Month: October 2012

CFP: Philosophy and the West: On the Future of Universality

Looks like a neat set of questions to be asked at this conference:

Philosophy and the West: On the Future of Universality

12th Annual Philosophy Graduate Conference

The New School for Social Research

February 28th – March 1st 2013

Keynote Speakers: Talal Asad (CUNY) and Susan Buck-Morss (CUNY)   

The philosophical tradition has generally taken itself to be a project that is both universal in scope and uniquely Western in nature. The tension between the universal aims of rationality and the historical situatedness of the philosophical tradition has been exacerbated by the increasing dominance of Western society: on the one hand, the proliferation of socio-cultural forms such as the modern state, the capitalist market and European university have seemed to make the universal pretensions of Western philosophy a reality; on the other hand, the negative consequences of this proliferation have led to an increasing suspicion of traditional philosophical commitments to ideas such as reason, humanity and the subject. In the wake of this suspicion, adherence to these commitments has been characterized as a disguised intellectual imperialism. More recently, many political thinkers have critiqued this reaction as a renunciation of the potential for universal emancipation offered by Western rationality.


These questions indicate the pressing need to re-evaluate the possible role of philosophy in our current historical context. Given the seeming realization of Western rationality’s global vision and its attendant victories and disappointments, what are we, as philosophers, to do?


This conference will attempt to approach this question from a variety of angles by welcoming all papers that broach these questions from an intellectual, political or historical perspective. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:


Philosophy and (Universal) History                  The Question of Humanism

Globalization and/or Cosmopolitanism           Colonial and Post-Colonial Thought

Enlightenment, Auklärung, Lumières                  The current function of identity politics

Christianity and its Universal Promise              The Greeks and the Western Tradition

Philosophy and War/Imperialism                    Analyses of Modernity and/or Civilization

Philosophy, the West and Islam                       Secularization and Laïcisation

Crises of the European/Modern Tradition      Universal Human Rights and Emancipation

De-Colonializing Critical Theory                     Philosophy and ‘America’

Feminism outside the Occident                       European Science, Technology and Reason

(Possible) Dialogues between Eastern and Western Philosophy

Subjectivity and the Soul as features of the Western Tradition

Papers should range from 3,000 to 4,500 words and should be sent to:

Please make sure all submissions are sent in blind-review format.

Please include your name, institution and the title of your paper in the body of your e-mail.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, November 16th 2012.

Notification will occur during the second week of January 2013.

For further information please check our conference website:

Busy Week at Memorial

I had a great time at the CSCP, catching up with Joseph Carew, Iain MacDonald, Phil Buckley, and many others. My thanks for Devin Shaw for putting me up.

But with that done, it’s a busy week here.

On Thursday, I’ll be lecturing on Bill Martin’s Ethical Marxism (4-6:00 pm in Science 4087). It’s for the humanities group, but all are welcome.

On Friday, I’ll be leading the discussion at Jockey. Here’s the announcement:

For this coming Friday, October 19, Dr. Peter Gratton has chosen for us to look at a section of Plotinus’ Enneads; Fifth Ennead, Third Tractate (Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page. London, P.L. Warner, publisher to the Medici Society 1917-1930)

A ‘word doc’ version of the selection has been uploaded to my server and is available for download here:

Plus we have external reviewers for the Ph.D. program to “host” and have fun with Thursday to Saturday. And how did I manage to get four different committee meetings on Thursday alone?



Reading the Classics of Western Philosophy | Progressive Geographies

Stuart Elden has his reply up on Reading the Classics of Western Philosophy. One can always kvetch about the list, but this one really is circumscribed: why the Organon of all of Aristotle? The Analects don’t make the list? Not one from outside of Europe? (Unless there’s someone I’m missing who may be an American.)

And I did a whole semester leading a reading group and I can attest, as Stuart suggests, no we didn’t get all the way through. It’s like the people say they pick flight over invisibility, I don’t believe ’em. And I’ve read Hobbes’ Leviathan all the way through, more as a quirk that I find his theology fascinating, but I think I know a few people who work on him who haven’t finished it. (In fact, that’s a good parlor game: how many specialists in modern or ancient philosophy have finished the pertinent texts? The Ethics anyone?) And who knew we were to read all of the Tractatus? I thought it was enough just to quote the last line endlessly. Anyway, I’m missing six from the list, though I think a couple of those I count are cheats–was I really awake while finishing Locke Essay Concerning Human Understanding? (People disagree with me, but I find Kant’s prose genuinely lively and exciting next to Locke. Real tepid tea, that stuff.) My eyes I think were technically open, so we’ll count it.