Sunday, November 27, 2011

Contemporary Dilemmas of Visuality, 10th Congress, International Association of Visual Semiotics (AISV-IAVS), University of Buenos Aires, September 4-8, 2012.

A dilemma (from the Greek, dis = two, lemma = topic or premise) is a problem whose solution allows for two possibilities, but none of them is completely satisfactory, so that a difficult choice comes out, upon which ethical and moral issues oſten impact. When a dilemma appears it is not possible to choose from a correct or an incorrect issue, but between two options that may be correct at the same time, but contrary to each other in a certain sense; between two equally appreciated values which, however, come into a conflict. In the field of visuality the dilemmas appear frequently, and seem to have multiplied themselves in the contemporary world, where images and their implications have acquired new strength in the infinite web of global connectivity.

It is perhaps in the field of photography –and particularly in press photography, traditionally linked to the greater effects of reality– where the most dilemmatic situations arise today: to make visible –or not– the oſten terrifying image of the present conflictive scenario, with its wars, attacks, famine, forced migrations, that put us “regarding the pain of others”, as Susan Sontag pointed out, and that may elicit undecidable political dilemmas that involve power factors in a worldwide level. In this extreme visibility, which expands the limits of the knowable, where the many forms of art also are displayed, images seem to recover the symbolic power that worried the ancient people, putting them at the risk of new idolatries. Visibility is assumed as a condition of democracy, as an imaginary of transparency, but also as an erasure of the uncertain threshold between public and private domains, another of the dilemmatic zones.

The dilemmatic visual situations are not limited, however, to moral or cultural questions; they appear equally in the more primary context of visual perception. In this sense, visual ambiguities, paradoxes and antinomies have also a place in the theme we are concerned with. The identification of the referents may suffer from the hesitations coming both from the perceptual organism and from the organization of the object. Even images that are generated and used in the context of scientific practices (diagnosis, experimentation, demonstration, explanation, etc.), which are oſten endorsed with a pretension of objectivity and unambiguity, do not escape from these situations.

Thus, visual contemporary dilemmas concern both ethics and aesthetics, politics, human and social sciences in general, as well as natural sciences, perhaps with special emphasis on biology. Since all knowledge relies on signs, the semiotic perspective allows precisely for an interdisciplinary and integrating view. Is in this vast territory that we want to pose the semiotic reflection on the dilemmas of visuality, calling to questioning, thinking and criticism.

Pub: Jean-Francois Lyotard, DISCOURSE, FIGURE.

Lyotard, Jean-Francois.  Discourse, Figure.  Trans. Antony Hudek and Mary Lydon.  Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2011.

Jean-François Lyotard is recognized as one of the most significant French philosophers of the twentieth century. Although nearly all of his major writing has been translated into English, one important work has until now been unavailable. Discourse, Figure is Lyotard’s thesis. Provoked in part by Lacan’s influential seminars in Paris, Discourse, Figure distinguishes between the meaningfulness of linguistic signs and the meaningfulness of plastic arts such as painting and sculpture. Lyotard argues that because rational thought is discursive and works of art are inherently opaque signs, certain aspects of artistic meaning such as symbols and the pictorial richness of painting will always be beyond reason’s grasp.

A wide-ranging and highly unusual work, Discourse, Figure proceeds from an attentive consideration of the phenomenology of experience to an ambitious meditation on the psychoanalytic account of the subject of experience, structured by the confrontation between phenomenology and psychoanalysis as contending frames within which to think the materialism of consciousness. In addition to prefiguring many of Lyotard’s later concerns, Discourse, Figure captures Lyotard’s passionate engagement with topics beyond phenomenology and psychoanalysis to structuralism, semiotics, poetry, art, and the philosophy of language.

"The First Sail: an Interview with Dragan Kujundzic." SIN FRONTERAS (Spring 2011).

An interview with Dragan Kujundzic concerning his upcoming film The First Sail devoted to J. Hillis Miller, the prominent deconstructionist.

"Bellwether: an Interview with J. Hillis Miller by Jeffery J. Williams." MINNESOTA REVIEW 73-74 (2009)

Hillis Miller has been a bellwether of academic literary criticism for the past fifty years. Trained at Harvard when it was a bastion of the old historicism, he staked out the newer criticism, drawing especially on Kenneth Burke. In his first job at Johns Hopkins University, he came to embrace the phenomenological criticism inspired by Georges Poulet, writing several books that try to capture the consciousness of a writer and his or her work. Already conversant in Continental thought, he shifted allegiances to deconstructive criticism by the early 1970s, inspired by colleagues Paul de Man and Jacques Derrida. Over the past two decades, he has widened his concerns to ethics, the fate of humanistic education, and the new, digital technologies, especially drawing on the later Derrida.

Phenomenology, Aesthetics and the Arts, Joint Conference of the Irish Phenomenological Circle and the British Society for Phenomenology, University College Cork, March 30-April 1, 2012.

Confirmed speakers: Prof Paul Crowther, National University of Ireland, Galway, Prof Joanna Hodge, Manchester Metropolitan University, Prof Gary Schapiro, University of Richmond.

Phenomenology has always been closely associated with aesthetics and the arts. Even Husserl, who conceives it as a 'rigorous science', remarks on the close relation between phenomenological reflection and 'disinterested' aesthetic judgment. The later Heidegger, although dismissive of aesthetics, describes poetic art as the 'happening of truth' and the 'opening of the world'. Merleau-Ponty hopes to find in artistic practice clues for a practice of phenomenology as an embodied alternative to scientistic and intellectualist models of inquiry. We should remember also the contributions made to phenomenology, aesthetics, and reflections on the arts by Sartre, Levinas, Ricoeur, Ingarden, Dufrenne, De Beauvoir, and Hartmann among others. More generally, hermeneutic and later post-structuralist strands of phenomenology, with their emphasis on interpretation and textuality over and against purely logical or causal explanation, often pitch their critiques in artistic, or literary, modes of engagement.

Artists, in turn, find in phenomenology a type of philosophical reflection that offers ways of thinking about the complex embodied and social experiences of their practice. In particular, phenomenological approaches have been exploited as alternatives to the earlier conceptual turn in art making. Now it is time to rethink the relations between phenomenology, aesthetics and the arts in contemporary contexts of new political, wider social and scientific developments.

The British Society for Phenomenology and the newly established Irish Phenomenological Circle have joined together for this conference in order to unite international voices from both philosophical and artistic fields for an open discussion of the potential contributions phenomenology can make to philosophical and artistic practices and debates.

If you are interested in reading a paper at the conference, please send an abstract of approx. 1000 words by 15 January, 2012 to

Tacit Knowledge in Science: Discussions with Harry Collins, Universite de Nancy 2, December 12-13, 2012.

The aim of this conference is to discuss the argument of Harry Collins’ book Tacit and Explicit Knowledge (2010), and related issues.

The detailed programme and the abstracts are available at:

The London Conference in Critical Thought, Birkbeck College, University of London, June 29-30, 2012.

In collaboration with the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, the London Conference in Critical Thought (LCCT) is designed to create a space for an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas for scholars who work with “critical” traditions and concerns. We welcome work from the humanities and social sciences, including but not limited to papers drawing upon continental philosophy, critical legal theory, critical geography and the Frankfurt School. The LCCT aims to provide an opportunity for those who frequently find themselves at the margins of their department or discipline to engage with other scholars who share theoretical approaches and interests. Interdisciplinary and inter-institutional, the conference hopes to foster emergent critical thought and provide new avenues for critically orientated scholarship and collaboration.

Scholars working in philosophy, literature, geography, law, art, and politics departments have already proposed panels and/or streams for the conference. These address issues as diverse as animality, sovereignty, human rights, cosmopolitanism, the city, and the relationship between text and space. Through these streams participants are encouraged to engage with a variety of thinkers including Kant, Deleuze, Marx, Lacan, Foucault, Spinoza and Derrida, to name a few.

Pub: Pierre Macherey, HEGEL OR SPINOZA.

Hegel himself than about his object of analysis. Against Hegel’s characterization of Spinoza’s work as immobile, Macherey offers a lively alternative that upsets the accepted historical progression of philosophical knowledge. He finds in Spinoza an immanent philosophy that is not subordinated to the guarantee of an a priori truth.

Not simply authorizing a particular reading—a “good” Spinoza against a “bad” Hegel—Hegel or Spinoza initiates an encounter that produces a new understanding, a common truth that emerges in the interval that separates the two.

Macavoy, Leslie. Review of Francis Mootz, et al., eds. GADAMER AND RICOEUR. NDPR (November 2011).

Mootz III, Francis J., and George H. Taylor, eds.  Gadamer and Ricoeur: Critical Horizons for Contemporary Hermeneutics.  London: Continuum, 2011.

