Intensive course: Respecting Persons and Their Voices

Intensive Seminar for Nordic-Baltic Philosophy Symposia Master’s students

‘Respecting Persons and Their Voices: Objectification and Silencing’

9-13 November, 2015 | University of Tartu, Department of Philosophy, Jakobi 2 | room numbers TBA

Duration: 5 days | 6 ECTS

Teachers: Alex Davies (Tartu), Eve Kitsik (Tartu), Francesco Orsi (Tartu)

Course description: 

B. Kruger. Untitled (Your body is a battleground), 1989

B. Kruger. “Untitled (Your body is a battleground)” | 1989

The concept of objectification is widely used in philosophy and social critique to characterize certain kinds of personal and cultural attitudes manifested in behavior, speech, societal practices, regulations, and representations. Objectifying is treating a person as if he or she were an object. During the course we will examine its relation to two central spheres of human experience: work and sexuality. We will discuss the required features for a plausible theory of objectification. Finally we will consider whether the very notion of objectification, for example as applied against pornography or prostitution, might have itself the consequence of objectifying those it regards as victims, whether through silencing them or denying their autonomy.

Grading: 

The overall grade will result from active participation in the course (50%) and a written essay (50%).

1. Active participation in the seminars and movie discussions (50%)

Students are expected not only to attend but also to actively participate in the seminars. In preparation for the seminars, students will be given relevant philosophical articles. Depending on students’ numbers, we plan to assign different readings to different groups: one text in favor of, and one against, a certain thesis. The subsequent mutual exchange, moderated by the lecturers, will ensure wide participation, learning through reciprocal feedback, and practice in argumentative conduct. Students are expected to have read the material required for seminars and be ready to engage in discussion with each other, both within the group and across groups. For example they can bring with them a set of clarificatory or critical questions that have occurred to them while reading, or the lecturer may set up a question about the texts. On the basis of the reading done, students are expected to attempt an answer to the questions; assess defenses of such answers—by themselves and by others; check the accuracy of their understanding of the text with other students’ understanding of the text. While connections and associations to other works and authors are welcome, they must in any case be aimed to make a substantial contribution towards the discussion at hand.

The texts required for the seminars will be distributed as PDFs at least three weeks before the course, so that there may be ample time to read them in advance.

Lectures are intended to prepare students for the required readings and so will be fully adapted to the seminars. The suggested preparatory texts, though not compulsory, are meant to cover to some extent the contents of the lectures, and students are encouraged to read them for a better level of participation in both lectures and seminars, and eventually for facilitating the choice of a topic for the essay (see below).

The schedule also includes viewing movies or documentaries as the final activity of each day, both as a complement to the topics of lectures and seminars, and as support for further reflection. You are expected to watch the materials actively and critically, so that participated and reasoned discussion can follow the movie or documentary.

PLEASE BE WARNED THAT SOME OF THE LECTURES AND VIDEO MATERIALS WILL CONTAIN REFERENCES TO SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND SOME MAY CONTAIN SEXUALLY EXPLICIT CONTENT.

2. Written essay (50%)

The point of the essay is to show the ability to reconstruct a complex philosophical argument or view, pointing out its pros and cons, and preferably adding an original contribution – for example a new objection to it, or a new way to defend it against an existing objection, and so on.

You are strongly encouraged to send us a draft version of your paper at the latest TWO WEEKS before final submission. We will give you feedback, and then you can submit the final version.

The essay has to be submitted no later than one month after the final day of the course. The topic of the essay will be discussed and decided with teachers during the course.

Desired length: 2000 to 4000 words.

Course schedule: 

Monday, 9th of November: Sexual Objectification and its critics

14.00-15.30 Brief introduction to the course: Alex Davies, Eve Kitsik, Francesco Orsi. Sexual objectification: Kant, feminism, Nussbaum (Francesco Orsi)

Summary: In this lecture I will provide a conceptual and historical walkthrough of the idea of objectification, its potential in understanding and criticizing certain forms of oppression, in particular sexual, and a discussion of its moral and political valence both in real life and in fictional works.

Suggested preparatory texts:

  • Martha C. Nussbaum (1995) Objectification. Philosophy and Public Affairs 24 (4):249–291.

  • Andrea Dworkin (1987), Intercourse (ch.7), New York: The Free Press. At: http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/IntercourseI.html

  • Lina Papadaki (2011) ‘Feminist perspectives on objectification’. At: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-objectification/

  • Immanuel Kant, Lectures on Ethics (1775-80), edited by Peter Heath and J. B. Schneewind ; translated by Peter Heath, Cambridge [etc.] : Cambridge University Press, 2001, section on “Duties towards the body in respect of sexual impulse”. Also in Alan Soble (ed.) The Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary Readings, 4th ed. (Oxford and Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002) pp. 199-205.

  • Alan Soble, ‘Sexual Use and What to Do about It’, in Alan Soble (ed.) The Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary Readings, 4th ed. (Oxford and Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002) pp. 225-258.

16.00-17.30 Seminars

Texts:

Papadaki, Lina, 2010, “What is Objectification?”, Journal of Moral Philosophy, 7(1): 16–36. [Taking the lead from, but also criticizing Nussbaum’s perspective, Papadaki argues (unlike Cahill) that objectification is a useful category, but (unlike Nussbaum) that it should always signify a morally negative attitude or behaviour, while such attitude and behaviour may not always be intentional.]

Cahill, Ann, 2010, “Troubling Objectification”, chapter 1 of Overcoming Objectification: A Carnal Ethics, Routledge, pp.1-31. [Cahill criticizes what she takes to be the Kantian assumptions about human nature lying beneath the concept of objectification as used by all major feminist philosophers, including Nussbaum. She suggests that the relevant phenomena related to women’s sexual oppression should be better captured and denounced as forms of “derivatization”.]

