British Wittgenstein Society

Menu Close

Year: 2018 (page 1 of 3)

Philosophy of Film Without Theory Conference

Registration for the Philosophy of Film Without Theory Conference (& Conference Dinner) is now open.


This international, interdisciplinary conference is being held on Thursday 10th, and Friday 11th, January 2019, at the University of York in the UK.

Keynote Speakers are:

Lucy Bolton (Queen Mary, University of London)

Mikel Burley (University of Leeds)

Sophie Grace Chappell (Open University)

Victor Dura-Vila (University of Leeds)

Andrew Klevan (University of Oxford)

David Macarthur (University of Sydney)

Colin Heber Percy (Screenwriter and priest)


A further 24 Invited Speakers from 15 countries, including Morocco, Guyana, the USA, Australia, and across Europe will be presenting talks (in parallel sessions).


Registration is open to all (and closes on the 31st December, 2018).


In the Conference Call for Abstracts we characterised Philosophy Without Theory as, “a plurality of methodologies that include fine-grained description and discernment; disentangling confusions; reactive and/or reflective critical inquiry, the exploration of conceptual connections; logical geography; conceptual synthesis; the provision of perspicuous presentations and surveyable overviews; non-systematic engagement with individual or particular works, subjects, objects, ideas, events and/or situations…  and more”


We went on to suggest that Philosophy Without Theory about film might also include, “a commitment to focus on, and pay close attention to, individual films.”


The invited speakers have found a range of opportunities and challenges in the very idea of Philosophy of Film Without Theory, and the titles of their presentations can now be found on the conference website, here:


To Register for the Conference please go to the Registration Online Store, here:


Or via the Conference Website's Registration page, here:


We do hope you will join us in York, in January, 2019.


Thank very much to our conference supporters: the White Rose College of Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH), the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the British Society of Aesthetics (BSA), the University of York and the University of York’s Philosophy Department.


2nd Conference on Hinge Epistemology

Panthéon-Sorbonne University, Paris
Monday 1- Tuesday 2 July 2019
The 2nd Hinge Epistemology Conference will be a 2-day conference, hosted by the Wittgenstein Seminar at Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris on 1-2 July 2019, in collaboration with the University of Hertfordshire (UK) and Irvine University, California. The conference will include

Plenary speakers:
·       Jocelyn Benoist (Sorbonne)
·       Elise Marrou (Sorbonne)
·       Constantine Sandis (Hertfordshire)
·       Paul Standish (UCL)
·       Angélique Thebert (Nantes)

Symposium on Hinge Epistemology
·       Annalisa Coliva (Irvine)
·       Daniele Moyal-Sharrock (Hertfordshire)
·       Duncan Pritchard (Irvine)

The conference will include a number of sessions for submitted papers. Selection will be based on review of long abstracts (max. 1000 words). Please submit your abstract as an email attachment to Prof. Sandra Laugier (), copied to Prof. Danièle Moyal-Sharrock () by 1st April 2019. Presentation time for accepted papers will be 30 minutes plus Q&A.

Papers will address (positively or critically) the application of Wittgenstein's notion of 'hinges' or 'hinge certainty' to epistemological problems in any discipline. The conference will be held in English, and peer-reviewed proceedings will be published in an edited volume of the series Anthem Studies in Wittgenstein.

Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Psychology Workshop at the University of Zurich, Faculty of Philosophy with William Child

Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Psychology

Workshop at the

University of Zurich, Faculty of Philosophy


William Child

(University College, Oxford)

23 November 2018

After the completion of Part I of Philosophical Investigations and up until his death, Wittgenstein wrote extensively about psychological and epistemological notions. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in Wittgenstein’s treatment of concepts such as certainty, doubt, and belief. This focus on the epistemological contributions of what has sometimes been dubbed ‘the Third Wittgenstein’ has somewhat overshadowed Wittgenstein’s striking and often idiosyncratic remarks about various and sundry psychological notions and his abortive attempts to arrive at a more or less systematic classification of them. This workshop aims to illuminate some of these perhaps unduly neglected aspects of Wittgenstein’s late philosophy. A special emphasis will be placed on seeing-as, since the discussion of that phenomenon is particularly elaborate and provides a unifying thread to parts of Wittgenstein’s seemingly disjointed discussions, especially in section xi of “Philosophy of Psychology: A Fragment” (formerly known as Part II of Philosophical Investigations). Apart from examining specific phenomena and notions, more general methodological issues might also be discussed, concerning in particular the legitimacy of a ‘grammatical’ approach to philosophical psychology.

For this one-day workshop we will be joined by William Child, who is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford (University College). He is the author of a standard introduction to Wittgenstein’s philosophy (Wittgenstein, Routledge, 2011) and has written seminal papers on a wide range of topics in Wittgenstein’s philosophy of mind and psychology, often highlighting their relevance to contemporary debates in the field.