This volume is a collection of essays on the hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer and Paul Ricoeur. Taylor and Mootz state in their introduction that the motivation for the project was to encourage further interest in both philosophers’ work. The collection aims to "demonstrate the continuing fruitfulness of Gadamer's and Ricoeur's work and to assess continuing points of similarity and difference in order to refine and extend their legacies" (1). All in all, the book accomplishes this goal. The essays are engaging and work to bring philosophical attention back to issues in hermeneutics that remain of pressing importance but which have been less prominent in the continental philosophical literature of late. They also suggest new directions for the application of insights drawn from hermeneutic philosophy.

The collection consists of twelve essays and is organized into three sections. The first and shortest section is entitled 'History' and aims to provide some historical context to the development of hermeneutic philosophy. This section contains only one essay, which seems somewhat out of balance in relation to the number of essays in the other sections, and those interested in the historical development of hermeneutics leading up to Gadamer and Ricoeur might find themselves wanting something more than is offered here. The second, largest part of the book is entitled 'Engagements' and features seven essays that elaborate upon prominent themes in the work of Gadamer and Ricoeur and put their positions into critical engagement with one another. The first four essays in this section critically examine the work of Gadamer and Ricoeur with respect to issues that emerged as significant in the Gadamer-Habermas debate, specifically the emphasis in Gadamer on universality and on belonging to a tradition and its implications for the possibility of a critical hermeneutics. Those interested in this debate and Ricoeur's position in relation to Gadamer on these issues will especially appreciate this part of the book. The third and final section of the book contains four essays and is called 'Extensions.' As the heading suggests, the organizing theme here is to develop and extend the thought of Gadamer and Ricoeur in directions that they do not explicitly pursue. The topics engaged here are quite divergent, ranging from feminism and the body to political action to the philosophy of technology to Chinese philosophy. In what follows, I will offer a few remarks on each of the essays. . . .



Siegfried J. Schmidt, From Objects to Processes: A Proposal to Rewrite Radical Constructivism
Christine Angela Knoop, Toward a Theory of Observers in Action
Winfried Nöth, Some Neglected Semiotic Premises of Some Radically Constructivist Conclusions
Richard Buttny & John W. Lannamann, Investigating Process as Language and Social Interaction
Stefano Franchi, Radical Constructivism's Tathandlung, Structure, and Geist
Hugh Gash, Moving Forward from Radical or Social Constructivism to a Higher Level Synthesis
John Stewart, Life as a Process of Bringing Forth a World
Mariaelena Bartesaghi, On Making Process Practically Visible, or Moving Constructivism Beyond Philosophical Argumentation
John Shotter, Perceiving "Things" and "Objects" from Within Processes: Resolutions Situated in Practices
Ekkehard Kappler, ...And so on and so on and so ...
André Donk, All Quiet on the Constructivism Front -- Or is there a Substantial Contribution of Non-Dualistic Approaches for Communication Science?
Armin Scholl, How a Process-oriented Approach in Radical Constructivism Affects Empirical Research
Edmond Wright, Faith as Ethically Basic to the Task of Constructing
David Krieger, Making a Difference
Stefan Weber, Does Schmidt's Process-Orientated Philosophy Contain a Vicious Infinite Regress Argument?
Karl H. Müller, The Missing Links in S. J. Schmidt's Rewriting Operations. An Austrian Contribution

Hugo Urrestarazu, Autopoietic Systems: A Generalized Explanatory Approach -- Part 2
Vincent Kenny,Continuous Dialogues II: Human Experience. Ernst von Glasersfeld's Answers to a Wide Variety of Questioners on the Oikos Web Site 1997-2010

Bart Van Kerkhove, Dialectics in Action, World at Stake. Review of Bridges to the World. A Dialogue on the Construction of Knowledge, Education, and Truth by David Kenneth Johnson & Matthew R. Silliman
David A. Reid, Enaction: An Incomplete Paradigm for Consciousness Science. Review of Enaction: Toward a New Paradigm for Cognitive Science edited by John Stewart, Olivier Gapenne and Ezequiel A. Di Paolo
Jakub Ryszard Matyja, (Just Like) Starting Over? Review of Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain by Antonio Damasio
Tom Ziemke, Realism Redux: Gibson's Affordances Get a Well-Deserved Update. Review of Radical Embodied Cognitive Science by Anthony Chemero

International Conference on Rhetoric, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia, April 19-22, 2012.

This conference (April 19th – 22nd 2012) in honour of Ivo Škarić is an international conference aiming at presentation of new scientific research and knowledge within the interdisciplinary field of rhetoric and argumentation theory. Professor Emeritus Ivo Škarić was interested in various areas of phonetics, defined as the science of speech. Exploring the phenomenon of speech communications, he revealed a natural connection between phonetics and rhetoric both in education and evaluation of public speakers (politicians, teachers, speakers in the electronic media, etc.). One of the results of his scholarly work is The School of Rhetoric for gifted high school students, which now bears his name. His students and colleagues wanted to name the new event after him – this time as a synonym for the scientific conference devoted to subjects in which he was the indisputable authority in Croatia. The organizers hope that this meeting will become a permanent meeting point for rhetorician from around the world in order to contribute to the development of rhetoric.

Keynote Speakers:

LEO GROARKE began his academic career as a student at the University of Calgary, Simon Fraser University, the University of Helsinki, and the University of Western Ontario. He received his Ph.D. in 1982. Before coming to the University of Windsor, he was Professor of Philosophy at Wilfrid Laurier University. He was appointed Provost/Vice-President Academic at the University of Windsor in 2010. Prof. Groarke’s areas of research and scholarly interest include ancient philosophy, the history of ideas, social and political philosophy, informal logic and argumentation theory. He has published many articles and books.

IGOR Ž. ŽAGAR studied philosophy, sociology, and linguistics in Ljubljana, Paris, and Antwerp. He received his doctoral degree in Sociology of Culture from the University of Ljubljana. He is Professor of Rhetoric and Argumentation (University of Maribor) and Senior Research Fellow (Head of the Centre for Discourse Studies) at the Educational Research Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia. He has lectured in Belgium, United States, Italy, China, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Spain, Russia, Romania, Poland, and France. Žagar’s interests lie in pragmatics (speech act theory, (critical) discourse analysis), philosophy of language, argumentation, and rhetoric.

Conference topics include, but are not limited to:
  • Argumentation and Law
  • History of Rhetoric
  • Rhetoric and Philosophy
  • Media Rhetoric
  • Rhetoric of Political Discourse
  • Rhetoric of Religious Discourse
  • Rhetoric of Scientific Discourse
  • Rhetoric in Education
  • Argumentation Theory

Interview with Mark L. Johnson. FIGURE / GROUND COMMUNICATION (2011).

The Figure/Ground Communication scholarly interview series continues with an in-depth conversation with Mark L. Johnson - Knight Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oregon. Professor Johnson is well-known for contributions to embodied philosophy, cognitive science and cognitive linguistics, some of which he has co-authored with George Lakoff such as Metaphors We Live By and Philosophy in the Flesh: the Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought (Basic Books, 1999). His latest book, The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding (Chicago, 2007), further investigates aspects of embodied meaning and cognition that have traditionally been ignored or under-valued in mainstream philosophy.

Seventh Annual Meeting, Comparative and Continental Philosophy Circle, San Diego University, March 8-10, 2012.

Keynote Speakers:

Douglas Kellner (UCLA)
Brian Schroeder (Rochester Institute of Technology)

For more information, visit

Rush, Fred. Review of Michael N. Forster, AFTER HERDER. NDPR (November 2011).

Forster, Michael N.  After Herder: Philosophy of Language in the German Tradition.  Oxford: OUP, 2010.

After Herder and German Philosophy of Language are books to be reckoned with and will amply repay the most serious attention from historians of philosophy, philosophers of language, and social theorists. While there is significant overlap between chapters due to the origins of some of them as separate essays published previously, and while some of the pieces are synoptic, taken as a whole these essays comprise a cohesive alternative vision for both the philosophy of language and the history of the period. Along with a philosophical reconsideration of Goethe, reevaluating Herder is of the utmost importance to a balanced view of the German philosophical tradition and of its philosophical resources.

To return to the initial question: is the slogan 'back to Herder' apt? Probably not. The object of a slogan must present itself, or be presented, as a stable point of reference. For some, Kant is such a figure. I think this is an error. Kant is much more a transitional figure, simultaneously inhabiting two very different philosophical worlds at their interstices: one rooted in theologically-based teleology and the other in naturalism. But there can be no mistake about Herder in this regard. He is patently many-sided and, for that, a fitting figure for consideration in genealogies of many concepts that have come to play significant roles in various philosophical disciplines. But being of genealogical importance is precisely not to be an appropriate object for 'back to . . .' sloganeering. . . .

