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Month: August 2018

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)

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