Belgrade Philosophical Annual – Issue 32, Year 2019
Institute for Philosophy, University of Belgrade
Živan Lazović (University of Belgrade)
Annalisa Coliva (University of California, Irvine)
Michael Blome-Tillmann (McGill University)
September 1, 2019
The main aim of this special issue is to illuminate a variety of topics central to contemporary discussions of skepticism, a philosophical view that calls into question the very possibility of knowledge about the external world. Skeptical reasoning comes in many different forms, but the most powerful of those proceeds by means of the skeptical hypothesis that produces an unsettling outcome: we cannot know anything about the external world since we cannot successfully rule out that we are being deceived by an evil genius (or in another analogous way). The issue will consider the following variety of responses to this form of skepticism which have been prominent in epistemology over the last few decades: contextualism, neo-Moorean responses, semantic externalism, Wittgensteinian approach and relativism. Other related issues include infallibilism, fallibilism, deductive closure, relevant alternatives, modal conditions on knowledge, the role of presuppositions in knowledge, etc. We also encourage papers on the possibility of the world being a full-scale simulation as a recent prominent form of the skeptical challenge.
All inquires and submissions should be directed to the editor of the special issue at or to the journal editor (S. Perović) at
Submitted papers should be prepared for blind review. All other relevant information should be sent in a separate document containing author’s name and affiliation, the title of the paper, short abstract of not more than 250 words, and 4-5 keywords. All documents should be in a *.doc, *.docx, or *.pdf format.
Belgrade Philosophical Annual is an open access academic journal published by the Institute for Philosophy, University of Belgrade, committed to the double blind peer reviewing process. Previous issues of the journal, including previous special issues with downloadable papers and other relevant information, can be accessed at www.f.bg.ac.rs/bpa.
Confirmed keynote speakers:
Lars Hertzberg (Department of Philosophy, Åbo Academy University)
Shahram Khosravi (Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University)
The conference is hosted by the research program Engaging Vulnerability and organized in collaboration with the Nordic Wittgenstein Society.
Organizing committee: Elinor Hållén and Gisela Bengtsson
Date: August 22-23, 2019.
Place: Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
Using a theoretical framework as a starting-point and defending a position within that framework often function as unspoken requirements for those who wish to be conceived of as serious and highly engaged researchers in the humanities and the social sciences today. Moreover, since the ability to predict consequences and possible results of research projects may be decisive for the possibility of attaining funding, researchers strive to gain control of the direction of their work as early as possible.
Sometimes a conflict arises, however, between the ambitions rising from such requirements and expectations and an ambition to let sincerity and engagement be principal guidelines when conducting research. Defending a certain position may even become incompatible with remaining truthful and engaged in one’s projects. An example of such a conflict is found in Wittgenstein, who likened his philosophical investigations with traveling criss-cross in every direction over a wide field of thought, and described the form of a philosophical problem with the words “I don’t know my way about” (PI Preface). His thoughts were crippled, he wrote, if he tried to force them in one single direction. His struggle to find a form of presentation, a way of writing, was connected with an ambition to keep philosophy honest and with his thought that work in philosophy is “a work on oneself. On one’s own conception.” (CV 24). So in Wittgenstein’s case, the question of philosophical method cannot be divorced from the question of finding the apt form of presentation for philosophical thought.
To deviate from accepted guidelines for how to write in research is to place oneself in a vulnerable position. It is to risk being made invisible or to stand out as insincere while struggling to retain an honest approach to the work one is engaged in. There is also a more personal aspect to writing vulnerably: it takes courage to break with norms, and it often means breaking with a way of seeing and conceptualizing that has become second nature, partly through academic training. How do I stay true to that which I write about? How do I stay open to the unexpected, allowing myself to be taken by surprise in my research? How can I avoid that the ever-present ambition of getting things under control, finding a sense of direction or finality, takes centre stage? Another aspect of vulnerability and honesty comes in when one’s academic writing is a representation of the lives of others. How can we describe the lives of others in ways that do justice to them? And how can I best reveal and communicate their situation to the reader? Can it be a merit of an academic text that it engages the reader morally, emotionally, aesthetically, as well as intellectually to feel the truth of the stories, in the way that, for example, an auto-ethnographic text aims to do? And can my personal, embodied experiences be a resource in my academic writing that strengthens, deepens and enriches my analysis of, and reflections on, that which I study?
The conference aims to elucidate the notion of vulnerable writing and the question of honesty from different perspectives, both as it is found and discussed in philosophy, and as thematized in a wide range of other disciplinary areas, for instance, ethnology, anthropology, social studies, gender studies, literary studies, rhetoric, etc..
This is the 10th annual conference organized by the Nordic Wittgenstein Society.
Abstracts of maximum 300 words should be submitted by May 10 to:
Please indicate academic field or discipline of author when submitting an abstract.
The length of presentations will be 45 minutes (including discussion):
Topics of interest for submission include, but are not limited to:
Wittgenstein’s philosophical method; the question of honesty in research; auto-ethnographic studies; the rhetoric of vulnerability; the relation between form and content in Wittgenstein’s work; the ethical implications of different ways of writing in research; representing the lives of others in academic texts; vulnerable writing and gender; the relation between writing fiction and academic writing.