18.00-19.30 Movie and discussion: Excerpts from Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) and related tv debates

Tuesday, 10th of November: Objectification and pornography

14.00-15.30 Object-making, person-making (Francesco Orsi)

Summary: In this lecture I will delve deeper into the mechanics of the object-making process

that is at the core of objectification, and how this process has been claimed to play out in the production and the consumption of pornography.

Suggested preparatory texts:

  • Caroline West (2004). Pornography and Censorship. At: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pornography-censorship/

  • Catharine MacKinnon (1984), Not a Moral Issue. Yale Law & Policy Review, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Spring, 1984), pp. 321-345.

  • Helen Longino. “Pornography, Oppression, and Freedom: A Closer Look.” In: Take Back the Night: Women on Pornography. Ed. Laura Leder. NY: William Morrow, 1980.

16.00-17.30 Seminars

Texts:

Langton, Rae, 2009 (1995) “Sexual Solipsism”, in Sexual Solipsism: Philosophical Essays on Pornography and Objectification, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 311-356, but focus on (pdf pages) 1-6, 12-24, 26-33. [Langton examines the mechanisms of object-making as operative in different contexts, including the sexual. She considers and advances the claim that if, as some feminists claim, in pornography people (women) are treated as objects, this has to do with the viewer’s treating pornographic objects as people (women).]

Saul, Jennifer, 2006, “On Treating Things as People: Objectification, Pornography and the History of the Vibrator”, Hypatia, 21(2): 45–61. [Partly relying on the history of how electric vibrators were born, Saul responds to Langton’s suggestion: personification, that is, using objects as people (even for sexual purposes) cannot be what lies behind objectification. If pornography involves the objectification of women, it must do so on other grounds.]

18.00-19.30 Movie and discussion: The Stepford Wives (1975) (extracts)

Wednesday, 11th of November: Objectification and Work

14.00-15.30 From estranged labor to managed hearts (Eve Kitsik)

Summary: It is not only in sexual relations that persons can be treated like things in a morally objectionable way. In this lecture, I will explain how various aspects of the concept of objectification – such as instrumentalization, commodification, dehumanization, loss of autonomy/self-direction, and the interchangeability of persons – might apply to common kinds of paid work. As examples of moral critiques of these forms of objectification in the domain of work, I will focus on (1) Karl Marx’s critique of “estranged labor” in industrial capitalism, and (2) Arlie Hochschild’s critique of “emotion work” in advanced capitalism.

Suggested preparatory texts:

  • Marx, Karl, 1988 (1844), “Estranged Labor” in Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 and the Communist Manifesto (transl. M. Milligan), New York: Prometheus Books, pp. 69–85.

  • Hochschild, Arlie Russell, 2003 (1983), ch. 1, “Exploring the Managed Heart” in The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press, pp. 3–23.

16.00-17.30 Seminars

Texts:

Schwartz, Adina, 1982, “Meaningful Work”, Ethics, 92(4): 634–646. [Schwartz is concerned with the routine jobs where one is given specific instructions on what to do and how, with hardly any possibilities to choose one’s own ends and means. She argues that the government should intervene to replace such jobs with meaningful alternatives. The routine jobs, in her view, stunt workers’ development as autonomous persons. On the one hand, she draws on research showing that such jobs have a deteriorating effect on intellectual ability and ambition; on the other hand, she relies on the notion that becoming autonomous involves integrating one’s personality, to give an “a priori” argument against routine jobs.]

Arneson, Richard J., 1987, “Meaningful Work and Market Socialism”, Ethics, 97(3): 517–545; but focus on pages 517–530, 538–539. [Arneson argues against the right to meaningful work on the grounds that people may rationally choose to do “meaningless” work (say, in exchange for a high salary), and it would be arbitrary of the state to privilege the preference for meaningful work over other, equally rational preferences. Against Schwartz’s view that lasting mental deterioration at routine jobs is a threat to the workers’ autonomy, he contends that a person may rationally trade off the risk of deterioration in rational faculties for the satisfaction of his/her other preferences.]

18.00-19.30 Movie and discussion: Up in the Air (2009) (extracts)

Since we will only watch selected extracts in class, you may benefit from (1) watching the whole movie before the course and (2) reflecting on how it depicts dehumanization in the domain of work. This is not required, however.

Thursday, 12th of November: Silencing and Objectification

14.00-15.30 Pornography, objectification and silencing (Alex Davies)

Summary: Stepping beyond the purported effects of pornography on those who participate in its making, in this lecture I will introduce the Dworkin-MacKinnon theory of pornography as the objectification of women more generally. This process of objectification is done, in part, through silencing women. I will use developments within analytic feminist philosophy to explain how pornography might contribute toward women’s objectification.

Suggested preparatory texts (texts are listed in the order they should be read):

  • MacKinnon, C. (1989). ‘Sexuality, Pornography, and Method: “Pleasure under Patriarchy.”’ Ethics, 99(2), 314–346. [MacKinnon sets forth her theory of pornography].

  • MacKinnon, C. (1981). ‘Sex and Violence: A Perspective.’ In Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law (1989, pp. 85-92). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. [MacKinnon argues that sex and rape are not clearly distinguishable and this makes conviction for rape practically impossible.]

  • Donnerstein, E, ‘Edward Donnerstein’. In C. MacKinnon & A. Dworkin (Eds.) In Harm’s Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings (pp. 44–60). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. [Donnerstein’s testimony in the Minneapolis hearings for a proposed ordinance that would make it possible for people to sue pornographers if they could prove they had been harmed by pornography.]

  • Marchiano, L. ‘Linda Marchiano’. In C. MacKinnon & A. Dworkin (Eds.) In Harm’s Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings (pp. 60–68). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. [This is Marchiano’s testimony at the Minneapolis hearings]

  • Fricker, M. (2007). Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapters 1, 2, 6 and 7. [Fricker distinguishes two kinds of silencing from that described by Langton].

