Lund University, Department of Philosophy
October 4-5th 2018
List of speakers
Nora Hämäläinen (University of Helsinki, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies)
Maria Green (Lund University, Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights)
Description and aim
Can engaging with fiction and arts change our practical reality – for instance the reality of moral, political and legal practice? Can fiction make us better people? Can reading (narrative) literature enhance ethical capacities? There has been continuous dispute about the contribution that ‘poetry’—i.e. imaginative literature, or fiction—can make towards moral philosophy ever since Socrates asked the question ‘how we ought to live?’ (Pl. Rep. 352d).
The ambition of this workshop is to bring together presentations from a number of young researchers, focusing on philosophy and fiction, who take an interest in what role and import a study of literature and fictional works can have for philosophical research in areas like ethics, value-theory, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics, and conversely what philosophical progress in those areas can bring to the study of e.g., comparative literature, literary theory, film studies, etc. We hope to discuss both promises and problems for an approach that takes seriously the idea that the study of fiction and philosophical research can inform each other in various ways, and just how they can do so.
Following some hugely influential works in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s by philosophers such as Iris Murdoch, Gilbert Ryle, Stanley Cavell and Peter Winch, a string of thinkers in the 1980s and 90s (such as e.g., Martha C. Nussbaum and Cora Diamond) made such an impact that talk of a ‘literary turn’ is warranted. At the same time as these philosophers produced pioneering work, a corresponding movement within the field of literary theory and criticism (comprising thinkers such as e.g., Wayne C. Booth, Samuel Goldberg, and David Parker), usually labeled the ‘ethical turn’, argued for ethical criticism against the background of feminist-, postcolonial- and neo-Marxist criticism. Similar movements can also be discerned in the fields of political and social philosophy (e.g., Richard Rorty, Michael Walzer) as well as in the philosophy of law (James Boyd White, Ronald Dworkin).
This symposium aims to facilitate discussions concerning the possibilities and limitations of the ‘literary turn’ and its adjacent movements in a multi-disciplinary context by bringing together young researchers active in a variety of fields. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the role of art in improving, developing, criticizing or transforming moral consciousness, ethical understanding or legal practice.
Contact and Registration
For any questions, please feel free to contact fictionandphilosophygmailcom.
To apply, please send an abstract not exceeding 500 words (excluding bibliography) to fictionandphilosophygmailcom before April 25, 2018. The subject heading of the email should be “Application to Fiction and Philosophy II”. The email should contain your name, institutional affiliation, and academic degree or level at which you are currently studying (the workshop focuses on MA and PhD students, but early postdocs are to be considered as well). Applicants actively engaged in artistic practices, e.g., literature or visual arts, who productively relate their work to academic debates, are warmly welcome. The abstract itself is to be prepared for blind review and should be attached as .doc, .docx or .pdf.
All are welcome and participation is free of charge. But there is limited seating, so if you wish to attend, please register by sending an email to fictionandphilosophygmailcom.
There is also the possibility for those interested to join the workshop dinner which will take place on the evening of the 4th, and that will be pay-your-own-way for all participants apart from the speakers. If you are interested in joining for dinner, please mention this in your registration email.
The workshop is organised by Gloria Mähringer (Lund), Frits Gåvertsson (Lund), Thérèse Söderström (Lund), Anna Persson (Stockholm), and Ylwa Sjölin Wirling (Gothenburg)
The workshop is sponsored by Erik & Gurli Hultengren’s foundation for philosophy.