Global Semiotics: Bridging Semiotic Traditions, 11th World Congress, International Association for Semiotic Studies, Nanjing, October 5–9, 2012.

Modern semiotic theories can be traced back to four theoretical sources originating in the beginning of the 20th century: Saussurean structural linguistics, Peircean pragmatism, Husserlian phenomenology and analytical philosophy. Since then a variety of semiotic theories in various fields of European and American human and social sciences have developed in addition to philosophical ways of reasoning. Semiotic theorization is typically interdisciplinary in nature, indicating a pluralization of scientific thinking about mankind. This pluralized theoretical tendency has been further strengthened by the unprecedented progress of current semiotic sciences since the end of the Second World War. Current semiotics has become a major impetus for structural reform efforts in the human sciences.

After its hundred years of modernization contemporary semiotics has arrived at another turning point at the beginning of the 21st century: the globalization of semiotics, or cross-cultural semiotic expansion. Cross-cultural semiotics is the natural development and extension of the interdisciplinary humanities of the West in our times. Unlike the natural and social sciences, human sciences, including their semiotic epistemology and methodology, deal with both horizontal and diachronic phenomena in human history. That means semiotics, as a constitutive part of human sciences, is fated to be confronted with the most difficult as well as the most significant challenges arising from human conditions.

Semiotics is popularly called the logic or general semantics of culture. So it implicitly includes cultural-academic globalization and cross-civilization communication. In light of comparative scholarship, this new-century semiotics signifies a comprehensive interaction between European-American and non-European-American intellectual sources, characterized by its strength in doing general-semantic analysis in respect to linguistic-expressive, behavior-communicative and institutional-compositional levels. In this sense, semiotic work, necessarily interdisciplinary, must be converged with the modern theoretical practice of all human sciences still partly suffering from its traditional semantically ambiguous composition. The typology of the scientific and the rational practices would thus be more relevantly adjusted to accommodate different historical realities. Semiotics, functioning as a universal semantic denominator, will promote intellectual communication among different civilizations, cultures and disciplines.

Pub: PARRHESIA 12 (2012).


History and Event in Alain Badiou
Quentin Meillassoux, translated by Thomas Nail

Dark Life
Eugene Thacker

DOSSIER: Discours, Figure

Thickness on the Margins of Discourse
Jean-François Lyotard, translated by Antony Hudek

Go Figure
Guy Callan and James Williams

Seeing through Discourse, Figure
Antony Hudek 


Dissipative Individuation

Monday, November 14, 2011

"Rhetoric in the 21st Century," Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Oxford, July 3-7, 2012.

Keynote speakers include: Brian Vickers and James J. Murphy.

For further information, visit:


"Re/Framing Identifications," 15th Biennial Conference, Rhetoric Society of America, Philadelphia, May 25-28, 2012.

Given our Philadelphia conference site, the theme “Re/framing Identifications” obviously invites a consideration of the framers and the framing of the U.S. Constitution in the late 18th century—that is, a consideration of the convergence of people and events that reframed colonies’ identifications with each other, with European, African and Asian nations as well as with North, Central and South American nations, including Native nations. But the theme “Re/framing Identifications” also invites a broader consideration of myriad historical and current instances when people, communities, and systems have elected and/or been forced to reframe their identifications. Kenneth Burke famously asserted the importance of identification to persuasion, but this conference pushes on Burke’s claim to ask: What may we learn about rhetoric if we focus on identification not just as a means to persuasion but as a place of perpetual reframing that affects who, how, and what can be thought, spoken, written, and imagined?

The theme “Re/framing Identifications” invites papers that ask: What exigencies trigger reframed identifications and disidentifications? What rhetorical tactics are employed in such reframings? How are such reframings experienced differently, even violently, depending on power differentials of parties involved? In these reframings, what is named and unnamed? What is possible and impossible? What is ethical and unethical? What is effective and ineffective? What are benefits and what are costs? What is gained and what is lost? What can and what cannot transfer to the rhetorics of our world today?

This theme offers conference attendees—who identify as scholars, teachers, students, and citizens across a wide range of ideologies—an opportunity not only to extend our scholarly knowledge of rhetorical histories, theories, tactics, technologies, geographies, and practices but also to extend our roles as public intellectuals by discussing how to name, analyze, evaluate, teach, and take action rhetorically on challenges facing our world, challenges that include but are not limited to debates about national/ transnational politics, global economies, immigration, the environment, energy, digital/social media and other technologies, disabilities, international women’s rights, sexual identity, ethnic divisions, racism, religion, academic freedom, and war.

"Medicine, Health, and Publics," Association for the Rhetoric of Science & Technology (ARST) Preconference, held in conjunction with the Rhetoric Society of America (RSA) Biennial Conference, Philadelphia, May 24-25, 2012.

Health and medicine occupy increasingly prominent places in public discourse with citizen advocates playing significant roles in developing, engaging, and critiquing biomedical texts and practices. But how, exactly, have diverse stakeholders used rhetoric to shape the discourses and practices of health and medicine? This preconference will address the multiple ways that publics and the medical establishment mutually influence one another. Preconference papers should extend theory, criticism, and/or practice related to the rhetoric of medicine and publics by addressing one or more of the following themes: the roles of new media in health advocacy, the place of direct-to-consumer advertisements in public health discourse, the successes and failures of health-related social movements, expert and lay health risk discourses, biomedical stakeholder engagement initiatives, the construction of publics in medical rhetoric, or any another topic that directly speaks to the preconference theme. Papers and presentations reflecting diverse methods spanning conventional and critical-cultural rhetorical analysis, ethnography, interviewing, discourse analysis, and hybrid methods are welcome. The strongest submissions may be invited for revision for publication in a forthcoming special issue of the Journal of Medical Humanities on "Medicine, Health, and Publics," edited by Lisa Keränen.

Miller, Michael H. "Sigmund Says: Analysts Expand Their Horizon By Going Beyond Father Freud." NEW YORK OBSERVER October 25, 2011.

1909, after a six-day journey from Vienna with his associates Carl Jung and Sándor Ferenczi, Sigmund Freud arrived in New York Harbor and spent a week sightseeing in the city. He had traveled to America to give a series of lectures on his “talking cure” at Clark University in Massachusetts. Before heading north, he spent time walking in Central Park and visiting the tenements of the Lower East Side. He saw the amusement rides on Coney Island and marveled at the antiquities in the Metropolitan Museum. Though his physical presence in the city was short-lived, New York has become Freud’s cultural home in the U.S. One hundred years later, the archetype of the neurotic, upper-middle-class Upper West Sider lying on the couch—perpetuated by everyone from Philip Roth to Woody Allen—is still how much of the public thinks of psychoanalysis. (“Tell me about your relationship with your mother…”) Several generations have been raised on the notion of psychoanalysis as New Yorker cartoon.  This is something that analytic institutions like the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute must reckon with.

Inside NYPSI’s headquarters on the Upper East Side, the cream-colored walls and dark brown carpet give off a sterile, medical feel, like a photograph of a hospital lobby from decades past. Posters and busts of Freud adorn the space. NYPSI, the oldest analytic institution in the country, celebrated its 100th anniversary this year. The faculty here have a reputation among fellow analysts as the most Freudian of Freudians, but they are nevertheless trying to keep up with changing times. . . .

Broadcasts on Jewish Philosophy at PHILOSOPHER'S ZONE.

Including the following programmes:
  • Overview 1: We begin this series with an introduction to Jewish philosophy, from Ancient times onwards - an attempt to explore some of the key thinkers and recurring philosophical questions. Our guide is Tamar Rudavsky from Ohio State University (;
  • Overview 2: in part two of our introduction we take up the story during the 17th century, with the great European thinker Baruch Spinoza. Tamar Rudavsky from Ohio State University is again our guide (;
  • Maimonides: Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon, also known as Maimonides, became a hugely important figure in that great era of Moorish cultural flourishing, 12th century Spain (Cordoba). Maimonides adapted the ideas of Aristotle, was a significant influence on Thomas Aquinas, and became one of the leading Rabbinical scholars of his time, and perhaps of all time (;
  • Moses Mendelssohn: Moses Mendelssohn scandalised his more pious fellow 18th century Germans when he said: 'My religion recognises no obligation to resolve doubt other than through rational means; and it commands no mere faith in eternal truths.' This week we look at the life and ideas of one of the great proponents of Judaism as a rational religion (;
  • Martin Buber: Martin Buber was born in pre-Nazi Austria and emigrated to Israel in 1938 where he spent much of the rest of his life. He grappled with Zionism, Jewish thought, secular philosophy and politics and the result is a body of thought very much based on relationships (

Spear, Andrew D. "Husserl on Intentionality and Intentional Content." INTERNET ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY November 6, 2011.

