Restrictive Naturalism and Empire: Reflections on Race and the Vicissitudes of Nature
Noell Birondo (University of Texas at El Paso)

part of: Nature’s Vicissitudes: Richard J. Bernstein’s final pragmatic naturalism
Tomorrow, 3:45pm - 4:15pm
Fordham University at Lincoln Center

113 W. 60th St.
New York
United States

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John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)
Fordham University
New York University
Tara Mastrelli
The New School

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The New York Pragmatist Forum




September 29-30, 2023
Fordham University (Lincoln Center Campus), New York City

Richard J. Bernstein first encountered John Dewey’s pragmatist naturalism as a graduate student at Yale University, where  “Dewey’s naturalistic vision of the relation of experience and nature—how human beings as natural creatures are related to the rest of nature—spoke deeply to me.” This early enthusiasm for Dewey’s naturalistic vision never left him. During the final years of his long life, Bernstein finished two books that return to issues of pragmatist naturalism.

·       His Pragmatic Naturalism: John Dewey’s Living Legacy (2020), traces differing versions of Deweyan naturalism in the works of contemporary philosophers, including Robert Brandom, John McDowell, Richard Rorty, Wilfrid Sellars, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Philip Kitcher, Bjorn Ramberg, David Macarthur, Steven Levine, Mark Johnson, Robert Sinclair, Huw Price, and Joseph Rouse.

·       In his final book, The Vicissitudes of Nature (2022), Bernstein clarifies his own pragmatist naturalism in relation to the thinking of earlier modern philosophers: Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud.

This conference will critically assess and expand the legacy of Bernstein’s final pragmatic naturalism as expressed in these two books. Accepted papers will be collected for publication.

Paper topics may include: 

●      Bernstein’s discussion of Dewey’s thinking in relation to contemporary philosophers’ formulations of naturalism in Pragmatic Naturalism: John Dewey’s Living Legacy.

●      Bernstein’s interpretation of an earlier thinker’s understanding of naturalism or nature in The Vicissitudes of Nature (Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, or Freud).

●      A larger theme or problem that brings one of these Bernstein’s texts into conversation with philosophical naturalism, either particular expressions or conceptual issues.

●      The consequences of one or both of these texts for questions of naturalism in relation to wider social and political questions, e.g., democracy, praxis, critique.

Abstracts: Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words to [email protected].

Submission Deadline: May 22, 2023 

NYPF Conference Committee: 

Sergio Gallegos, John Jay College of Criminal Justice  

Judith Green, Fordham University 
Brendan Hogan, New York University 

Tara Mastrelli, New School for Social Research

David Woods, New York University 

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