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Date: March 17, 2021

CFP: Conference - Stanley Cavell: A Retrospective


Conference - Stanley Cavell: A Retrospective

Vita-Salute San Raffaele University

Milan, September 23th - 24th 2021

Organizing institutions:

Department of Philosophy of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University of Milan; Triennale di Milano.


Raffaele Ariano (Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele di Milano), Leonardo Caffo (NABA - Nuova accademia di belle arti di Milano; Fondazione Triennale di Milano).

Confirmed speakers:

Sandra Laugier – Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (keynote)

Stephen Mulhall – University of Oxford (keynote)

Piergiorgio Donatelli – Università degli Studi “La Sapienza” di Roma

Viktor Johansson – Södertörn University Stockholm

Franco La Cecla – NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti di Milano

Davide Sparti – Università di Siena

Domenico Spinosa – Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera

Catherine Wheatley – King’s College London


Two years have passed since his death, and Stanley Cavell’s figure keeps growing in stature for philosophy, the humanities and the humanistic social sciences of our time. Courses and conferences devoted to his work have been and are being held regularly in universities all over the globe, while the amount of scholarly work on him shows no sign of diminishing. It is not only that few recent thinkers can count within their oeuvre masterworks of the importance of The Claim of Reason and The World Viewed. It is not even just the breadth of his research interests – encompassing topics as varied as Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Shakespeare, film, democracy, education and literature, to name just a few – that makes Cavell’s production so significant. It is his capacity to delve deeply into the technical debates of academic philosophy and humanities whilst, at the same time, attaining a truly distinctive voice. His prominence is due not only to his work as a scholar, but also as a writer and intellectual. For such reasons, Cavell invites us to problematize and reinvent philosophy in a manner important to our academic institutions as well as our society at large.

Vita-Salute San Raffaele University of Milan, in partnership with the art and design museum Triennale di Milano, will host a two-day interdisciplinary international conference on Cavell’s philosophy and figure. The call for papers encourages a variety of approaches and contributions, addressing scholars in the fields of history of philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, political theory and philosophy of language, as well as those working in film studies, comparative literature, North American studies, gender studies, visual and cultural studies, intellectual history and history of ideas. The aim of the conference will be not only to deepen the present understanding of Cavell’s thought through the analysis and interpretation of specific aspects of his production, but also to open new lines of interaction with other thinkers and topics both within and beyond the academic study of philosophy.

The conference will be structured around thematic sessions.

Topics of interest for submission include, but are not limited to:

America and transcendentalism: Emerson, Thoreau and beyond.
Inheriting a method? Cavell’s Austin.
Inheriting a method? A therapeutic reading of Wittgenstein.
Wittgenstein, criteria and skepticism.
Parallels and contrasts: Cavell’s reading of Heidegger, Lévinas, Rawls, Derrida…
Voices and styles: Cavell vs romanticism, pragmatism, ordinary language philosophy, deconstruction, post-modernism, etc.
Cavell and psychoanalysis
Cavell’s theory of modernism in music, theater, and the visual arts.
Cavell’s Shakespeare between skepticism, tragedy and comedy.
Cavell and film studies (ontology and realism, genre, ethics, television, close-analysis of individual films, etc.)
Cavell and gender studies
Philosophy and education.
Ethics and politics (perfectionism, agreement, giving reasons, rules and foundations, etc.)
“Analytic” and “continental”: past, present, and future of a (supposed) divide.
Please send your proposals (max. 300 words) and a short bio (max. 150 words) to by May 1, 2021

Between Weil and Wittgenstein: Connections and Comparisons in Philosophy, Religion, and Ethics

There are many parallels between the thinkers Simone Weil and Ludwig Wittgenstein. They each lived in a tense relationship with religion, with both being estranged from their cultural Jewish ancestry, and both being tempted at various times by the teachings of Catholicism. They both underwent a profound and transformative mystical turn early into their careers. Both operated against the backdrop of escalating global conflict in the early 20th century. Both were concerned, amongst other things, with questions of culture, ethics, aesthetics, epistemology, science, and necessity. And, perhaps most notably, they both sought to radically embody their ideas and physically ‘live’ their philosophies. 
Yet despite this, there exists no systematic attempt in the literature to chart the connections, contrasts, and comparisons between these two profoundly influential thinkers. This anthology proposes to fill this gap in the literature, by collating a series of essays that track the relationship between the two, their thought, and any potential areas of meaningful overlap and communication between them. It is hoped that doing so may help cast a clarifying light over the work of two of the most enigmatic philosophers of the 20th century, as well as providing a rich resource for approaching the issues discussed by both thinkers from a fresh perspective.
This anthology is accepting abstracts on any of the topics mentioned above, and any further topics that may be of philosophical, ethical, or theological interest. Abstracts should be 500 words, and should be sent with a 50 word biography to , under the topic ‘Wittgenstein and Weil’. Deadline for abstract submission is June 30th 2021. 

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