Edmund Husserl (1859—1938) was an influential thinker of the first half of the twentieth century. His philosophy was heavily influenced by the works of Franz Brentano and Bernard Bolzano, and was also influenced in various ways by interaction with contemporaries such as Alexius Meinong, Kasimir Twardowski, and Gottlob Frege. In his own right, Husserl is considered the founder of twentieth century Phenomenology with influence extending to thinkers such as Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and to contemporary continental philosophy generally. Husserl’s philosophy is also being discussed in connection with contemporary research in the cognitive sciences, logic, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of mind, as well as in discussions of collective intentionality. At the center of Husserl’s philosophical investigations is the notion of the intentionality of consciousness and the related notion of intentional content (what Husserl first called ‘act-matter’ and then the intentional ‘noema’). To say that thought is “intentional” is to say that it is of the nature of thought to be directed toward or about objects. To speak of the “intentional content” of a thought is to speak of the mode or way in which a thought is about an object. Different thoughts present objects in different ways (from different perspectives or under different descriptions) and one way of doing justice to this fact is to speak of these thoughts as having different intentional contents. For Husserl, intentionality includes a wide range of phenomena, from perceptions, judgments, and memories to the experience of other conscious subjects as subjects (inter-subjective experience) and aesthetic experience, just to name a few. Given the pervasive role he takes intentionality to play in all thought and experience, Husserl believes that a systematic theory of intentionality has a role to play in clarifying and founding most other areas of philosophical concern, such as the theory of consciousness, the philosophy of language, the philosophy of logic, epistemology, and the philosophies of action and value. This article presents the key elements of Husserl’s understanding of intentionality and intentional content, specifically as these are developed in his works Logical Investigations and Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy. . . .

Preview: Leslie Marsh and Paul Franco, eds. COMPANION TO MICHAEL OAKESHOTT.

Marsh, Leslie, and Paul Franco, eds.  Companion to Michael Oakeshott.  University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, forthcoming.

A forthcoming volume of specially commissioned essays on all aspects of Michael Oakeshott’s thought.

For further details:

McQuillan, Colin. Review of Alison Stone, ed. EDINBURGH CRITICAL HISTORY OF NINETEENTH CENTURY PHILOSOPHY. NDPR (November 2011).

Stone, Alison, ed.   Edinburgh Critical History of Nineteenth-Century Philosophy.   Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2011.

The idea of "critical" history emerged during the nineteenth century, when historians adopted critical methods from philology. By applying critical methods to history, historians hoped to produce a history that was like the critical edition of a text. Critical history would present an authentic account of the period it addressed, note important sources and variations, and provide an apparatus that provides context and perspective.

In the General Editors' Preface to the Edinburgh Critical History of Philosophy series, Howard Caygill and David Webb present a different view of critical history, which is related to Kant's critical philosophy (vii). Caygill and Webb argue that while critical philosophy reflects on the limits of what can be thought, the history of philosophy reminds us that different things have been and can be thought at different times. This makes a critical history of philosophy "an indispensable resource, a testing ground, and a reminder that we are never really done with thinking" (vii).

Alison Stone's introduction reveals that the Edinburgh Critical History of Nineteenth-Century Philosophy is more narrowly focused. According to Stone,
nineteenth-century philosophy can be broadly characterized by several themes: the conflict between metaphysics and religious faith on the one hand and the empirical sciences on the other; a new focus on history, progress, and evolution; new ideas of individuality, society, and revolution; and ever-increasing concerns about nihilism(1).
These are the themes which "become important in relation to later Continental European philosophy" and they represent the "particular but not exclusive focus" of the volume (5). . . .

Kirkland, Frank M. Review of Lawrie Balfour, DEMOCRACY'S RECONSTRUCTION. NDPR (November 2011).

Balfour, Lawrie.  Democracy's Reconstruction: Thinking Politically with W. E. B. Du Bois.  Oxford: OUP, 2011.

Lawrie Balfour's Democracy's Reconstruction points out a kind of negligence in political theory. The laxity stems from political theory's longstanding inattention to race and racial injustice as important in a full-fledged and fundamental way to both the character of democratic life and to the inquiry into the ideals and conditions of freedom, equality, and justice that enable that life. If it does attend to them, it treats them as specialties of the aforementioned inquiry or as incidental to the aforementioned life. But it is not simply that race and racial justice have appeared now and then on the democratic landscape, with political theory focusing either on other things or specifically on them as atypical to that life or those ideals. Rather they have mattered and continue mattering to democratic life without political theory seriously attending to them at all. Balfour is of the mind that political theory as a practice remains shadowed by an "unowned past," pertinent not only to the object of political theory's investigation -- democratic life -- but also to the way political theory conducts its investigation on that life.

The aim of Balfour's book is to challenge these states of affairs by endorsing the importance of the corpus of W. E. B. Du Bois. She regards his work as having both longstanding and current significance in its investigation of the democratic experiment, because it strives to understand "the meaning of freedom, equality, leadership, citizenship, and democracy with the slave trade, slavery, and colonial conquest always in sight" (p. 6, emphasis added). Slavery, the slave trade, and colonial conquest are historically not tangentially concurrent with or not simply the underside of democratic life, a life defined and justified by its embrace of the norms of freedom and equality. They are rather historically integral to and concomitant with that life and these norms. Living freely and equally and analyzing the socio-political structures that enable one and all to live historically and currently in that way must be thought in unison with the "peculiar institution," its history, and the ongoing extent of its ramifications.

Not to do so is to cleave the democratic experiment (the enabling of one and all to live freely and equally in an ongoing way) from any account grappling with the life and afterlife of slavery stamped on the cultural, economic, and political arrangements pertinent to the experiment. Not to do so is to give carte blanche to political theory consigning intellectually that life and afterlife to historical oblivion while conveying an account of that experiment as a rather unproblematic and progressively uninterrupted movement toward freedom and equality. Du Bois is unique as a political theorist, Balfour contends, because he thinks these aspects as always in unison and views all people, especially those of the African-diaspora, as those who should have to live with them jointly for the purpose of constantly re-orienting their comprehension of what democracy requires. Otherwise they continually live with them separated, which has as its consequence acquiescence to undemocratic practices by virtue of an ongoing forgetfulness of deliberate actions and policies of racial injustice. . . .

Pensky, Max. Review of Michael J. Thompson, ed. GEORG LUKACS RECONSIDERED. NDPR (November 2011).

Thompson, Michael J., ed.  Georg Lukács Reconsidered: Critical Essays in Politics, Philosophy and Aesthetics. London: Continuum, 2011.

This anthology of essays on Georg Lukács (1885-1971) counts as part of a current wave of secondary literature on the Hungarian Marxist theorist, philosopher and literary critic. Lukács' work and intellectual legacy, always complex and provocative, have in fact never wanted for attention, but in the past few years new impetus for re-engaging with his work has come from literary studies, where his theory of literary realism and his implacable opposition to literary modernism in all its forms resonate with neo-realist aesthetics, and from social and political theory, where Axel Honneth's recent re-appropriation of the central concept of reification has initiated a renewed critical conversation on just what Lukács did and did not mean by reification, and how well the concept might survive transplantation into theoretical climates far different than Lukács' own.  "Reconsideration" (an earlier anthology, by Lukács' Hungarian students, opted to "revalue" him) is therefore an apt expression. . . .

"Subjectivity, Selfhood and Agency in the Arabic and Latin Traditions," Uppsala University, Sweden, August 15-18, 2012.

Subjectivity, consciousness, self-awareness, and the intentional aspects of perception and apprehension are popular topics in the contemporary philosophy of mind. A common thread amongst the various approaches to them has been dissatisfaction with the Cartesian paradigm of a self-constituted subject that is perfectly free in its volitions and epistemically transparent to itself, typically presented as standard for the modern age. Working from the opposite end, historians of philosophy and ethicists have noted that ancient and medieval ethics operated in a strikingly different understanding of self. Far from subscribing to the Cartesian notion, pre-modern moral philosophy generally took its cue from the assumption that human selfhood is socially construed. Our instinctive apprehension and evaluation of reality has as much to do with our upbringing as it does with our conscious acts of cognition and evaluation.

It is in the Middle Ages that these two lines of thought converge. Historians of philosophy have noted that Descartes’ understanding of subjectivity did not develop in a vacuum; rather, it represents the culmination of medieval debates, which in turn build on ancient precedents. At the same time, the virtue ethics tradition underwent significant transformations, thanks in part to pressures arising from religious and legal considerations. These include a preoccupation with the freedom of choice and one’s culpability for the character one acquires.


