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Sander Verhaegh: Euro-American migration and the development of post-war philosophy

When:We 06-10-2021 15:15 - 17:00
Where:Room Omega

Colloquium lecture by Sander Verhaegh (Tilburg), organized by the Department of Theoretical Philosophy

Crossing Oceans: Euro-American migration and the development of post-war philosophy

In the 1930s, hundreds of European academics fled to the United States, escaping the quickly deteriorating political situation on the continent. Among them were a few dozen philosophers from a variety of different schools: logical positivists, critical theorists, and phenomenologists. Especially the first group would have a tremendous impact on American philosophy. Although the local intellectual climate had been dominated by distinctively American traditions such as pragmatism, U.S. philosophers soon began to advance views that were heavily indebted to the positivists, turning the country into a bastion of what we nowadays call ‘analytic philosophy’.

How could a small group of academic refugees have such an impact on American philosophy? What happened to the pragmatist tradition? And why were U.S. philosophers more receptive to logical positivism than to other schools of philosophical refugees? In the coming few years, I will work on a project that aims to answer these questions. In this talk, I outline the project, present some first results from archival research, and explain how a better understanding of this disruptive period can help shed new light on academic philosophy today.

Hélène Landemore: Open Democracy (PPE Colloquium)

When:We 13-10-2021 15:15 - 16:45
Where:Room Omega and online (hybrid format)

In this colloquium, Hélène Landemore (Yale) will present her new book, Open Democracy. It describes a new paradigm of democracy that follows the ideal of “representing and being represented in turn.” Instead of focusing on elections and representative government, Open Democracy argues for a form of democracy in which power is genuinely accessible to ordinary citizens.

Open Democracy recommends centering political institutions around the “open mini-public”—a large, jury-like body of randomly selected citizens gathered to define laws and policies for the polity, in connection with the larger public. Landemore also defends five institutional principles as the foundations of an open democracy: participatory rights, deliberation, the majoritarian principle, democratic representation, and transparency.

Open Democracy demonstrates that placing ordinary citizens, rather than elites, at the heart of democratic power is not only the true meaning of a government of, by, and for the people, but also feasible and, today more than ever, urgently needed.

Hélène Landemore

Hélène Landemore is full professor of political science at Yale University. She is the author of Democratic Reason (Princeton) and Hume. She works on democratic theory, Enlightenment thinkers, political epistemology, constitutional theory, and the philosophy of social sciences.

Registration for after-colloquium gathering

Unfortunately, according to current regulation we cannot invite you to a “borrel” at the faculty after the colloquium. If you are interested in participating in a Corona-conform informal gathering after the event, please email l.m.herzog by September 30th, 2021.

Justo Serrano Zamora: Democratization and Struggles Against Injustice (book launch)

When:Tu 19-10-2021 17:00 - 18:30

Digital book launch of Democratization and Struggles Against Injustice: A Pragmatist Approach to the Epistemic Practices of Social Movements, by Justo Serrano Zamora, University of Groningen

Book description

In specialized literature as well as in the eyes of regular citizens, social movements are often considered to be actors of democratization. Among other things, social movements criticize existing deficits in democratic systems; they promote practices of deliberation and enact non-hierarchical structures that challenge existing democratic institutions. Very often, these challenges emerge from the context of struggle against unjust situations involving social exclusion, economic inequalities or the violation of fundamental rights.

Democratization and Struggles Against Injustice draws on the insights of one of the greatest American philosophers, John Dewey, as well as on some central intuitions of Frankfurt School Critical Theory to account for the connection between the democratic potential of social movements and their capacity to articulate injustice and promote just social relations. Particularly, it develops the idea that this double capacity can be explained by introduction of the pragmatist notion of experimental inquiry into the analysis of the epistemic practices of the mobilized. By introducing pragmatist epistemology to the study of social movements, Democratization and Struggles Against Injustice broadens the possibilities for their emancipatory potential.

Speakers and schedule
17.00 Short introduction by Lisa Herzog, University of Groningen
17.05 First commentary by Dirk Jörke, University of Darmstadt, on chap. 2-3
17.15 Second commentary by Tanja Bogusz, University of Kassel, on chap. 5
17.25 Third commentary by Maribel Casas-Cortes, University of North Carolina, on chap. 6.
17.35 Fourth commentary by Robin Celikates, FU Berlin, on chap. 7-8.
17.45 Response by Just Serrano Zamora, University of Groningen
18.00 Discussion and Q&A
18.30 End


You are warmly invited to participate in this digital event. Please email l.m.herzog to register.

Medicine and Philosophy III: Contagion and Fascination

From:Mo 06-12-2021
Until:Tu 07-12-2021

Call for papers: 6-7 December 2021 Zoom Workshop

Organized by

Alessandra Beccarisi (Lecce)
Martin Lenz (Groningen)
Evelina Miteva (Lecce/Cluj/Cologne)

Most of us probably don’t doubt that much of our (mental) lives are determi­ned by education, biases and ideologies; much of our knowledge relies on the testimony of others; our beliefs can be strengthened by the authority of others; our emotions might change in the presence of friends; our inclination to act can be triggered by the courage of others; our thoughts might be com­pleted by the perspective of others. But what precisely explains how others affect our mental states? Historians of philosophy often study such questions in relation to psychological, linguistic and moral theories. However, lurking in the background of philosophical models are medical assumptions whose exposition often sheds new light on ancient, medieval and modern debates.

In the third instalment of the workshop “Medicine and Philosophy” we want to focus our attention on contagion and fascination. Are ideas seen as transmitted from mind to mind like diseases from body to body? “Contagion” and “fascination” are central terms that figure at the intersection of many philosophical and physiological discussions in Middle Ages, Renaissance and Early Modern times. What is the common ground between those two concep­ts? The idea that a person could influence the body, the emotions or the mental states of another person from a distance was not always connected to conta­gion. Fascination was the medieval term for transmitting an influence from one person to another at a distance, without direct physical contact. This was seen as a natural phenomenon, part of natural magie, which became an even more influential idea in the Renaissance. With the development of natural sciences, Early modern authors developed the idea of contagion as a way of transmitting bodily and mental states at a distance. Giving rise to debates about human mentality, physiology and politics, these notions impacted doctrines about the transmission of thoughts, images and emotions between people as well as well as the contagious nature of certain diseases. Focusing on the history of these and related notions, this workshop aims at stimulating exchange between historians of philosophy and experts in natu­ral philosophy whose work often speaks more to one another than meets the eye.

Please send an abstract to Martin Lenz (m.lenz by June 1, 2021. The abstract must be no longer than 300 words, prepared for blind reviewing and sent as a .docx file (please do not use pdf format). The subject of the mail should be “MediPhil“. The author’s name and contact information (name, affiliation, email and professional status – graduate student, postdoc, lectu­rer etc.) should also be specified in your message.

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