Call for Papers

Contributions to the workshop should deal with issues that Wittgenstein raises in his late writings on the philosophy of psychology, ideally focussing on “Philosophy of Psychology: A Fragment”. The workshop thus allows for a discussion of Wittgenstein’s remarks on various broadly speaking psychological phenomena and/or concepts, such as seeing-as, memory, meaning something, etc. Moreover, contributions that explore the ramifications between these notions and other related concepts – e.g. the relation between aspect perception and secondary meaning, or that between meaning something and rule-following – are welcome. Lastly, methodological question may be investigated: is Wittgenstein’s ‘grammatical’ (or, more generally speaking, an ordinary language inspired) approach to philosophical psychology still pertinent, or has it been completely superseded by (or integrated into) more interdisciplinary research?

Please send your abstract (maximum length 500 words) to by 28 October 2018, mentioning ‘Workshop with William Child’ in the subject line. Abstracts should be formatted for blind review and free of personal and institutional information. Applicants shall be informed about the outcome of the review process in early November and successful ones must submit their papers (maximum length 8,000 words) by 15 November 2018. The papers will then be circulated and all participants are expected to have read them before the workshop. Please note that travel costs and other expenses cannot be reimbursed, but lunch and dinner are provided for the speakers on the day of the workshop.


Attendance is free, but registration is necessary. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, please send an email to (stating your full name, academic title and institutional affiliation) by 17 November 2018.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the organiser.


Pit Genot ()


Wittgenstein’s Confession By Jonathan Beale

Wittgenstein’s Confession in the NYT

Freud Meets Wittgenstein: a new play by Monty Sher

This play focuses on Wittgenstein's personal history, his critique of Freud, and his reflections concerning religion and the mystical.

The play opens with a vivid display of many words associated with mystical experiences, e.g, epiphanies, altered states, spiritual awakening, numinous experience, grace, ecstatic wonder, et al. Wittgenstein appears and speaks to the audience:

"That’s a remarkable list, isn’t it! They’re different one from another. If you have had such an experience, for you it was unique. I had one. I was a young man in Vienna. I was watching a play---like you are now. I suddenly realized that I was, I am, 'absolutely safe'. Yes, absolutely safe…whatever happened to me. Strange, yes. It changed me---it did. I think perhaps half of you have had your own mystical experience, one you revered then and still revere. The other half of you may think such events are a delusion, an hallucination; it’s the theatre of the mind’s joke on you, and science will soon lower the curtain on such imaginings. Well, theatre is the place to explore such a dispute. Shall we? Let’s raise this curtain. It’s 1939, and I am in the Reading Room of the British Museum."

The play concludes with Freud disclosing his plan to commit suicide. For those familiar with the play Freud’s Last Session, an imagined conversation of his with C. S. Lewis, this play is a contrast. Lewis severely chastises Freud. Wittgenstein is accepting and hears Freud’s confession.

Hinge Epistemology



The first conference on Hinge Epistemology took place last year at the University of California, Irvine and was so successful, we thought it would be a good idea to offer the concept to other universities. The 2nd Hinge Epistemology Conference will be a 2-day conference, hosted by the Wittgenstein Seminar at Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris on 1-2 July 2019, in collaboration with the University of Hertfordshire (UK) and Irvine University, California. The conference will include


·       5 invited lectures:​

  • Jocelyn Benoist (Sorbonne)
  • Elise Marrou (Sorbonne)
  • Constantine Sandis (Hertfordshire)
  • Paul Standish (UCL)
  • Angélique Thebert (Nantes)


·       a mini-symposium on Hinge Epistemology by  Annalisa Coliva (Irvine), Daniele Moyal-Sharrock (Hertfordshire) and Duncan Pritchard (Irvine)

·       5 shorter contributions, selected from a call for papers to be issued in October

Our thanks go to Professor Sandra Laugier and the Wittgenstein Seminar at Panthéon-Sorbonne University for hosting the conference.

Wittgenstein: Religion and Nonsense

Wittgenstein’s ideas about religion have been much more influential than is sometimes thought. The first two lectures will consider this influence, concentrating on Wittgenstein’s remarks on James Frazer’s The Golden Bough and Wittgenstein’s proposal that we overcome the temptation to view certain religious practices as simply confused or nonsensical. We shall look at this through the lens of D.Z.Phillips’ ‘contemplative conception of philosophy’, the purpose of which is to disclose ‘possibilities of sense’ within religious forms of life. In lectures three and four we shall consider the connections between Wittgenstein’s views on ethics and his treatment of value in the Tractatus, and so to his early conception of sense and nonsense in language. It will be suggested that Wittgenstein’s treatment of absolute value in his ‘Lecture on Ethics’, taken together with his comparison of mathematical conjectures with riddles, provides a fruitful way of understanding a range of religious uses of language. It will be claimed that Wittgensteinian sense can be made of the thought that religious language is necessarily nonsensical, but none the worse for that; indeed, if it were not nonsensical, it could not have the significance that religious believers attribute to it, and to the faith it expresses.