  • McDonald, E. (2009). And Still We Must Talk About “Real Rape.” Pace Law Review, 29(2), 349–376. [McDonald reviews a book in which it is argued that the low conviction rate for rape in the UK is explained by the acceptance of rape myths by lawyers, judges, and juries].

  • Taslitz, A. (1999). Rape and the Culture of the Courtroom. New York: New York University Press. [Chapters 1-3] [Taslitz describes rape myths and how these make conviction in rape trials much more difficult]

  • Ruddock, A. ‘Pornography and Effects Studies: What does the research actually say?’ In Comella, L. and Shira Tarrant (Eds.) New Views On Pornography: Sexuality, Politics and the Law, pp.297-318. [This is an overview of research on the effects of exposure to pornography].

  • Weitzer, R. ‘Interpreting the Data: Assessing Competing Claims in Pornography Research.’ In Comella, L. and Shira Tarrant (Eds.) New Views On Pornography: Sexuality, Politics and the Law, pp.257-276. [Weitzer gives an overview of research on the effects of exposure to pornography.]

16.00-17.30 Seminar

Texts (texts are listed in the order they should be read):

  • Dworkin, R. (1991). Liberty and Pornography. The New York Review of Books, pp. 12–15. [Dworkin objects to MacKinnon’s attempt to justify the Minneapolis ordinance and other similar ordinances.]

  • Dworkin, R. (1993). Women and Pornography. The New York Review of Books. [Dworkin objects to MacKinnon’s attempt to justify the Minneapolis ordinance and other similar ordinances.]

  • Langton, R. (1993). Speech Acts and Unspeakable Acts’. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 22, 305–330. [Langton defends MacKinnon against the claim that to say that pornography silences women is confused e.g. as put forward by Dworkin]

  • Bird, A. (2002). ‘Illocutionary Silencing.’ Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 83(1), 1–15. [Bird raises many good objections to Langton’s paper]

18.00-19.30 Movie and discussion: ABC 20/20 news piece on the Steubenville case and the CNN report on the verdict of the Steubenville case.

Friday, 13th of November: Objectification through Theorizing about Objectification

14.00-15.30 Autonomy, intervention and silencing (Alex Davies)

Summary: In this lecture, I will explain how attempts at theorizing and tackling objectification can result in accidental objectification. This is already a danger in MacKinnon’s efforts to curtail the effects of pornography. But because MacKinnon’s theorizing about pornography has not gained traction, whereas her views on the selling of sex (rather than recordings of sex) have, I will also explain how the danger of accidental objectification can arise in this other domain.

Suggested preparatory texts (texts are listed in the order they should be read):

  • MacKinnon, C. (1997). The Roar on the Other Side of Silence. In C. MacKinnon & A. Dworkin (Eds.), In Harm’s Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings (pp. 3–24). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. [MacKinnon gives an overview of the proceedings that surrounded attempts to get ordinances against pornography accepted in the US. She explains what she thinks went wrong.]

  • MacKinnon, C. (2011). Trafficking, Prostitution, and Inequality. Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, 46, 271–309. [MacKinnon puts forward her view of the nature of prostitution.]

  • Rubin, G. (1993). ‘Misguided, Dangerous and Wrong: an analysis of anti-pornography politics.’ In Bad Girls and Dirty Pictures: The Challenge to Reclaim Feminism (pp. 18–40). London: Pluto Press. [Rubin describes a set of objections against MacKinnon’s ordinances which were prevalent at the time the ordinances were being pursued.]

  • Khader, S. (2013) ‘Identifying adaptive preferences in practice: lessons from postcolonial feminisms,’ Journal of Global Ethics 9(3), 311-327. [Khader argues that there are phenomena which look similar to adapted preferences but are importantly different. She explains the dangers of confusing them.]

16.00-17.30 Seminars

Texts (texts are listed in the order they should be read):

  • Farley, M. et al. (2004), ‘Prostitution and Trafficking in Nine Countries: An Update on Violence and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.’ Journal of Trauma Practice 2(3-4), 33-74. [Farley et al. present data across 9 countries on prostitution.]

  • Superson, A. (2005). Deformed Desires and Informed Desire Tests. Hypatia, 20(4), 109–126. [Superson puts forward a conception of autonomy according to which if one acts in ignorance of one’s own oppression then one lacks autonomy.]

  • Rosen, E. and Venkatesh, S. A. (2008), ‘A “Perversion” of Choice: Sex Work Offers Just Enough in Chicago’s Urban Ghetto,’ Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 37(4), 417-441. [Rosen and Venkatesh describe the reasons people sell sex in a part of Chicago—based on interviews with those who do do it.]

  • Sperry, E. (2013). ‘Dupes of Patriarchy: Feminist Strong Substantive Autonomy’s Epistemological Weaknesses.’ Hypatia, 28(4), 887–904. [Sperry criticizes Superson with ideas very similar to those put forward by Khader.]

18.00-19.30 Movie and discussion. BBC Newsnight Discussion and The Noland Show on the adoption of the Swedish model in Northern Ireland.

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XI Annual Estonian Philosophy Conference: Philosophical Landscapes

XI Annual Estonian Philosophy Conference: Philosophical Landscapes

Venue: Tallinn University, A-222 (Auditorium of Europe, Astra building, 29 Narva road).

Dates: 8–9 May, 2015.

Organizer: Department of Philosophy, Tallinn University.

For the full program of the conference click HERE.

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CFP: Exploring Affect: Politics & The Ordinary in Druskininkai

CFP Exploring affect: Politics & The Ordinary

Nordic Summer University | European Humanities University

July 18th – 25th 2015 | Druskininkai, Lithuania

Invited keynote speakers are Ben Highmore, professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Sussex, and Roberta Mock, professor of Performance Studies and Director of the Doctoral Training Centre in the Arts & Humanities at Plymouth University.