Graham, Daniel W. Review of Patrick Lee Miller, BECOMING GOD. NDPR (November 2011).

Miller, Patrick Lee.  Becoming God: Pure Reason in Early Greek Philosophy.  London: Continuum, 2011.

This book explores the notion, found in some early Greek philosophers, that humans can become divine or god-like through reason. Patrick Lee Miller of Duquesne University provides a general introductory chapter, followed by a chapter each devoted to Heraclitus, Parmenides and the Pythagoreans, and Plato, respectively. This is, then, something like a history of ideas focusing on some important philosophical themes and developments. The topic, if foreign to modern ways of thinking, is interesting precisely because it gets to the heart of some unique Greek concerns, and it exercises an influence into late antiquity and early Christian theology. . . .


The inaugural issue of the IJBS will be dedicated to the idea of 'Badiou Now!' Why? Because Badiou's philosophical interest is fundamentally contemporary and political. The notion of Badiou Now! captures the urgency that Badiou sees in combating the 'Thermidorian' spirit, reactive and obscurantist subjects that deny the necessity of rupture, events, acts, new truths, who replace action with political apathy, and radical democracy with a return to 'pure' transcendental notions. In contrast to the Evental-negating/denying subject, Badiou is concerned with the question of how to maintain fidelity to the event, while remaining aware of competing subjective forces and of the materialist dialectical need for endless events, for perpetual breaks and splits, which promote the present as future. The first issue then, will seek proposals that address the role of Badiou's thought in building a 21st century conception of human organization.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Prinz, Jesse. "Culture and Cognitive Science." STANFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY November 2, 2011.

Within Western analytic philosophy, culture has not been a major topic of discussion. It sometimes appears as a topic in the philosophy of social science, and in continental philosophy, there is a long tradition of “Philosophical Anthropology,” which deals with culture to some degree. Within core areas of analytic philosophy, culture has most frequently appeared in discussions of moral relativism, radical translation, and discussions of perceptual plasticity, though little effort has been made to seriously investigate the impact of culture on these domains. Cognitive science has also neglected culture, but in recent years, that has started to change. There has been a sizable intensification of efforts to empirically test the impact of culture on mental processes. This entry surveys ways in which the emerging cognitive science of culture has been informing philosophical debates.

"Contemporary Rhetorical Citizenship: Purposes, Practices, and Perspectives," Department of Media, Cognition, and Communication, Section of Rhetoric, University of Copenhagen, January 15-18, 2013.

With the concept of rhetorical citizenship we want to draw critical attention to the ways in which being a citizen in a modern democratic state is in many respects a discursive phenomenon. Citizenship is not just a condition such as holding a passport, it is not just behavior such as voting; citizenship also has a communicative aspect: Some perform citizenship when they watch a political debate on TV or discuss a program about homeless people with their colleagues over lunch - or when, one day, they don’t duck behind the fence but engage their cranky neighbor in conversation about her views on city street lighting. Others enact citizenship when they engage in political debates on Facebook or Twitter or join their friends in coming up with the most poignant wording for a protest sign the day before a street demonstration. And for others still, “rhetorical citizenship” is a distant ideal far from the realities of their everyday life; because the legal citizenship, literacy, and media access that such a conception of citizenship often presupposes aren’t within their reach, their experience with rhetorical citizenship is one of exclusion.

Rhetoric, with its double character as academic discipline and practice, stands in a unique position to engage the linguistic and discursive aspects of collective civic engagement. Drawing on and in collaboration with neighboring fields of inquiry such as political science, discourse studies, linguistics, media studies, informal logic, practical philosophy and social anthropology, scholars of rhetoric are able to study actual communicative behavior as it circulates in various fora and spheres – from face to face encounters to mediated discourse. With our diverse theoretical and methodological backgrounds we hold many keys to pressing concerns such as the alleged polarization and coarsening of the ‘tone’ in public debate, the turning away from political engagement toward smaller spheres of interest, and the general difficulty in making politics work constructively in many parts of the world, not least the EU.

We invite attendees – scholars, teachers, students, and citizens across a range of disciplinary traditions – to extend our knowledge of the social roles of rhetoric through theoretical and critical study, and to consider our roles as public intellectuals: how are we to name, describe, criticize, analyze, and, indeed, undertake or teach rhetorical action on matters of communal concern whether locally, nationally, or internationally?

We invite papers that help address questions such as, e.g.:
  • How is rhetorical citizenship to be defined and developed as a critical frame for studying rhetoric in society?
  • What conditions must obtain for rhetorical citizenship to be possible and thrive?
  • What rhetorical processes and maneuvers can be observed in practitioners of rhetorical citizenship?
  • How is rhetorical citizenship instantiated across genres, settings, and cultural or geographical settings?
  • How is rhetorical citizenship experienced differently, even controversially, depending on power differentials and social or regional constraints?
  • How can rhetorical history and pedagogy serve as a resource for contemporary theory, practice and critique of rhetorical citizenship?
  • What disciplinary connections need to be made or reinvigorated for fruitful interdisciplinary work on rhetorical citizenship?
  • What are potentials and pitfalls for sound and dynamic public rhetorical engagement?
  • What is good and what is poor rhetorical citizenship?

Corradetti, Claudio. "The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory." INTERNET ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY October 21, 2011.

The Frankfurt School, also known as the Institute of Social Research (Institut für Sozialforschung), is a social and political philosophical movement of thought located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It is the original source of what is known as Critical Theory. The Institute was founded, thanks to a donation by Felix Weil in 1923, with the aim of developing Marxist studies in Germany. The Institute eventually generated a specific school of thought after 1933 when the Nazis forced it to close and move to the United States, where it found hospitality at Columbia University, New York.

The academic influence of the “critical” method is far reaching in terms of educational institutions in which such tradition is taught and in terms of the problems it addresses. Some of its core issues involve the critique of modernities and of capitalist society, the definition of social emancipation and the perceived pathologies of society. Critical theory provides a specific interpretation of Marxist philosophy and reinterprets some of its central economic and political notions such as commodification, reification, fetishization and critique of mass culture.

Some of the most prominent figures of the first generation of Critical Theorists are Max Horkheimer (1895-1973), Theodor Adorno (1903-1969), Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979), Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), Friedrich Pollock (1894-1970), Leo Lowenthal (1900-1993), Eric Fromm (1900-1980). Since the 1970s, the second generation has been led by Jürgen Habermas who has greatly contributed to fostering the dialogue between the so called “continental” and “analytical” tradition. This phase has also been substantiated by the works of Ralf Dahrendorf, Gerhard Brandt, Alfred Schmidt, Klaus Offe, Oskar Negt, Albrecht Wellmer and Ludwig von Friedeburg, Lutz Wingert, Josef Früchtl, Lutz-Bachman. More generally, it is possible to speak of a “third generation” of critical theorists, symbolically represented in Germany by the influential work of Axel Honneth. The philosophical impact of the school has been worldwide. Early in the second decade of the twenty-first century, a fourth generation of critical theory scholars emerged and coalesced around one of Honneth’s most proactive representatives: Rainer Forst.

The “first generation” of critical theorists was largely occupied with the functional and conceptual re-qualification of Hegel’s dialectics. After Habermas, preference has been assigned to the understanding of the conditions of action coordination through the underpinning of the conditions of validity for speech-acts. The third generation, then, following the works of Honneth, turned back to Hegel’s philosophy and in particular to Hegel’s notion of “recognition” as a cognitive and pre-linguistic sphere grounding intersubjectivity. . . .

Aronson, Ronald. "Albert Camus." STANFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY OCtober 27, 2011.

Albert Camus (1913–1960) was a journalist, editor and editorialist, playwright and director, novelist and author of short stories, political essayist and activist—and arguably, although he came to deny it, a philosopher. He ignored or opposed systematic philosophy, had little faith in rationalism, asserted rather than argued many of his main ideas, presented others in metaphors, was preoccupied with immediate and personal experience, and brooded over such questions as the meaning of life in the face of death. Although he forcefully separated himself from existentialism, Camus posed one of the twentieth century's best-known existentialist questions, which launches The Myth of Sisyphus: “There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide”(MS, 3). And his philosophy of the absurd has left us with a striking image of the human fate: Sisyphus endlessly pushing his rock up the mountain only to see it roll back down each time he gains the top. Camus's philosophy found political expression in The Rebel, which along with his newspaper editorials, political essays, plays, and fiction earned him a reputation as a great moralist. It also embroiled him in conflict with his friend, Jean-Paul Sartre, provoking the major political-intellectual divide of the Cold-War era as Camus and Sartre became, respectively, the leading intellectual voices of the anti-Communist and pro-Communist left. Furthermore, in posing and answering urgent philosophical questions of the day, Camus articulated a critique of religion and of the Enlightenment and all its projects, including Marxism. In 1957 he won the Nobel Prize for literature. He died in a car accident in January, 1960, at the age of 46.

