Friday, April 30, 2010

"Confronting Theory." THE PHILOSOPHER'S ZONE April 17, 2010.

Bell, Philip. Confronting Theory: the Psychology of Cultural Studies. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2010. These days, if you go to university to study humanities or media studies, you will encounter something called theory. It's a bit philosophical and a bit French and it maintains that there is no universal human nature and that science cannot be truly objective. This week, we meet Philip Bell, whose new book, Confronting Theory: the Psychology of Cultural Studies comes to grips with what somebody has called 'Theory only dogs can hear.' . . . Download the show here:

Gaffield, Chad. "We Need Literary Theorists." UNIVERSITY AFFAIRS April 6, 2010.

In the February issue of University Affairs, Rosanna Tamburri wrote a provocative article (“Give us the Dirt on Jobs”) about what universities are doing, or not doing, to prepare graduate students for the likelihood that they will be working in non-academic careers after graduation. This question is particularly relevant for the social sciences and humanities in the globally engaged and digitally connected 21st century. The notion that successful pathways for  undergraduate students in fields such as literature and political science lead only to graduate programs and then to research careers has been wrong for decades. About half of our fellowship-winning graduates pursue research careers. The other half go on to contribute across the private, public and non-profit sectors. Happily, both expectations and curricula are changing, with the realization that Canada needs more graduates with postsecondary education at all levels; only some of them will occupy research positions. Today’s rapidly changing economy, society and culture make it increasingly important that we confront these misperceptions and continue to update the curricula to embrace the diversity of ways that advanced education connects to subsequent experience.

Does Canada need students studying fields such as literary theory? More than ever, if we can judge by the example of scholars like Ian Lancashire, an English professor from the University of Toronto, and his colleague Graeme Hirst, a computational linguist, who topped the New York Times annual list of the best ideas of 2009. Their idea was to analyze Agatha Christie’s novels based on the knowledge that written vocabulary changes subtly but perceptively with the onset of dementia. Their textual analysis demonstrated for the first time that the prolific Christie did, in fact, write her last novels while suffering from Alzheimer’s. Moreover, their work suggests new diagnostic tools for identifying the initial onset of dementia which, in turn, make possible new preventive treatments. . . .

Read the rest here:

Carlisle, Clare. "Kierkegaard's World: Part 4: 'The Essentially Human is Passion.'" GUARDIAN April 5, 2010

At the end of his 1843 book Fear and Trembling, Kierkegaard writes that passion is "the genuinely human quality", and he adds that "the highest passion in a human being is faith". Today we are used to hearing people talk of their passions, whether they are "passionate about football", "passionate about music", or "passionate about retail". Such talk expresses enthusiasm, dedication, and often a thirst for success. It also indicates ways in which we find meaning and value in our lives. But what might it mean to regard passion is the most essential feature of the human being? What does Kierkegaard mean by passion? In order to answer these questions, we need to look back at the philosophical tradition that Kierkegaard inherited. The dominant view within this tradition, from Plato and Aristotle through to Descartes, Spinoza and Kant, is that reason is the most important aspect of the human being. Philosophers have frequently opposed our capacity for rational thought to "the passions", or the emotions, and many have argued that living a good human life involves controlling, subduing, or even eliminating one's emotions and appetites. According to this view, reason ought to rule over the passions. We can also trace through the history of philosophy a counter-movement which reverses this relationship between passion and reason. Kierkegaard might be located within this movement, alongside David Hume and the Romantic poets. When he emphasises passion, Kierkegaard challenges the idea that rational thought could or should encompass and direct human existence. However, for Kierkegaard "passion" does not just signify emotion. More importantly, passion is a kind of desire. Again, this is an idea that Kierkegaard takes from the philosophical tradition. In his dialogue The Symposium, Plato dramatises a dinner-party at which the intellectual and cultural elite of Athens take turns to speak about the nature of Eros, which means desire or love. Socrates, the guest of honour, suggests that Eros is characterised by the absence of the desired object: one desires what one does not possess. Even when a lover seems to possess her beloved, she desires to continue to possess it in the future, which is not yet secure. . . . Read the rest here:

"Twenty-First Century Heidegger," Humanities Institute of Ireland, University College Dublin, September 10-11, 2010.

Keynote Speakers:

Professor Miguel de Beistegui, University of Warwick
Dr Joseph Cohen, University College Dublin

This two-day conference intends to explore, expand, and contest contemporary research on the German phenomenologist Martin Heidegger. The principal aim of the conference is to examine the oppositional, complementary, and sometimes contradictory ways in which Heideggerian scholarship has been developed in the first decade of the twenty first century. Scholars are invited to critically address fundamental questions in the Heideggerian scholarship, including its direction, problems, and potential. The conference hopes to bring together the increasingly disparate approaches to Heidegger’s work, whether those approaches are traditional in their employment of phenomenology and hermeneutics or whether they apply Heidegger’s thinking in new and surprising ways. Papers from a wide variety of disciplines including, but not limited to, philosophy, psychology, psychiatry, cognitive sciences, archaeology, anthropology, sociology, political science, language studies, literature, film studies, geography, and architecture are encouraged. It is hoped that, by bringing together both traditional and contemporary scholars, the conference can initiate, facilitate, and foster further research and collaboration related to Heidegger’s philosophy.

The following list—which is by no means exhaustive or exclusive—contains some of the themes the conference intends to address:
Classic problems and questions of phenomenology and hermeneutics
The overcoming of metaphysics as a task of a new epoch Papers on recently published volumes from Heidegger’s Gesamtausgabe and recently published translations
The significance or insignificance of the existential analytic for contemporary society
Space, place, and dwelling in Heidegger’s work
Potential applications of Heidegger’s topology, topography, and geography
Heidegger’s influence on environmental thought and architecture
Heidegger’s relation to literary and film studies
Heidegger’s relationship to Eastern thought and his reception in the East Political and social issues arising from Heidegger’s engagement with National Socialism
Heidegger’s contribution to the philosophy of science
Heidegger among the psychiatrists, psychologists, and cognitive scientists
The post-modern and post-continental engagement with Heidegger
The future of Heidegger’s philosophical thought.

The conference language is English, and each speaker will be allotted twenty minutes of presentation time. Please e-mail an abstract of approximately 250 words to: Please include a separate page with the title of the paper, the name of the author, your institutional affiliation, and e-mail address.

"Hermeneutics and Science: Worlds, Realities & Life," International Society for Hermeneutics and Science, Sigmund Freud University, August 27-29, 2010

The birth of hermeneutic (or hermeneutic phenomenological) philosophy of science was a result of the so-called "hermeneutic turn" of philosophy of science in the 60's. Arriving at different consequences of the critique of the traditional positivist philosophy of science almost the same transformation is called as social or sociological turn. In these years Apel, Hanson, Heelan, Ihde, Kisiel, Kockelmans, Markus, Follesdal, and others started to apply Heidegger's and Gadamer's views to depict the science and technology from a non-positivist position. As a consequence of these attempts for the 80's - 90's a relatively well-identifiable trend was emerged in philosophy of science: the hermeneutics of science, or hermeneutic philosophy of science and technology. Heidegger's and Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics provides an opportunity for developing a hermeneutic alternative to the analytic philosophy of science. This intellectual adventure has significant outcomes.Hermeneutics of science scrutinized the life world of scientists, the process of discovery, the structure of perception, scientists' relatedness to the world, experimentation, scientific and technological tools, scientific debates, the reconstruction of scientific texts, and many others topics. It shed new light e.g. on the issues about the philosophical foundations of Psychoanalysis. Heideggerian hermeneutics is also the basis of well known results in the Dasein analysis targeted the openness included in human Dasein, and aims to widen it via the analysis and develop self understanding and identity. Taking the problems of hermeneutic philosophy of science into a broader philosophical context some fundamental epistemological problems can be identified. These dilemmas yield to the identification of the unnecessary domination of the so-called scientism in culture and provide a possibility to its critique. It would be interesting to disclose the appearance the different forms of these problems in the practice of social and natural sciences, humanities, psychology, informatics and other forms of technology. This would be also an opportunity to confront philosophical ideas with everyday scientific and technological practice.

The aim of this conference is to provide an open and inspiring atmosphere to discuss all of these and related issues. Possible topics for discussion includes: •Reflections of scientists on their own praxis •Creativity, innovation and re-interpretation •Interpretation in History of Philosophy of Science •Science as human enterprise/praxis •Information and meaning: the question of interpretation •Open world hermeneutics: go beyond the "two cultures" •Life-world, systems and institutions •Institutions, organisations and relationships •What does it mean to live a fulfilled life? •How to cope with uncertainty? Challenges of uncertainty in everyday life and science. •Philosophical background of Dasein analysis •Life technologies and human survival: human-environment relations. •Varieties of relatedness to the world •Tools, toolmaking and technologies •Embodiment and thinking •Scientific knowledge and experties

Visit the conference website here:

"Hegel and Collingwood," Westminister Institute of Education, Oxford Brookes University, May 7, 2010.

10.00-11.00 - Kenneth Westphal (University of Kent), ‘Mutual Recognition and Rational Justification in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit’ 11.00-12.00 - Arto Laitinen & Constantine Sandis (Helsinki Collegium & Oxford Brookes University), ‘Hegel on Purpose’ 12.00-12.45 – Lunch Break 12.45-13.45 - Gary Browning (Oxford Brookes University), ‘Collingwood’s Early Logic: Continuities & Discontinuities’ 13.45-14.00 – Coffee Break 14.00- 15.00 - Giuseppina D’Oro (Keele University), ‘Collingwood and the Idea of a Metaphysics Without Ontology’ 15.00 –16.00 Katerina Deligiorgi (University of Sussex), ‘Hegelian Determinism, Agency and Judgement’ Attendance is free and all are welcome, but please email in advance as places are limited.

"On Error," Research Group in Continental Philosophy, Goldsmiths College, University of London, October 29-30, 2010.

