Marx (1996) — not to mention the books of the same authors that came after, culminating in the best-selling status of Antonio Negri’s and Michael Hardt’s Empire, 2001 — made clear that contemporary Italian philosophy was now a strong presence in the post-modern theoretical landscape of the American and British universities. Recently, Brian Schroeder’s and Silvia Benso’s anthology Contemporary Italian Philosophy (2007) has charted an exceptionally varied land, whose richness is second to none in terms of theoretical ambition and hermeneutical subtlety.

Seeking to situate itself within this theoretical context, the 2011 AdI volume intends to address the relevance of Italian critical theory today. It will be divided in two parts. The first section will include invited papers only. Some of the most prominent Italian philosophers have been invited to contribute and they have all accepted the invitation. The second section will be open to the contributions of scholars who wish to engage in this theoretical debate and will answer this call for papers. As a mere suggestion, submissions may be organized around keywords such as aesthetics, bioethics, biopolitics, cognitive approaches, deconstructionism, difference and identity, existentialism and phenomenology, feminism, geopolitics, genealogy, gender, GLBTQ studies, elites and multitudes, Europe and Empire, grammatology, hermeneutics, humanism and anti-humanism, Idealism and its legacy, metaphysics and its destiny, Marxism and post-Marxism, modernity and post-modernity, North/South dichotomy, otherness and sameness, philosophy and religion, political theology, traveling theories, semiotics, style and the philosophical discourse. In additional to the theorists who have already been mentioned, Annali d’Italianistica will welcome papers on other relevant figures of the Italian thought in the last sixty years. As Annali d’Italianistica intends to make Italian critical theory available to the English-speaking world, all contributions will be in English.

For more information, visit:

Fish, Stanley. "The True Answer and the Right Answer." THINK AGAIN BLOG. NEW YORK TIMES January 11, 2010.

The right answer is the answer a system invested in its own machinery will recognize no matter what the true facts may be. . . .  This is almost always the case in the law, especially in a legal system like ours that privileges procedure over substance. Lawyers know that what they have to do is find the legal rubric that will allow them to frame an issue in such a way that when the system’s questions are posed, the right answer, not the true answer, will be generated. Courts sometimes explicitly announce that the procedurally correct answer is preferable to the true answer, which is, legally, of no interest at all. . . .

Should we go off the right standard and return to the true standard? A nice idea, but one that imagines a world where the judgments reached by systems are tested against a truth that is independent of any system. Where would that truth come from, how would it be identified and how could the endless disputes about what it is be resolved? (The law’s project is to hold such disputes at bay.) It is because there are no answers to these questions that we will have to settle for the truths that systems create, deliver and validate in a sequence that may be reassuring but is finally without a foundation.

Read the rest here:

Reynolds, Jack. "Jacques Derrida." INTERNET ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY Updated January 12, 2010.

Jacques Derrida was one of the most well known twentieth century philosophers. He was also one of the most prolific. Distancing himself from the various philosophical movements and traditions that preceded him on the French intellectual scene (phenomenology, existentialism, and structuralism), he developed a strategy called “deconstruction” in the mid 1960s. Although not purely negative, deconstruction is primarily concerned with something tantamount to a critique of the Western philosophical tradition. Deconstruction is generally presented via an analysis of specific texts. It seeks to expose, and then to subvert, the various binary oppositions that undergird our dominant ways of thinking—presence/absence, speech/writing, and so forth.

Deconstruction has at least two aspects: literary and philosophical. The literary aspect concerns the textual interpretation, where invention is essential to finding hidden alternative meanings in the text. The philosophical aspect concerns the main target of deconstruction: the “metaphysics of presence,” or simply metaphysics. Starting from an Heideggerian point of view, Derrida argues that metaphysics affects the whole of philosophy from Plato onwards. Metaphysics creates dualistic oppositions and installs a hierarchy that unfortunately privileges one term of each dichotomy (presence before absence, speech before writing, and so on).

The deconstructive strategy is to unmask these too-sedimented ways of thinking, and it operates on them especially through two steps—reversing dichotomies and attempting to corrupt the dichotomies themselves. The strategy also aims to show that there are undecidables, that is, something that cannot conform to either side of a dichotomy or opposition. Undecidability returns in later period of Derrida’s reflection, when it is applied to reveal paradoxes involved in notions such as gift giving or hospitality, whose conditions of possibility are at the same time their conditions of impossibility. Because of this, it is undecidable whether authentic giving or hospitality are either possible or impossible.

In this period, the founder of deconstruction turns his attention to ethical themes. In particular, the theme of responsibility to the other (for example, God or a beloved person) leads Derrida to leave the idea that responsibility is associated with a behavior publicly and rationally justifiable by general principles. Reflecting upon tales of Jewish tradition, he highlights the absolute singularity of responsibility to the other.

Deconstruction has had an enormous influence in psychology, literary theory, cultural studies, linguistics, feminism, sociology and anthropology. Poised in the interstices between philosophy and non-philosophy (or philosophy and literature), it is not difficult to see why this is the case. What follows in this article, however, is an attempt to bring out the philosophical significance of Derrida’s thought. . . .

Read the rest here:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Champagne, Marc. "We, the Professional Sages: Analytic Philosophy's Arrogation of Argument."

Champagne, Marc. "We, the Professional Sages: Analytic Philosophy's Arrogation of Argument." Argument Cultures.  Ed. by Juho Ritola.  Windsor, ONT: OSSA, 2009.

ABSTRACT: One claim reiterated with increasing boldness by the 'analytic' tradition in philosophy is that what sets it apart from long-time rivals is a shared adherence to proper norms of argumentation. Gradated deviancy from this (supposedly univocal) canon by English-speaking practitioners has therefore raised important questions about who can repair under the banner “professional philosopher.” We will portray as deeply worrisome the idea that argumentation should secure not just conclusions, but disciplinary membership as well.
Download the paper here:

"The Philosopher and the Novelist." THE PHILOSOPER'S ZONE. January 9, 2009.

