Existential Philosophy for Times of Change and Crisis: Freedom, Responsibility and Equality

August 26, 2021 - August 27, 2021

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  • Pedagogical University of Krakow


Pedagogical University of Krakow

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Following up on our 2020 conference on Existential Philosophy for Times of Change and Crisis, this second edition seeks to re-examine the applicability of existential philosophy, broadly understood, for dealing with the drastic changes to our lives brought about by the pandemic and ensuing social and economic difficulties.

As ‘pandemic fatigue’ has settled in, bringing about waves of social contestation and exacerbating the divisions within our societies, but also among them, questions about our responsibility toward others, the meaningfulness of our lives, and the types of sacrifices we are willing to make become increasingly pressing.

At the heart of these questions reside fundamental tensions between individual freedom and selfhood and notions of moral and social responsibility, between the personal and subjective dimensions of human experience and the collective, social realities of our lived condition, and between internal and external perspectives on what makes human life worthy and what constitutes a good life. Twentieth-century thinkers struggled intensely with these issues, and the aim of this conference is to bring together international scholars to discuss these existential, ethical, and meta-ethical challenges of our times, examining what philosophical resources can we draw upon to help us better think through our current situation. 

Is it possible to lead a good life when others are oppressed? Do we have a moral obligation to resist oppression, and if so what counts as oppression? Should our understanding of human existence and our moral duties focus on internal change or outward social change? How can we articulate the link between these demands? What do they entail for our understanding of human equality? What is the ground for that equality, supposing it needs any ground? Or maybe it does not? To be more precise, does equality rely on some universal internal qualities of the human being or is it an upshot of our social forms of life?

Conference Programme: (NB: All times are Central European Summer Time (Paris)

Thursday 26 August

9.00 Opening Words (Mélissa Fox-Muraton and Jakub Gomułka)

9.10 Jon Stewart(Institute of Philosophy, Slovak Academy of Sciences): The Problem of Nihilism in the Literature of the 19thCentury

10.00 Daniele Fulvi(Western Sydney University): Freedom as a Matter of Resistance in the Philosophy of Schelling

10.50-11.10 Break

11.10 Hjördis Becker-Lindenthal(University of Cambridge): Face your self and let go: Approaching the selfie culture with Kierkegaard and German mysticism

12.00 Oliver Norman(University of Poitiers): Can a Serious Philosophy of Death be Ethical? Kierkegaard and Jankélévitch on Death, Ethics and Seriousness

12.50-13.50 Lunch Break

13.50 Flaviu-Victor Câmpean(Forum of the Lacanian Field, Romania): The Lacanian “Biology” of the Event within the Age of Dailiness of Death  

14.40 Maciej Kałuża(Polish Albert Camus Society): Oppression, liberty and the absurd: Can we imagine Sisyphus happy, when a factory robot took his job?

15.30 Mélissa Fox-Muraton(ESC Clermont/University Clermont Auvergne): Camus on the (im)possibility of a good life where others are in chains

16.20-16.30 Break

16.30 Rajesh Sampath (Brandeis University):An Existential and Continental Phenomenological Analysis of the European Crisis of the Times: A Reading of Heidegger, Hegel, and Derrida to unpack the intersections of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and anti-immigration movements in continental Europe

17.20 Alycia LaGuardia-LoBianco(Grand Valley State University): Repairing Moral Damage Through Self-regarding Resistance

18.10 Joshua Livingstone(Queen's University):Hannah Arendt and the Dynamics of Imagination


Friday 27 August 2021


9.00 Sebastien Hüsch (University Aix Marseille): Spiritlessness. On the timeliness of Søren Kierkegaard’s reflections on the Self between probability and possibility

9.50 Jakub Marek(Charles University): Existential Anthropology and the Problem of Dignity in Caring for Alzheimer’s patients

10.40-11.00 Break

11.00 Jakub Gomułka(Pedagogical University of Kraków): A radical change of worldview: extra-systemic arguments and rationality of emotions

11.50 Timur Cengiz Uçan(Bordeau Montaigne University) Liberatory practices of philosophy in an age of extractivism

12.40-13.40 Lunch Break

13.40 Patrick Miller(University of South Florida): The Ethical Call towards the Third Party: Levinas and Disgust during the Pandemic

14.30 Shai Frogel(Kibbutzim College of Education & Tel Aviv University):Fear and Anxiety

15.20 Chloe Nicole D. Piamonte(Polytechnic University of the Philippines):Revisiting the Sartrean View on Love for Times of Change and Crisis

16.10-16.30 Break

16.30 William C. Pamerleau(University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg):Being-in-the-World and Being-with-Coronavirus: a Heideggerian Analysis of Life During the Pandemic

17.20 Skye Cleary (Barnard College and City College of New York): Simone de Beauvoir and the Responsibility of Privilege

18.10 William Parkhurst(University of South Florida): Nietzsche in the Anthropocene: Archival Evidence, Climate Ethics, and Future Generations

19.00 Closing remarks

Please see the conference website for further information and updates: www.changeandcrisis.eu

Participation open to all but registration is required.

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August 15, 2021, 7:00pm CET

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University of Calgary
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