Confirmed Speakers:

Keith Ansell-Pearson (University of Warwick),
Paul Davies (University of Sussex),
Christoph Menke (Goethe University Frankfurt),
John Roberts (University of Wolverhampton)

Is a form of discourse, philosophical or otherwise, conceivable without a relation to error: the errors it considers potentially amendable, the errors it seeks to distinguish itself from, or the errors it inadvertently generates? If this relation is neither uniform nor stable, if the status, value, and identity ascribed to error may vary across disciplines or even within a single philosophical corpus itself, what does this variability express? And what consequences will the transformations in philosophy’s understanding of error have for its procedure in general? This two-day international conference, organized by INC, the Research Group in Continental Philosophy at Goldsmiths, University of London, aims to ascertain the meaning and function of error for philosophical thought today. Researchers are invited to submit original papers of forty minutes reading time devoted to any aspect of the theme in question.

Areas of research may concern (but are not limited to) the following: Error and . . .
• Deception, ideology, and false consciousness
• Its relation to concept, category, or statement
• Methodologies of correction or adaptivity
• History (transmission and persistence of problems)
• Determinacy and indeterminacy
• Accountability
• (Un)predictability: the aleatory instant
• Reinventions of the truth-error relation (Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, Canguilhem, Foucault)
• Being wrong or being right: logics of argumentation
• Wilful error (dissimulation, méconnaissance, detour, fabulation, etc.)
• Psychoanalysis: situating the subject in the “dimension of making a mistake”

Submissions: Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words in length, along with your name, department, institution, and email address. Deadline for submissions: 1 June 2010 (You will be informed of our decision by 1 August 2010). Email abstracts to:

For further details:

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 (

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cleffi, Rico. "Your Own James: . . . James Left a Rich Body of Thought; A Marxist Polymath Who Rejected Leninism." THE INDYPENDENT February 19, 2010

James, C. L. R. You Don't Play with Revolution: the Montreal Lectures of C. L. R. James. Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2009. Martin Glaberman, a longtime associate of C.L.R. James, once observed that the staggering scope of James’ writing often meant, “Everyone produces his/her own James. People have, over the years, taken from him what they found useful, and imputed to him what they found necessary. James as cultural critic, James as master of the classics, James as expert on cricket, James as historian, James as major figure in the pan-African movement….” A cursory glance at You Don’t Play with Revolution: The Montreal Lectures of C.L.R. James, mostly a collection of talks delivered to a group of West Indian students living in Montreal from 1966 to 1967, shows the breadth of James’ interests (the book is supplemented with interviews with James and letters from, to and about the scholar). Among the topics discussed are Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire as it relates to the Caribbean; the Haitian Revolution, Shakespeare’s King Lear, the making of the Caribbean people, and Lenin’s views on labor unions. James, a Marxist journalist, essayist and social theorist, is perhaps best known for his 1938 masterwork on the Haitian Revolution, The Black Jacobins. He made it his life’s work to examine the movement of historical forces from below and the response of those in power to these efforts. Lectures “The Making of the Caribbean People” and “The Haitian Revolution and the Making of the Modern World,” both included in You Don’t Play with Revolution, revisit this theme, which, given the current tragedy in Haiti, is as important as ever. James ties together the ways slaves organized themselves in order to run the West Indian plantations, the amazing defeat of the British army at the hands of the Haitians in 1791, the Haitian revolution and its importance to the French Revolution. He extends the analysis to emphasize the role of the creative resistance of American slaves in inspiring the abolitionist movement. . . . Read the whole review here:

Cfp: "Deconstructing Democracy." DERRIDA TODAY (November 2011).

Deconstructing Democracy: CFP The November, 2011 issue of Derrida Today will be a special issue on “Deconstructing Democracy.” Derrida’s evocation of a “democracy-to-come” is most famously associated with global politics immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the announcement of a New World Order. Over subsequent years, the term recurred in Derrida’s discussions of religion, sovereignty, justice, human rights and the War on Terror. How adaptable was this deconstructive construction of democracy, and how well has it survived into the era after both established communism and evangelical neo-conservatism, the era of stalemate in Iraq and Afghanistan, of the Global Financial Crisis and Climate Change? Far from being a mere restatement or celebration of Derrida’s own discussions of democracy, this issue will hope to encourage a critical re-appraisal of the relationship between deconstruction and the democratic: • What are the horizons of the deconstruction of democracy with, beyond or against Derrida; with, beyond or against democracy? • Does ‘democracy-to-come’ have an enduring legacy? • What does deconstruction have to offer democratic thinking now? • Does deconstruction help us re-think the strengths and limitations of democracy both as it is currently practiced and as an idea? • Whatever happened to the ‘New International?’ • Is deconstruction democratic? Contributors should send a 250-word proposal and a 100-word Bio, to by June 30, 2010. Complete papers will be due by December 31, 2010.

Risse, Mathias. Review of Raymond Geuss, POLITICS AND THE IMAGINATION. NDPR (April 2010).

Geuss, Raymond. Politics and the Imagination. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2010. As Raymond Geuss states in the introduction to his 2008 Philosophy and Real Politics (PP), his book "wishes to suggest the possibility that there might be a viable way of thinking about politics that is orthogonal to the mainstream of contemporary analytic political philosophy" (p 18). Politics and the Imagination (PI) is plausibly understood (though does not explicitly introduce itself) as a sequel to PP. PI is a wide-ranging collection of essays with which readers will come to terms more easily if they have some sense of how they fit in with Geuss' attempt to provide such a non-mainstream approach. Therefore I begin with a few recollections of, and comments on, that earlier discussion. Geuss rejects a particular way of understanding the idea that "politics is applied ethics," a view he calls the "ethics-first" reading of that slogan, and that he thinks penetrates contemporary political philosophy in pernicious ways. According to the ethics-first view, there is an independent discipline called "Ethics" that arrives at prescriptions concerning human activities independently of empirical investigations of concrete and historically embedded human endeavors. This discipline tends to formulate relatively few basic and rather abstract principles meant to provide systematic guidance for human behavior and that, in principle, apply to all contexts of human interaction. Often this view also presupposes some kind of individualism and gives considerable weight to basic moral intuitions. Geuss considers Rawls, Nozick, and Habermas defenders of this view, and attacks them for it. The view Geuss champions also adopts the idea that "politics is applied ethics," but interprets it rather differently. Far from being a value-free enterprise, politics is populated by actors who pursue their respective conceptions of the good and think what they are doing is permissible, no matter how inconsistent or unreflective they are in their attitudes. Yet there is no independent subject called "Ethics" that can generate insights that then only need to be applied to the study of politics. Instead, value judgments of, or about, political actors always occur in particular contexts that we must understand before their historical background. This background must not merely inform value judgments, but a full understanding of this background renders abstract, non-context-specific ethical inquiries at best superfluous. At worst (and not unrealistically, as Geuss thinks, for instance with regard to Rawls) such inquiry leads to gross misconceptions of reality and thus, as the case may be, also to misguided interventions in it. Presumably as a consequence of this attitude towards what should be considered appropriate academic inquiry into human action, Geuss' Cambridge website recommends that prospective post-graduate students in his areas of interest consider applying to the interdisciplinary M. Phil. in Intellectual History and Political Thought, administered by the Faculty of History, rather than to the M. Phil. of the Faculty of Philosophy. Geuss advocates what he calls realist political philosophy. The study of politics is a study of action, which is always historically situated action. Beliefs and ideals (according to Geuss a central preoccupation of post-Socratic philosophers) do matter, but only to the extent that they motivate people, not for some independent philosophical value they may have. Geuss obtains a good deal of his own philosophical inspiration from the pre-Habermasian Frankfurt School, especially Adorno, but also from Nietzsche. (Like Nietzsche's, Geuss' writings help themselves to frequent references to antiquity.) In the spirit of Critical Theory -- which Geuss elucidated very well in his first book, The Idea of a Critical Theory: Habermas and the Frankfurt School -- ideals must never be taken at face value: what people think about why they endorse ideals and about what their effects are may be totally wrong. Ideals -- like, say, social orders or academic disciplines -- have a way of inculcating illusions about their own character. (As far as academic disciplines are concerned, and as readers of Geuss' 2005 Outside Ethics may recall, he thinks that it is especially those who see themselves in the Rawlsian camp who are so deluded.) The study of politics, as a study of human action, is the study of power relations, and the adoption of belief systems cannot be detached from power relations. Politics itself is understood on the model of an art or a craft that requires particular skills (to make good judgments about what will happen, or to act at the right moment) that cannot be fully codified and thus neither systematically taught nor learned. . . . Read the whole review here:

"'Become who you are': Kierkegaard, Literature, and the Philosophy of Religion," University of Essex, May 15, 2010.

13th International Graduate Conference in Philosophy in honour of Mike Weston, Senior Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, University of Essex. [T]here can be no general issue of the significance of life which must be resolved in order to give the guidelines for the individual’s life. To raise the question of life’s significance is always something done by an individual. There is no ‘truth’ here apart from its being lived by individuals: to say a certain view of life is ‘true’ is to adopt it, see one’s life in its terms, whether to try to live it or feel guilt at one’s failure to do so. It is to take it as the measure for one’s life.’ (Mike Weston, Philosophy, Literature, and the Human Good) Keynote Speakers: Stephen Mulhall (Oxford) Michael McGhee (Liverpool) Further information may be found here:


Tihanov, Galin, ed. Gustav Shpet's Contribution to Philosophy and Cultural Theory. West Lafayette, IND: Purdue UP, 2009. Summary: Gustav Gustavovich Shpet (1879-1937) has emerged as the most prominent Russian philosopher of the first third of the twentieth century. The principal promoter of Husserlian phenomenology, at the same time creatively modifying Husserl and at times departing from him, Shpet was also an early advocate of hermeneutics. He left behind seminal work spanning philosophy, aesthetics, psychology, literary and theatre theory, and the history of Russian thought. Significantly, many of his concerns anticipate scholarship that has dominated the discourse on theories of culture and the philosophy of language in the last decades. The present volume brings Gustav Shpet’s multifaceted work to the attention of Western scholarly communities. It offers original research by leading experts from the US, UK, Germany, France, Switzerland and Russia, which covers the central areas of Shpet’s work – phenomenology, philosophy of language, cultural theory, and aesthetics – and takes forward the current state of knowledge and debates on his contribution to these fields of enquiry. The volume also contains, for the first time in English translation, the most seminal portions of Shpet’s book-length study of hermeneutics, undoubtedly one of his most significant works for contemporary students of cultural theory. Thoroughly researched bibliographies of Shpet’s publications and of scholarship on him are also included. Contents: Acknowledgements Galin Tihanov, "Gustav Shpet’s Life and Works: Introduction to the Volume" Part One: Mapping out the Field Peter Steiner, "Tropos Logicos: Gustav Shpet's Philosophy of History" Robert Bird, "The Hermeneutic Triangle: Gustav Shpet's Aesthetics in Context" Vladimir Zinchenko and James V. Wertsch, "Shpet's Influence on Psychology" Galin Tihanov, "Gustav Shpet's Literary and Theater Affiliations" Part Two: The Russian Context James P. Scanlan, "The Fate of Philosophy in Russia: Shpet's Studies in the History of Russian Thought" Steven Cassedy, "Gustav Shpet and Phenomenology in an Orthodox Key" Maryse Dennes, "Vladimir Solov'ev and the Legacy of Russian Religious Thought in the Work of Gustav Shpet" Part Three: Phenomenology Thomas Nemeth, "Shpet's Departure from Husserl" George L. Kline, "Shpet as Translator of Hegel's Phänomenologie des Geistes" Ulrich Schmid, "The Objective Sense of History: Shpet's Synthesis of Hegel, Cieszkowski, Herzen, and Husserl" Alexander Haardt, "Shpet's Aesthetic Fragments and Sartre's Theory of Literature—a 'Dialectical Interpretation'” Part Four: Semiotics and Philosophy of Language Thomas Seifrid, "Sign and/vs. Essence in Shpet" Craig Brandist, "Problems of Sense, Significance, and Validity in the Work of Shpet and the Bakhtin Circle" Dušan Radunović, "Semiotics in Voloshinov and Shpet" Part Five: Translations George L. Kline, "Introduction to Excerpts from Shpet's 'Germenevtika i ee roblemy' ('Hermeneutics and Its Problems')" Gustav Shpet, Excerpts from "Hermeneutics and Its Problems” Dušan Radunović and Galin Tihanov, Introduction to Shpet's “O granitsakh nauchnogo literaturovedeniia” (“On the Limits of Scientific Literary Scholarship”) Gustav Shpet, “On the Limits of Scientific Literary Scholarship” Part Six: Bibliographies Galin Tihanov, Bibliography of Gustav Shpet's Published Works (1901-2009) Galin Tihanov, Literature on Gustav Shpet (1915-2009) Contributors Index About the editor Galin Tihanov is Professor of Comparative Literature and Intellectual History and founding Co-Director of the Research Institute for Cosmopolitan Cultures at the University of Manchester. He has published extensively on Russian, German, and Central-European intellectual history, cultural theory, and literature.

Carlisle, Clare. "Kierkegaard's World, Part 3: The Story of Abraham and Isaac." GUARDIAN March 29, 2010.

Kierkegaard predicted that his 1843 work Fear and Trembling would be translated into many different languages, and would secure its author's place in history. He was right. But Fear and Trembling has also led to an enduring caricature of Kierkegaard as advocating a dangerously irrational and individualistic form of religious faith. The book is written under a pseudonym, Johannes de silentio, who discusses the biblical story of Abraham's obedient response to God's command to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Largely on the basis of this story, Abraham has come to be regarded within the Judeo-Christian tradition as the "father of faith". Reflecting on Abraham's willingness to kill his own son therefore provides Kierkegaard with an opportunity to raise difficult questions about the nature, and the value, of Christian faith. Read the rest here:

"Working with Stories: Narrative as a Meeting Place for Theory, Analysis and Practice," University of Southern Denmark, March 10-11, 2011.

Second Conference, European Narratology Network. “The narratives of the world are numberless,” Roland Barthes stated in his famous introduction to the structural analysis of narrative in 1966. “Narrative is first and foremost a prodigious variety of genres, themselves distributed amongst different substances – as though any material were fit to receive man’s stories. ... Caring nothing for the division between good and bad literature, narrative is international, transhistorical, transcultural: it is simply there, like life itself.” In the years that have passed since Barthes’ seminal essay, scholars in the humanities and the social sciences have devoted considerable effort to exploring the roles and functions of narrative in human history and behavior. They have done so not only with regard to literature and other epic modes of expression, but also in the areas of psychology, cultural studies, communication studies, cognitive sciences and sociology. In recent times, trans- and interdisciplinary perspectives on narrative studies have drawn increasing interest. The purpose of this conference is to contribute to this ongoing development by welcoming papers which explore and reflect the transdisciplinary aspects of narrative theory and conceptualization. Papers focusing on the following subjects will be of special interest to the conference: · Comparative surveys of narratological concepts across disciplines. · The use/misuse of narratological concepts in uncommon narrative environments. · The conceptualization and analysis of multimodal narratives. · Conceptual development with interest in unnatural narratives and antinarrative strategies. Keynote speakers: · Matti Hyvärinen, Tampere University: “Traveling concepts of Narrative” · Wolf Schmid, Hamburg University: “The Legacy of Russian Formalism in a Transdisciplinary Perspective” · Cynthia M. Grund, University of Southern Denmark: “Narrative and Music” · Lars-Christer Hydén, Linköping University, Sweden: “Narrative and Medicine” · Jan Alber, Freiburg University: “The Unnatural Across the Fiction/Non-Fiction Divide” · Susan Lanser, Brandeis University: “Feminist Narratology in a Transdisciplinary Perspective“ Deadline for submission of abstracts: October 1st, 2010. Send 200-word abstracts to Associate Professor Per Krogh Hansen (University of Southern Denmark, Center for Narratological Studies): Please write ‘ENN Conference: Working with stories’ in the subject line. Visit the conference website here:

Copenhagen Summer School in Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind, August 23—27, 2010.

Center for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen This summer school will provide essential insights into central themes within the philosophy of mind, viewed from a phenomenological perspective. Topics include: consciousness, intentionality, perception, embodiment, the self, and intersubjectivity. The course will consist of a mixture of lectures and seminars (25 hours total), aimed at advanced MA students and PhD students. Speakers will include: Prof. Sara Heinämaa (Helsinki), Prof. Hans Ruin (Södertörn), Dr. Komarine Romdenh-Romluc (Nottingham), Prof. Dan Zahavi (Copenhagen), Dr. Søren Overgaard (Copenhagen) Registration must be completed (in writing) by April 30, 2010. Students interested in giving a short presentation (20 minutes + 10 minutes discussion) must submit an abstract when they register. Download all the information in PDF format here:

"Matters of Intentionality," Research Seminar in Phenomenology 2009-2010, University of Liège, May 3-7, 2010.

The seminar will address the following issues: 1) First, we intend to explore the great diversity of the interpretations of intentionality — psychological, logico-linguistic, existentialist, etc. — as well as how they could combine. Among other questions, we will examine the ontological status of the intentional content (Brentano's "intentional in-existence", Meinongian approaches, Fregean readings of Husserl, etc.), the relation between linguistic and non-linguistic intentionality, the existential interpretation of intentionality, etc. 2) Then, we will focus on the critiques of intentionality, especially in externalism and French philosophy. 3) Finally, we will study the relation between consciousness and intentionality, which is an issue of major importance in current debate. Are these two notions mutually exclusive (theory of qualia, functionalism, etc.) or should we view them as complementary (Brentano's thesis, Husserl, theories of phenomenal intentionality)? In what terms should we, for example, describe the relation between intentionality and feeling? etc. Visit the conference website here:

"Phenomenology & Ancient Greek Philosophy: Reappraisal and Renewal," Department of Philosophy & Social Studies, University of Crete, June 27-29, 2010.

Among both phenomenologists and scholars of ancient Greek philosophy, it is a well-known fact that the originators of 20th century phenomenology, Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, understand phenomenological philosophy as having a special relation with the thought that originated in Greece two and a half thousand years before. This fact, of course, does not also mean that there is a mutual agreement between these two groups of philosophers on the legitimacy and the relevance of the phenomenological understanding of the ancient Greek philosophy. Time and again, for instance, scholars of ancient Greek philosophy have openly disagreed with the readings of the Pre-Socratics, Plato, and Aristotle presented in the works of Heidegger. Nonetheless, he continuously tried to decipher in ancient Greek philosophical thinking the most profound sources of the history of the understanding of Being that still underpin the foundations upon which Europe and the modern world rest. Husserl’s phenomenology, in contrast, offers not so much a sustained interpretation and retrieval of ancient Greek philosophy but the attempt to establish a philosophical science by employing the central ancient Greek philosophical concepts, such as eidos, noesis, noêma, idea, essence, category, etc., to express the findings of phenomenological research. Additionally, the last period of his thought is characterized by a historical reflection on the post First World War and pre Second World War crisis in European sciences and culture that traces the origin and meaning of European philosophy to its primal establishment in ancient Greece. On the other hand, Max Scheler attempted to establish the existence of an ideal realm of values, to interpret anew the meaning of the tragic, and establish the content of a non-formal ethics that seems to maintain a close relation to Aristotle’s virtue ethics. And, likewise, Hans-Georg Gadamer, from the beginning to the end of his philosophical activity, situated his phenomenologically informed philosophical hermeneutics in terms of the critical engagement and appropriation of Plato and Aristotle. Jan Patocka, as well, is known for his endeavor to bring together phenomenological philosophy, political thinking, and thematics in ancient Greek philosophy. As a rule, phenomenological scholarship has attempted to clarify the understanding of ancient Greek philosophy offered by phenomenology’s founders. Nevertheless, it seems that the time is ripe for a reappraisal of the relation between phenomenological philosophy and ancient Greek Philosophy by a new generation of phenomenologists. In the critical times that we now live, in a milieu where the calling for a new life-paradigm keeps growing louder and louder, contemporary phenomenologists are bound by the responsibility to think critically on the current situation and its history. This is the task of thinking and elucidating anew the relationship of phenomenological philosophy and ancient Greek philosophy. The practical realization of this task may guide a revitalizing understanding of the current state of phenomenological philosophy in relation to its ancient Greek inspirations. It also promises to set this revitalized phenomenological philosophy at the vanguard of the effort to elaborate the meaning of emergency characterizing the current situation and to prepare the ground for its possible overcoming. Among the invited speakers that will come at the conference are: John Sallis (Boston College, USA) Walter Brogan (Villanova University, USA) Burt Hopkins (Seattle University, USA) James Risser (Seattle University, USA) Ivan Chvatik (Charles University, Czech Rep.) Claudio Majolino (Lille University, France) George Xiropaides (Athens Schools of Fine Arts, Greece) Pavlos Kontos (University of Patras, Greece) Panagiotis Thanasas (University of Thessalonica, Greece) Golfo Maggini (University of Ioannina, Greece) Send abstracts to Panos Theodorou ( not later than the 30th of April, 2010. Visit the conference website here:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Carlisle, Clare. "Kierkegaard's World, Part 2: The Truth of Knowledge and the Truth of Life." GUARDIAN March 22, 2010

