CFP: SAPIENCE. The transformations of wisdom in Early Modern and Enlightenment philosophy

Submission deadline: January 20, 2019

Conference date(s):
May 13, 2019 - May 14, 2019

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Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Bruxelles, Belgium

Topic areas


The Research Group in Modern Philosophy at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) is organizing a French and English-speaking conference on May 13 and 14, 2019 on the meaning and fate of the notion of wisdom in 17th- and 18th-century philosophy. The argument is the following:

It is often argued that the notion of wisdom - whether related to the Greek or to the monotheistic traditions - has gradually disappeared from the philosophical horizon as modern science pushed back the Aristotelian paradigm. However, the very word sapientiadoes not disappear from the philosophical discourse, and finds new translations – as in the German Weltweisheit. Kant suspects that modern science has not dismissed but deliberately and vainly ignored the question of wisdom: "Nach Weisheit frägt niemand, weil die die Wissenschaft, die ein Werkzeug der Eitelkeit ist, sehr ins Enge bringt" (Reflection 1652). The conference aims at clarifying where and how the question of wisdom has maintained. The variety of answers will have to be explored, regarding in particular the relation of wisdom to science(s), to the delimitation of theory and practice, to the question of happiness and good life, to divine wisdom, but also to sacred history and the history of philosophy.

This call for contribution is intended to complement the conference program. The conference papers – either in French or in English – will be published in a book form. Proposals on Enlightenment and 18th-century philosophy will be particularly - but not exclusively - welcome.  

Abstracts of original contributions (about 400-600 words), prepared for a multiple blind review, should be sent in word format, as attachment to January 20, 2019. The author’s name and affiliation should be included in the body of the e-mail. Notification of acceptance should be given by February 1, 2019.

Meals and accommodation (3 hotel nights from 12 to 15 May 2019) will be covered by the conference organization. Travel expenses cannot be covered.

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