CFP: New Narratives and Methods in the History of 20th Century Philosophy

Submission deadline: April 1, 2024

Conference date(s):
August 19, 2024 - August 20, 2024

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Conference Venue:

Exiled Empiricist ERC Project, Tilburg University
Tilburg, Netherlands

Topic areas


*Call for Papers*

*New Narratives and Methods in the History of 20th Century Philosophy*

*19-20 August 2024*

Exiled Empiricists ERC Project - University of Tilburg

The history of twentieth century philosophy has largely been written within a single overarching narrative describing the rise of a sharp divide between two opposing traditions, analytic and continental philosophy. Despite its widespread use, this narrative of a philosophical divide fails to address many intellectual and social changes that philosophy underwent in the twentieth century. Philosophy became an independent discipline within academia and dramatically increased a focus on specialization. Standards shifted how to write a philosophical text and how to comprehend its intended readership. Also important socio-political events had a major impact on the intellectual and institutional identity of philosophy in the 20th century. Among the most salient were the two World Wars, the fight for gender-equality and civil rights, and the de-colonization of the global south. Until now, all of the above developments have not been given much interest as a way to understand developments in 20th century philosophy as a whole.

The dominant divide-narrative primarily originated from the philosophical self-understanding that arose in the Anglophone world after the Second World War. Therefore, it offers little conceptual tools to describe and understand the above broader changes. The divide-narrative also struggles to provide a coherent interpretation of any philosophic development outside of, or at the margins of, the analytic tradition. The category of "continental" fails to describe in a meaningful way many philosophical traditions that drove intellectual developments in 20th century philosophy, like pragmatism, Neo-Kantianism, critical theory, feminism, phenomenology or post-colonialism. In turn, the category of "analytic" philosophy is itself problematic. Construed as philosophy inspired by Frege, Russell, Moore and Wittgenstein, it fails to do justice to the diversity of interests, aims and influences of all 20th century philosophers who are characterized as "analytics".

This conference aims to explore potential alternative conceptualizations and problematizations of what happens to philosophy in the 20th century from an intellectual, social and institutional perspective. By doing this, we hope to enrich contemporary philosophers’ self-understanding of what they are doing in the 21st century.

We invite scholars to submit proposals for papers that explore the social, cultural, political, and intellectual developments of philosophy in the 20th century. We invite potential contributors to consider topics related to questions such as:

  • Which philosophical ideas or traditions are particular to the 20th century?
  • How did philosophy’s methodology or style of writing change in the 20th century?
  • How did philosophy’s relation to other fields, like science, literature or politics develop throughout the 20th century?
  • Which socio-political developments in the 20th century most heavily impacted philosophy?
  • What are possible alternative narratives for the history of 20th century philosophy, other than the divide-narrative?
  • Which intellectual or institutional changes to philosophy in the 20th century are valuable or harmful to ongoing philosophical practice?

This conference will be organized in conjunction with the conference “Quantitative Studies of Philosophy”, which will take place on 21-22 August, also at Tilburg University.


Alan Richardson (University of British Columbia)

Rachael Wiseman (University of Liverpool)

Eric Schliesser (University of Amsterdam)

*Submission guidelines*

Please submit an abstract (max. 500 words) suitable for blind review.

The deadline for submissions is April 1.

Please send your abstracts to F.R.P.Dewulf[at] and P.T.vanGemert[at]

*Dates and Deadlines*

April 1: Submission deadline

April 15: Notifications

August 19-20: Conference

Questions about the conference can be directed at F.R.P.dewulf[at]

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