One of Kierkegaard's most influential ideas is his distinction between two kinds of truth. Sometimes he describes these as "objective" and "subjective" truth; sometimes as truth that is known, and truth that is lived. According to Kierkegaard, it is the lived, subjective kind of truth that is most important to each existing human being. Implicit in this claim is a critique of traditional philosophy, for most philosophers – in spite of disagreements about how to define truth, how much of it can be known, and how best to attain it – have thought that truth, if it is possessed at all, is possessed in the form of knowledge. Kierkegaard is not particularly interested in philosophical debates about whether we really know that the things we perceive exist, or whether we really know that today is Monday. With regard to the truth as knowledge, Kierkegaard tends to emphasise the absence of certainty: for example, he argues that the historical life of Jesus can only be a matter of belief, not knowledge, and he regards the Christian doctrine of the incarnation as a paradox that human reason cannot grasp. But what is most important, in his view, is the way each individual relates themselves to these beliefs, or indeed to any other beliefs, values or ideals. What matters is how beliefs are lived, from day to day and even from moment to moment. Kierkegaard focuses on the question of what it means to be true, or to exist truthfully. . . . Read the rest here:

Cfp: "Foucault and International Law," LEIDEN JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 24.2 (2011).

Abstracts due by 12 May 2010; Complete articles by 17 September 2010. The Leiden Journal of International Law is now soliciting articles for a special issue exploring the relevance of Foucault’s oeuvre to international law and legal theory. Apart from its merits for philosophy, political theory and sociology, the importance of Michel Foucault as a legal thinker (both as a thinker of law in his own right and as a thinker whose work can be illuminating for legal studies) is increasingly being felt. With the continuing translation and publication of Foucault’s lecture courses at the Collège de France and the ongoing importance of his already published work, Foucault’s work continues to provide fertile suggestions for rethinking many of our established notions of law, right(s), sovereignty and legal subjectivity. Yet to date there have been, with some notable exceptions, few sustained treatments of Foucault’s relevance to international law and international legal theory. This is the subject of Issue 2 of volume 24 (2011) of the Leiden Journal of International Law (LJIL). What is the relevance of Foucaultian methodologies (archaeology, genealogy, problematisation) to international law and international legal theory? What does a Foucaultian analytic of international law entail? How can we use it to analyse international legal subjectivity? How does that relate to, inter alia, sovereign statehood and/or human rights law? How can the Foucaultian toolbox contribute to our understanding of the devolution of international public law, its fragmentation and specialisation (e.g. as an instance of governmentality)? What about international law ‘from below’ (the relevance of Foucaultian models of power/resistance, anti-globalisation perspectives and critiques of neoliberalism and the global rule of law, for example). These questions are just a number of suggestions, intended as provocations for thought, within the general theme of ‘Foucault and International law’ we invite contributors to interrogate and critically engage with. Contributors will be asked to prepare an article of approximately 10,000 words (including footnotes) for publication in the LJIL, consistent with its instructions for authors. Those interested in contributing are requested to respond to this Call for Papers by email to managing editor Christine Tremblay ( by 12 May 2010, attaching a 300-word abstract of the article you propose to contribute. The selected authors are requested to submit the full articles by 17 September 2010. All contributions will be subject to double-blind peer review in accordance with the usual procedures of the LJIL. Please contact the LJIL (guest) editors with any further questions: Tanja Aalberts ( and/or Ben Golder ( For further information, please visit the journal’s website:

"New Insights into Gramsci's Life and Work," Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, School of Advanced Studies, University of London, May 28, 2010.

The main aim of the conference is to disseminate the results of recent, specialised research on Gramsci. Significant novelties will be presented by leading experts with the aim of overcoming disciplinary boundaries and helping to reduce the gaps between: a) widespread, conventional understandings of Gramsci and up-to-date specialised research; and b) the work on Gramsci’s writings and biography and the use of Gramsci’s theories for understanding current social, political and cultural issues. Confirmed contributors: Derek Boothman (SSLMIT, University of Bologna), Craig Brandist (University of Sheffield), Fabio Frosini (University of Urbino), Carl Levy (Goldsmiths, University of London), James Martin (Goldsmiths, University of London), Anne Showstack Sassoon (Birkbeck, University of London), and Peter Thomas (member of the editorial board of Historical Materialism). For further information, visit:

"Salomon Maimon and the ESSAY ON TRANSCENDENTAL PHILOSOPHY," Manchester Metropolitan University, August 19, 2010.

Maimon, Salomon. Essay on Transcendental Philosophy. Trans. Nick Midgley, Henry Somers-Hall, Alistair Welchman and Merten Reglitz. Intro. Nick Midgley. London: Continuum, 2010. (1790).

We are pleased to announce the first UK conference on the philosophy of Salomon Maimon (1753-1800). With the recent publication of the first English translation of Maimon’s principal work, the Essay on Transcendental Philosophy, Maimon’s thought has become accessible to the English speaking world for the first time. The conference celebrates this event and aims to stimulate scholarly interest in the thought of this brilliant but neglected philosopher. As well as exploring Maimon’s philosophy, it will look at his influence on successors, including Deleuze and the post-Kantian tradition in general. The Essay on Transcendental Philosophy (1790) is Maimon’s response to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Here he recognizes that the Critique marks a revolution in philosophical method, and wholeheartedly endorses Kant’s turn to ‘transcendental’ philosophy. However, he argues that Kant’s solution to the fundamental problem of transcendental philosophy, viz. how are concepts applied to intuitions, fails. He offers an alternative solution, a transcendental philosophy based on different foundations or, to be more precise, based on a foundation of difference. Maimon’s published philosophical works cover a wide spectrum ranging from philosophy of science and mathematics to logic, morals and aesthetics. We welcome papers on any aspect of his thought and of its relation to that of other philosophers, as well as papers on the Essay itself. Confirmed Speakers: Paul Franks (Toronto) Gideon Freudenthal (Tel Aviv) Beth Lord (Dundee)

E-mail Nick Midgley and Henry Somers-Hall at this address:

"Semiotic's Creativity: Unifying Diversities, Differences, Divides," Romanian Association of Semiotic Studies, University of Iaşi, November 4-7, 2010.

We, as human beings living in a postmodern age dominated by paradigms such as web, net, fast, variety, multiplicity, multiculturality, globalisation, change, are aware that we are not only sign-using individuals but also dynamic sign-makers. Our ability of developing a “semiotic sphere” allows and leads us to perceive the hidden knots relating and unifying phenomena in nature and culture despite diversities, differences and divides. If difference is “of two kinds as opposed either to identity or resemblance” – according to David Hume –, mainly denoting the quality or condition of being not the same; if diversity is the condition/form or structure of being different as the result of a process of becoming diversified; if divide sets a boundary between systems, interests, opinions within the process of creating varieties in the world of signs, then it is from the multiplicity of these three 'ds' (diversities, differences, divides) that there arises something like the consciousness of the unifying role played by signs, a role which “has endured” through all the fast changes of life experiences and through the changing dimensions of the world. The circumscribing of the three ds within semiotics’ unifying power of creativity reveals the gradual transformation of the horizontality (two-dimensional) of signification into a multiple-layered verticality (constructed on the three-dimensionality of the sign) of an identity signifying act. Such a change makes visible not only the symbolic action of bringing signs into existence/being, but also the web of relations establishing themselves both temporally and spatially (in a palimpsestic way), as far as unifying presupposes an action of discovering, of identifying and of communicating the existence of multiplicity into O/one coherent whole. Thus, communication does no longer mean an encoding-decoding process of interpersonal messages only; it builds and bridges up a complex process of conveying thoughts, of manipulating opinions, of negotiating feelings etc. between different “(semiotic) animals” belonging to various worlds, to (other possible) spaces and times, all of them conceived in terms of imagining, innovating and creating at multiple transmodern levels. Participants are kindly asked to submit papers for one of the following areas of interest: I. Semiotics creativity: a transdisciplinary bridge between nature and culture 1.The creative language of science and technology 2. The resonant forms of arts 3. The creative power of the W/word(s) in the process of communication 4. Towards the unity of religion and philosophy, science(s) and art(s) II. Creative values of a unifying world, or the “unity within the diversity” of worlds: 1. Spiritual and material worlds 2. The worlds of imagination and reason 3. Virtual and real worlds 4. (Re)creating worlds in a “semiotic sphere” III. Local and global worlds in and out of crisis 1. “World wide world” and “small worlds” 2. The outside and the inside worlds 3. The world of the written, the oral, the pictorial message 4. Unveiling new ways of harmonizing worlds IV. The communicology net: towards an integrated language 1. Bridging up (old and new) worlds through games/ advertising / travelling / marketing 2. Diversity of styles of communication 3. Cultures in dialogue: the “open worlds” of the “zoon semeiotikon” 4. Communicating beyond polyphonic discourses Visit the conference website:

Gianni Vattimo, "The End of Reality," Gifford Lectures, June 7-10, 2010.

