CFP: PLi Vol.23: Life and Ontology: Physis, Naturalism, Phenomenology

Submission deadline: November 14, 2011

Topic areas


As the body of knowledge generated by the natural sciences advances with ever greater speed and proficiency, questions about the nature of Life come to the fore. Can life itself be adequately described in terms of biological or physical theories, or de we require an alternative, more appropriate understanding of life? Is life indeed a separate domain of ontological investigation or does it take no special position amongst other kinds of entities? Are human beings merely living beings or do we transcend life in some sense? What is the philosophical significance of the fact that we are living beings ourselves? For the next volume of Pli (23) we invite papers that approach the matter of Life and Ontology from all philosophical backgrounds.

Rather this φ?σις, this prevailing of beings as a whole, is experienced by man just as immediately and entwined with things in himself and in those who are like him, those who are with him in this way. The events which man experiences in himself: procreation, birth, childhood, maturing, age, death, are not events in the narrow, present-day sense of a specifically biological process of nature. Rather, they belong to the prevailing of beings, which comprehends within itself human fate and its history. We must bring this broad sense of φ?σις closer to us in order to understand this word in that meaning in which the philosophers of antiquity used it, who are wrongly called 'philosophers of nature'.

-- Heidegger -Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics

That life is a kind of mechanism I cordially agree. But is it the mechanism of parts artificially isolated within the whole of the universe, or is it the mechanism of the real whole? [...] Analysis will undoubtedly resolve the process of organic creation into an ever-growing number of physico-chemical phenomena, and chemists and physicists will have to do, of course, with nothing but these. But it does not follow that chemistry and physics will ever give us the key to life.

-- Bergson - Creative Evolution

Possible topics include:

  • Naturalism and the nature of life

  • Heidegger and Being vs. Life as the horizon for thinking

  • The (ir)reducibility of life to mechanism

  • Lebensphilosophie: e.g. Dilthey, Bergson

  • The vitality of vitalism: e.g. Canguilhem, Deleuze, Nietzsche

  • Nietzsche's biologism

  • Ancient Naturalism

  • German Idealism and life

Submissions should be articles no longer than 8,000 words, accompanied by an abstract, and sent by email to: [email protected] as a Word, ODT or RTF file, including an e-mail address for future correspondence. The deadline for submissions is the 14th November 2011. Before submitting an article, please ensure you have read the 'Notes for Contributors' on the Pli website, as we will only accept submissions that are formatted in accordance with these guidelines.

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