Moira Gatens is Australian Professorial Fellow in the philosophy department at the University of Sydney. And she has just been appointed to the very important Spinoza Chair for 2010 at the University of Amsterdam. This means, amongst presenting the annual Spinoza lecture at Spinoza House in Rijnsburg, where the benches on which Spinoza worked in the seventeenth century at his trade grinding optical lenses are still in place. This week, she talks about Spinoza and his influence on George Eliot, the author of Middlemarch and of The Mill on the Floss. . . .

Download the podcast here:

"The Romantic Movement and Rock Music." THE PHILOSOPHER'S ZONE January 2, 2010.

Romantic ideas and philosophy live on in certain strains of modern rock music, according to this week's guest, Craig Schuftan, author of Hey Nietzsche - Leave Them Kids Alone. David Bowie, The Cure, The Smiths, Queen, and more contemporary bands like My Chemical Romance and Weezer share some seriously Romantic tendencies with people like Byron, Schopenhauer, Wagner and even Nietzsche - and it's not just because they all viewed the world through the same gloomy prism. . . .

Download the podcast here:

Wallace, Lane. "Multicultural Critical Theory. At Business School?" NEW YORK TIMES January 9, 2010.

Ever since 1959, when two influential studies by the Ford and Carnegie Foundations chastised business schools as being too vocational, most M.B.A. programs have taken anything but a broad approach to their subject matter.

With few exceptions, traditional instruction has involved separate disciplines like finance, marketing and strategy, with an emphasis on quantifiable analyses and methods. While some valued what a liberal arts background could provide, the dominant view was that those elements had no place in professional business schools.

BUT even before the financial upheaval last year, business executives operating in a fast-changing, global market were beginning to realize the value of managers who could think more nimbly across multiple frameworks, cultures and disciplines. The financial crisis underscored those concerns — at business schools and in the business world itself.

As a result, a number of prominent business schools have re-evaluated and, in some cases, redesigned their M.B.A. programs in the last few years. And while few talk explicitly about taking a liberal arts approach to business, many of the changes are moving business schools into territory more traditionally associated with the liberal arts: multidisciplinary approaches, an understanding of global and historical context and perspectives, a greater focus on leadership and social responsibility and, yes, learning how to think critically. . . .

Read the rest here:

Watters, Ethan. "The Americanization of Mental Illness." NEW YORK TIMES January 8, 2010.

Watters, Ethan, Crazy Like Us: the Globalization of the American Psyche. New York: Free Press, 2010 (forthcoming). AMERICANS, particularly if they are of a certain leftward-leaning, college-educated type, worry about our country’s blunders into other cultures. In some circles, it is easy to make friends with a rousing rant about the McDonald’s near Tiananmen Square, the Nike factory in Malaysia or the latest blowback from our political or military interventions abroad. For all our self-recrimination, however, we may have yet to face one of the most remarkable effects of American-led globalization. We have for many years been busily engaged in a grand project of Americanizing the world’s understanding of mental health and illness. We may indeed be far along in homogenizing the way the world goes mad. This unnerving possibility springs from recent research by a loose group of anthropologists and cross-cultural psychiatrists. Swimming against the biomedical currents of the time, they have argued that mental illnesses are not discrete entities like the polio virus with their own natural histories. These researchers have amassed an impressive body of evidence suggesting that mental illnesses have never been the same the world over (either in prevalence or in form) but are inevitably sparked and shaped by the ethos of particular times and places. In some Southeast Asian cultures, men have been known to experience what is called amok, an episode of murderous rage followed by amnesia; men in the region also suffer from koro, which is characterized by the debilitating certainty that their genitals are retracting into their bodies. Across the fertile crescent of the Middle East there is zar, a condition related to spirit-possession beliefs that brings forth dissociative episodes of laughing, shouting and singing. The diversity that can be found across cultures can be seen across time as well. In his book Mad Travelers, the philosopher Ian Hacking documents the fleeting appearance in the 1890s of a fugue state in which European men would walk in a trance for hundreds of miles with no knowledge of their identities. The hysterical-leg paralysis that afflicted thousands of middle-class women in the late 19th century not only gives us a visceral understanding of the restrictions set on women’s social roles at the time but can also be seen from this distance as a social role itself — the troubled unconscious minds of a certain class of women speaking the idiom of distress of their time. “We might think of the culture as possessing a ‘symptom repertoire’ — a range of physical symptoms available to the unconscious mind for the physical expression of psychological conflict,” Edward Shorter, a medical historian at the University of Toronto, wrote in his book Paralysis: the Rise and Fall of a ‘Hysterical’ Symptom. “In some epochs, convulsions, the sudden inability to speak or terrible leg pain may loom prominently in the repertoire. In other epochs patients may draw chiefly upon such symptoms as abdominal pain, false estimates of body weight and enervating weakness as metaphors for conveying psychic stress.” In any given era, those who minister to the mentally ill — doctors or shamans or priests — inadvertently help to select which symptoms will be recognized as legitimate. Because the troubled mind has been influenced by healers of diverse religious and scientific persuasions, the forms of madness from one place and time often look remarkably different from the forms of madness in another. That is until recently. For more than a generation now, we in the West have aggressively spread our modern knowledge of mental illness around the world. We have done this in the name of science, believing that our approaches reveal the biological basis of psychic suffering and dispel prescientific myths and harmful stigma. There is now good evidence to suggest that in the process of teaching the rest of the world to think like us, we’ve been exporting our Western “symptom repertoire” as well. That is, we’ve been changing not only the treatments but also the expression of mental illness in other cultures. Indeed, a handful of mental-health disorders — depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anorexia among them — now appear to be spreading across cultures with the speed of contagious diseases. These symptom clusters are becoming the lingua franca of human suffering, replacing indigenous forms of mental illness. . . . Read the rest here:

"Hegel and Religion," School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, University of Sydney, September 14-15, 2010.