Time: 18:00 Venue: Western Infirmary Lecture Theatre (WILT), University of Glasgow Mon 7 June "Tarski and the Quotation Marks of his Principle" Alfred Tarski argued that truth is indefinable. Yet truth in language, the kind of truth that perplexed Tarski, may be grounded in a more basic notion of truth explored by European thinkers. Vattimo explores the question of the relationship between human existence, language and truth. Tues 8 June "Beyond Phenomenology" Wed 9 June "Being and Event" Thurs 10 June "The Ethical Dissolution of Reality" For further information contact Angela Hair, Development and Alumni Office, Email:, Tel: 0141 330 3593

"Self, Psychoanalysis and Society in the 21st Century," Gothenburg, Sweden, July 10, 2010.

The relationship of self and society has intrigued philosophers, psychoanalysts, and sociologists for over a century. In the early part of the last century, as economic conditions fostered alienation, malaise and despair, the neo-Marxist Frankfurt School, among the first scholars influence by both the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, as well as Freudian psychology, began to investigate and theorize the social psychological factors that disposed certain people to Fascism. At about the same time, in the US, scholars such as Cooley, James and above all GH Mead began to think about socialization and the formation of self. These early perspectives played a major role in the rise of symbolic interactionism. These theories have seen a number of developments and transformations. While the work of Reich, Fromm, Adorno and Horkhiemer was groundbreaking, Marcuse, Habermas and Jessica Benjamin have added to that tradition. Surely the work of Althusser, Lacan and Foucault has added a number of other concerns and dimensions. For the past few years, a number of scholars have gathered together before the American Sociological Association meetings to discuss the vagaries of contemporary selfhood, largely, but not exclusively from a psychoanalytical perspective. This year, given the many European and International scholars that will be attending the ISA, we decided to move our venue to Gothenburg, Sweden, and schedule our meeting the day before ISA meets. The meeting will be sponsored by RC36 Alienation Theory and Research. We would like to invite all interested scholars to join us in what have been among the most stimulating meetings. Please send an abstract of about 200-250 words to Lauren Langman, and Lynne Chancer, Please send by April 30, 2010.

Flaxman, Gregory, and Abe Geil. Review of Joe Hughes, DELEUZE AND THE GENESIS OF REPRESENTATION. NDPR (April 2010).

Hughes, Joe. Deleuze and the Genesis of Representation. London: Continuum, 2008. The nature of Gilles Deleuze's relationship to phenomenology is among the most vexing problems of his philosophical genealogy. Broadly construed, the problem appears to consist in a kind of contradiction between Deleuze's explicit statements about phenomenology and his implicit affinity for its methods and inclinations. On the one hand, in interviews and recollections, Deleuze consistently describes his own entry into the milieu of academic philosophy against the dominant landscape of phenomenology. In the 1950s, when he first began to write, the French philosophical establishment was given over to the "suffocating" conditions of phenomenology and the tradition of the "three H's" (Hegel, Husserl, and Heidegger). Hence, Deleuze's turn to Nietzsche, Bergson, Spinoza and the genealogy of a minor philosophy seems to constitute nothing less than a kind of escape, a line of flight from the institution of phenomenology. But on the other hand, and despite his seeming antagonism, Deleuze consistently expresses his admiration for phenomenology and, more particularly, a number of its partisans, including Sartre, Hippolyte, Wahl, and Merleau-Ponty. This affinity is perhaps most clearly expressed in an early essay, "He Was My Teacher" (1964), in which Deleuze embarks on a remembrance of Sartre. "Our teachers, once they reach adulthood, are those who bring us something radical and new, who know how to invent an artistic and literary technique, finding those ways of thinking that correspond to our modernity," Deleuze characteristically begins, but in what follows, he subtly switches registers. "We know there is only one value for art, and even for truth: the 'first-hand,' the authentic newness of something said and the 'unheard music' with which it is said."[1] Inasmuch as expression is linked to experience, he adds, Sartre's genius defined the phenomenological possibilities that Deleuze's philosophy would invariably take up, namely, the "pre-judgmental" and "sub-representational"[2] -- or what we might simply call ontology. But to what degree is Deleuze's own (and very idiosyncratic) ontology indebted to phenomenology? This question lies at the heart of Joe Hughes' Deleuze and the Genesis of Representation, which contends that, in elaborating the eponymous problem, Deleuze offers an account that is deeply indebted to the transcendental logic of phenomenology. In this regard, the uniqueness of Hughes' book consists in having moved beyond (or before) the work of Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, or even Heidegger, to that of Husserl. As Hughes rightly points out, the majority of the Anglo-American literature on the relation between Deleuze and phenomenology has dwelt on the latter's French tradition, most often in terms of Merleau-Ponty, in order to consider the raw nature of experience and the embodiment of perception. By contrast, Hughes turns to Husserl for a strictly formal philosophical model for the genesis of representation. Deleuze and the Genesis of Representation begins from the precisely circumscribed definition of phenomenology provided by Husserl's assistant Eugen Fink. According to this definition, phenomenology is oriented around two essential elements: the method of the phenomenological reduction (or epoché) and the problem of genetic constitution. Hughes's sweeping claim is that "Deleuze's thought unfolds entirely within these two general orientations of phenomenology" (3). . . . Read the whole review here:

"Transforming Rhetoric: Discovery and Change," Western States Rhetoric and Literacy Conference, New Mexico State University, October 22-23, 2010.

In the groundbreaking text Rhetoric: Discovery and Change, noted for its work in "recovering" rhetoric and its role in the academy and beyond, Young, Becker, and Pike urged us to be "discoverers of new truths as well as preservers and transmitters of the old." Forty years after its publication, this text has continued to find readers and applications across the globe and across disciplines in a range of new venues. The conference theme on transformation challenges us to explore rhetoric and literacy through discussions of discovery, preservation, communication, cooperation, community, and change. In what ways do the studies, theories, and practices of rhetoric and literacy help us to create new knowledge, bridge our diverse experiences, or draw from the "old" in sites expected and unexpected? What are we learning, and how do we and others apply what we learn? Given the call of Young, Becker, and Pike to connect literacy with social change, what transformations have we experienced, resisted, or championed in our field(s)? What impacts are we seeing as we move forward--and transform--through fields that are themselves transforming? We invite paper and panel proposals that explore topics suggested by these questions. The Western States Rhetoric and Literacy Conference was created to allow scholars to come together and exchange current research in rhetoric and literacy studies in an intimate and informal setting. In keeping with the spirit of a small gathering, the conference will be held in a professional but relaxed atmosphere. Its goal is to address theoretical and pedagogical issues through a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives. Each year, the conference focuses on a particular theme. While we especially welcome proposals that address the theme for each particular year, we may also consider proposals that deal with other relevant topics and issues. Of particular interest are presentations that encourage audience participation and discussion, and contribute closely to the conference theme and to questions concerning aspects of the following: Border rhetorics New literacies Critical pedagogy Activist rhetoric New media Service learning Cross-cultural rhetorics Community literacy Rhetorics of difference Digital, visual, and material rhetorics Rhetoric and agency The academy and civic engagement Politics of writing instruction For further information, contact: Patti Wojahn New Mexico State University Department of English MSC 3E Box 30001 Las Cruces, NM 88003 Email:

"All Our Relations: Contested Space, Contested Knowledge," Conference on College Composition and Communication, Atlanta, April 6-9, 2011.