Murphy, Samantha. "Was Sybil a Psychiatrist's Creation?" NEW SCIENTIST October 20, 2011.

Nathan, Debbie.  Sybil Exposed: the Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 2011.

It is the tale that launched a thousand alter egos: the famous true story of "Sybil", who endured years of torture at the hands of her sadistic mother and grew up into the meek, anxiety-ridden adult whose head was said to house 16 personalities.

For many, she provided a startling introduction to a rare and intriguing condition: then known as multiple personality disorder (MPD), a disease of the mind affecting mostly women, in which a person hosts several vastly different personalities representing fractured aspects of a haunted past.

Luckily, with the help of her psychiatrist's enduring dedication to her treatment - which included many punched-out office windows and late-night house calls - Sybil was finally able to come to terms with the other sides of herself and integrate them, triumphing over her disease. The tale made for a compelling book, Broadway show and an even more engaging movie in 1976 (and a less riveting remake in 2007). The book and film became instant classics, not to mention teaching tools for psychology students.

But according to investigative journalist Debbie Nathan, the story of Sybil has one big problem: it's mostly bunk. . . .

See also: Neary, Lynn.  "Real 'Sybil' Admits Multiple Personalities Were Fake."  NPR Books October 20, 2011 (

(Thanks to Marcel Pragnell [] for the links.)

2012 London Critical Theory Summer School, Birkbeck College, University of London, June 11-22, 2012.

This unique opportunity is for graduate students and academics to follow a course of study and to foster exchange and debate. It will consist of at least 6 modules over the two weeks, each convened by one of the participating academics. This course does not offer transfer of credits.

Participating Academics will include:

Etienne Balibar
Wendy Brown
Drucilla Cornell
Costas Douzinas
Stephen Frosh
Gayatri Spivak
Slavoj Zizek

"Deleuze, Philosophy, Transdisciplinarity," Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, University of London, February 10-11, 2012.

Invited Speakers: Eric Alliez, Miguel de Beistegui, John Mullarkey, Laura Cull, Christian Kerslake, Thomas Baldwin, Iain MacKenzie, Nathan Widder, Andrew Goffey, Stamatia Portanova.

Organised by the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths University of London and the University of Kent.

We are now entering a new phase of Deleuze studies which seeks to understand the specificity of Deleuze’s mode of philosophising. This is necessary, firstly in order to establish an account of his work’s developments and ruptures which is neither reductive nor partisan and secondly, to be able to better situate Deleuze within the context of contemporary thought. While the concept of immanence has recently been seized upon as the way of measuring Deleuze’s philosophical development (Kerslake, 2009; Beistegui, 2010), this conference would like to shift the focus to another yet closely interrelated problematic, which is the concept of philosophy and its essential relation to transdisciplinarity.

What precisely does Deleuze understand by the term ‘philosophy’? In The Logic of Sense, Deleuze states that ‘Philosophy merges with ontology, but ontology merges with the univocity of Being’ (p. 205, Continuum, 2004). Does philosophy have privileged access to a univocal Being that is itself non-philosophical, and which subsumes not only philosophy but also philosophy’s preconditions - what The Logic of Sense refers to as the ‘sciences’ of logic, phenomenology, and psychoanalysis, as well as art? Does Deleuze and Guattari’s re-formulation of this problematic in What is Philosophy? contradict the earlier Deleuze when it appears to posit a more extrinsic relation – or interference – between philosophy, science, and art, all three of which open up to Chaos, which they claim is equally distinct from the preconditions of philosophy, science and art (nonphilosophy, nonscience, nonart)? Are we to understand Deleuze’s concept of philosophy as essentially and inherently transdisciplinary, and if so, how? What is at stake here is the possibility of establishing a ‘common ethico-aesthetic discipline’ (Guattari, Continuum, 2000) and the role of philosophy in such a

We aim to have a wide range of papers converging on the concept of philosophy found in Deleuze’s work and dialoguing with the problems we have alluded to. Suggested paper topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Deleuze and the history of philosophy: his methodology, his conception of the history of philosophy, his readings of specific philosophers and thinkers- The place of science and logic in Deleuze’s philosophy
- The place of art in Deleuze’s philosophy
- Deleuze and non-philosophy, and the role of the pre/post-philosophical in his philosophy
- Shifts in Deleuze’s readings of particular philosophers, and more generally in Deleuze’s own concept of philosophy, throughout his career
- The critical assessment of Guattari’s influence on Deleuze’s philosophy

Please send abstracts (350 words) and a short biography to by 16th December 2011. Registration is free but please contact us by January 2012 if you would like to attend the conference.

"The Forces of the Cosmos and the Ontopoietic Genesis of Life," 62nd International Congress of Phenomenology, Lucernaire Centre National d’Art et d’Essai, Paris, August 8-10, 2012.

International Scientific Committee, Directed by Angele Kremer-Marietti (FRANCE):

AZERBAIJAN: Salahaddin Khalilov;
FRANCE: Claire Hill;
ITALY: Angela Ales Bello, Francesco Totaro, Daniela Verducci; 
NORWAY: Konrad Rokstad,
POLAND: Maria Bielawka, Mariola Sulkowska-Janowska;
TURKEY: Klymet Selvi, Erkut Sezgin;
UNITED STATES: Ogla Louchakova-Schwartz, Thomas Ryba, Patricia Trutty-Coohill, Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka

Local Organization Committee: Carmen Cozma, Claire Hill, Konrad Rokstad, Leszek Pyra
Conference Director: Daniela Verducci
Program Presided by: Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka

Topics of Sessions will be announced later, on our website: Website:

Proposals of contributions should be sent to Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, President, World Phenomenology Institute, 1 Ivy Pointe Way, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, United States, E-mail:, Fax: 802-295-5963. 

Proposals are due January 1, 2012. Full papers are due April 1, 2012. 

All papers submitted are copyrighted for the first option of publication by A-T. Tymieniecka in Analecta Husserliana: the Yearbook of Phenomenological Research.

Cfp: EVENTAL AESTHETICS 1.2 (forthcoming).

Deadline: January 30, 2012

We are pleased to invite submissions for the next issue of the online, peer-reviewed journal Evental Aesthetics, to be published in Spring 2012. We welcome submissions on any question pertaining to aesthetics. Authors may explore the intersections between philosophy and art, and/or aesthetic issues in the non-artworld, such as everyday aesthetics and environmental aesthetics. Traditional and experimental philosophical approaches are welcome, as are examinations of traditional and experimental art in any form.

For more information and for submission guidelines, please see:

"Philosophy and Rhetoric," Boston College, March 2012.

Keynote Speakers:
John Lysaker, Department of Philosophy, Emory University
Colin Heydt, Department of Philosophy, University of South Florida
Marina McCoy, Department of Philosophy, Boston College

Traditionally, philosophy as the art of rational argumentation has been distinguished from rhetoric as the art of persuasion. However, the analytic grounds for this distinction are not immediately evident
and the borders between them are often porous. As a mode of address philosophy makes its appeal to rational intelligence more narrowly conceived, while rhetoric makes its appeal to a more expansive human intelligence, which encompasses dimensions of affectivity and historicity. Yet, when philosophical or rhetorical argumentation succeed this seems to require and appeal to both reason and

And so the uneasy relationship between philosophy and rhetoric continues to be reconceived throughout the history of philosophy. Recent debates in the philosophy of language, for example, have questioned the structures and stability of language and the role that it plays as the ground of both sound argumentation and the art of persuasion. Much work in moral and political philosophy has examined the roles of rational, affective, and historical reasoning in the formation of our basic moral and political beliefs. The relationship between philosophy and rhetoric seems to hold further implications for fields as diverse as political philosophy, informal logic, philosophy of language, ethics, meta-philosophy, literary theory, and hermeneutics.

This conference invites thoughtful papers examining the nature of this relationship in any of its conceptions throughout the history of philosophy as well as in contemporary analytic and continental
discourses. Papers are to be prepared for blind review, and should not exceed 4000 words. Applicants may forward their submissions to

"Situating and Interpreting States of Mind, 1700-2000," Northumbria University, June 14-16, 2012.