Hegel occupies a critical position within the history of modern Western attitudes to God and religion. Traditionally, Hegel’s philosophy had been regarded as an expression, perhaps the last and most luxuriant, of the world-view that inextricably linked orthodox theological and metaphysical notions. However, according to some more recent interpretations, Hegel’s ’absolute idealism’ should be thought of as advancing the spirit of Kant’s critical project beyond the problems of the ’letter’ within which it had been expressed. The conference aims at addressing various issues related to Hegel’s account of religion, and at showing the relevance of Hegel’s approach for contemporary debates over religion. . . .

Visit the conference website here:

Monday, January 11, 2010

Montag, Warren, et al. "Spinoza and Philosophers Today." KRITIKA AND KONTEXT 38-39 (2009).

Spinoza's rationalist philosophy was central to the "radical" Enlightenment of late seventeenth century Europe and a century later had a decisive impact on the development of German Idealism. At the beginning of the twentieth century, his critique of revealed religion was the focus of heated discussions among Jewish thinkers; and in the 1960s Marxist philosophers, including Althusser, saw Spinoza's understanding of the imagination as a forerunner to the concept of ideology. This strand of his thought was taken a step further by Hardt and Negri in their highly influential work Empire, while most recently António Damásio has argued that there are significant affinities between Spinoza's psychology and contemporary discoveries in neurophysiology. In the following interview, leading Spinoza experts discuss the seventeenth-century philosopher's relevance today. . . .

Read the interview here:

Beran, Michael Knox. "Can the Polis Live Again?" CITY JOURNAL (Autumn 2009).

In 1958, Hannah Arendt published The Human Condition, her book—part panegyric, part lamentation—on what she called “public space.” What she meant by public space wasn’t just the buildings and gathering places that in a good town square or market piazza encourage people to come together. It wasn’t even civic art viewed more broadly, the paintings and poetry Arendt attributed to homo faber, the fabricating soul who translates “intangible” civic ideals into “tangible” civic art. Public space, for Arendt, was also a metaphysical arena in which people realized their individual potential. They escaped necessity’s pinch—the arduous biological round of life-sustaining labor—through a “sharing of words and deeds.” This was the tradition of the Greek polis, from which Arendt drew much of her inspiration, a place designed “to multiply the chances for everybody to distinguish himself, to show in deed and word who he was in his unique distinctness.”

But a new Leviathan was gobbling up the old public spaces, Arendt believed. With the advent of the modern nation-state, a social dispensation began to emerge, one whose adepts—sociologists, psychologists, planners—were skilled in techniques derived from the social sciences but whose motives were far from pure. The new social technician, part schoolmarm, part bully, sought not merely to study behavior but also, Arendt argued, to control it. The school of Pericles was giving way to the school of Pavlov.

The social signori, Arendt maintained, sought to impose behavioral norms on people through “innumerable and various rules”—bureaucratic harnesses intended to “normalize” men and women, to compel them to “behave,” and to punish their “spontaneous action or outstanding achievement.” Refractory spirits who failed to conform were to be stigmatized as “asocial or abnormal.” In her more perfervid visions, Arendt foresaw a social apocalypse, a “leveling out of fluctuation” that would result in the “most sterile passivity history has ever known.”

Arendt’s jeremiad had a good deal in common with the warnings of other mid-twentieth-century prophets, among them David Riesman and Friedrich Hayek. It resembles, too, the insights of contemporary critics like Camille Paglia, who contends that too many Americans have become “complacently servile toward authority and automatically believe everything party leaders tell them.” But Arendt had her own idiosyncratic understanding of the way public space could help block the road to serfdom. The old forums, in liberating so much potential, foiled those who desired “conformism, behaviorism, and automatism in human affairs.” The question that haunts the reader of Arendt’s work is whether we can get the old places back. . . .

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"Audiovisual Posthumanism: Aesthetics, Cultural Theory and the Arts," University of the Aegean, Greece, September 24–26, 2010.

Posthumanism is not only an academic theory interpreting the recent cultural attitudes of scholars, but a reality becoming more and more visible to the totality of the audiovisual media of our times. It’s about time to see and examine all posthumanist aspects as they are expressed in a wide range of the Humanities, Social Sciences and the evolution of the Arts. Therefore, the Conference aims at approaching Posthumanism not only as an alternative for Transhumanism (which reflects a lot of American theory), but also as a New Humanism (an attitude mainly adopted by European theory) or an expression of Postmodernism. For the above reasons, papers discussing Neo-Humanistic approaches are most welcome. Moreover, we also welcome papers criticizing Posthumanism, either as a form of Transhumanism or as an expression of the Postmodern, as the main ambition of the organizers of this conference is to set more fertile ground for serious and unprejudiced discussions on the contemporary directions of philosophy, theory and aesthetics.

Themes include:

• Posthumanist Cultural Theory and Art Theory
• Posthumanism, Visual Arts and Digital Media
• Posthumanist Aesthetics
• Posthumanism and Transhumanism
• Posthumanism as a New Humanism
• Posthumanism and the Postmodern
• Criticizing Posthumanism
• Posthuman Identities
• Posthumanist Utopias and Dystopias
• Posthumanist Literary Theory
• Posthumanism and Science Fiction
• Posthumanism and Comics [from comic strips to graphic novels]

Submissions (by June 15, 2010) to:

1. Evi Sampanikou:
2. Stefan Lorenz Sorgner:
3. Domna Pastourmatzi:
4. Irina Deretic:

Marino, Patricia. Review of Laurie J. Shrage, ed. 'YOU'VE CHANGED': SEX REASSIGNMENT AND PERSONAL IDENTITY. NDPR (January 2010).