The phrase “all our relations” is a familiar one for many indigenous peoples in North America. It encapsulates an entire philosophy of humans in relation to other living things—plants, animals, rocks, earth—that emphasizes the intricately connected web of relationships that sustains our mutual ability to live out our shared existence on the earth together. In those teachings all living things matter, all are important, all must be treated as relatives. Even harmful, frightening or negative relatives are important and must be understood and honored if we are to survive together in the same spaces. “All our relations” is a phrase used both as invocation and conclusion—a heuristic that forces us to consider the balance between the weight of each human’s responsibility in maintaining the balance of the world and in understanding the smallness of each individual in relation to the larger web of meaning. I invoke “all our relations” here to allow CCCC’s scholars and teachers the chance to consider how such a concept of balance and webbed relationality might help us build a scholarly community in which knowledge and space are always contested. This is a space where it’s never taken for granted that we all value the same originary stories, but where the struggle between stories isn’t for dominance; rather, the struggle is to sustain our very rich, very productive differences in the face of social forces that call for dominance. This community, then, is one where the diversity of our disciplinary fields, and of the people who work here, is understood -as the heartbeat of a vital and vibrant future. More practically, in bringing this sense of “all our relations” to the CCCC, I want to encourage all members of the organization to acknowledge both the scholarly relationships that are frequently marginalized at the Convention and to make more substantial connections to the communities outside of higher education whose existence informs the work that we do. So, for the 2011 CCCC Convention, I’m asking you to share your space at our annual national gathering in the interest of producing knowledge that will help us contest, debate, revise & re-create who and what we are as both a disciplinary organization and as individual scholars, teachers, students, writers. Key to each of us being able to do this is the acknowledgement that we depend on each other—you and I, digital rhetorician and second-language writing instructor, istorian and 2-year college teacher, theorist and workplace studies scholar, ethodologist and tech writing teacher, administrator and graduate student. We, literally, make the disciplinary community habitable for one another even when—maybe, especially when—we don’t see the commonalities in our work, can’t discern the communal warp & weft of our dependence, have a hard time understanding the relevance of one to the other. This is a convention that focuses on those differences as the very strands of the web that makes us a community, a discipline. How then, to begin to interrogate and understand such a web? Consider some of these questions: • What spaces, knowledges, people and things is CCCC related to? How can those relatives be brought into the center of our conversations, in both our disciplinary and individual practices? • How do we define communities within our discipline and the institutions within which we build our professional homes? How do we make our work meaningful outside of those disciplines and institutions? • How can we build stronger communities within our classrooms? Within our graduate programs? Within our teacher preparation programs? • As a discipline, how do we (how might we) extend & complicate the stories we tell about ourselves? • How do we define “theory” & what it means to “theorize” in our discipline? What kinds of theories do we need to build in order to enrich our shared community? • What kinds of rhetorics do we enact as teachers and scholars? What kinds of methodologies and theories do we have to identify and study these rhetorics? • How are we being responsible to our relatives in the ways that we mentor one another, our graduate students, our undergraduates, our study participants, ourselves? • How might creative writing (all genres) and/or digital writing help us to explore ways we can attain a more vital and vibrant conversation about all kinds of writing? • How can languages other than English--including Indigenous languages and less commonly taught languages--become central to our rhetorical and pedagogical theories and practices? • Where is the space for an exploration of embodied rhetorics? • How can critical, gender, race, queer, disability, embodied, and cultural theories & rhetorics help us to re-make the culture of our discipline? • How do theories of civic engagement intersect with composition, rhetoric, writing, and the world we all live in? • How can our discipline transition from an understanding of rhetoric as a Greek and Roman tradition to rhetoric as a set of rules/practices locatable in all cultures, places, and times? As you read through this call, I hope you’ll think of ways to deliberately violate the categorical boundaries that the standard area clusters for submission usually force us to live within. What do I mean by that? For example, all too often when we talk about “teaching writing,” we’re really using a short-hand that means teaching first-year writing or teaching composition. But there are more kinds of writing getting taught than that and when we narrow our stories down, we run the risk of not listening to folks who are teaching digital writing or professional writing or life writing or writing in communities or second-language writing. These are, quite literally, our writing relations. And they have important things to bring to the table. As a way to encourage you to craft proposals that see connections instead of boundaries, I encourage you to eschew the usual cluster categories altogether and submit your proposal under #113—Contesting Boundaries! This new category is, in fact, the space where I hope all of the submissions arrive so that even the review process can become a moment of learning from each other! Why here? Why now? The city of Atlanta is itself a contested space. Built on land that was taken from the Cherokee and Creek nations, it plays a role in at least two iconic national narratives – that of manifest destiny and of a nation divided by slavery—out of which some of the most elemental contestations of knowledge in our national consciousness have arisen. As a geographical space celebrated as the epicenter of the “New South,” Atlanta stands at the crossroads of a contest of narratives of progress-despiteadversity like “the Trail of Tears,” “we shall overcome,” “the South shall rise again.” In fact, the city of Atlanta’s seal shows a phoenix rising from the ashes. And yet, all that has been destroyed in its history (i.e.: “overcome”) cannot simply be forgotten. In this racially diverse city of over 5 million, where thousands of immigrants (both forced and voluntary) have flocked for hundreds of years, where both poverty and plenty are visible on the face of the city, and where the non-white population is more than 60%, I invite you to consider how the complex, problematic history of the city of Atlanta might help us better understand our own community today. In the end, “all our relations” should remind us that only in our connections to others—even those profoundly and uncomfortably different than ourselves—can we find the key to our own survival. In asking you to take a more personal, more relational approach to our convention time together in Atlanta, I’m also asking you to take responsibility for your part in making the culture of our discipline, a place we’ve all chosen to live. For further information, visit:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Carlisle, Clare. "Kierkegaard's World, Part 1: What Does It Mean to Exist?" GUARDIAN March 15, 2010.

It is difficult to categorise Søren Kierkegaard: to some readers he is primarily a philosopher, to others a Christian thinker or theologian. He was also a perceptive psychologist and incisive cultural critic. But above all, Kierkegaard was a writer. Much of his adult life was spent pacing around his Copenhagen apartment, composing out loud the sentences that he would then write down, still standing, at his tall desk. He was extraordinarily prolific, producing on average a couple of books each year during the 1840s. Some of these are provocative, genre-defying works on philosophical and religious themes, written under a variety of pseudonyms and sometimes featuring biblical and fictional characters. Others are collections of sermon-like discourses, written explicitly for the reader's spiritual edification. All are, however, unmistakably Kierkegaardian, distinguished by his eloquent and exuberant prose style, by a love of word-play, irony and paradox, and by a rare combination of sardonic wit and profound sensitivity to the human condition. Even more distinctive is Kierkegaard's attempt to address his readers personally and to encourage them to reflect on their own lives. For those reading Kierkegaard for the first time, a good starting-point is the short 1843 book Fear and Trembling, or the slightly longer 1849 text The Sickness Unto Death. Despite their daunting titles, these are among Kierkegaard's most popular and engaging works. Over the next few weeks we'll look at some of the themes and ideas explored in them, although I'll touch on some of his other books too. We may as well begin with a question that is at the heart of Kierkegaard's philosophy: what does it mean to exist? In his 1846 book Concluding Unscientific Postscript – which, at over 600 pages, is surely one of the lengthiest postscripts ever written – he suggests that "people in our time, because of so much knowledge, have forgotten what it means to exist". Even though all sorts of things exist, for Kierkegaard the word "existence" has a special meaning when applied to human life. This meaning arises from the fact that we always have a relationship to ourselves. For example, we can be more or less self-aware; we can wish to be other than how we are; we can trust or mistrust, like or dislike ourselves. Perhaps we can even make decisions about who we will become. For Kierkegaard, the most pressing question for each person is the meaning of his or her own existence, which arises from this relationship with the self. Indeed, this is what might be called an existential question. . . . Read the rest here:

"Cultural Capital: the Story of Pierre Bourdieu." PHILOSOPHER'S ZONE April 10, 2010.

He was a poor boy from a poor home, and being a poor boy from a poor home was important to his thought. Before the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu died eight years ago, he was the most quoted social scientist alive, and the most lauded public intellectual in France. He was trained in philosophy but decided that philosophy was not enough. Find out why this week in The Philosopher's Zone. . . . Download the podcast or read the transcript here:

Fish, Stanley. "Does Reason Know What It Is Missing?" NEW YORK TIMES April 12, 2010.

Habermas, Jurgen. An Awareness of What is Missing. Trans. Ciaran Cronin. Cambridge: Polity, 2010. The German philosopher Jürgen Habermas has long been recognized as the most persistent and influential defender of an Enlightenment rationality that has been attacked both by postmodernism, which derides formal reason’s claims of internal coherence and neutrality, and by various fundamentalisms, which subordinate reason to religious imperatives that sweep everything before them, often not stopping at violence. In his earlier work, Habermas believed, as many did, that the ambition of religion to provide a foundation of social cohesion and normative guidance could now, in the Modern Age, be fulfilled by the full development of human rational capacities harnessed to a “discourse ethics” that admitted into the conversation only propositions vying for the status of “better reasons,” with “better” being determined by a free and open process rather than by presupposed ideological or religious commitments: “the authority of the holy,” he once declared, “is gradually replaced by the authority of an achieved consensus.” In recent years, however, Habermas’s stance toward religion has changed. First, he now believes that religion is not going away and that it will continue to play a large and indispensable part in many societies and social movements. And second, he believes that in a post-secular age — an age that recognizes the inability of the secular to go it alone — some form of interaction with religion is necessary: “Among the modern societies, only those that are able to introduce into the secular domain the essential contents of their religious traditions which point beyond the merely human realm will also be able to rescue the substance of the human.” The question of course is what does Habermas mean by “introduce”? How exactly is the cooperation between secular reason and faith to be managed? Habermas attempted to answer that question in the course of a dialogue with four Jesuit academics who met with him in Munich in 2007. The proceedings have now been published. . . . Read the rest here:

Schulman, Sam. "Good Writers. Bad Men. Does It Matter?" IN CHARACTER: A JOURNAL OF EVERYDAY VIRTUES March 30, 2010.

A great majority of us have done discreditable, even cruel things in our lives, even after we have ceased to be children. And the great majority of that majority find it in our hearts to forgive ourselves, and to think more about how we have been injured than the injuries we have made. But it seems to matter more when a writer or artist behaves badly. Why should it? If my dentist loves one of his daughters more than any of his other children, or a Boeing engineer is having an affair with her best friend's husband, it is cruel. But their cruelties don't impair the quality of my bridgework or disturb my tendency to sleep peacefully through take-offs and landings. Why does the bad character of a writer or artist matters so much more? And how does "mattering" work? Big biographies of major authors tend to raise or lower their subjects in the esteem of their publics: Flannery O'Connor, up; John Cheever, not so much. But when there is a big revelation - especially a revelation of weakness or worse - there is a stimulus effect. The reputation of Philip Larkin has never recovered from his friend Andrew Motion's biography, which pointed out repeatedly that he, Motion, though a pretty dreadful poet, is a far better human being than Larkin was. Readers knew about John Cheever's alcoholism and his bisexual priapism from his journals, first published in the same magazine which published his beautiful short stories and from the complaining memoirs of his daughter before Brad Bailey's Cheever biography of last year. The big shock of the year, however, was the "authorized biography" of V.S. Naipaul, by Patrick French: The World Is What it is. French's book shocked only partly because of the story it told, the real surprise was that Naipaul collaborated so completely with its telling. . . . Read the rest here:

Parini, Jay. "Dead Poets' Society." CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION April 11, 2010.

Poetry is conversation, and poets like to sit at an imaginary table, agreeing with what was said by other poets, chafing at their arguments, avoiding or responding (directly or indirectly) to their assertions. This conversation is the stuff of culture, and without the rough-and-tumble of what scholars often loosely call "influence," there would be no poetry. There is a further layer here, contained in a phrase from T.S. Eliot, "under the sign," that Christopher Ricks—critic, poet, and professor of humanities at Boston University, to say nothing of one of the finest readers of poetry in our time—uses in his new book, True Friendship: Geoffrey Hill, Anthony Hecht, and Robert Lowell Under the Sign of Eliot and Pound (Yale University Press). Eliot used the suggestive phrase in a letter, saying that four poems in his earliest collection were written "sous le signe de Laforgue"; what that means, I suspect, is that Eliot felt conscious of Laforgue's presence while writing those poems. He felt the sway of his precursor, his guiding intellect, a certain dry ironic tone that he found useful in his own verse at the moment of writing. Critics have long discussed "influence," often in vague terms, and there is a never-ending stream of influence studies within academe—as in Harold Bloom's idiosyncratic but suggestive sequence of books in the 1970s and 80s, beginning with The Anxiety of Influence (1973). Bloom famously "theorized" the concept of influence by putting the process within the framework of Freudian psychoanalysis and its anxiety principle. He saw poets in perpetual conflict with those who went before them. Weak poets, in his view, depended too heavily on those whom they imitated; strong poets necessarily pulled away from their influences as they struggled to create voices of their own, often engaging in a process of misreading, which Bloom mapped in elaborate ways. Needless to say, the Bloomian notion was fraught for poets, as they looked over their shoulders with a sense of terror. Influence became an obstacle to creativity. In my view, that seems a mistaken notion, however intriguing for critics. Perhaps as we think about poetry this month—National Poetry Month—we may reconsider the idea of influence. I would argue that poets have always thought of themselves as participating in a larger conversation, and that anxiety is not necessarily involved. . . .

