CFP: Philosophical Marathon: Philosophy and Revolution

Submission deadline: October 14, 2018

Conference date(s):
November 12, 2018 - November 16, 2018

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Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, Student's Philosophical Society
Ljubljana, Slovenia

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For several years now, the Student Philosophical Society has organized the Philosophical Marathon, a week-long, uninterrupted series of lectures that accompany UNESCO's World Day of Philosophy. The marathon takes place on the premises of the Faculty of Arts, and in 2018, it will be held between 12th and 16th of November. This year's subject is Philosophy and Revolution. The theme doesn’t merely pertain to the classic concept of political revolution, but revolution understood in the broadest possible sense.

The Student Philosophical Society invites philosophical researchers and students at various levels to present their papers to a wider audience. We accept applications until the 14th of October, at filozofskimaraton@gmail.com – you need to provide a 250 word abstract of your future contribution. Abstracts will be collected and published in the brochure and on the Society’s website. The best contributions will be published as a collection of lectures in the year after the event.

The rhythm of nature has always been determined by circularity, and this pattern influenced perceptions of the world and the lives of people in prescientific societies. The water circulates, rising from the ground into the sky, transforming into raindrops, and returning into the masses of water we can observe on the ground. The seasons bring with them a cycle of waking and hibernation. The Earth follows invisible trajectories around the Sun, a fact discovered by Copernicus. The original title of his book: De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, which hints at the pervasiveness of circularity (or revolution) in nature.

The term “revolution” was first present in the natural sciences, and served in politics as a physico-political concept that attempts to describe how nature and its processes determine human society. Aristotle’s discourse on the circulation of constitutional forms provides a good example of revolution as a physico-political concept. The rotation of constitutional forms presupposes an eventual return to the starting point, not a cut or a break. During this pre-modern period, bloody conflicts are not called revolutions, but rather internal wars, rebellions, or unrest – they all take place within the framework of the estate-based social order and do not presuppose a change in that social order. The conceptual transformation of the notion of revolution begins gradually with the Velvet Revolution in England. The Enlightenment often predicted a revolution or revolutions, and here the meaning of a return to the old is no longer present.

The epistemological cut in the conceptualization of revolution is represented by the French revolution. After this decisive event, there are no more mentions of recurrence in the debates about political systems, but there is talk of progress. “Revolution” becomes a historico-philosophical notion that points to the irreversible direction of the course of history. The occasional interchangeability of the concepts of revolution and evolution indicates structural shifts in the entire social order.

The novel expressions of political revolution are spatially inclined towards world revolution, and temporally to permanence. The common conceptual denominator of the revolution is its continuity. The young Marx also speaks of this continuity: “Every revolution dissolves the old order of society; to that extent it is social. Every revolution brings down the old ruling power; to that extent it is political.”

The definition of the term revolution has always been elusive. It is, at once, all-embracing and restricted in meaning. After the French Revolution, it nearly always denotes progress in terms of a break with the old. However, many theorists have used the term to describe processes that do not constitute a fundamental change in the social structure – there is talk of industrial, commercial, scientific, sexual, religious, military, educational, technological revolutions. Can we really call these processes revolutions?

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