Keynote Speakers:

Professor Joel P. Eigen (Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology, Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania)
Professor Melinda A. Rabb (Professor of English, Brown University, Rhode Island)
Dr. Judith A. Tucker (Lecturer in the School of Design, Leeds University)

This cross-period and interdisciplinary conference seeks to situate and interpret states of mind from the eighteenth century to the twenty-first questioning how the space, place and historical context in which mental states are experienced shaped the narratives produced by individuals. Interweaving perspectives from across such disciplines as literature, history, philosophy, art history, creative writing, psychology and sociology, the conference will explore accounts of states of mind including mental illness, dreams, sleep-walking, imaginative states and self-awareness. The conference seeks to assess how these varying states of consciousness are expressed and how such narratives are influenced by historical change, continuity or the reconfiguration of these forms of expression.

We would like to invite abstracts for papers from across disciplines on the theme of the conference, particularly related, but not limited, to the following key strands:

Experience and Representation of Mental Illness
- the gap between individual experience and interpretations by medical and legal practitioners
- the relationship between mental distress, agency, literature and cognition
- representations of mental derangement and criminal responsibility

Liminal States of Mind
- representations of liminal states of consciousness
- the relationship between experiences and representations of dreams and sleepwalking
- categorisation of imaginative states in cognitive science and philosophy
- concepts of interiority, selfhood and imaginative processing of real or fictional worlds

Self-awareness and Place
- relationship between self and place, particularly regarding the past, decay and dilapidation
- artistic expressions of situating self-awareness
- creative representations of landscape as a geographic metaphor

"A Dangerous Liaison: the Analytic Engagement with Continental Philosophy," Department of Philosophy, University of York, December 9, 2011.

The history of antagonism between the analytic and hermeneutic-phenomenological traditions of philosophy suggests that dialogue is simply not possible, and that the difference runs deeper than approaches, methods, and styles. It seems, however, that both are asking the same questions – or at least questions about the same subjects – even if their answers differ radically. The problems of knowledge, existence, ethics, and aesthetics feature on the agendas of Anglo-American and Continental philosophy alike, and a minority of analytic philosophers have regarded their counterparts as a source of potential enlightenment. Phenomenology in particular is relevant to the philosophy of mind, and Merleau-Ponty’s work has been employed by Shaun Gallagher, Alva Noë, Brian O’Shaughnessy, and Charles Taylor. Husserl is another popular choice, with Dan Zahavi and Shaun Gallagher editing Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, a journal aimed at applying Husserl’s work to analytic philosophy and other disciplines. Heidegger’s hermeneutics have drawn attention from Richard Rorty, Hubert Dreyfus, Gilbert Ryle, and Andy Clark. Christopher Norris has even argued against the perception of Derrida as a postmodernist, advancing his work as a Kantian critique rather than a deconstruction of analytic philosophy. It appears that cross-pollination is not just possible, but actively practised by a self-selected few.  The aim of this one-day conference is to explore the potential for the analytic engagement with the hermeneutic-phenomenological tradition, and consider the value of such an engagement.

09:00: Registration.
09:30: Professor Christopher Norris (Cardiff) on Derrida.
Response: Dr Donnchadh O Conaill (Durham).
10:45: Break.
11:00: Mr Paul Giladi (Sheffield): ‘Hegel: Analytic Philosophy’s Pharmakon’.
11:45: Break.
12:00: Professor Barry Dainton (Liverpool) on Husserl.
Response: Mr David Allen (Warwick).
13:15: Lunch.
14:30: Dr Denis McManus (Southampton) on Heidegger.
Response: Dr Andreas Vrahimis (Birkbeck).
15:45: Break.
16:00: Mr Joshua Tepley (Notre Dame): ‘Heidegger and the Properties of Being’.
16:45: Break.
17:00: Dr Joel Smith (Manchester) on Merleau-Ponty: ‘Egocentric Space’.
Response: Mr Jack Wadham (Sheffield).
18:15: Close

"LIT CRI '12," Fine Arts University of Mimar Sinan, Istanbul, May 2-5, 2012.

LIT CRI 2012 intends raising questions on new dimensions of literature, literary theory and literary criticism in the new millennium.


Re-reading 20th century

Roots of contemporary literature
Creative heritage of 20th century
Texts preserving actuality in different places of the world
Recent date masterpieces
Historical and geographical interactions

Actual Tendencies

Budding genius authors in different places of the world
Re-discovered ones
Newly emerged themes, forms, styles
Experimental works
Reflections of politic and social life to literature


Relations between literatures of countries/languages
The problem of centrality and locality
Literature criticism in recent period
Literature history
Literature theory
Translation discussions

Relation of literature with other close disciplines

New media, technology and daily life
Cities and culture
Literature and politics
Literature and philosophy
Literature and sociology

Logistics of literature

Activities, fests, fairs
Rewards, institutes, funds
Creative writing education
Magazines, publishers, web-portalS


Glendinning, Simon.  Derrida: a Very Short Introduction.  Oxford: OUP, 2011.
  • Explores Derrida's main books and essays and considers his central themes to provide a comprehensive picture of his work
  • Explains the theory of deconstruction and refutes the claims that it is negative and destructive
  • Defends Derrida against some of the attacks from the analytical philosophical community whilst explaining why it is that his work inspires such passionate criticism
  • Seeks to give the newcomer a sense of Derrida's challenge to the philosophical tradition, combined with some understanding of the range of reactions that challenge has provoked
  • Part of the bestselling Very Short Introductions series - over three million copies sold worldwide
Jacques Derrida, the French philosopher, developed his critical technique known as 'deconstruction'. His work is associated with ideas surrounding both post-structuralism and post-modern philosophy, and he was known to have challenged some of the unquestioned assumptions of our philosophical tradition.

In this Very Short Introduction, Simon Glendinning explores both the difficulty and significance of the work of Derrida. He presents Derrida's challenging ideas as making a significant contribution to, and providing a powerful reading of, our philosophical heritage. Defending Derrida against many of the charges that were placed against him, he attempts to show why Derrrida's work causes such extreme reactions.

Glendinning explains Derrida's distinctive mode of engagement with our philosophical tradition, and shows that this is not a merely negative thing. By exploring his most famous and influential texts, Glendinning shows how and why Derrida's work of deconstruction is inspired not by a 'critical frenzy', but by a loving respect for philosophy.

"Rethinking the Self: Transnational and Transdisciplinary Bioethical and Biopolitical Concerns," Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki, April 10-12, 2012.

Keynote speakers include Prof. Beverley Skeggs, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK, and Dr. Jenny Slatman, Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

This international and interdisciplinary symposium addresses how cultural, medical and political understandings of the self are shifting and changing in contemporary societies. It explores how humanness is imagined and conceived in various symbolic systems of knowledge, and how gender, disability, class and ethnicity articulate these understandings. With a particular focus on how ideas of the flesh and national identity reconfigure experiences of the embodied self, the symposium aims to bring together scholars whose work engages with issues that range from medical and cultural technologies, globalisation, migration and neoliberalism to phenomenology and ethics, political ideologies and subjectivities, and theories of social transformation.

This symposium aims to create a transdisciplinary dialogue regarding the local and global changing understandings of and practices related to the self by bringing together speakers from a broad range of cultural, methodological, national, disciplinary and transnational foci. It seeks to further conversations and research on topical and vexing questions of the self, especially in relation to recent medical, cultural, technological, political, social and neo-colonial developments. With an emphasis on the biopolitics of bodies, machines and institutional structures, the symposium also addresses the ethics of human selfhood, specifically how we define the human and what is at stake in our definitions of this now global being.

We welcome submissions for papers, poster-presentations and artwork from a broad range of disciplines and fields of research. Topics can include, but are not limited to:
  • Theories and technologies of the self (Foucault, Agamben, Butler, etc.)
  • Community belonging and violence
  • Contemporary medical therapies, technologies and ethics (organ donation and transplantation, gene therapy, HIV therapies, etc.)
  • Class dimensions of the self (Skeggs, etc.)
  • The self, disability and monstrosity (Shildrick, etc)
  • Self harm and narratives of the self
  • Medicalised race theories
  • Gender, sexuality and queering the self
  • Phenomenology, the senses and an embodied sense of self
  • Ethics and the ethics of the human

Madigan, Arthur. Review of Lloyd P. Gerson, ed. CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY IN LATE ANTIQUITY. NDPR (October 2011).

Gerson, Lloyd P., ed.  Cambridge History of Philosophy in Late Antiquity.  2 Vols.  Cambridge: CUP, 2010.

These two volumes are the successor to The Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy, edited by A. H. Armstrong, which appeared in 1967. The difference in titles reflects a fundamental difference in outlook. Armstrong treated this era as an interim period between classical Greek philosophy and the philosophy of the Middle Ages, each of which had its own unity and coherence. The present volume conceives of late ancient philosophy as a field in itself, having its own unity and coherence. . . .

"Responsibility, Formal Knowledge and the Life-World," Australasian Phenomenology and Hermeneutics Association, Murdoch University, November 28-29, 2011.

