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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 tofabio.sulpizio@unisalento.it 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.

Organizers:

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)