Shrage, Laurie J., ed.  'You've Changed': Sex Reassignment and Personal Identity. Oxford: OUP, 2009.

'You've Changed' is a thoughtful and engaging collection of eleven philosophical essays on sex reassignment, from a range of scholars with varying points of view. This book is unusual in the degree to which it brings philosophical rigor and depth to questions of ordinary life: In what way is my sex identity part of my overall identity? Is sex primarily an embodied, social, or experienced identity? How can we create a world in which everyone's sexual identity is respected? The book also shows the reader glimpses of important entailments in the other direction -- that is, ways in which our reflections on these local questions challenge our background theories and methods. The writing is interesting and lively, and there is a well-organized and insightful introduction by the editor, Laurie Shrage.

Naturally, this book will be of interest to those working in gender and sexuality studies, queer studies, feminist philosophy, and science studies. But it should also be of interest to those interested in the epistemological, metaphysical, and moral aspects of personal identity. The theorizing here offers a set of reflections on identity from a new and important perspective, and several authors argue that ethics, politics and values are essential to understanding identity. This claim is worth considering from a broader perspective than just sex and gender.

These essays take up a large number of topics. Rather than trying to address all of these I'll focus on a few broad themes. . . .

Read the whole review here:

"Kierkegaard and the Political," Department of Politics, Philosophy and International Relations, University of the West of England, April 15, 2010.

There has recently been a growth of interest in the work of Soren Kierkegaard and not only in his work as a religious thinker. This conference aims to look at Kierkegaard as a significant philosopher and as a thinker who has important things to say about the ethical and the political domains. One topic will be Kierkegaard and Feminism.

  • David Wood, "Singular Universal Once Again" (Vanderbilt University, USA)
  • Christine Battersby, "Kierkegaard, the Phantom of the Public and the Sexual Politics of Crowds" (Warwick University, UK)
  • Clare Carlisle "Kierkegaard and the Question of Freedom" (Liverpool University, UK)
  • Alison Assiter "Love for Strangers: the Sublime and the Poltical" (UWE, UK)
Contact Alison Assiter:

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Black, Tim. "Why They’re Really Scared of Heidegger." SP!KED REVIEW OF BOOKS (November 2009).

Faye, Emmanuel.  Heidegger: the Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy.  New Haven: Yale UP, 2009.

It is a sign of these confused, amnesiac times that a straight-faced discussion can be held across the liberal-leaning pages of the New York Times and the Chronicle Review about whether to burn the books of one-time Nazi and full-time philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976).

Not literally burn them, of course; the irony would surely be too much even for the most historically forgetful. No, should they be metaphorically burnt? That is, should publishers stop churning out new editions of his collected works, should libraries cull him from their collections, and should university courses purge him from their syllabuses? ‘Is it degenerate literature?’, they just about stop themselves from asking.

The occasion for this mini-outbreak of illiberal liberalism is the imminent publication of the English-language edition of Frenchman Emmanuel Faye’s 2005 intellectual scandal-mongerer, Heidegger: the Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy. For anyone who’s laboured, heavy-lidded, over Heidegger’s excursus on Austrian poet Georg Trakl, Faye’s conclusions may come as something of a surprise: ‘If [Heidegger’s] writings continue to proliferate without our being able to stop this intrusion of Nazism into human education, how can we not expect them to lead to yet another translation into facts and acts, from which this time humanity might not be able to recover?’ This is what you might call a leap of Faye. One minute an undergraduate is getting to grips with fundamental ontology, the next he’s given himself a severe side-parting, donned a brown shirt, and has begun planning the systematic extermination of Jewry. Being and Time today, being a Nazi tomorrow.

While commentators might not have quite caught Faye’s Nazi-fever, they have been suffering from considerable liberal self-doubt. In the New York Times, Patricia Cohen wondered if a philosopher’s unsavoury life-history should see his philosophy disregarded. She concluded with Faye’s warning: ‘Teaching Heidegger’s ideas without disclosing his deep Nazi sympathies is like showing a child a brilliant fireworks display without warning that an ignited rocket can blow up in someone’s face.’ Over at Slate, Ron Rosenbaum, the author of Explaining Hitler, worried that Heidegger’s thought is so permeated with Nazism that it had rubbed off on his long-term lover, the venerated Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt. And Carlin Romano, in an entertainingly disrespectful piece for the Chronicle, just wanted the ‘Black Forest babbler’ ridiculed out of the cultural canon. . . .

Read the rest here:

Cfp: "Deleuze: Ethics and Politics," 4th Biennial Philosophy and Literature Conference, Purdue University, April 9-10, 2010.

The philosopher Michel Serres once described Gilles Deleuze as “an excellent example of the dynamic movement of free and inventive thinking.” Without a doubt, Deleuze was one of the most singular and prolific philosophers of the 20th century. It is no surprise then, that the impact of Deleuze’s thought continues to reverberate throughout a host of diverse disciplines. With recognition of Deleuze’s influence in these various fields, and in the spirit of Serres’ assessment, this conference seeks to motivate an exploration of Deleuze’s inventive thinking in the particular areas of politics and ethics by bringing together faculty and graduate students interested in engaging, developing, or critically examining these areas of Deleuze's work. This two-day conference will consist of four panels, each with three to four accepted graduate students presenting, three keynote addresses, and a wine and cheese reception.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:
  • immanent vs. transcendent criteria in ethics
  • political theory, law and jurisprudence
  • the role of the State in relation to capitalism
  • the possibility of social forms of organization radically exterior to the State forms
  • the positive or productive function of desire as a creative force directly invested in the social field
  • the problem of micro-fascism with respect to individual and collective processes of subjectivation
  • forms of resistance enabled by minor literature and other processes of becoming-minor
  • conceptions of cartography as a critical and transformative social analytic of power relations.
Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Daniel W. Smith is known for national and international projects including translations of Deleuze and Klossowski and several works on Deleuze leading up to the forthcoming publication of his book on Deleuze’s philosophical system. Dr. Eugene Holland specializes in social theory and modern French literature, history, and culture. He has published widely including a 1999 volume on Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus and a forthcoming book on Nomad Citizenship. Dr. Arkady Plotnitsky has contributed numerous publications on Deleuze and on the topics of science, literature, and philosophy. He is currently working on a book entitled Space-Time-Matter-Thought: Non-Euclideanism from Riemann and Deleuze, and Beyond.

