Warwick Continental Philosophy Conference 2021/2022
Continental Philosophy and Global Challenges
Historical perspectives through practical engagements
09-11 June 2022
University of Warwick (UK)
Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick
Coventry, United Kingdom
Prof. Bernard Harcourt (Columbia Law School)
Dr Elena Louisa Lange (University of Zurich)
Call for Abstracts
The aim of the fourth edition of the WCPC is to explore the ways in which continental philosophy has addressed and continues to address ‘global challenges’ – a term we use to indicate phenomena that can be described as problems affecting the entire globe and concerning the whole of humanity as well as non-human agents. More specifically, we aim to interrogate the kind of temporality that underlies the notion of global challenges both in philosophical reflection and in ensuing political practices.
In speaking of the temporality of such a concept, we are specifically thinking about the drive to address worldwide issues only as concluded events, in the aftermaths of which we live – a drive we could argue to be widespread, as the concepts of post-neoliberalism, post-fascism, or post-democracy suggest. The attitude some countries have towards the Covid emergency is another striking example. The local response to the pandemic, for instance, has seen the UK government advising (until a few weeks ago) that we were living in a post-Covid era; despite many of us feeling that the pandemic was and is far from being over, we were encouraged to act as if the contrary was the case.
Whilst treating challenges of global importance as past events might seem to promise an easier way to think about them, such an approach may harbour a fundamental responsibility for the difficulties we encounter when we try to come to terms with more temporarily extended events, such as climate change or, as suggested above, the covid pandemic. Further, we are compelled to interrogate whether philosophy can understand an event only when it is over (as the Hegelian image of the owl of Minerva seems to suggest), when it is vanquishing (capturing an idea only at the moment of its disappearance, as Benjamin indicates with his analysis of the aura), or if it can aspire to understand its own time and challenges whilst they are still happening.
In questioning this temporalisation of global challenges, we thus primarily intend to highlight the ways in which traditional approaches might have: i) prevented the development of potential solutions; ii) foreclosed alternative conceptual frameworks that could promise more effective practices. This suggests that it is worth exploring the historical sense that grounds different practices aimed at responding to global challenges, and even examining whether a clear perspective on the nature of these events is required in order to act on reality.
We are particularly interested in looking beyond Western perspectives to develop an understanding of the global nature of these challenges. In light of this problematisation, some of the questions we want to engage with in the fourth edition of WCPC are:
Can philosophy only give sense to global challenges when living in their aftermath, or can it conceptualise them in their midst, and point out possible ways forward?
Can the continental tradition provide us with still-relevant reflections on the place that philosophy can assume in the unfolding of history?
How have the continental philosophers of the past addressed the global challenges of their time; did they, implicitly or explicitly, assume a stance regarding the role of philosophy with respect to these events?
How do contemporary thinkers belonging to this tradition answer these questions and/or conceptualise the historical nature of our global challenges?
What kind of practices are enabled by certain approaches to the temporal nature of global challenges, and what are interdicted?
Is an historical sense required for philosophy to come out of itself and transform the world?
Submitted abstracts should be approximately 500-800 words long. Abstracts must be written in English, and should be sent to the WCPC committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use “Abstract, [your name]” as the subject of your email. In the text of the email, please include 1) the title of your paper, 2) your institutional affiliation, and 3) your preferred email contact address. Please exclude any identifying information from the abstract itself.
The deadline for abstract submission is the 12th of February 2022.
We will be asking the speakers to pre-circulate their papers and provide, during their speaking slot, a short 5-minute introduction, which will be followed by 25 minutes of questions and discussions (maximum). This means that, if your abstract is accepted, we will require you to send us a 3000-word paper in advance and no later than on 13th of May 2022.
Your paper will be shared with other speakers and conference participants, and conference discussions will be based on the submitted version.
We particularly encourage submissions by philosophers from groups who are underrepresented in the discipline.
Summary of Dates
12th of February 2022 – deadline for abstract submission
13th of May 2022 – deadline for the submission of conference papers (3000 words)
9th – 11th of June 2022 – conference dates
This conference is made possible by generous funding provided by the University of Warwick Philosophy Department, British Society for the History of Philosophy and The Mind Association. It is an annual event within The Centre for Research in Post-Kantian European Philosophy (University of Warwick). The conference is organised in compliance with the BPA/SWIP guidelines for accessible conferences, the BPA/SWIP good practice scheme for gender equality, and the BPA Environmental Travel Scheme. Further details regarding the conference, registration, and travelling to the University of Warwick can be found on the official conference website.