CFP: Beyond Dualism
Submission deadline: February 8, 2012
April 18, 2012 - April 19, 2012
Matter – mind, soul – body, inner – outer, culture – nature, rationalism – empiricism, singularity – plurality, subject – object, the individual – the social: we can distinct a long tradition of dualisms in the history of western philosophy. Already from what many consider to be the cradle of this philosophical tradition, in ancient Greece, we see the famous Platonic dualism between body and soul. Similar dualist conceptions from ensuing ages can be traced historically: in the early modern era with Rene Descartes’ substance dualism and in the modern era we find Immanuel Kant’s unbridgeable gap between subjects and the things-in-themselves that surround them. Our contemporary philosophical landscape is still very much permeated with the traces of this dualistic lineage. But although the dualistic tradition may be the dominant tradition in Western philosophy, it is definitely not the only one. Western philosophy also carries a line of philosophers who have tried to think outside the dualist framework. From the early Stoa to Duns Scotus up to Spinoza and later on Nietzsche, we might discern, with Gilles Deleuze, a perhaps ‘hidden’ movement in the history of thought that forms an alternative for dualistic thinking. Instead of equivocity and analogical thinking this alternative strand of thought calls for a univocal expression of Being, in which Being is said in a single and same sense of everything of which it is said. From a different angle we can think of William James’ proposal for a pluralistic monism or Alfred North Whitehead, who tried to break with what he called the bifurcation of nature. Today the voice of these thinkers resonates in the work of a new generation of thinkers who try to break with dualist categories. An outstanding example is Bruno Latour, who refuses to view the world in terms of dualities and instead presents us a world as a complex network of multiple hybrid actors.
Furthermore, besides being tied to these substantive dilemmas, modern western philosophy seems to be condemned to a disciplinary antagonism, the tenacious split between continental and Anglo-Saxon philosophy. This academic dualism seems to be nourished by a desire to pinpoint what real philosophy is or should be; a desire driven by the essential dualism between true knowledge and illusion and by the wish to distinct the one from the other. Parallel to the attempts of overcoming the dualistic philosophical concept, there seems to emerge a new generation of philosophers who try to bridge the disciplinary chasms. People who come to mind are Graham Harman and Quentin Meillassoux.
Somewhat in line with the analytic-continental divide is the distinction between philosophy and science. While philosophy has for ages legitimately acted as overarching discipline, bridging gaps between, sometimes newborn, sciences, that status is now often questioned: What relation does she maintains with other disciplines? What does she have to offer society or science, for it is clear for most scientists what makes their discipline ‘useful’? Philosophers are often pressed to defend themselves against science. This demand seems to unveil an oppositional tension between science and ‘non-science’, in which science presents it self as the sole freeholder of true knowledge, thereby downgrading those of all other trades to mere belief. Should philosophers partake in this dualistic framework, as we might encounter it in certain positivist philosophies regarding scientific method as the only road to truth and to which philosophical thinking should thus be servant? Or might we also transcend this dualism, moving beyond any oppositional thinking, but without losing sight of any productive differences immanent to the university of thought – as we might find, for instance, in Isabelle Stengers’ ‘ecology of practices’?
This conference aims for reflection on these various dualisms, substantive and disciplinary, internal and external. In thoroughgoing reflection on these dualisms a dialogue is to open up on the possibility and desirability of going beyond them. Only when one admits that a beyond necessarily refers to terra incognita, will an exploration of this beyond lead to a common ground.
For the constitution of such a place, we call upon you to send in your paper proposals or visit our conference so we can start this dialogue on dualisms – in the broadest sense – and beyond them explore the extraterrestrial.
CLOSING DATE: February 8, 2012
LENGTH: Approx. 2500 words
SEND IN: An abstract with a minimum of 350 and a maximum of 500 words.
COLLECTIVE PAPER (with a maximum of 3 persons)
CLOSING DATE: February 8, 2012
LENGTH: Approx. 5000 words
SEND IN: An abstract with a minimum of 700 and a maximum of 1000 words.
Please send your paper to [email protected] or upload it through our website (www.philosophers-rally.nl) For more information concerning the congress or the Call for Papers, please refer to the website or the aforementioned email address.
We are looking forward to welcome you!