Submission deadline: January 15, 2010.
Email submissions to:

Papers and abstracts should be sent as Word documents. Personal information is to be sent in the body of the email and should not appear on the paper itself.

Cfp: "Critical Social Theory: Freud and Lacan for the 21st Century," 7th Annual Social Social Theory Forum, University of Massachusetts, Boston, April 7-8, 2010.

This year’s conference will explore the relationship between psychoanalysis and critical social theory. From its very beginning Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis has walked the border as a kind of fugitive discipline in academia yet one multifarious in its influence on the mainstream. Surely the welter of hostile and critical responses accompanying its trajectory in the history of ideas bears a kind of testimony to its rich intellectual underpinning. In sociology it has had a creative influence on critical theorists such as Herbert Marcuse, Eric Fromm, and others of the Frankfurt School, and now has engaged feminist theorists, post-structuralists and other sociologists interested in the way in which unconscious processes figure in the construction of hierarchical social relations.

Jacque Lacan’s French reading of Freud comes particularly close to the sociological imagination. His theory of the symbolic order and the linguistic precursors of the unconscious have added additional dimensions to the discourse of social theory. His notion of the decentered and alienated self rooted in the intellectual culture of Emile Durkheim, Ferdinand de Saussure, Claude Lévi-Strauss and Michel Foucault find its corollaries in the writings of sociologists and philosophers such as George Herbert Mead, Charles Horton Cooley, and Erving Goffman. This year’s Social Theory Forum provides an opportunity for a re-examination and discussion of these fertile intellectual domains for a new cross-disciplinary pursuit of scholarship in social theory. The conference organizers seek papers that employ rigorous analyses and interpretations of the past and present of these intellectual engagements that form the foundation of modern social theory.

Papers in feminist theory, queer theory, literary criticism, social linguistics, conversational analysis, philosophy of mind, etc. that engage and interrogate Freud or Lacan are all welcomed.

The conference will feature both invited and submitted papers and presentations. We welcome submissions from scholars and graduate students in humanities and social sciences and as well as from writers in allied disciplines. We ask that authors submit a one-page abstract as email attachment (MS Word Format) to no later than February 9, 2010. Upon selection and notification of approval by the organizing committee, submitters must send completed presentation paper manuscripts (around 12-15 pages, preferably double-spaced in Times 12 typeface) by March 15, 2010. We are in the process of securing a publishing venue for selected papers. As in prior years, the papers will be peer-reviewed by anonymous referees for possible publication. Details will be announced before the conference.

Pub: INFORMAL LOGIC 29.4 (2009).

  • "Argumentative Thinking: an Introduction to the Special Issue on Psychology and Argumentation" Abstract PDF by Lance J. Rips 327-336
  • "Argument Content and Argument Source: an Exploration" Abstract PDF by Ulrike Hahn, Adam J.L. Harris, Adam Corner 337-367
  • "Belief-Overkill in Political Judgments" Abstract PDF by Jonathan Baron 368-378
  • "What Constitutes Skilled Argumentation and How Does it Develop?" Abstract PDF by Marion Goldstein, Amanda Crowell, Deanna Kuhn 379-395
  • "Differentiating Theories from Evidence: the Development of Argument Evaluation Abilities in Adolescence and Early Adulthood" Abstract PDF by Petra Barchfeld, Beate Sodian 396-416
  • "Deliberation versus Dispute: the Impact of Argumentative Discourse Goals on Learning and Reasoning in the Science Classroom" Abstract PDF by Mark Felton, Merce Garcia-Mila, Sandra Gilabert 417-446
Critical Reviews:
  • "Eemeren & Garssen's Controversy and Confrontation: Relating Controversy Analysis with Argumentation Theory" PDF by Frank Zenker 447-475
Book Reviews:
  • Zenker's Ceteris Paribus in Conservative Belief Revision: On the Role of Minimal Change in Rational Theory Development" PDF by Pierre Boulos 476-478
Visit the Informal Logic wesite here:

Cfp: "Abolition, Liberation, and the Intersections with Social Justice Movements," 8th Annual Conference for Critical Animal Studies, SUNY, Cortland, April 10, 2010.

We welcome proposals from all community members, including but not limited to nonprofit organizations, political leaders, activists, professors, staff, and students. We are especially interested in topics such history of social movements, nonviolence, alliance politics, spirituality and social movements, freedom, democracy, and notions of total inclusion. We are also interested in reaching across the disciplines and movements of environmentalism, education, poverty, feminism, LGBTQA, animal advocacy, globalization, prison abolition, prisoner support, labor rights, disability rights, anti-war activism, youth rights, indigenous rights/sovereignty, and other peace and social justice issues. Presentations should be fifteen to twenty minutes in length. We are receptive to different and innovative formats, including, but not limited to roundtables, panels, community dialogues, theater, and workshops. You may propose individual or group 'panel' presentations, but please clearly specify the structure of your proposal.

Please send proposals OR abstracts for panels, roundtables, workshops, or paper presentations no more than 500 words. Please send with each facilitator or presenter a 100 maximum word biography.

Deadline for Submissions is February 15, 2010.  Accepted presenters will be notified by e-mail by Feb 20, 2010.