Exploring affect is an interdisciplinary network and we welcome papers drawing on the social sciences and the humanities broadly construed. Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following themes:

The Ordinary

Generally debased in an academic context, the ordinary has often been reduced to that which scholarly and aesthetic endeavors have to leave behind for critical thinking or artistic creation to get off the ground (Felski 2000; 2008). In critical race and feminist theory and similar pursuits, the ordinary has on the other hand been an important category to address, early examples being Philomena Essed’s work on ”everyday racism” (1991) and Dorothy Smith’s notion that the ”everyday world” is “problematic” (1987). In making the ordinary a theme for this session, we want to explore the affective dimensions of everyday life from a plurality of perspectives.

Possible topics include:

* The affects, emotions and moods of everyday life.
* Affect and cultural history.
* Affect and “sensescapes”.
* Affect and the microstructures of power.
* ”Ordinary language philosophy” and affect.
* Affect and everyday life in visual culture and literature.
* The politics of the ordinary.

Politics

Since Plato, the image of the philosopher king who rules guided by reason has haunted Western history of ideas. Through philosophers such as John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas, the concepts of (public) reason and rationality still remain central to contemporary political theory. However, in the last decades there has also been a growing body of scholarship on political theory and affect (e.g. Connolly 2002, Bennett 2010, Panagia 2010, Thiele 2006, Nedelsky 2011). Others rather address “political emotions” (Nussbaum 2013) or the “politics of emotions” (Ahmed 2004). For this summer session we invite papers discussing affect and politics, potentially in connection to the theme of the ordinary.

Possible topics include:

* Affect and reason in political philosophy, in a historical or contemporary perspective.
* Affect and the problem of judgment.
* The relationship between theory or critical thinking and everyday life.
* Affects in political ideologies, movements and parties.
* Politics, affect and the construction of identity.
* Affect and borders.
* Affect and the division between the public and the private.
* The affective dimensions of feminist/queer/anti-racist politics.
* The politics of affect or emotions.

Participation

Anyone interested in presenting a paper or organizing a workshop at the summer session in Druskininkai is invited to submit an abstract of approximately 300 words and a short bio to nsuaffect@gmail.com no later than May 1st, 2015. (Please note that the deadline is April 15th if you want to apply for a grant or a student scholarship, see below). As the work of the circle is built around the contributions of the participants we generally require all participants to present, but we also have some spots for discussants. If you wish to participate without presenting a paper, please write 50-100 words about yourself and submit it no later than May 1st, 2015. You will receive notice about your acceptance shortly after the deadline together with further information on how to register. A preliminary program will be sent to the participants by May 15th.

Practical information

The summer session takes place in the city of Druskininkai in southern Lithuania at the Europa Royale Druskininkai Hotel. It is organized together with the seven other circles in the Nordic Summer University and in collaboration with the European Humanities University, the exiled Belorussian University relocated to Vilnius. The total number of participants is expected to be between 100 and 120. The circle Exploring affect will have its own program, but as a participant you will have the opportunity to visit and partake in the work of the other circles. There will also be a cultural program and a chance to go on excursions in the surroundings of Druskininkai. Children can be brought along, as there is a children’s circle during the academic work sessions. PhD candidates receive 5 ECTS for the presentation of a paper and full participation during the week.

The cost of participating in the summer session ranges from 232 € to 407 €, depending on what accommodation you choose. Full board is included in all prices. Further information about accommodation and prices, as well as the location, excursions and cultural program, is found on the summer session website: w2015.nsuweb.org.

Scholarships and grants

A number of student scholarships and grants for others in need of financial support will be provided. They consist in a reduction of the participation fee and include all meals and accommodation in a shared room. Some limited voluntary work will be required from the scholarship and grant recipients during the week. Please note that the deadline for applying for a scholarship or grant is April 15th. The application process and criteria are explained in greater detail on the website: nsuweb.org/w2014/application.

About the Nordic Summer University

Founded in 1950, the Nordic Summer University is an independent, non-profit academic institution that fosters intellectual and cultural exchange between the Nordic and the Baltic countries. Focusing on interdisciplinary inquiry, the NSU is open for senior scholars as well as doctoral and graduate students and professionals with relevant backgrounds. Until 2013 the NSU was funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, but as of 2014 it has been moved to NordForsk.

About the circle

Exploring affect was started in 2013 and gathers twice every year for three years. The themes that have been addressed earlier are Shame, Affect and Knowledge, Affect and/as Critique, Structures of Affect, and Love. The circle has strong interdisciplinary ambitions and participants should be prepared to engage with work from other fields, disciplines and traditions than their own. We wish to provide a platform for the different perspectives to inform each other, thereby deepening the scope of each individual research endeavor, as well as of the shared body of knowledge. We are happy to include new participants in the work of the circle and welcome contributions in different stages of completion.

Coordinators

Coordinators of Exploring affect are Jutta Vikman, Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen and Johanna Sjöstedt, Department of literature, history of ideas and religious studies, Göteborg University. Contact the coordinators at nsuaffect@gmail.com.

Read more about the Nordic Summer University on the website: nsuweb.net or join our group Exploring affect (NSU) on Facebook.

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Intensive Course: The End Syndrome

Intensive Seminar for Nordic-Baltic Philosophy Symposia Master’s students

May 11-15, 2015 | Tallinn University, Mare building, M-328 | 5 ECTS

What is ‘the end’: final point, culmination, transcendence, exhaustion, disappearance, afterlife or nothingness?

Duration: 5 days

Teachers Siobhan Kattago (Tallinn University) | Olli Loukola (University of Helsinki) | Klemen Slabina (Tallinn University).

Students: 24 (max)

Purpose of the courseStudents will have a more thorough understanding of how philosophers from both the continental and analytic traditions have defined ‘the end’: death, end of history, the death of God, being-towards-death, mourning, end of the world and afterlife.

Course description: Death as an endpoint is a perennial theme for philosophical reflection. Whether examined from the point of view of our own death or that of others, how one thinks about mortality affects how one lives. The intensive seminar will examine philosophical reflections on ‘the end’: as final point, culmination, transcendence, exhaustion, disappearance, afterlife and nothingness.

