Lucretius On the Nature of Things: Bringing Enlightenment to the Romans
Lucretius’ epic-scale poem On the Nature of Things was a unique attempt in the Greco-Roman world to remove superstition and fear through the teachings of Epicurus. Epicurus’ physics is outdated (though it spurred the revival of atomism in the modern era); and his hedonist ethics has always had strong detractors. But the beauty and deeply-embedded passion of Lucretius’ poetry have always been admired. In his own time, Lucretius had a strong influence, though his readers’ admiration consisted more in a profound admiration for his poetic genius than in a conversion to his Epicurean philosophy. When On the Nature of Things was rediscovered in the early Renaissance, this influence was revived and has persisted. In recent years, there has been a fresh upsurge of enthusiasm for Lucretius. This conference aimed to contribute to this resurgence by situating Lucretius’ poems within his own time, in their historical, literary and philosophical context. Lucretius was adamant that he followed in the very footsteps of Epicurus; but the way in which he followed was highly innovative. The conference explored a variety of approaches, both literary and philosophical. Organized as a collaboration between the Classics and Philosophy Departments at the University of Chicago, it hosted six speakers and commentators over a period of one and half days, on April 26-27, 2019.
Thought and Judgment
A conference on "Thought and Judgment" occurred on March 8-10, 2019. See here for details!
Conference on Irad Kimhi's Thinking and Being
This event was on March 1-3, 2019 at the Franke Institute on the University of Chicago campus.
Self-Consciousness and Objectivity: A Workshop with Sebastian Rödl
This event was an author-meets-critics conference on Sebastian Rödl's recent book "Self-Consciousness and Objectivity." It was held on October 5-7, 2018, at the Franke Institute on the University of Chicago campus.
Plato’s Philosophy: Eros, Polis, Cosmos
Plato's Philosophy: Eros, Polis, Cosmos, sponsored jointly by the University of Chicago and Northwestern University (Chicago Consortium for Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy), was held Friday-Saturday, October 19-20, 2018.
Conference on Andrea Kern's "Sources of Knowledge"
This conference was devoted to Andrea Kern's recent ground-breaking book, "Sources of Knowledge," with its far-reaching implications both for contemporary epistemology and philosophy mind, as well as the understanding of Kant and Aristotle. The conference was jointly organized by Jim Conant (Leipzig/Chicago) and Matthias Haase (Chicago). It was funded and supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship held by Prof. Conant at the University of Leipzig, as well as the Franke Institute for the Humanities and the Center for German Philosophy at the University of Chicago.
It was held at the Franke Institute for Humanities at the University of Chicago on February 9-11, 2018.
3rd Annual University of Chicago Graduate Student Conference in Ancient Philosophy: Learning and Teaching in Ancient Thought
April 13-14, 2018
The keynote speaker was David Bronstein (Georgetown University).
Action and Perception
Chicago Mind & Action Workshop, Second Annual Conference
The aim of this conference was to build on the growing body of interesting work exploring interconnections between issues in the philosophy of perception and issues in the philosophy of action. This has taken a variety of forms: "enactivist" theories of perception which hold that an account of what it is to perceive must make reference to capacities for bodily action in our environment; work on "practical knowledge" that explores the ways in which an agent's knowledge of what she is doing does and does not depend on perception; work that explores structural parallels between theoretical and practical reasoning and the characteristic roles of perception and sensible inclination in supplying premises for such reasoning; work that reflects on the question whether and how normative or action-guiding properties might themselves be perceptible; etc. Our goal was bring together philosophers and other researchers who have approached these topics from interesting directions, and to invite them to reflect on how their projects might engage with one another.
- Thomas Crowther, University of Warwick
- Anton Ford, University of Chicago
- Chris Frey and Jennifer Frey, University of South Carolina
- Sean Kelly, Harvard University
- Mohan Matthen, University of Toronto
- Alva Noe, University of California, Berkeley
- John Schwenkler, Florida State University
- Frederique de Vignemont, Institut Jean Nicod, Paris
Dates: Friday May 11- Saturday May 12, 2018
Organizers: Anton Ford and Matt Boyle, University of Chicago
Graduate Organizers: Pirachula Chulanon and Amy Levine
Early Greek Philosophy: A Conference Celebrating the New Additions to the Loeb Classical Library, Early Greek Philosophy, edited and translated by André Laks and Glenn Most
Dates: January 26-27, 2018
Rachel Barney (Univ of Toronto)
Jenny Strauss Clay (UVA)
Brad Inwood (Yale)
André Laks (Sorbonne/Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City)
Glenn Most (Univ of Chicago/Scuola Normale, Pisa)
Oliver Primavesi (LMU-Munich)
Shaul Tor (King's College, London)
For more details, see here.