Please send proposals/abstracts and biographies electronically to: Sarat Colling (Co-Conference Director):

Friday, January 08, 2010

Raphael, Frederic. "Man for All Seasons." LITERARY REVIEW (December 2009).

Bakewell, Sarah. How to Live: a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer.  London: Chatto and Windus, 2009.

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne was born in 1533 and died (following an attack of kidney stones, like his father) in 1592. His mother was of Marrano descent; her family had been Sephardic Jews, forced into Catholicism. Montaigne himself was always formally obedient to the Church. 'Otherwise', he wrote, 'I could not keep myself from rolling about incessantly. Thus I have kept myself intact, without agitation or disturbance of conscience.' In this respect, he was somewhat the precursor of Evelyn Waugh, who said that, had he not been a Catholic, he would scarcely have been human. Montaigne, however, was a genial man of no officious piety; a dutiful mayor of Bordeaux, unaggressive lord of his modest Périgordin manor, and a courtier without grand ambition.

His essays advocated good-humoured acceptance of the vagaries of human life. For all his formal orthodoxy, he was a manifest sceptic: 'There is', he observed, 'no hostility that exceeds Christian hostility.' In practice, he preferred the Stoic amor fati to religious absolutism and abominated the righteous cruelty of those with undoubting convictions: 'It is putting a very high price on one's conjectures to have someone roasted alive on their account.' Sarah Bakewell takes this to be an allusion to the spate of witch-hunting which accompanied the religious wars, but it is no great stretch to see in it a reference to the ongoing series of autos-da-fé on the other side of the Pyrenees. For those who choose to read him so, Montaigne was a bit of a crypto-Jew. . . .

Read the rest here:

Meaney, Thomas. "The Tragedy of Happiness." WALL STREET JOURNAL December 11, 2009.

 Do Americans have a national character? The idea sounds plausible enough—until you try to pin it down.

Are we a nation of individualists pursuing happiness as we each see fit or a country of conformists taking the road most traveled by? The children of Puritans striving to build the city upon a hill or the heirs of Jamestown, driven by the promise of profit? Prudish homebodies or easy riders? Whoever we are, we seem to suffer from a kind of divided personality.

No one could have agreed more than George Santayana (1863-1952). He was once a household name in America: a Spanish-born Harvard professor whose face once graced the cover of Time magazine; a best-selling novelist (The Last Puritan), popular essayist and memoir-writer; and an intellectual mentor to the columnist Walter Lippmann and the poet Wallace Stevens. In his later years he became a permanent expatriate who ended his days being tended by Catholic nuns in Italy, an "old philosopher in Rome," as Stevens put it.

Santayana is most remembered today for a single, painfully overquoted sentence: "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." But in his lifetime he achieved stature as a philosopher for a whole series of books about the nature of human reason, the sense of beauty and the value of religion. His greatest subject was perhaps his adopted homeland. His writings about America still have the freshness of new discoveries, and they are enlivened—like nearly everything he wrote—by sharp turns of phrase and pungent judgments.

Read the rest here:

Shapin, Steven. "The Darwin Show." LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS 32.1 (2010).

It has been history’s biggest birthday party. On or around 12 February 2009 alone – the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, ‘Darwin Day’ – there were more than 750 commemorative events in at least 45 countries, and, on or around 24 November, there was another spate of celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or, the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. In Mysore, Darwin Day was observed by an exhibition ‘proclaiming the importance of the day and the greatness of the scientist’. In Charlotte, North Carolina, there were performances of a one-man musical, Charles Darwin: Live & in Concert (‘Twas adaptive radiation that produced the mighty whale;/His hands have grown to flippers/And he has a fishy tail’). At Harvard, the celebrations included ‘free drinks, science-themed rock bands, cake, decor and a dancing gorilla’ (stuffed with a relay of biology students). Circulating around the university, student and faculty volunteers declaimed the entire text of the Origin.

On the Galapagos Islands, tourists making scientific haj were treated to ‘an active, life-seeing account of the life of this magnificent scientist’, and a party of Stanford alumni retraced the circumnavigating voyage of HMS Beagle in a well-appointed private Boeing 757, intellectually chaperoned by Darwin’s most distinguished academic biographer. The Darwin anniversaries were celebrated round the world: in Bogotá, Mexico City, Montevideo, Toronto, Toulouse, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Bangalore, Singapore, Seoul, Osaka, Cape Town, Rome (where it was sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture, part of a Vatican hatchet-burying initiative), and in all the metropolitan and scientific settings you might expect. The English £10 note has borne Darwin’s picture on the back since 2000 (replacing Dickens), but special postage stamps and a new £2 coin honoured him in 2009, as did stamps or coins in at least ten other countries.

Darwin had an anniversary Facebook group dedicated to him: its goal was to have 200,000 unique Happy Birthdays posted by 12 February and a million ‘friends’ by the November anniversary of the Origin. The group also planned a mass ‘Happy Birthday, Darwin’ sing-along, but I don’t think this actually happened. Then there were the Darwin-themed T-shirts, teddy bears, bobbleheads, tote bags, coffee mugs, fridge magnets, mouse mats, scatter cushions and pet bowls; the ‘Darwin Loves You’ bumper-stickers, the ‘Darwin Is My Homeboy’ badges, and the ‘I ♥ Darwinism’ thongs. The opening line of the year’s most substantial historical contribution, Adrian Desmond and James Moore’s Darwin’s Sacred Cause, is: ‘Global brands don’t come much bigger than Charles Darwin.’ Quite right. . . .

Read the rest here:

Barash, David P, and Judith Eve Lipton. "How the Scientist Got his Ideas." CHRONICLE January 3, 2010.

We'd like to propose a revision. To our scientific colleagues: Let's stop running from "just-so story" as an epithet and start embracing its merits. To any nonscientist name-callers: Think again before you sign on to a supposed rebuke that isn't.