Read the rest here:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fulford, Robert. "Being and Time among the Nazis." NATIONAL POST March 30, 2010.

Faye, Emmanuel. Heidegger: the Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy. Trans. Michael B. Smith. New Haven: Yale UP, 2009. How serious a Nazi was Martin Heidegger, how long did he maintain his Nazi convictions and how should the answers to those questions affect his status as one of the towering thinkers of the 20th century? His political history has produced waves of controversy among his fellow philosophers in the last 65 years. It's resurfaced through an angry, dense and difficult book, Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy (Yale University Press), by Emmanuel Faye, a professor at the University of Rouen. It was first published in France and now appears in an English translation. Admirers of Heidegger (1889-1976) passionately defend their hero. They admit that in 1933 he greeted the rise of Hitler with enthusiasm, proclaimed Nazi beliefs while serving for a year as rector at the University of Freiburg and described Hitler as the embodiment of the German soul. But, his supporters claim, that was merely a phase that ended when he resigned his position as rector. Alasdair MacIntyre of Notre Dame University, a major voice in moral philosophy, typically called Heidegger's time as a Nazi "a short period." His blunder, the pro-Heidegger people say, should not obscure his greatness. That opinion seemed to make sense for decades, with the assistance of Heidegger's own carefully obscure accounts of his politics, delivered in a disdainful this-nonsense-is-beneath-me style. Major figures across the West, most famously Jean-Paul Sartre, built their reputations on versions of Heidegger's thinking. But in the last two decades a series of books have revealed that he was a much more deeply involved Nazi than many believed, that he kept the faith until the end of the Second World War and that he never got around to disowning his mistakes -- if, in fact, he considered them mistakes. Emmanuel Faye goes much further. He says Heidegger was not a philosopher who for a time became a Nazi; he was a philosopher of Nazism. His adherence to it was not an error but a natural outgrowth of his own thinking. Like Hitler, Heidegger was an enemy of the belief in reason and humanity that sustains philosophy. Heidegger and Hitler were a perfect fit. Read the rest here:

Pub: BEING AND TIME: Revised Translation by Dennis J. Schmidt.

Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time. Trans. Joan Stambaugh. Albany: SUNY Press, 1996. Revised trans. Dennis J. Schmidt, forthcoming July 2010. A revised translation of Heidegger’s most important work. The publication in 1927 of Martin Heidegger’s magnum opus signaled an intellectual event of the first order and had an impact in fields far beyond that of philosophy proper. Being and Time has long been recognized as a landmark work of the twentieth century for its original analyses of the character of philosophic inquiry and the relation of the possibility of such inquiry to the human situation. Still provocative and much disputed, Heidegger’s text has been taken as the inspiration for a variety of innovative movements in fields ranging from psychoanalysis, literary theory, and existentialism to ethics, hermeneutics, and theology. A work that disturbs the traditions of philosophizing that it inherits, Being and Time raises questions about the end of philosophy and the possibilities for thinking liberated from the presumptions of metaphysics. The Stambaugh translation captures the vitality of the language and thinking animating Heidegger’s original text. It is also the most comprehensive edition insofar as it includes the marginal notes made by Heidegger in his own copy of Being and Time, and takes into account the many changes that he made in the final German edition of 1976. The revisions to the original translation correct ambiguities and problems that have become apparent since the translation first appeared. Bracketed German words have also been liberally inserted both to clarify and highlight words and connections that are difficult to translate, and to link this translation more closely to the German text. This definitive edition will serve the needs of scholars well acquainted with Heidegger’s work and of students approaching Heidegger for the first time. Further information is available here:

Davies, Lizzy. "Descartes was 'Poisoned by Catholic Priest.'" GUARDIAN February 14, 2010.

For more than three and a half centuries, the death of René Descartes one winter's day in Stockholm has been attributed to the ravages of pneumonia on a body unused to the Scandinavian chill. But in a book released after years spent combing the archives of Paris and the Swedish capital, one Cartesian expert has a more sinister theory about how the French philosopher came to his end. According to Theodor Ebert, an academic at the University of Erlangen, Descartes died not through natural causes but from an arsenic-laced communion wafer given to him by a Catholic priest. Ebert believes that Jacques Viogué, a missionary working in Stockholm, administered the poison because he feared Descartes's radical theological ideas would derail an expected conversion to Catholicism by the monarch of protestant Sweden. "Viogué knew of Queen Christina's Catholic tendencies. It is very likely that he saw in Descartes an obstacle to the Queen's conversion to the Catholic faith," Ebert told Le Nouvel Observateur newspaper. Though raised as a Catholic, Descartes, who had been summoned in 1649 to tutor Queen Christina, was regarded with suspicion by many of his theological coreligionists. His theories were viewed as incompatible with the belief of transubstantiation, in which the bread and wine served during the Eucharist become the flesh and blood of Christ. "Viogué was convinced that … his metaphysics were more in line with Calvinist 'heresy'," said Ebert. The theory of foul play has been greeted with caution by scholars. . . . Read the rest here:

"TRUTH AND METHOD Fifty Years After: Gadamer's Influence on the Humanities," University of Leiden, August 26-28, 2010.

Almost fifty years ago, Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Truth and Method (1960) appeared. Among philosophers and theologians, this classic study of interpretation has enjoyed a spectacular reception history. But what sort of Gadamerian influences can be traced in the humanities (history, art history, classics, literary studies, etc.)? How has Truth and Method changed the humanities? Initially, the reception of Gadamerian hermeneutics within the humanities seemed dominated by criticisms such as E. D. Hirsch’s. Accustomed to the language of method and objectivity, many of Hirsch’s generation rejected a hermeneutics that was distinctively unmethodological and openly hostile toward epistemological subject-object dichotomies. However, fifty years after Gadamer’s book the influence of Truth and Method seems to have grown larger than Hirsch’s generation could imagine. Dozens of studies on Gadamer’s significance for (art) history or literary studies have appeared. Since many of these studies stay within the realm of prolegomena to the practice of interpretation, one wonders what broader tendencies they represent. In what sense, if any, do they reflect changing attitudes toward Gadamerian hermeneutics within the humanities? How have they contributed to the reception history of Truth and Method among (art) historians, literary scholars, classicists, etc.? Besides, within these practices of interpretation the past decades have witnessed a rapidly increased openness to some of the themes which Truth and Method famously addressed. These include (but are not limited to) the interpreter’s subject-position, the irreducibility of interpretation to method, the inseparability of meaning and significance, and the mediated nature of knowledge. Is there a sense in which we might speak of a hermeneutic “turn”? To what extent can this turn be attributed to an engagement with Gadamer’s classic text? For a conference to be held on the eve of Truth and Method’s fiftieth anniversary, we solicit proposals dealing with the influence of Gadamer’s book on the theory and practice of interpretation in the humanities. In particular, we welcome three types of papers: 1.Case studies that show in detail how interpretations of selected texts or artworks have changed, or could change, in the light of Gadamerian insights; 2.Discipline-specific overviews that show how Truth and Method, or the secondary literature on Gadamer, has helped transform the disciplines traditionally belonging to the humanities; 3.Critical studies that address the benefits and problems of Gadamerian hermeneutics within the humanities. For further information, visit the conference website here:

Bowler, Michael. Review of Lauren Swayne Barthold, GADAMER'S DIALECTICAL HERMENEUTICS. NDPR (April 2010).

Barthold, Lauren Swayne. Gadamer's Dialectical Hermeneutics. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010. In Gadamer's Dialectical Hermeneutics, Barthold takes on at least three interrelated and important scholarly and philosophical tasks. First, she provides an account of the development of Gadamer's notion of dialectical hermeneutics in its relationship to his reading of Plato and Aristotle, and in particular the manner in which this offers a foundation for a Gadamerian "dialectical ethics." Second, she situates this notion of dialectical hermeneutics and ethics within the debate coming out of Bernstein, Wachterhauser and others over whether or not Gadamer's hermeneutics amounts to a form relativism, essentialism, and/or realism and whether or not it has any ethical import or not. Finally, she attempts to formulate the foundations of Gadamer's dialectical ethics in his analysis of dialogue and its two essential components, solidarity and a transcendent good-beyond-being. I believe that the analysis that comes out of Barthold's attempt to fulfill all three tasks is interesting and insightful. In Chapter 1 she examines Gadamer's reflections on Platonic dialectic and its essential relation to chorismos or separation and in Chapter 2 she looks at Gadamer's account of the unified role played by theoria and praxis in Aristotle's ethics and practical philosophy. In Chapter 3, Barthold considers the eventual divisive separation between theoria and praxis in modern accounts of knowledge in conjunction with Gadamer's attempt to return to Plato and Aristotle in order to retrieve a unity in difference of theoria and praxis in a hermeneutical account of understanding. These three chapters are all fascinating reads that contain substantial insights for those interested in what a dialectical hermeneutics could look like and how it could avoid what many see as the traps of relativism, essentialism and an acontextual, ahistorical realism. Moreover, I think that she is absolutely right to suggest that a proper understanding of solidarity (the "good-for-us") and a "good-beyond-being," namely a notion of the good that transcends our momentary desires, beliefs, etc., is crucial to formulating a dialectical ethics of a particular stripe (Chapter 4, but especially Chapter 5). Furthermore, she demonstrates that reading Gadamer can afford us important insights into each of these issues. . . . Read the whole review here:

"Kant and Hegel," UK Kant Society and Hegel Society of Great Britain, St. Edmund's Hall, University of Oxford, September 1-3, 2010.