In keeping with the spirit of the Nordic-Baltic Philosophy Symposia, we will read texts from both continental and analytic philosophy. The first half of the course examines how major continental philosophers have reflected on death and the endpoint. Beginning with Nietzsche’s proclamation that God is dead and Hegel’s argument for the end of history, philosophers have reflected on ‘the end’ as finality or as culmination. In the 20th century, Heidegger argued that man is a being-towards-death and placed individual finality at the centre of his existential reflection. On the other hand, Derrida suggested that the death of others most deeply shapes how we live, rather than preoccupation with our own death.

The second half of the course concentrates on how ‘the end’ has been examined from the perspective of analytic philosophy. The current environmental crisis has thrown the possibility of the end of our world in our faces very concretely and painstakingly. Most of our doomsday visions are thoroughly anthropocentric: both their causes as well as their remedies. And the current environmental crisis is no exception to the rule. By asking about the root causes for the destruction of the world, postnaturalism offers a far wider scope to reflect on questions of the endpoint. In addition, the recent Tanner Lectures by Samuel Scheffler reflect on how individuals think about death and the afterlife, knowing that the world will continue to exist after we die. On the final day of our seminar, we will examine ways in which various conceptions of death and the endpoint influence how we think about education and the good life.

Grading:  The five-day intensive course consists of daily lectures, seminars and students presentations. PDF readings will be distributed among participating students at least three weeks before the course begins. During this time, students will be given a deadline in which to register for their seminar presentations and to list, in order of preference, when they wish to present. While we will try to accommodate each request, the instructors will ensure that student presentations are evenly distributed for each day. Assessment will be based on a class presentation of 10 minutes, active participation in the seminars (30%) and a written essay of 10-15 pages (70%) to be submitted one month after the final day of the course (15th of June). After successful completion of the course, students will be awarded 5 ECTS.

Course schedule:

Monday, 11th of  May:

The end of history and death of God

10.00-10.15 Introduction to the course: Siobhan Kattago, Olli Loukola & Klemen Slabina

10.15-11.30 Georg Friedrich Hegel: End of history. Philosophy of History | Siobhan Kattago

12.00-13.30 Friedrich Nietzsche: the death of God and end of metaphysics. The Gay Science, Thus Spoke Zarathustra | Siobhan Kattago & Klemen Slabina

15.00-17.00 Seminar and student presentations | Olli Loukola

Tuesday, 12th of May:

One’s own death versus the death of others

10.00-11.30 Martin Heidegger: man as being-towards-death. Selections from Being & Time | Siobhan Kattago & Klemen Slabina

12.00-13.30 Jacques Derrida: friendship, eulogy, mourning the death of others. The Work of Mourning & selections by Montaigne, Seneca | Siobhan Kattago

15.00-17.00 Seminar and student presentations | Olli Loukola

Wednesday, 13th of May:

Death and the Afterlife

10.00-11.30 Samuel Scheffler. Death and the Afterlife: the Berkeley Tanner Lectures | Olli Loukola

12.00-13.30 Schleffler and responses to his Tanner Lectures. Harry Frankfurt, Susan Wolf and others | Olli Loukola  & Siobhan Kattago

15.00-17.00 Seminar and student presentations | Klemen Slabina

Thursday, 14th of May:

Postnaturalism

10-11.30 Is our existing vocabulary of nature and ethics viable? | Olli Loukola

12-13.30 Root causes for the destruction of the world | Olli Loukola

15.00-17.00 Seminar and student presentations | Klemen Slabina

Readings: Bill McKibben, Dale Jamieson, Andrew Light, Bryan Norton, Steve Fuller, Roger Scruton, Robert L. Nadeau, Shierry Weber Nicholsen and Stuart Sim.

Friday, 15th of May:

The end of education or endless education?  

10.00-11.30 Endless education. Readings by Rousseau & Bourdieau | Klemen Slabina

12.00-13.30 Seminar and student presentations | Siobhan Kattago

15.00-17.00 Concluding discussion | Siobhan Kattago, Olli Loukola & Klemen Slabina

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Master’s Programme: Study Philosophy in the University of Tartu

MASTER’S PROGRAMME IN PHILOSOPHY

The University of Tartu in Estonia is looking forward to applications for its two-year Master’s Programme in Philosophy. 

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR STUDENTS.

  • Language of instruction: English
  • Application deadline: 16. April 2015

We welcome students with a background in philosophy as well as students from other disciplines who have an interest in the philosophical issues raised by those disciplines. For example, a student of linguistics could enroll and study philosophy of language, mathematicians can study the philosophy of mathematics or logic, biologists and medical students can work on medical ethics and bioethics, chemists and physicists have important topics to address within philosophy of science.

We particularly welcome students with research interest in the range of the department’s IUT project “Disagreements: Philosophical Analysis”.

MA-students can choose to specialize in one of the following areas:

  • Theoretical Philosophy: philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of logic and mathematics, philosophy of psychology, epistemology, metaphysics, meta-philosophy, experimental philosophy;
  • Practical Philosophy: ethics, meta-ethics, applied ethics, bioethics, aesthetics, social and political philosophy, philosophy of education;
  • Philosophy of Science: general philosophy of science, philosophy of physics, philosophy of chemistry, philosophy of biology, social and cultural studies of science, social epistemology;
  • History of Philosophy: Ancient Greek philosophy, Early Modern philosophy, 19th- and 20th-century German philosophy, 20th-century French philosophy.

Why study philosophy at Tartu?