Franke Institute for the Humanities, 1100 E. 57th St., First Floor (Regenstein Library)
Fourth Biennial PLATO Conference
Dates: June 23-24, 2017
Location: University of Chicago
Theme: Social justice and pre-college philosophy: where do we go from here? Including racial and other social inequalities in education, as it applies to:
- pre-college philosophy in classroom instruction
- philosophy of education
- programs in public education
Featured Speaker: Dave Stovall on "Resisting the Racial Contract in 'School': Critical Race Theory, Community Resistance, and the Future of Education"
Conference sessions took the form of hands-on workshops, papers, presentations and poster sessions. The conference was funded in part by the Squire Family Foundation and the University of Chicago, especially the Civic Knowledge Project/Winning Words Program, which hosted the event.
See the conference website for more details: http://www.plato-philosophy.org/plato-conferences/
The Philosophy of Howard Stein
A Conference at the University of Chicago, June 9th-11th 2017
It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that the publication of Howard Stein's paper "Newtonian Space Time" in 1967 inaugurated the modern study of the foundations of physics. Thereafter, Stein's work continued to set the standard in the philosophical community and beyond for the study of theories of spacetime structure (Newtonian and relativistic), the conceptual structure of quantum mechanics, the methodology of science in general and the character of scientific knowledge, and the history of physics and mathematics. This three-day conference celebrated the 50th anniversary of Stein's landmark paper by providing an opportunity to reflect on Stein's lasting influence for those working on a wide range of topics of vital interest to historians and philosophers of science. While speakers included Stein's former colleagues, past students and friends, our focus was on his continuing influence on contemporary work, and we aimed to demonstrate the relevance of Stein's work for the next fifty years of our discipline.
For more information about the conference please click here.
Other Minds/Other Wills
The conference took place on the weekend of June 2-3 (Friday and Saturday, 9:00-6:00) in Rosenwald 405 on the University of Chicago campus. Read more information about the conference here. The participants were:
- Kyla Ebels-Duggan (Northwestern)
- Naomi Eilan (Warwick)
- A. J. Julius (UCLA)
- Doug Lavin (University College, London)
- Henrike Moll (USC)
- Dick Moran (Harvard)
- Kieran Setiya (MIT)
Our idea for the conference grew out of our sense that there were interesting connections to be drawn between debates in the philosophy of mind about how we understand the minds of other persons and debates in moral philosophy about the special normative significance of our relations to other persons. Our aim was to bring together philosophers and other researchers who have approached these topics from interesting angles, and to invite them to reflect on how their projects might engage with one another. We envisioned that participants might address questions such as (but certainly not limited to) the following:
- How is our capacity to understand other subjects related to our capacity to stand in relations of "mutual recognition" with other subjects? Is the idea of another mind fundamentally the idea of a "second person", a "you" to my "I"?
- What role does perception of bodies play in our awareness of other minds? Can we perceive the mental states of another person, or must we always make an inference from something exterior and visible to something interior and invisible?
- Does understanding other minds require possession of a "theory of mind"? To what extent is our understanding of other minds appropriately conceived as a kind of theoretical understanding? What role, if any, does our understanding of our own minds plays in grounding our understanding of other minds?
- What is the relation between understanding other minds and feeling concern for other persons? Is our capacity for shame, empathy, a sense of justice, etc. grounded on our understanding of other minds, or do such forms of concern for others themselves ground our understanding of what another mind could be?
- How is the relation between two subjects of action different from the relation to between two subjects of belief? In particular, how is giving you my reason for doing something different from giving you my reason for believing something, and what, if anything, does this reveal about the difference between reasons for action and reasons for belief?
- How must two agents be related to another other in order for them to be capable of wronging one another?
Subjectivity in Language and Thought
The Departments of Linguistics and Philosophy at the University of Chicago hosted a two-day workshop, May 19-20, 2017, that aimed to bring together recent innovations and novel perspectives on the phenomenon of subjectivity in language and thought. The workshop was funded by the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society and was held at the Franke Institute for the Humanities on campus.
Expressions whose meaning have a distinctly subjective dimension, most notably predicates of personal taste, have received increased attention by linguists and philosophers in the last decade or so. In addition to the extensively debated phenomenon of "faultless disagreement," the fact that across languages certain attitude verbs such as English 'find' require their complement to be subjective in a distinct way raises unique conceptual and empirical challenges to a comprehensive theory of natural language meaning. Several researchers have explored issues about subjective expressions beyond their significance for the relativism-vs-contextualism debate that is so prominent in linguistics and philosophy of language, including: the types of subjective meanings that natural languages encode, the subjective dimensions of modality, and the evidential dimension of subjective predicates and attitude verbs. The aim of this workshop is to continue this trend by bringing together innovative perspectives on subjective language and thought in an interdisciplinary setting.
- Elizabeth Coppock (Gothenburg)
- Anastasia Giannakidou (University of Chicago)
- Daniel Lassiter (Stanford)
- Alda Mari (Instutut Jean Nicod, CNRS, ENS, EHESS)
- Dilip Ninan (Tufts)
Thinking Across Borders: Engaging African and Western Political and Philosophical Thinking
April 27-28, 2017. This was a two-day conference at Neubauer Collegium.
This two-day conference aimed to promote discussion among African and Western political thinkers and philosophers. Speakers and participants from the United States, Africa, and Europe included experts on philosophy, political science, political theory, history, and law. The conference was organized by the Neubauer Collegium, in conjunction with the London School of Economics and the Department of Philosophy and Classics, University of Ghana, with the support of the Leverhulme Trust Fund.
For the schedule and speakers, click here.
Graduate Student Conference in Ancient Philosophy
The 2nd annual Graduate Student Conference in Ancient Philosophy at the University of Chicago took place on April 7-8, 2017. The theme was 'Argument in Ancient Thought'. The conference was held in Classics 110 on the University of Chicago campus. Carrie Swanson (University of Iowa) gave the keynote on Plato's Euthydemus.
Skepticism as a Form of Philosophical Experience
The focus of this conference was to explore the idea that philosophical skepticism in its deepest and historically most influential forms is best understood not as a species of philosophical thesis, position, or theory, but rather as something that enables a particular form of philosophical experience, praxis, and self-transformation. This idea is as old as the history of philosophy, finding its original sources in ancient skepticism and reasserting itself in a variety of guises throughout the intervening centuries. However, the tendency is still to construe philosophical skepticism as a form of philosophical thesis, either to be affirmed or to be denied.
The conference not only explored the history of non- and anti-theoretical varieties of skepticism, but also their variety of forms of inheritance in contemporary Continental and Anglophone philosophy. Against the standard position in contemporary epistemology, this will contribute to a practical and transformative understanding of skepticism.
Link to website: http://skepticism-and-experience.blogspot.com/
Concepts of Aesthetic Form
Held on January 13-15, 2017
The conference Concepts of Aesthetic Form was devoted to the concept of form in humanistic inquiry. It was especially interested in the kind of formal generality at issue in humanistic disciplines, and the differences between such formality and, for example, the concept of scientific law. Our approach was exploratory, and we began with no fixed commitments, but our initial orientation assumed that what distinguishes objects of study in the humanities -- literature, art objects, music, etc. -- is that they are the objects they are by virtue of the self-understanding embodied in these objects, and that humanistic inquiry attempts to articulate the self-understanding and purposiveness that is the basis of the distinct unity of the objects themselves.
We were interested both in basic transformations in the history of philosophical thought about these issues, from Plato and Aristotle to Kant and Hegel and many others, as well as in the embodiment of different alternatives of such formal unity in various art works and in critical thinking about these works.
This conference was a sequel to the conference Revolutions in the Concept of Form.
Link to Website: http://aesthetic-form.blogspot.com/
Meaning, Metaphor, and Maimonides: Honoring Josef Stern
The link to the conference homepage is here.
The Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago organized a conference in honor of Josef Stern, William H. Colvin Professor Emeritus in the Department of Philosophy and in the College, and Inaugural Director of the Chicago Center for Jewish Studies. The conference was an occasion to honor Josef Stern's work and his contributions to the University, where he retired in the Spring quarter 2016 after having taught almost continuously since 1979. The conference was held at the Franke Institute for the Humanities on December 4-5, 2016. Speakers included Paul Franks (Yale), Rachel Goodman (Nebraska-Lincoln), Aidan Gray (UIC), Nat Hansen (Reading), Robin Jeshion (USC), John Kulvicki (Dartmouth), and Steven Nadler (Wisconsin-Madison). Josef Stern gave a keynote presentation. The conference was sponsored by the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the University of Chicago Humanities Division, the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Linguistics, the Center for Jewish Studies, the Divinity School, and the Linguistics and Philosophy of Language Workshop.
The 2016 Philosophy Graduate Research Conference
Friday, December 2, and Saturday, December 3. Speakers and location here.
Justice at Work
Organized by: Ben Laurence and Dan Brudney through the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights and the Franke Institute
When: October 14th 1:15-5:45 and October 15th 9:15-5:15
Where: The John Hope Franklin Room of the Social Sciences Research Building
Conference Website: https://humanrights.uchicago.edu/justiceatwork2016
This was a conference bringing together philosophers and political theorists working on questions of justice that arise in relation to labor and the workplace. Topics explored included but were not limited to the nature of exploitation, managerial domination, the right to strike, the right to leisure time, dignity at work, and wage equality.
Chicago Consortium in Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy: 8th Biennial Conference: "Evil"
Held October 14, 2016
See website here.
Society for German Idealism and Romanticism
The inaugural conference of the newly founded Society for German Idealism and Romanticism, was held Saturday and Sunday, October 1-2, 2016, in Wieboldt 408 at the University of Chicago. Details can be found here: http://www.thesgir.org/cfps---conference-announcements.html. Keynote and invited speakers included Johannes Haag, Jane Kneller, Karl Ameriks, Elizabeth Millán, Anne Pollok, Allen Speight, and Rachel Zuckert.
Revolutions in Concepts of Form
Organized by James Conant, Robert Pippin and David Wellbery, through the Neubauer Collegium.
Held October 29, 30 and 31, 2015
For more information on this project and conference, see here.
Aristotle's De Motu Animalium
A Workshop in Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of
Martha Nussbaum’s Ph.D. Thesis (Harvard, May 1975)
15‒16 May 2015
Organized by David Charles (Yale) and Oliver Primavesi (Munich)
Supported by The Law School, Chicago University
To be held at the University of Chicago Law School, Classroom V
40 years ago Martha Nussbaum made a bold hypothesis about the Greek manuscript traditions of Aristotle's De Motu Animalium. Her hypothesis has finally been confirmed in a surprising way: the "second version" of De Motu Animalium, some traces of which Nussbaum identified, has been found to be preserved in its entirety by two 15th c. manuscripts. This demonstrably superior version requires us to make numerous textual changes of philosophical importance. We joined in discussion of the philological and philosophical significance of this discovery by the people who made it and for celebration of the 40 years of work inspired by Martha Nussbaum's ground-breaking text, translation, and philosophical essays.
Friday 15 May 2015:
02.00 PM David Charles (Yale): Introductory Words
02.30 PM Oliver Primavesi (Munich): Transmission & Textual Criticism:
A New Stemma and a New Text of Mot. An.
04.30 PM Break
05.00 PM Martha Nussbaum (Chicago): Comments
Saturday 16 May 2015:
09.30 AM Christof Rapp (Munich): Chapter 1 and the Place
of Mot. An. in the Corpus
11.00 AM Break
11.30 AM David Charles (Yale): Aristotelian Actions
01.00 PM Break
02.30 PM Klaus Corcilius (Berkeley): Phantasia and Desire
04.00 PM Break
04.30 PM Martha Nussbaum (Chicago): Conclusions
April 8-9, 2015
Schedule and full website: http://divinity.uchicago.edu/levinas-reading
On philosopher Emmanuel Levinas as a reader: a reader of philosophical texts and religious texts but also a reader of literary texts. The impetus for this conference arises from the recent publication of the first three volumes of Emmanuel Levinas’ Oeuvres complètes.
Organized by Sarah Hammerschlag, Assistant Professor of Religion and Literature, and Raoul Moati, Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy.
Sponsored by the Divinity School, the Martin Marty Center, the Philosophy Department, the Chicago Center for Jewish Studies, the Franke Institute for the Humanities, and the Chicago France Center.