Dr Mikel Burley
Mikel (‘Mik’) Burley is Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy at the University of Leeds. Working across both philosophy and religious studies, his publications include Rebirth and the Stream of Life: A Philosophical Study of Reincarnation, Karma and Ethics (2016) and Contemplating Religious Forms of Life: Wittgenstein and D. Z. Phillips (2012). He is currently editing a volume entitled Wittgenstein, Religion and Ethics: New Perspectives from Philosophy and Theology.

Professor Stephen Mulhall
Stephen Mulhall is a Professor of Philosophy and a Tutorial Fellow of New College, Oxford. His interests include Wittgenstein; Nietzsche, Heidegger and Sartre; the relation between philosophy and the arts; and the relation between philosophy and theology. His most recent books are: The Great Riddle: Wittgenstein and Nonsense, Theology and Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2015) and On Film: 3rd Edition (Routledge, 2016).

Ms Marianne Talbot
Director of Studies

Marianne Talbot took her first degree at London University, then her B.Phil at Oxford (Corpus Christi College). She has taught for the colleges of Oxford University for 30 years (1987 – 1990 at Pembroke College, 1991 – 2000 at Brasenose College). She has been Director of Studies in Philosophy at OUDCE since 2001. She is the author of Bioethics: An Introduction, and Critical Reasoning: A Romp Through the Foothills of Logic. Marianne’s podcasts have been hugely popular. Two of them have been global number one on iTunesU. One of these (The Nature of Arguments) has been downloaded 7 million times.

Getting Real about Words and Numbers


Getting Real about Words and Numbers


Proceedings of the BWS Annual Conference now available

Wittgenstein and Marx Fetishism and Alienation between Commodities and Words


Wittgenstein and Marx
Fetishism and Alienation between Commodities and Words

Conference – Department of Human Studies, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy 9-11 April 2019

Ludwig Wittgenstein, in the second phase of his thought, has been strongly influenced by Marxism through frequent contacts with personalities such as the economist Piero Sraffa and the academic Nicholas Bachtin. His philosophy turned into a critical and anthropological view of language and philosophy, that allowed different scholars to cross Wittgenstein’s thought with philosophers like B. Croce and A. Gramsci. In this perspective, the categories “fetishism” and “alienation”, that are pivotal within the philosophy of Karl Marx and also in the international debate, may have had also a significant echo in the thoughts of Wittgenstein.

It has been already suggested amongst scholars the connection between the theories of Wittgenstein and Marx but considering the German Ideology and the Thesis on Feuerbach as a point of departure. Nevertheless, it has also been shown the relationship with the theory of Capital, although there are still few systematic and in-depth studies on this issue. In our conference, we will try to answer questions such as: is it possible to consider Wittgenstein’s critique of philosophy as a standpoint against the alienation produced by our own words? Can we understand Wittgenstein’s critique of language through Marx’s analyze of commodity and fetishism? We aim to examine more generally, on the methodological basis of the historical-critical analysis of their works, the thought of both philosophers, detecting consonances and dissonances, in order to clarify and develop their philosophy. From this background, proposals on the following subjects will be considered and their submission is strongly encouraged:

  • All those proposals that will focus on the (inter-)relationship of the concepts fetishism/alienation and commodity/word;
  • Proposals able to highlight aspects of both philosophers or to establish a fruitful dialogue and comparison between their theories;
  • Papers that trace connections with other thinkers or scholars (for instance:Sraffa, Gramsci, Croce, Piccoli, etc.) who have directly or indirectly influenced their thought;
  • Proposals on international scholars of Wittgenstein and Marx that already stressed the relationship between both thinkers (for instance: F. Rossi-Landi).

Interested scholars are invited to submit a proposal by 30 November 2018 The abstract must outline the main points of the talk and should not exceed 500 words. The proposals may be written in Italian, English or German and should be anonymous and prepared for blind review. A separate short bibliography is also needed. For each talk, there will be time for a 20-minute presentation, with about another 10 minutes designated for discussion.

A selection of papers will be published.

The conference is self-financing and therefore scholars which will be selected to give a talk shall pay a registration fee to cover the costs. The fees are 30 euros for graduate students and early career academics and 70 euros for senior academics. Discount prices for accommodations near the Department of Humanities of the University of Salento, where the conference will take place, will also be made available on the basis of the subscriptions.


Moira De Iaco (University of Salento - University of Cologne) Gabriele Schimmenti (University of Salento – University of Cologne) Fabio Sulpizio (University of Salento)

Scientific Committee:

Marco Brusotti (University of Salento – TU Berlin)
Fabio Ciracì (Università of Salento)
Guglielmo Forges Davanzati (University of Salento)
Moira De Iaco (University of Salento – University of Cologne) Marco Mazzeo (University of Calabria)

Cecilia Rofena (University of Venice)
Gabriele Schimmenti (University of Salento – University of Cologne) Fabio Sulpizio (University of Salento)

Invited Speakers:

Roberto Fineschi (Siena School for Liberal Arts) Dimitris Gakis (University of Leuven)
Alfonso Iacono (University of Pisa)
Allan Janik (University of Innsbruck)

Franco Lo Piparo (Università di Palermo) Volker Munz (Alpen-Adria University of Klagenfurt)

Skip to toolbar