  • Individual approach. Our programme is unique in being extremely flexible: advisors help students to design their own individual study plans so that the programme best suits each student’s interests and takes the student’s educational background into account.
  • Real “hands-on” research experience. Every Master’s student will be integrated into a research project. By joining a research team, students will be able to participate in a number of research activities and they will thereby acquire the skills needed to formulate, analyse and discuss philosophical problems, as well as to formulate and present targeted research questions within a broader research plan.
  • No tuition fee. Instead, scholarships are available! The University of Tartu provides tuition-waiver scholarships to most admitted students and additionally the Department of Philosophy provides living expenses scholarships (200 Euros per month) to the 5 best candidates. Students from Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, Belarus, Azerbaijan or Afghanistan can apply for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs scholarship (400 Euros per month).
  • International climate. Our department is truly international: over the past few years, philosophers from Germany, Austria, UK, Ireland, Italy, Japan, France, Finland, Mexico and USA have been teaching in our department in addition to Estonians. This is probably the main reason why our students develop very good English skills that enable them to successfully continue their studies abroad.

General admission requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a science or one of the humanities
  • English language proficiency

For more information about the Master’s Programme and the application procedure please visit our website: ut.ee/philosophy.

Or contact our programme coordinator Dr. Edit Talpsepp: edit.talpsepp@ut.ee.

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CFP: EFAK XI: Philosophical Landscapes

EFAK XI: Philosophical Landscapes
Tallinn University, May 8-9, 2015

EFAK XI, the Eleventh Annual Estonian Philosophy Conference, will take place in Tallinn, from 8 to 9 of May, 2015, organized by the Department of Philosophy, Tallinn University. This year’s topic is philosophical landscapes.

Estonian Institute of Humanities

Estonian Institute of Humanities

Philosophical landscapes are distinct landscapes of historical experience. Although such landscapes can be simply understood as the mental creation of philosophers, which can easily be put aside, they can also be reclaimed as important points of origin from which most of philosophical ideas are derived. Philosophical landscapes may inspire or infuriate subsequent generations. They are places, which mark spaces of thinking and serve as meeting points for philosophical discussion. Whether understood as Plato’s Academy, Aristotle’s Lyceum, the Republic of Letters or the Tower of Babel, philosophical thinking has a spatial quality that is rooted in a particular realm, landscape or mental map. Philosophical reflection is not the view from nowhere; nor it is disembodied from space and time. Given the various academic traditions in philosophy, do philosophical landscapes have any relevance anymore? Does it make sense to speak about common points of origin or common sources and places of philosophical tradition? Or, have the paths of thinking in academia become too diverse and polemic?

We do not prescribe any particular topic and presentations from all fields of philosophy are equally welcome. In addition to faculty, presentations from students of all academic levels are encouraged.

Presentations can either be in Estonian or English. Panels will be created in both languages. In order to create greater dialogue among the participants, we will not have simultaneous panels or parallel universes. Presentations are expected to last 20 minutes + 10 minutes for discussion.

Please send your abstracts (300–500 words) in a separate anonymous document attached to your e-mail for blind review, either in Estonian or English, to efak11@ehi.ee by the 1st of February 2015.

Notifications of acceptance will be sent by the 20th of February.

The call for papers in Estonian below.

****

XI Eesti filosoofia aastakonverents: filosoofilised maastikud

Toimumiskoht: Tallinna Ülikool
Toimumisaeg: 8–9 Mai, 2015

Korraldaja: Tallinna Ülikooli filosoofia osakond.

Filosoofilised maastikud on kogemusmaastikud, mida võib mõista kui kogemise ning selle mõtestamise ning väljendamise viise. Kogemusmaastikke, nii nagu filosoofid neid loovad, saab kõrvutada, kuid vaevalt saab neid taandada algkogemuseks, milles nad kõik sisalduksid või millest nad kõik tuleneksid. Kogemisviiside taandumatu paljususeta lakkaksid need maastikud meid inspireerimast ja võib-olla me lakkaksime siis üleüldse mõtlemast, vähemalt filosoofiliselt mõtlemast. Filosoofilised maastikud pole seega mitte ainult filosoofia paratamatu loome, nad on samas ka paigad, kus filosoofiline mõtlemine üleüldse aset leiab ja kus filosoofiad kui kogemise viisid kohtuvad. Kas aga neil kogemisviisidel on ühisosa, mis võimaldaks neid vaadelda korraga? Kui on, kas see on siis neile tõeliselt ühine või tuleneb see ühisosa hoopis nende loomupärasest enesekesksusest ja sellega kaasnevast konfliktsusest, filosoofilisest polemos’est, mis võimaldab neil erineda ja eristuda?

Ettekande teema on vaba, võrdselt oodatud on ettekanded kõigis filosoofia valdkondades. Ettekanded toimuvad ühes sektsioonis. Töökeelteks on eesti ja inglise keel. Ingliskeelsete ettekannete jaoks on eraldi paneel või paneelid.

Ettekanneteks on ette nähtud 20 minutit, lisaks 10 minutit diskussiooniks.

Ettekannete teesid (300–500 sõna) palume saata maili lisas eraldi tekstidokumendis nimetult pimehindamiseks, kas eesti või inglise keeles, aadressil efak2015@ehi.ee 1. veebruariks 2015.

Valik tehakse 20. veebruariks.

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CFP: Nordic and Baltic Symposium on Love at Göteborg University

Exploring Affect: Love

27ŧh February 1st March, 2015 | Göteborg University

Exploring Affect, a study circle in the independent intellectual organization Nordic Summer University, invites scholars, students, artists and activists to an interdisciplinary symposium on love at Göteborg University from 27th of February to 1st of March in 2015.

Invited speakers are Tove Pettersen, professor of philosophy at Oslo University, who will talk about the notion of love in the philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir, Brita Planck, phd in history at Göteborg University, who will present her dissertation Kärlekens språk (The Language of love), and Lena Gunnarsson, post-doc in gender studies at Örebro University, who will discuss her recent book “The Contradictions of Love: Towards a Feminist-Realist Ontology of Socio-sexuality” (Routledge 2014). In addition, Danish actress Camilla Graff Junior, active in the French feminist collective “Genre et Ville” will give her performance “Is love a concept by which we measure our pain?”.

Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following themes:

The philosophy of love. The purpose of this theme is to raise the philosophical question of love, referring both to the actual discipline of philosophy, the history of ideas and the theory of love formulated in the social sciences. Papers may adopt a historical perspective or address contemporary concerns.

* Love in the work of major philosophers.

* Love in the tradition of feminist philosophy.

* The ethics of love: Love as generosity, as reciprocity, love and the ethics of care.

* Epistemological and methodological questions connected to the study of love and affect.

* Queer or feminist theory and the philosophy of love.

Love and modernity. Whether construed as a normative concept, a historical period or a set of critical questions, the notion of modernity is a part of contemporary discussions in many disciplines. Modernity is also a key concept in the sociological turn towards love in the classic works of Luhmann and Giddens. We invite reflections on love and modernity drawing on or reworking the extant literature from the social sciences, but we also want to create a dialogue with the humanities.

* What is the relationship between notions of love and the creation of subjectivity in, for example, popular culture, literature, art or historical documents?

* What could perspectives from the humanities bring to the discussion on love in the social sciences and vice versa?

* Love and modernity in the works of major writers.

Love and gränser. The Scandinavian word ”gräns/græns/grens” comprises the meaning of the two English words ”border” and ”limit”; a notion which may be understood in a material or symbolic sense. Under the rubric of love and gränser we invite reflections on love in connection to concepts such as nation, race, ethnicity, migration and citizenship.

* What is the the role of discourses on love in the construction of limits/borders, imaginary or material?

* In what way can love be related to the construction of communities such as the family, the people and the nation?

* How is love described in narratives about migration, whether oral or literary?

* What perspectives do we need to address the question of love in the urgent political situation of migration today?

Unhappy love. According to popular ideology, love entails the promise of happiness. In literature and the arts, however, unhappy love is a recurring theme; from Greek tragedy to the contemporary novel. We invite critical reflections on the relationship between love and (un)happiness.

* How is the relationship between love and happiness represented in for example popular culture, literary texts or historical documents?

* Are gendered norms of love and sexuality reproduced also in narratives on unhappy love and love without a happy ending?

* What happens when the experience of love contradicts the ideology of love in society?

* Could unhappy love be used as an occasion for critical interventions and as a site of resistance to dominant notions of love?

Papers

Those interested in presenting a paper at the symposium in Göteborg are invited to submit an abstract of 300 words to nsuaffect@gmail.com no later than December 7ŧh, 2014. As the work of the circle is built around the contributions of the participants, we generally require all participants to present, but exceptions can be made. If you wish to participate without presenting a paper, please write 50-100 words about yourself and submit it by December 7th, 2014. You will receive notice about your acceptance shortly after submitting your abstract. A preliminary program will be sent to the participants by December 15th.

Practical information

The registration fee is 300 SEK for students and independent scholars and 500 SEK for senior scholars. Registration entitles you to accommodation in a shared double room and lunch meals, all of which will be organized by the coordinators. Single rooms are available for an additional fee. Further instructions about registration and payment will follow in an e-mail to all accepted participants.

NSU will also be able to fund parts of the travel expenses for Nordic and Baltic participants. The exact amount of the financial support depends on the number of participants and their country of residence. The rate of reimbursement is related to the actual cost for traveling to Göteborg from the different Nordic and Baltic Countries.

About the Nordic Summer University. Founded in 1950, the Nordic Summer University is an independent, non-profit academic institution that supports intellectual exchange between the Nordic and the Baltic countries. Focusing on interdisciplinary inquiry, the NSU is open for senior scholars as well as advanced students and professionals with relevant backgrounds. Until 2013 the NSU was funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, but as of 2014 we have been moved to NordForsk.

About the circle. Exploring affect was started in 2013 and gathers twice every year for three years. Themes that have been addressed earlier are Shame, Affect and Knowledge, Affect and/as Critique, and Affect and Structure. The circle has strong interdisciplinary ambitions and participants should be prepared to engage with work from other fields, disciplines and traditions than their own. We wish to provide a platform for the different perspectives to inform each other, thereby deepening the scope of each individual research endeavor, as well as of the shared body of knowledge. We are happy to include new participants in our circle.

Coordinators. Coordinators of Exploring affect are Jutta Vikman, Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen and Johanna Sjöstedt, Department of literature, history of ideas and religious studies, Göteborg University. Contact the coordinators at nsuaffect@gmail.com.

Read more about the Nordic Summer University on the website: www.nsuweb.net or join our group Exploring affect (NSU) on Facebook.

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Intensive Course. Human Rights: Ideas and Problems

Master’s Level Intensive Course

November 10-15, 2014 | Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences (LEU) | 5 ECTS

Duration: 5 days

Teachers Henry Alexander Henrysson (University of Iceland) | Rasa Askinyte-Degesiene (Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences) | Pascale Mompoint-Gaillard (Council of Europe) | Renata Bikauskaite (Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences).

Course description: The main purpose of this course is to introduce the most significant philosophical aspects of human rights discourse, to examine the universality of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and to scrutinize human rights issues from different cultural perspectives. Firstly, historical circumstances and major stages of development of human rights theories will be presented. Secondly, the scope of validity of the key concepts will be analyzed: Are these concepts universal? In addition to the UN document, students will get acquainted with the alternative codes, such as the Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights and the Asian Human Rights Charter (pdf), and also with some attempts to formulate a corresponding universal declaration of responsibilities. Thirdly, practical applicability of the general principles will be discussed.

It will be a five-day intensive course consisting of two lectures and two seminars each day. The students will be asked to read the most important documents and selected articles that give an overview of the historical developments and the most recent debates in the philosophy of human rights. The reading list will be distributed among participating students three weeks before the course begins. Students are encouraged to suggest additional reading for the course if they think that it would be beneficial to other students or the objectives of the course in general. It is a Master’s level intensive course.

Grading: After successful completion of the course, students will be awarded 5 ECTS. Assessment is based on presentation (50%) and an essay (50%) that has to be submitted no later than one month after the final day of the course. The topic of the essay will be discussed and decided with the teachers during the course. The final written essay should deal with a relevant topic chosen by the student, and should not exceed 10 pages in length.

Reading list: The reading list will be distributed among participating students three weeks before the course begins.

Course schedule:

Monday, 10th of November

12.10-13.40 (lecture). Henry Alexander Henrysson | Human Rights: The Historical Context.

14.00-15.30 (lecture). Henry Alexander Henrysson | The Conceptual Framework of Human Rights. What is the difference between a legal, a political and an ethical conception of human rights?

15.50-17.20 (seminar). Henry Alexander Henrysson | The Conceptual Framework of Human Rights.

Tuesday, 11th of November

12.10-13.40 (lecture). Henry Alexander Henrysson | International Human Rights. Focus on UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights – its origin and role as a contemporary point of reference.

14.00-15.30 (lecture). Henry Alexander Henrysson | Value Pluralism: A Threat to Modern Conceptions of Human Rights?

15.50-17.20 (seminar). Henry Alexander Henrysson | Is there a possibility of prioritizing different human values?

17.40-19.10 Students’ presentations

Wednesday, 12th of November

12.10-13.40 (lecture). Renata Bikauskaite | Developement of Women’s Rights Discource

14.00-15.30 (lecture). Renata Bikauskaite | From Women’s Rights to Human Rights

15.50-17.20 (seminar). Rasa Askinyte-Degesiene | Human Rights: difference between ideal and practical? (part 1)

17.40-19.10 Students’ presentations

Thursday, 13th of November

10-11:30 (lecture). Renata Bikauskaite | Considerations on Moral Value of Animals in Western Philosophy (part 1)

12-13:30 (lecture). Renata Bikauskaite | Considerations on Moral Value of Animals in Western Philosophy (part 2)

15.50-17.20 (seminar). Rasa Askinyte-Degesiene | Human Rights: difference between ideal and practical? (part 2)

17.40-19.10 Students’ presentations

Friday, 14th of November

12.10-13.40 (lecture). Pascale Mompoint-Gaillard | Role of education for the promotion of human rights. Reflection of how schooling, higher education and non-formal learning can contribute to the development of democratic values.

14.00-15.30 (lecture). Pascale Mompoint-Gaillard | Internet and Democracy: Balance of Control and Freedom. Concept of citizenship in different contexts and communities, especially in its web 2.0 extensions. Cognitive and social competences that are necessary today for being an active and participatory citizen.

15.50-17.20 (seminar). Pascale Mompoint-Gaillard | Social justice: How should we cope with inequalities?

17.40-19.10 Students’ presentations.

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The Tenth Annual Estonian Philosophy Conference (EFAK X): DISAGREEMENTS

EFAK X: DISAGREEMENTS
Tartu, September 25-27, 2014

EFAK X, the Tenth Annual Estonian Philosophy Conference, will take place in Tartu, from September 25 to September 27, 2014, organized by the Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics of the University of Tartu. This year’s topic is “disagreements”.

Confirmed Keynote Speaker: Prof. Esa Diaz Leon (University of Manitoba/University of Barcelona)

Call for contributed papers: Organizers invite contributions to EFAK X: Disagreements. We particularly welcome contributions on the topic of disagreements, but will also consider philosophical papers in all areas of philosophy.

EFAK X will have three different kinds of talk:
* at least two invited keynotes (45 minutes presentation + 30 minutes discussion).
* contributed plenary talks (35 minutes presentation + 25 minutes discussion)
* and contributed parallel talks (20 minutes presentation + 10 minutes discussion)

The acceptance of contributed papers and the division between contributed parallel and contributed plenary talks will be decided on the basis of blind peer review by the scientific committee. The idea is that a small number of the very best papers will get more time for presentation and discussion.

GUIDELINES FOR THE SUBMISSION OF ABSTRACTS
Abstracts must be written in English or Estonian and prepared for blind review. Please submit a relatively detailed abstract of up to 800 words, outlining not only the position defended but also the argument for that position. Abstracts should indicate the title of the paper and the area(s) of philosophy to which it belongs. Abstracts should have the following format: Times New Roman, font size 10, 1,5 line spacing. Submissions should be in doc format (not pdf) and sent to efakx@ut.ee. Please include your contact details and your affiliation in the main body of the email.

The deadline for submissions is August 15, 2014. Notification of acceptance is expected by September 1.

Scientific Committee: Vivian Bohl | Alex Davies | Thomas Lott | Kristi Lõuk | Ave Mets | Francesco Orsi | Edit Talpsepp

Local Organization: Daniel Cohnitz | Triin Paaver

Website: click HERE.

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Call for Papers: Politics without Borders: A cross-disciplinary exploration of the challenges facing a globalised world

Students and young researchers associated with BALPHIN are invited to participate in the second annual Nottingham Postgraduate Conference

Politics without Borders: A cross-disciplinary exploration of the challenges facing a globalized world

on 12 June 2014 ,Engineering and Sciences Learning Center,

University Park, University of Nottingham

The School of Politics and International Relations is hosting an international interdisciplinary postgraduate conference on:

  • International relations
  • International political economy
  • Political theory and ideology
  • British politics

Keynote speaker: Professor Gerry Stoker (Professor of Governance & Director of the Centre for Citizenship, Globalization and Governance, University of Southampton).

Abstracts are now being accepted from those wishing to deliver a paper at the conference.  Proposals (200-300 words) should include:

Title of paper, full name(s), current position, an email address, a single page sample bibliography and at least 3 keywords that best describe the subject of the submission.

Organizers welcome submissions from doctoral candidates, early career researchers and practitioners.

Submissions should be sent by 28 February 2014.

For full details please visit Call for Papers page.

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