Joint Annual Conference. Keynote Speakers: Karl Ameriks Karin De Boer Katrin Flikschuh Sebastian Gardner Pauline Kleingeld Robert Stern Howard Williams Papers of around 6500-7000 words are invited from faculty members and graduate students across the broad theme of the conference. Papers can be on any aspect of the thought of Kant, Hegel or Kant and Hegel. The deadline for submitting papers is 30th April 2010. A selection of papers from the conference will be published in the Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain. For further details, to register your interest and to submit papers please e-mail Lea Ypi ( or Thom Brooks ( Further information is available at the UK Kant Society website ( and the Hegel Society of Great Britain website (

"The Profession of Philosophy, with Brian Leiter and Jack Russell Weinstein." WHY? PHILOSOPHICAL DISCUSSIONS ABOUT EVERYDAY LIFE, April 11, 2010.

What is the difference between a philosopher and a philosophy professor? What does the world think a philosopher is and how does this square with the philosopher’s own self image? The next episode of Why? looks closely at the philosopher’s job, exploring both the perennial question of its relevance and the tremendously competitive hiring process that almost every professional philosopher must endure. Join guest Brian Leiter for an insider’s look at the profession of philosophy, and a discussion about the future of the discipline: where is philosophy now, how has it changed, and how will it evolve over the next decades? Brian Leiter founded the University of Chicago Law School's Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values when he joined their faculty in July 2008. His teaching and research interests are in philosophy of law, moral and political philosophy, and Continental philosophy. Most pertinently, he is the gatekeeper to philosophy's official unofficial rankings, maintaining The Philosophical Gourmet an annually updated list of the most prestigious graduate programs. He also maintains three blogs, one on Nietzsche, one on law school, and The Leiter Reports, a compendium of professional news, issues in the profession, and news clippings related to philosophy as a discipline and as a career. His scholarly books include Objectivity in Law and Morals, Nietzsche on Morality, The Future for Philosophy, Naturalizing Jurisprudence: Essays on American Legal Realism and Naturalism in Legal Philosophy, and the Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy. Leiter holds an AB from Princeton University, and a JD and PhD in philosophy from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Why?'s host Jack Russell Weinstein says, "obviously, the profession of philosophy is always on my mind, but what happens when we explore it philosophically? What do we learn by turning the philosophical lens on ourselves? I’m excited to have Brian here to ask some of the most basic questions of all: how do philosophers make their money and are they of use to anyone at all.” Have a question you want to ask Brian in advance, or don’t want your voice on the air? Send it to us at: Subscribe to the podcast or listen to previous episodes online at

"Kierkegaard: Being and Becoming a Self," Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre, University of Copenhagen, August 18-20, 2010.

The notion of the self plays a decisive role throughout Kierkegaard’s authorship. But is the self an already-given entity included among the individual human’s possibilities? Or is the self created through the social relations and historical context the individual is embedded within, and through the choices and decisions he or she makes? The conference is open to anyone who might be interested. For further information, visit:

Transcendental Realism Workshop, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick, May 11, 2010.

The purpose of the workshop is to examine the arguments underlying the increasing push towards realism in parts of modern continental philosophy, along with approaches that bridge the analytic/continental divide, and to assess the possibility of transcendental approaches to realism within this context. Particular themes that we be focused upon include:- - The arguments of Quentin Meillassoux, and the possibility of transcendental responses to the problems he raises. - The relation between epistemology and ontology. - The relation between philosophy and the natural sciences. Speakers:

  • Ray Brassier (Philosophy, American University of Beirut) - 'Kant and Sellars: Nominalism, Realism, Naturalism'
  • James Trafford (Philosophy, Unaffiliated) - 'Follow the Evidence: Realism, Epistemology, Semantics'
  • Reid Kotlas (Philosophy Grad Student, Dundee) - 'From Transcendental to Abstract Realism: Epistemology after Marx'
  • Nick Srnicek (Politics PhD Student, LSE) - 'Extending Cognition: Bridging the Gap between Actor-Network Theory and Scientific Realism'
  • Tom O'Shea (Philosophy PhD Student, Sheffield) - 'On the Very Idea of Correlationism'
  • Pete Wolfendale (Philosophy PhD Student, Warwick) - 'Objectivity, Reality, and the In-Itself: from Deflationary to Transcendental Realism'

For further information, email

"Yes We Kant! Critical Reflections on Objectivity: its Meaning, its Limitations, its Fateful Omissions," University of Ghent, May 27-29, 2010.

Hosted by the Centre for Critical Philosophy. In the Crisis of the European Sciences, Husserl points out that scientific objectivity, as it gradually took shape through the modern sciences in the form of a mathematization of nature, rests on a "fateful omission", the one namely of forgetting to inquire back into the subjective-historical, dynamic and living context out of which it first of all emerged. This omission is of the essence, so he says, because without it, modern science would not have been able to realise what it has until this day. The production of objectivity intrinsically rests on the possibility to exclude that which is seen, from there on as historically subjective. Its fate is sealed in these terms, and it thus determines as such a specific space in which the necessary, the possible and the contingent are mutually defined. Descartes was perhaps the first to have pointed out this intimate connection, in acknowledging the need for a subjectivity – albeit as a res cogitans – in the midst of an overwhelming machinery of production of objectivity. Kant, however, more poignantly bears witness to this intimate relation between subjectivity and objectivity. In our view, he is the philosopher par excellence for having explored, throughout his three Critiques, but also in his pre-critical works, the idea that there can be no objectivity without subjectivity, and vice versa, that there can be no subjectivity without objectivity. It is indeed through the developments in modern science that subjectivity can appear in its capacity to contribute to the constitution of objectivity, as well as in its capacity to fail in this endeavour. And vice versa, it is through the articulation of subjectivity that objectivity can appear as intrinsically dependent on very specific subjectively grounded constitutive procedures. Most of the time, Kant has been read from a determinative, constitutive angle, and has as often been turned into a static, detached, and even obsessive thinker. His aim is considered to be to determine the limits and the range of the newly identified cognitive capacities as a neutral referee, without having to genuinely try them out. A divergent perspective is possible, however, that attempts to argue for a more dynamic view on objectivity, one in which objectivity is not seen as ultimately detached and static, but in which it is on the contrary the precarious and ever questionable result of dynamic processes of co-constitution. In this regard, there is certainly much to be learned from Kant’s third Critique, because that is the place where Kant most explicitly deals with the issue of coconstitution, and faces this problem in terms of the ways in which objectification encounters failure or disappointment (Enttäuschung). In the third Critique, his basic question is indeed the one about the meaning of a determinative or constitutive ambition, in the principled absence of the means to carry it through. What does this principled resistance, the encounter with an impossibility, that Kant so stubbornly exposes through the beautiful, the sublime and the living, mean? What is its place in his critical system and in critical thinking generally? What are its implications for a conception of objectivity that is, perhaps too hastily, conceived of in terms of neatly acquired and well defined capacities of subsumption under universal concepts? What are its implications for a conception of subjectivity that is, perhaps too quickly also, conceived of in terms of the subjective-relativecontingent. Clearly, Kant’s work, and most definitely his third Critique, is incompatible with a marked and static opposition between two terms, the subjective and the objective, leading to an oppositional space of subjectivism versus objectivism. But does this mean that the issue of resistance and failure, in the process by which objectivity and subjectivity are time and again codetermined and co-defined, is already sufficiently articulated? Is the figure of the “fateful omission” Husserl is referring to, and by which he also points at the historical dimensions of objectivity as well as subjectivity, already sufficiently explored? The aim of this three-day international workshop is to present and exchange various critical viewpoints on objectivity and subjectivity, and to more specifically focus on the various interpretations of necessity in its relation to contingency. This approach on the matter can find inspiration in Kant’s third Critique, that works out the idea that the need and the possibility to articulate the distinction between objectivity and subjectivity emerges to the extent that something resists the anticipative procedures of a living, actively engaged being. This need and this possibility are by him interpreted from within the background of contingently based feelings of pleasure and displeasure, that Kant considered as the constraining and enabling context – the horizon – within which eventually all processes of cognition and morality are to be situated, and in relation to which the faculty of judgment has a specific unifying role to play. But this source of inspiration should certainly not be considered as the only possible one. Husserl's gesture to extrapolate the coconstitutive relation between objectivity and subjectivity to history is but one example of objectivity seen from a dynamical, contingently, historically and subjectively grounded background, the lifeworld. The meeting is certainly open to explore other backgrounds. To realize that end, we invite speakers from different disciplinary backgrounds – physics, mathematics, biology, psychology, … – and embedded in quite divergent philosophical contexts – continental/analytical, in as far as this distinction is a relevant one. This meeting is not in the first place about critically, exegetically, discussing Kant’s texts. Its aim is rather to inquire whether, and in what sense, a return to Kant and to neo-Kantianism can be important to open certain unsuspected perspectives on objectivity (and subjectivity). We conjecture that this approach can be relevant for (i) a contemporary reading of basic texts in the tradition of transcendental philosophy, (ii) a conception of objectivity that can have a relevance in current philosophy and in philosophy of science in particular, (iii) for the development of a transcendental viewpoint in philosophy of science, supplementing and challenging current dominant analytical viewpoints. Invited and confirmed speakers: Michel Bitbol (CREA, Paris) Mario Caimi (Buenos Aires) Paul Cobben (Utrecht) Arnaud Dewalque (Uliège) Arran Gare (Melbourne, Australia) Jasa Josifovic (Germany) Hans-Herbert Koegler (Un. Of North Florida) Koichiro Matsunu (Nagaoka, Japan) Lenny Moss (Exeter, UK) Frank Pierobon (Brussels) Jaco Rivera de Rosales (Madrid) Norman Sieroka (Zürich, Sw.) Serguei Spetchinsky (ULB, Berlin) Joan Steigerwald (York University, UK) Maarten Van Dyck (Ugent) Of the Centre for Critical Philosophy: Emiliano Acosta Liesbet De Kock Boris Demarest Anton Froeyman Filip Kolen Eli Noé Frank Rottiers Gertrudis Van de Vijver Joris Van Poucke Visit the conference website here: