Monday, September 20, 2010

Ontario Hegel Organization – Call for Abstracts

Theme: Negativity
Deadline:  October 31, 2010
Conference date:  April 1 - 3, 2011
Conference location: University of Ottawa
Organisers: Douglas Moggach and Jeffrey Reid

Much of the dynamic activity in recent Hegel studies, particularly in the Anglo-American world,  has focused on what might be called the “positivities” of his system, on Hegel’s writings on conscience, language, nature, law, religion, psychology, education, art, ethics, the state...  Much of this scholarly work involves new interpretations of Hegelian content, which are meant not only to help us better understand the philosopher’s work but also to advance more general contemporary reflections on these subjects.  In moral-political philosophy, Hegel’s thoughts on mutual recognition, forgiveness and community are seen as informative of our own ideas about living-together. Hegel’s writing on consciousness can be seen as responding to certain problems associated with contemporary empirical science;  his writing on property and the juridical person provides new perspectives in philosophy of law etc.  However, as rewarding as such approaches to Hegelian content are, they tend to ignore that unsettling and yet essential element of Hegelian thought which might be broadly qualified as negativity.

Douglas Moggach and Jeffrey Reid will organise a conference on Hegelian negativity, under the umbrella of that loose-knit group of Hegel scholars known as the Ontario Hegel Organization, at the University of Ottawa, April 1-3, 2011. Those interested in presenting papers (25 minutes) are invited to send abstracts dealing with any aspect of the question:   logical considerations on the restlessness thought, the movement of the concept, natural questions of finitude, spiritual topics of scepticism, desire, freedom, or expressions of struggle and strife...   the darker elements of Hegelian thought that are perhaps more often associated with European approaches to Hegel (existentialism, Frankfurt School, metaphysics, psychoanalysis...) but which should be seen as relevant to any discussion of the “positivities” mentioned above.  Can we conceive of mutual recognition without the struggle to attain it?  Is revealed religion possible without the pain and loss at the heart of spirit?  Is art and culture possible without the annihilation of nature?  Is conscience possible without a sense of evil? Does education not involve the cruel overcoming of the natural body?  Please limit abstracts to 250 words and send them to jreid[at] before October 31.

Douglas Moggach and Jeffrey Reid

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