When it comes to "doing" science, just-so stories are us. It's not that science ends up being such a story, but it nearly always begins as one, emerging from curiosity, questioning, and uncertainty. It then progresses to reasoned conjecture—to asking, "What if?" and "Could it be?"—and then, if the proffered story seems worth pursuing—and is, in fact, pursuable—to validation, or, as the philosopher Karl Popper and his devotees would have it, to invalidation if not true, and to further refinement if it proves productive. Throughout, the enterprise is steeped in wonder—which includes, not coincidentally, both meanings of the word: as an experience of amazement and appreciation ("the wonder of it all") and as an act of imaginative inquiry ("I wonder if the continents moved" or "I wonder if matter is actually composed of tiny, irreducible particles"). Between wonder, in either sense, and scientific "fact" are just-so stories.

We believe that a just-so story is simply a story, a tentative, speculative answer to a question, and, as such, a clarification of one's thinking, ideally a goad to further thought, and, not incidentally, a necessary preliminary to obtaining the kind of additional information that helps answer a question (which, in the best cases, leads to yet more queries). When that happens—when the narrative is testable and generates fact-based research—then, in a sense, it is no longer a just-so story, but science, pure and … rarely simple.

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Boyko-Head, Christine. "'On the Origin of Stories." THE ARBUTURIAN January 5, 2010.

Boyd, Brian.  On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition and Fiction.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2009.

“Evolution may help explain copulation and even cooperation, but can it account for the creative side of human life? Can it explain art?” (69). This is the main issue concerning Brian Boyd’s mammoth book On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition and Fiction (2009). For those of us concerned with art and the creative process we have, as well, struggled with this issue. Undoubtedly, we have challenged our students and colleagues with circuitous discussions over the “what” of art. Boyd’s work, however, throws us a lifeline pulling us from the mire of unsolvable debate and repetitious frustration by shifting the essential question from “what” to “why”. This simple cognitive maneuver is, in my opinion, as significant to art theory and criticism as the first spark that brought fire to human kind.

As Boyd writes in the chapter entitled "Art as Adaptation," “An evolutionary account of art can clarify why the history of art runs so deep that it has been ingrained in the psyche of the species and the individual” (73). What this means is that concepts such as cooperation, competition, attention, play, status and sociality take on an evolutionary turn by making all artistic manifestations – even the most useless, and tasteless – a “crucial factor in human evolution” (110). But, before going further, let me take you back to the origin of the text which really began in the mid 19th Century. . . .

Read the rest here:

Monday, January 04, 2010

Cfp: "The Dialectic,'' 2010 Institute on Culture and Society, Marxist Literary Group, St. Francis Xavier University, June 15-20, 2010.

The Institute will feature consecutive (as opposed to parallel/simultaneous) sessions, consisting of traditional panels, roundtables, film screenings, performances, and social events. Additionally, intensive daily reading and discussion groups will be held on “Adorno and the Materialist Dialectic” led by Rich Daniels, on Fredric Jameson’s Valences of the Dialectic led by Nicholas Brown, and on other facets of dialectical thought (volunteers are invited to submit proposals for further reading groups). Well-known for its intellectual rigor and collegial atmosphere since being founded by Fredric Jameson and a number of his graduate students in 1969/70, the ICS brings together emerging and established scholars each year for 5 full days of dialogue and collaboration. As is custom, the Institute’s organizers attempt to keep critical production high and participants’ costs low. In 2010, participants will, once again, be able to select from several on-campus housing options, which at StFX are cost-efficient, new and beautiful, and will contribute to the friendly and social environment the Institute thrives upon. Housing options include individual rooms, shared apartment-style residences, hotel-style residences, and more—each option will include generous common spaces and close proximity to the conference center. Detailed information regarding housing, travel, and further logistics will be sent out to all participants. For general information on St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia and the facilities the Institute will utilize, see: (StFX has just launched a new website, so please excuse potential glitches as our webmasters streamline content and infrastructure). Confirmed speakers for the 2010 ICS include: Ian Balfour (York University) Karyn Ball (University of Alberta) Nicholas Brown (University of Illinois at Chicago) Eric Cazdyn (University of Toronto) Ainsworth Clarke (University of Illinois at Chicago) Rebecca Comay (University of Toronto) Rich Daniels (University of Oregon) Len Findlay (University of Saskatchewan) Barbara Foley (Rutgers University) Jason Gladstone (Wake Forest University) Peter Hitchcock (City University of New York) Neil Larsen (University of California, Davis) Leerom Medovoi (Portland State University) Modhumita Roy (Tufts University) Imre Szeman (University of Alberta) Daniel Worden (University of Colorado) The organizing committee is now accepting proposals for individual presentations and panels (3 presentations plus respondent/4 presentations). We are particularly interested in work that engages with any facet of dialectical critique and dialectical thought (including antecedents and rigorous refutations thereof). However, as always, any work that engages seriously with the Marxist tradition will be considered. Selected papers of each Institute will be published in Mediations, the journal of the Marxist Literary Group ( As indicated above, we also accept proposals for reading groups, roundtables, film screenings, and cultural performances that deal with the Institute’s special topic. Proposals for individual papers should be 250 words in length, include A/V requests (if necessary), a short bio sketch, and contact information. Panel proposals should include a brief rationale for the panel (100 words or less), bio sketch and contact information of the panel organizer, as well as presenters' names, bio sketches and contact information, paper titles, and abstracts of no more than 250 words each. Proposals for all other events should follow the same formula (descriptions should also not exceed a length of 250 words for each presenter/performer). Please send submissions as .doc, .docx, or .pdf files by Monday, February 15, 2010 to: For questions about the ICS, logistics, travel and other concerns, contact:


  • Koszowy Marcin ''Preface: the Variety of Research Perspectives in the Study of Argumentation'' (PDF)

