CFP: Tradition and Translation of Philosophy

Submission deadline: June 25, 2018

Conference date(s):
September 6, 2018

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, University of Hildesheim
Hildesheim, Germany

Topic areas


This international workshop will take place at University of Hildesheim, Institute of Philosophy as part of the 4th Annual Conference of the European Network of Japanese Philosophy ( It is motivated by a successful conference on »Philosophy as Translation« (2015), which approached the topic of translation primarily in a systematic fashion.

The theme "Tradition and Translation of Philosophy" is based on a historical case that will be treated both on a linguistic and cultural level. The historical case is the emergence of academic philosophy in Japan starting with the process of translating philosophy and philosophical terminology during the Meiji period (1868-1912).

The development of Western sciences in Japan since the Meiji period has been examined extensively. However, philosophy has rarely been subject to an encompassing investigation regarding the transmission from West to the East, particularly in terms of translating the vocabulary and textual corpus from Western languages into Japanese.

Based on the tradition of Japanese philosophy—more specifically the transmission of philosophy to Japan since the end of the 19th century—the workshop aims to discuss the tradition of philosophy as a process of translation within and beyond the scope of Japan.

"Translation" refers at once to linguistic and cultural aspects, while the ›tradition‹ of philosophy and its transmission to Japan will be examined based on the distinctive features of the Japanese language, its writing and the autochthonous traditions in Japan within which the language evolved.

This historical process of translation will be contrasted with similar processes in other cultures and languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, Italian or Chinese. In this way, the meaning of translation for philosophizing in general, including the peculiarities of the individual linguistic as well as cultural processes of translation, will be reflected upon.

The present call for papers is intended not only for researchers in the field of Japanese or non-European philosophy or history of philosophy but from all other regions and all related areas of philosophical investigation. All are invited to submit an abstract of 300 words by the 25th of June to present contributions to the workshop as outlined above.

We request that contributions reflect on the topic by exploring concrete examples or historical case studies and by doing so invoke one of many possible questions regarding translation of philosophy.

The following questions may provide some guidance:

  - What role does translation play in the various philosophic traditions?

  - Assuming the factual translation of philosophical texts, do they—specifically or generally—provide arguments for or against the translatability of philosophy?

  - Historically speaking, does translation mean a productive continuation of tradition or rather a deviation? In other words, is translation an approximation of an 'original‘ meaning or is it primarily creating >new

  - Are there linguistic, historical, or cultural factors that are constitutive for an understanding of the translation and tradition of philosophy? Or are they always merely contingent factors that need no further discussion?

Format-wise, each speaker will submit a manuscript in German of roughly 2000-3000 words by August 15th, and deliver their paper as part of the workshop on September 6th. 

The notifications of acceptance will be sent out by the beginning of July.

Accommodation and travel expenses of invited speakers will be fully covered.


Dr. Ralf Müller, University of Hildesheim (Institute of Philosophy)

[email protected]

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