Confirmed Speakers
  • Prof. Chan-Fai Cheung The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Ivan Chvatík, Dr.h.c. Charles University Prague, Czech Republic
  • Prof. Jeff Malpas University of Tasmania, Australia
  • Prof. Dermot Moran University College Dublin, Ireland
  • Prof. Horst Ruthrof Murdoch University, Australia
  • Prof. Chung-chi Yu National Sun Yat-Sen University, Taiwan
  • Dr Suzi Adams Flinders University, Australia
  • Dr Ingo Farin University of Tasmania, Australia
  • Dr Paul Healy Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
  • Dr Lucy Tatman University of Tasmania, Australia
  • Dr Lubica Učník Murdoch University, Australia

Stern, Tom. Review of Nandita Biswas Mellamphy, THE THREE STIGMATA OF FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. NDPR (October 2011).

Mellamphy, Nandita Biswas.  The Three Stigmata of Friedrich Nietzsche: Political Physiology in the Age of Nihilism.  London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Mellamphy's book aims to draw together three strands of Nietzsche's thought: his 'great politics', his philosopher of the future and the eternal recurrence. Her claim is that they are 'always co-extensive and mutually implicated' (x); hence, a reference by Nietzsche to one of these concepts necessarily invokes the others. The future philosopher is 'undoubtedly a political figure' (with artistic features) (15); and, for the future philosopher, the experience of the eternal recurrence is central to the 'task of establishing 'great politics'' (41). It is the emphasis on Nietzsche's 're-articulation of the 'political'' (121) which is most prominent, though, as stated, Mellamphy takes the three concepts together. . . .

Rheins, Jason G. Review of Daniel W. Graham, ed. and trans. THE TEXTS OF EARLY GREEK PHILOSOPHY. NDPR (October, 2011).

Graham, Daniel W., ed. and trans.  The Texts of Early Greek Philosophy: the Complete Fragments and Selected Testimonies of the Major Presocratics.  2 Vols.  Cambridge: CUP, 2010.

Hermann Diels' seminal Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (hereafter, DK) set the highest of standards for sourcebooks of early ancient Greek philosophy, and it has remained the scholar's single most indispensible tool for researching and reconstructing the philosophical thought of the figures of that time. However, nearly six decades have passed since Walther Kranz produced the sixth and latest revised edition of that work. Without periodic polishing over that time, our gold standard has lost some of its luster, for in those three score years, the body of our source material has grown as new texts have been discovered (e.g., the Derveni and Strasbourg papyri) and significant fragments and testimonials have been identified in already extant works. At the same time, scholarly opinions concerning the 'Presocratics' have developed and shifted, sometimes radically. Nonetheless, DK has remained utterly indispensible, as no other comparable work has come forward to either update or replace it.

Daniel Graham makes similar observations in his preface to The Texts of Early Greek Philosophy (hereafter, TEGP), where he discusses how and why this work came about. A newly revised version of DK, and one, furthermore, which would also include English translations of all its fragments and testimonies, would constitute a truly peerless contribution to the study of the history of philosophy and to classical scholarship more broadly. Readers of TEGP who come to it expecting a successor to DK will leave it disappointed, however; it is not sufficiently comprehensive or exhaustive. Nonetheless, it would be a mistake to undervalue Graham's work for that reason, as TEGP is not really designed to replace DK. Rather, it is intended to satisfy a legitimate and pressing need for which there is currently no suitable alternative -- namely, for what Graham describes as "not so much an exhaustive collection" but "a bridge between the introductory textbook and the exhaustive collection, a kind of portable and up-to-date assemblage of the texts everyone should have access to for the figures everyone studies" (p. xiii). TEGP succeeds in this mission, and admirably, though not flawlessly. . . .


Hogan, Patrick Colm.  Affective Narratology: the Emotional Structure of Stories.  Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2011.

Stories engage our emotions. We’ve known this at least since the days of Plato and Aristotle. What this book helps us to understand now is how our own emotions fundamentally organize and orient stories. In light of recent cognitive research and wide reading in different narrative traditions, Patrick Colm Hogan argues that the structure of stories is a systematic product of human emotion systems. Examining the ways in which incidents, events, episodes, plots, and genres are a function of emotional processes, he demonstrates that emotion systems are absolutely crucial for understanding stories.

Hogan also makes a case for the potentially integral role that stories play in the development of our emotional lives. He provides an in-depth account of the function of emotion within story—in widespread genres with romantic, heroic, and sacrificial structures, and more limited genres treating parent/child separation, sexual pursuit, criminality, and revenge—as these appear in a variety of cross-cultural traditions. In the course of the book Hogan develops interpretations of works ranging from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina to African oral epics, from Sanskrit comedy to Shakespearean tragedy. Integrating the latest research in affective science with narratology, this book provides a powerful explanatory account of narrative organization.

Monday, October 31, 2011

"Epictetus and Stoicism," Department of Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology, April 26-27, 2012.

The RIT Philosophy De-partment invites papers that address any topic on or related to Epictetus and Stoicism, including, but not limited to: happiness, tranquility, detachment, reason, fate, volition, agency, what is (and is not) under our control, our moral purpose, virtue, cosmic order, divine providence, death, the Stoic sage, Epictetus as teacher, influence of earlier thinkers on Epictetus, Epictetus’s influence on later thinkers (including writers of our own time), the "practical" philosophy of Stoicism, and comparisons and contrasts with other traditions (such as Buddhism, Epicureanism, Christianity).

Please note that selected conference papers will be considered for publication in a collection of essays on Epictetus: his Continuing Influence and Contemporary Relevance to be published with RIT Press.

Keynote Speaker: Katja Vogt (Columbia University).

Papers should be 4,500-5,500 words in length (35-40 minutes reading time), and prepared for blind-review. Please submit full papers as email attachments to:

Submission Deadline: January 15, 2012.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wheeler, Michael. "Martin Heidegger." (STANFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY).

Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) was a German philosopher whose work is perhaps most readily associated with phenomenology and existentialism, although his thinking should be identified as part of such philosophical movements only with extreme care and qualification. His ideas have exerted a seminal influence on the development of contemporary European philosophy. They have also had an impact far beyond philosophy, for example in architectural theory (see e.g., Sharr 2007), literary criticism (see e.g., Ziarek 1989), theology (see e.g., Caputo 1993), psychotherapy (see e.g., Binswanger 1943/1964, Guignon 1993) and cognitive science (see e.g., Dreyfus 1992, 2008; Wheeler 2005; Kiverstein and Wheeler forthcoming). . . .

"Rhetoric and Performance," Nineteenth Biennial Conference, International Society for the History of Rhetoric (ISHR), Chicago, July 24-27, 2013.

The Society calls for papers that focus on the historical aspect of the theory and practice of rhetoric. The special theme of the conference will be “Rhetoric and Performance.” Papers dedicated to this theme will explore the theory and practice of rhetorical delivery, the historical contexts of rhetorical performance, the performativity of rhetorical texts, and other related topics.

Papers are also invited on every aspect of the history of rhetoric in all periods and languages and the relationship of rhetoric to poetics, literary theory and criticism, philosophy, politics, art, religion, geographic areas and other elements of the cultural

Prado, C. G. Review of Jeff Malpas, ed. DIALOGUES WITH DAVIDSON. NDPR (October 2011).

Malpas, Jeff, ed.  Dialogues with Davidson: Acting, Interpreting, Understanding.  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011.

This is an impressive collection, though one defying brief review. It consists of an illuminating Foreword, a clear, stage-setting Introduction, twenty articles in three topical sections, and an extensive Bibliography. The orientation of the collection turns on Jeff Malpas' attempt to cast Donald Davidson's work as broader than the narrowly analytic corpus many take it to be: e.g., Ernest LePore. (xviii) Another collection in this vein, to which I refer below, is Ludwig 2003.

Two comments on the orientation before turning to the articles: first, no one, including the philosopher in question, can legitimately limit interpretation of and extrapolation from a philosophical corpus. Second, that said, I had the privilege of meeting Davidson and commenting on his "A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs" two years before its publication. (Queen's University, 9/27/84). I drew a parallel between him and Gadamer that Davidson resisted. He seems later to have changed his mind to some extent, but I suspect he would be ambivalent about several of this collection's articles, despite their being as intellectually productive as they are convincingly supportive of Malpas' view of Davidson's work.

I proceed by saying a bit about each article and more about those I found most interesting. I will say now that this is a book anyone interested in Davidson should own.

A preliminary point: the collection's articles are "dialogues" with Davidson; discussion of his work in relation to continental thinkers is not about one-way or reciprocal influences but about parallels in philosophical thought. It is one thing to draw parallels, though, and another to exploit them: a difference evident in the more and less successful articles. . . .