The Future of Philosophy – Metaphilosophical Directions for the 21st Century

in Academic Service - Archive by on December 11th, 2009

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The Future of Philosophy: Metaphilosophical Directions for the 21st Century
A Symposium Marking the 40th Anniversary of the Founding of the Journal Metaphilosophy

Date: 11 December
Room G22/26, Senate House South Block, London WC1


PROGRAMME
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Welcome – Barry Smith .

Intro – Armen Marsoobian .

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Terrell Ward Bynum (Southern Connecticut State)  - Two Philosophers of the Information Age

Abstract
Terrell Ward Bynum (Southern Connecticut State): Previous scientific and technological revolutions changed our understanding of human nature, the nature of society, and the nature of the universe. The impact upon philosophy was profound. It is not surprising, therefore, that today’s Information Revolution promises to have major philosophical implications. Physicists have recently argued, for example, that the universe is made of information and that human beings are exquisitely complex information objects. In addition new kinds of decision-making agents – such as, robots, softbots, and artificial companions – now can be found in homes, schools, hospitals, workplaces, entertainment centers. Instead of being utterly different from human beings, many computerized devices can be viewed as entities very much like ourselves – fellow information objects journeying together through an informational world. This radically different understanding of human nature and our role in the universe offers exciting, powerful – and to some people, threatening – answers to some of the deepest questions of philosophy and psychology: Who am I? What am I? What does it mean to be? What is my place in the universe? The result is sure to be a worldwide and decades-long philosophical conversation. This presentation is a small part of that conversation – one that briefly discusses just two of the growing number of “philosophers of the Information Age”: Norbert Wiener and Luciano Floridi. This presentation will briefly compare their views on human nature, artificial agents, the nature of society, and the nature of the universe.

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Timothy Williamson (Oxford)  - Philosophical Expertise and the Burden of Proof

Abstract
Timothy Williamson (Oxford): ‘Experimental philosophers’ criticize the use of thought experiments in philosophy on the basis of evidence that verdicts on them varies with factors independent of the truth. However, their data concern the verdicts of philosophically untrained subjects. According to the expertise defence, what matters are the verdicts of trained philosophers, who are more likely to pay careful attention to the details of the scenario and track their relevance. In a recent paper, Jonathan Weinberg and others reply to the expertise defence that there is no evidence for such expertise. I reply to them in this paper, arguing that they have misconstrued the dialectical situation. Since they have produced no evidence that philosophical training is less efficacious for thought experimentation than for other cognitive tasks for which they acknowledge that it produces genuine expertise, such as informal argumentation, they have produced no evidence for treating the former more sceptically than the latter.

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Philip Kitcher (Columbia)  - Philosophy Inside Out

Abstract
Philip Kitcher (Columbia): In 1920, John Dewey argued for “Reconstruction in Philosophy”, claiming that philosophical discussions had become detached from contemporary human problems and were “a sentimental indulgence for a few”. Dewey’s challenge is as pertinent today as it was then. I shall suggest that some of his own works provide guidance for rethinking the philosophical agenda. In this light, the principal points of philosophical growth are seen as areas often viewed as peripheral, while the supposedly “core questions” are relevant only insofar as they enable people to cope with the issues of primary concern. Philosophy is not only reconstructed, but also turned inside out.

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David Papineau (King’s College London)  - The Importance of Philosophical Intuition

Abstract
David Papineau (King’s College London): I shall argue that intuitions about hypothetical cases play a central role in philosophical theorising. They help us to identify deep-seated principles that direct our thinking. These principles can be untrustworthy but even then they are methodologically important. I shall illustrate my points with illustrations from recent debates in the philosophy of mind.

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Panel: The Future of Philosophy: Metaphilosophical Directions for the 21st Century
Chair: Armen T. Marsoobian (Editor in Chief, Metaphilosophy)

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Will Sweetman – The Bibliotheca Malabarica: an Eighteenth- Century Tamil Library

in Academic Service - Archive by on December 10th, 2009

RoyalAsiaticSociety

Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 14 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HD

Date: 10 December 2009


speaker_WillSweetmanWill Sweetman - The Bibliotheca Malabarica: an Eighteenth- Century Tamil Library

In 1708 the German Protestant missionary, Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, compiled a catalogue, called Bibliotheca Malabarica, of the library of Tamil manuscripts he had assembled during his first two years in India. The 183 entries include Muslim and Christian works but the great majority are Hindu and Jaina. His catalogue, which Kamil Zvelebil described as ‘a relatively complete account of Tamil literature’, includes many standard works of Tamil literature from Tolkappiyam to Apirami antati, as well as others which are harder to identify. As such it provides a fascinating snapshot of Tamil literary works in wide circulation on the eve of colonialism. A partial translation of the catalogue was published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1967. This paper will survey Ziegenbalg’s Tamil library, including both works acquired after the compilation of the Bibliotheca Malabarica and significant gaps in his collection. It will briefly consider how Ziegenbalg acquired these manuscripts, and what became of his collection following his premature death. Finally the paper will examine Ziegenbalg’s use of Tamil works in his own writings on Hinduism. It will demonstrate that the structure of Ziegenbalg’s last work on Hinduism, the Genealogie der malabarischen Gotter (1713), is derived directly from a little-known Tamil text.

Will Sweetman is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Religion at the University of Otago in New Zealand. His research interests centre on interactions between the religions of Asia and the West in the modern period. He is currently engaged in a study of Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg’s works on Hinduism, in particular the Genealogie der malabarischen Gotter (1713). He is author of the book Mapping Hinduism: ‘Hinduism’ and the study of Indian Religions, 1600-1776 (2003) and several articles, including, most recently “Colonialism all the way down? Religion and the secular in early modern writing on south India”, in Religion and the Secular: Historical and Colonial Formations (2007) and “Heathenism, idolatry and rational monotheism among the Hindus: Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg’s Akkiyanam (1713) and other works addressed to Tamil Hindus”, in Halle and the Beginning of Protestant Christianity in India (2006).

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Helen Graham – Border Crossings: Thinking about the International Brigaders before and after Spain

in Academic Service - Archive by on December 3rd, 2009

Royal Holloway Department of History

Date: Thursday 3 December
Windsor Auditorium

speaker_HelenGrahamHelen GrahamBorder Crossings: Thinking about the International Brigaders before and after Spain

Professor Helen Graham will deliver her inaugural lecture, Border Crossings: Thinking about the International Brigaders before and after Spain in Windsor Auditorium on Thursday, 3 December 2009 at 6pm. The International Brigaders fought for the democratic Republic during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), later forming the core of early World War II Resistance movements. This lecture explores their origins in the broader history of the 20th century European diaspora; their significance as the antithesis of Hitler’s New Order; and their lives of perpetual border-crossing as a definition of dynamic social change.

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Nina Power – Stony Ground but not entirely: Beckett and the Humanities

in Academic Service - Archive by on December 2nd, 2009

The Humanities and Arts Research Centre at Royal Holloway University of London

Date: 2 December 2009

speaker_NinaPowerNina Power (Roehampton) – Stony Ground but not entirely: Beckett and the Humanities

Beckett’s relationship to what we might understand by ‘the Humanities’ is a vexed one. Beckett’s references are often classical (Dante, the Bible, Descartes), and yet he is heralded as the great forerunner of certain kinds of poststructuralist concerns regarding the death of the author, the opacity of meaning, and so on. This paper seeks to situate Beckett in a different relation to the Humanities, via a reading of Beckett’s understanding of humanity itself, that avoids treating his work as either the outcome of a certain kind of old-fashioned education or as a prefiguration of philosophical concerns that all-too-often threaten to subsume his work under the weight of their own (non)meaning.

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Jagtar Singh – Islam, Young Muslims and Identity – the stratification of discrimination in the UK

in Academic Service - Archive by on December 2nd, 2009

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Seminar Series: Islam, Muslim Youth and Identity

Seminar organizers: Professor Ravinder Barn (CrimSoc), and Professor Humayun Ansari (History)

Date:  2 December 2009

Jagtar Singh (director, The Change Institute) - Islam, Young Muslims and Identity – the stratification of discrimination in the UK

Summary – The paper will focus on Islam in the context of the rise of religious affiliation globally, highlight the demographic significance of ‘Muslim youth’ or young people of Muslim heritage and discuss the distinctive as well as common experience of Muslim and minority communities in the UK. Changing markers of discrimination, shifting affiliations and identities among young people of Muslim heritage will be discussed, drawing on research carried out for the European Commission on the beliefs and ideologies of violent radicals, and for Communities and Local Government Department on the characteristics of thirteen Muslim ethnic communities in England. The paper concludes by highlighting the increasing sophistication of multiple discrimination and stratification of groups in the UK.

Jagtar Singh is a founding Director of the Change Institute. An Expert Adviser to the European Commission on violent radicalisation and to the Council of Europe on Intercultural Cities he has over two decades experience in research, evaluation, and development consulting with public institutions, with particular expertise in the dynamics of discrimination and the sociology of marginalised and excluded groups. His work has spanned every area of race and public policy and all parts of the public sector.

After studying PPE Oxford University he worked for six years in local government. Following an M.B.A. at Warwick Business School he joined a small group of professionals to develop the Office for Public Management, one of the most influential consulting organisations working with public managers.

He is a Fellow of the RSA, a Member of the Institute of Directors and also undertakes pro-bono work with not-for-profit organisations.

His publications include; Benchmarking Black, Asian and ethnic minority leadership in the creative and cultural sector, Cultural Leadership Programme, 2009, Understanding Muslim Ethnic Communities, clg, 2009, Best practices in cooperation initiatives between authorities and civil society with a view to the prevention of and response to violent radicalisation, European Commission, 2008, Studies on violent radicalisation: The beliefs, ideologies and narratives, European Commission, 2008, Global Business Leadership: Exploring Anglo-Saxon and Indian Firms doing Business, Co-author, The Change Institute, 2007., Strength in Diversity? Multiculturalism Reassessed, Co-author, FIRST, 2004, Series Editor, Transforming the Childcare Sector, FIRST 2004, Ethnic Minority Health and Primary Care Trusts: Developing Good Practice, Department of Health, 2001, Ethnic Minority Health, Developing the Role of the Voluntary Sector, Department Health, 1997, Managing for Health Gain, Report to the NHS Executive, 1991.

Professors Ravinder Barn and Humayun Ansari
r.barn@rhul.ac.uk; K.Ansari@rhul.ac.uk

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William Cohen – Queer Universality and the French Oscar Wilde

in Academic Service - Archive by on December 2nd, 2009

Birkbeck_Humanities2

Event Date: 2 December 2009

Oscar Wilde might be understood not only as an Irish or an English writer but as a French one as well. Wilde often traveled to France, he composed his acclaimed play Salomé in French, and he promoted French culture as an international fraternity of aestheticism. This lecture argues for the Frenchness of Wilde and proposes that, in Salomé and his other French writing, Wilde propounds a paradoxical aesthetics that emerges from two interrelated fantasies. One is a fantasy of nationality that negates national allegiance altogether; the other is a fantasy of perverse female sexuality that negates gender and sexual identity altogether. Wilde’s idea of French as exterior to national and sexual identities comports with Alain Badiou’s notion of universality, which provides a conceptual framework for apprehending how Wilde’s writing institutes a break in being that undoes the ontological bases of identity. Wilde exemplifies this ontological fracture through what might be termed queerness, but it is a queerness affiliated as much with nationality and gender as with sexuality.

speaker_WilliamCohenWilliam A. Cohen is professor of English at the University of Maryland. He is the author of Embodied: Victorian Literature and the Senses (University of Minnesota Press, 2008) and Sex Scandal: The Private Parts of Victorian Fiction (Duke University Press, 1996), and co-editor of Filth: Dirt, Disgust, and Modern Life (University of Minnesota Press, 2005).



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Islam, Muslim Youth and Identity – History and Social Sciences Faculty Seminar Series – schedule

in Academic Service - Archive by on December 2nd, 2009

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Islam, Muslim Youth and Identity

Seminar organizers: Professor Ravinder Barn (CrimSoc), and Professor Humayun Ansari (History)

History and Social Sciences Faculty Seminar Series

Lunchtime seminars Wednesdays 13.00-14.00

Since the Rushdie affair, almost two decades ago, there has been much public concern about the ‘integration’ of Muslims in British society. The events of 11 September 2001 in the USA, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, 7 July 2005 bombings in London, and the daily happenings in Israel/Palestine amongst other world conflicts involving Muslims have been seen to be contributory political factors for Muslims to identify with their faith rather than a nation-state or ethnicity. The increasing ‘Islamophobia’ in Western countries, coupled with the discrimination and disadvantage experienced by Muslims could arguably be among the important factors in group and individual identity construction, and politics. This seminar series aims to bring together the disparate academic debates and discussions on the politics of identity, belonging, culture and faith. We are seeking to integrate theoretical and empirical writings on Islam, fundamentalism and the politics of social cohesion and integration. It is intended that given the increasing concern about Islam, youth and radicalisation, muslim youth will constitute the key underlying theme in all seminars.

Schedule:

2 December 2009, 13.00-14.00

Islam, Young Muslims and Identity – the stratification of discrimination in the UK.
Jagtar Singh
, Director, The Change Institute
Venue: McRae 201

27 January 2010

Moroccan boys in the Netherlands: between integration and exclusion
Dr. Francis Pakes
, Reader in Comparative Criminology, Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth
Venue: McCrea 336

5 May 2010

“We are the West”: Muslim women’s claims of identity and belonging

Dr. Katherine Brown, Kings College London

16 June 2010

Tahir Abbas, Visting Professor, Birkbeck, University of London
Title / Venue: TBC

 

Co-ordinators: Ravinder Barn- r.barn@rhul.ac.uk, and Humayun Ansari H.Ansari@rhul.ac.uk

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Tommaso Bobbio – Economic and Social Change and Violence in Ahmadabad 1950-2000

in Academic Service - Archive by on December 1st, 2009

Royal Holloway History Department Research Seminar Series

1 December 2009

Tommaso Bobbio - Urban change, inequality and collective violence in the construction of an Indian metropolis: Ahmedabad, 1930-2000

What dynamics contribute to emergence of social tensions and conflicts in an urban environment?  Mass mobilisations and episodes of collective violence have been a constant element in the development of large Indian cities over the twentieth century, and the emergence of a deep fracture between the Hindu and the Muslim community has informed social, political and cultural transformations in post-colonial urban environments.  Taking Ahmedabad city (north-western India) as a case study, this paper analyses the explosion of collective violence as part of long-term dynamics of urban transformation.  Group tensions can be seen as the expression of social, economic and spatial inequalities that consolidated unbalanced patterns of urban territorial and demographic growth.  At the same time, the management of urban growth at a political level contributed to the construction of an urban geography where social differences are inscribed in the organisation of the space.  In this context, episodes of collective violence have two dimensions: on one side, they can be read as moments when the many instances of inequality find expression in open confrontations at a street level; on the other, violence leaves deep marks in the city’s social and physical landscape and, in this sense, it is an integral element in the process of urban construction and organisation over time.

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