The Origins of Informal Logic and Pragma-Dialectics:

  • Johnson Ralph H. "Some Reflections on the Informal Logic Initiative" (PDF)
  • Blair J. Anthony ''Informal Logic and Logic'' (PDF)
  • Eemeren Frans H. van "Strategic Manoeuvring Between Rhetorical Effectiveness and Dialectical Reasonableness" (PDF)

Formal Tools in Analysis of Argumentation:

  • Dębowska Kamila, Łoziński Paweł, Reed Chris "Building Bridges Between Everyday Argument and Formal Representations of Reasoning" (PDF)
  • Hitchcock David ''Non-logical Consequence'' (PDF)
  • Budzyńska Katarzyna, Kacprzak Magdalena ''Formal Models for Persuasive Aspects of Argumentation'' (PDF)
  • Jacquette Dale ''Deductivism in Formal and Informal Logic'' (PDF)
  • Dziśko Mary, Schumann Andrew ''Cyclic Proofs in Argumentation: the Case of Excluding Boris Pasternak from the Association of Writers of the USSR'' (PDF)

Definitions in Argumentation:

  • Kublikowski Robert "Definition Within the Structure of Argumentation'' (PDF)
  • Walton Douglas, Macagno Fabrizio ''Classification and Ambiguity: the Role of Definition in a Conceptual System'' (PDF)

Stephen Toulmin's Model of Argumentation:

  • Zarębski Tomasz ''Toulmin's Model of Argument and the 'Logic' of Scientific Discovery'' (PDF)
  • Bermejo-Luque Lilian ''Argumentation Theory and the Conception of Epistemic Justification'' (PDF)

Ethical and Legal Argumentation:

  • Feteris Eveline, Kloosterhuis Harm ''The Analysis and Evaluation of Legal Argumentation: Approaches from Legal Theory and Argumentation Theory'' (PDF)
  • Yaskevich Yadviga ''Biomedical Investigations in the Context of Interdisciplinary Strategies: Moral and Legal Arguments'' (PDF)


  • Marciszewski Witold ''On the Power and Glory of Deductivism'' (PDF)

Download the essays here:


Comparative and Continental Philosophy is a peer-reviewed and fully refereed journal that appears bi-annually and publishes leading edge papers by internationally respected scholars in comparative and continental philosophy. Sponsored by the Comparative and Continental Philosophy Circle (, Comparative and Continental Philosophy is a seriously minded, yet interesting, academic journal that is accessible to a wide range of readers from various disciplines such as philosophy, religion, art history, comparative literature, critical theory, phenomenological psychology, and cultural theory. Although anchored in the discipline of philosophy and designed to provide a much needed niche in the natural development of continental philosophy into other nonwestern ways of thinking, submissions are welcomed from other disciplines as well and need not be necessarily comparative in nature. For comparative submissions, Asia is our primary focus, but we welcome papers devoted to any non-western region, especially Africa, and comparative continental and Anglo-American philosophy. The Journal also includes papers on critical spirituality that discuss inter-cultural encounters and address understanding through meditative thinking and papers on contemporary feminism. In general, the editorial board of Comparative and Continental Philosophy takes seriously a broad array of contemporary engagements with texts that open discussions and welcomes innovative submissions from authors. Contents: Articles:
  • "Step Back and Encounter: From Continental to Comparative Philosophy" by Bret W. Davis
  • ''Kuki Shūzō and the Question of Hermeneutics'' by Ōhashi Ryōsuke
  • "Qui est le Zarathoustra de Nietzsche?" by Françoise Dastur (Translated by David Farrell Krell)
  • "Forever Younger: A Reading of Sophocles’ Antigone'' by David Farrell Krell
  • ''Sacred Syllogisms and Song for the Ecology of Mind'' by Elizabeth B. Sikes
  • ''The Demand of Freedom in Kant’s Critique of Judgment'' by James Risser
  • ''The Other of Contemporary Discourse about the Other: Plato’s (not the Platonic) Idea of the Good" by Burt C. Hopkins
  • ''Plato Encounters Zen – atop the Mountain Peaks of Iran'' by Joseph Lawrence

Book Reviews:

  • "Appeal and Attitude: Prospects for Ultimate Meaning'' by Steven G. Smith -- Reviewed by Verna Ehret
  • "Hegel on Hamann," translated from the German and with an introduction by Lisa Marie Anderson -- Reviewed by Jason Wirth

Essays may be purchased from: ttp://

Cfp: Comparative and Continental Philosophy, 5th Annual Meeting, Comparative and Continental Philosophy Circle, Tokai University, April 8-11, 2011.

We invite papers/presentations on any aspect of Comparative philosophy, Continental philosophy, and/or bridges between them. Plenary Speakers: John Sallis, Boston College Roger Ames, University of Hawaii Special Guest: Mine Hideki, Kwansei Gakuin University There will also be a special session devoted to John Sallis' new book, Transfigurements: On the True Sense of Art, and a special session will be dedicated to a presentation by Mine Hideki.
 Send electronic abstracts, papers, or inquiries to this year’s conference chairperson, Dr. Michael Schwartz, by February 21, 2009: Visit the conference website here:

Cfp: "Rhetoric and Law," 18th Biennial Conference, International Society for the History of Rhetoric (ISHR), University of Bologna, July 18-22, 2011.

The Society calls for papers that focus on the historical aspect of the theory and practice of rhetoric. In honor of the origin of the University of Bologna the main theme of the Conference will be "Rhetoric and Law". Papers dedicated to this theme will explore points of contact between rhetoric and law and their mutual influence through the centuries. Papers are also invited on every aspect of the history of rhetoric in all periods and languages and the relationship of rhetoric to poetics, literary theory and criticism, philosophy, politics, art, religion, geographic areas and other elements of the cultural context. Visit the conference website here: