CFP: How to do things with Wittgenstein: The applicability of his ideas within philosophy and beyond

Submission deadline: July 31, 2020

Conference date(s):
September 10, 2020 - September 11, 2020

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Conference Venue:

Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Pedagogical University of Cracow
Kraków, Poland

Topic areas



Although almost seventy years have passed since Wittgenstein’s death, his philosophical legacy continues to serve as a vivid point of reference and source of discussion for contemporary thinkers. The interpretative disputes surrounding his writings have certainly not receded, partly due to the emergence of the “resolute approach” and partly thanks to the increased availability of searchable sources at the electronic archives based in Bergen. Equally, questions about the ramifications of the austere conception of nonsense for so-called “Tractarian ontology”, about the nature of grammar and rules as these figure in the Investigations, about the correct understanding of the private-language argument, and about the possible relevance of a “third Wittgenstein”, continue to be of great interest. Nevertheless, it can be argued that one should not confine oneself to these and similar issues, as the real contribution that philosophers ultimately make is to something outside of philosophy – or at least, outside of hermetic discussions pertaining to matters of philosophical exegesis. After all, questions pertaining to the practical significance of certain conceptions, metaphors and ideas may turn out in the long run to be of greater importance.

With such thoughts in mind, we invite philosophers and those working in the humanities to focus on the question of how the metaphor of language-games lets us better understand our actual social practices, to attend to how the ideas originating in the Tractatus might contribute to our contemporary understanding of logic, mathematics and information science, to ask whether Wittgenstein’s remarks on religion, ethics and art can tell us something important about our very own forms of life, and so on...

This two-day conference will continue the tradition of international meetings devoted to Wittgenstein’s legacy organized in Cracow – a city where the philosopher was resident for several months. Its proposed subject matter – the philosophical and (even more) the non-philosophical applicability of his ideas – is at one and the same time specific and multidisciplinary, ranging as it does from the formal and cognitive sciences, through linguistics, psychology and sociology, to reflections on politics, law, history, art, religion and civilization generally. We especially welcome submissions directly addressing issues of current and ongoing importance.

The conference is organized by the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Pedagogical University of Cracow. It will take place on September 10th-11th 2020 (Thursday-Friday), at the University’s main building (ul. Podchorążych 2).

Participation is free of charge. Papers should be suitable for a 30 minute presentation followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. Abstracts (max. 500 words) should be submitted to [email protected] by July 31st 2020, and be prepared for blind review.

Organizing committee:

  • Jakub Gomułka (Pedagogical University, Cracow)
  • Carl Humphries (Jesuit University Ignatianum in Cracow)
  • Wojciech Sady (Pedagogical University, Cracow)

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