Friday, May 31, 2013

New Issue: Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy

Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy
Vol 21, No 1 (2013)
on Julia Kristeva

Table of Contents

Stockholm: Going Beyond the Human through Dance (1-12)
Julia Kristeva

Kristeva’s Sadomasochistic Subject and the Sublimation of Violence (13-26)
Kelly Oliver

Julia Kristeva and the Politics of Life (27-42)
Sarah K. Hansen

Narrative Ethics and Vulnerability: Kristeva and Ricoeur on Interdependence
Elizabeth Purcell

On Kristeva's Fiction (60-82)
Benigno Trigo

Julia Kristeva's Voyage in the Thérèsian Continent: The Malady of Love and
the Enigma of an Incarnated, Shareable, Smiling Imaginary (83-104)
Maria Margaroni

Kristeva's Thérèse: Mysticism and Modernism (105-115)
Carol Mastrangelo Bové

Julia Kristeva’s The Severed Head (116-119)
Pleshette DeArmitt

Kenosis, Economy, Inscription (120-126)
Elaine Miller

Keeping it Intimate: A Meditation on the Power of Horror (127-131)
Sara Beardsworth

Hume's Correlationism: On Meillassoux, Necessity and Belief (132-160)
Paul O'Mahoney

Review Essays
Review Essay: Daniel W. Smith, Essays on Deleuze (161-172)
Kenneth Noe

Review Essay: Ann Murphy, Violence and the Philosophical Imaginary
Erinn Gilson

Review Essay: Suzanne Césaire, The Great Camouflage: Writings of Dissent
(1941-1945) (183-192)
Chike Jeffers

Book Review: Julia Kristeva, The Severed Head: Capital Visions (193-195)
Matthew R McLennan

Book Review: Tamsin Jones, A Genealogy of Marion's Philosophy of Religion:
Apparent Darkness (196-198)
N. N. Trakakis

Book Review: Benoît Peeters, Derrida: A Biography (199-204)
John Thomas Brittingham

Scott Davidson and John E. Drabinski, co-editors
Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy

New Book: What Pragmatism Was

Now available from Indiana University Press:

What Pragmatism Was
F. Thomas Burke

"An insightful reading of the similarities and differences between pragmatism as it was developed by William James and pragmatism as C. S. Peirce developed it. Identifying these two strands of pragmatism provides Burke with an analytical tool for placing pragmatism in relation to the work of Carnap, Quine, and more recent neo-pragmatists and for offering a clarification of what it means to be a pragmatist in the present world." —Scott Pratt, University of Oregon

F. Thomas Burke believes that pragmatism, especially as it has been employed in politics and social action, needs a reassessment. He examines the philosophies of William James and Charles S. Peirce to determine how certain maxims of pragmatism originated. Burke contrasts pragmatism as a certain set of beliefs or actions with pragmatism as simply a methodology. He unravels the complex history of this philosophical tradition and discusses contemporary conceptions of pragmatism found in current US political discourse and explains what this quintessentially American philosophy means today.

American Philosophy
256 pp., 7 figures
cloth 978-0-253-00954-8 $75.00
paper 978-0-253-00958-6 $25.00
ebook 978-0-253-00962-3 $20.99

More information at:

For Instructors:
If you are interested in adopting this book for course use, please see our exam copy policy:

CFP: Eastern APA Session on Mary Whiton Calkins or Women in Leadership in Philosophy or Psychology

*Call for Papers*

For a special session at the 2013 Eastern Division meeting of the APA in

On Mary Whiton Calkins (1863-1930)
OR Women in Leadership in Philosophy
OR Psychology, at the sesquicentennial of Calkins’ birth

Papers are invited on:

 . . . as a philosophical idealist.
. . . as an experimental psychologist.
. . . as a leader in the American Philosophical Association.
. . . as a leader in the American Psychological Association.
. . . as a feminist in early academic philosophy or psychology.

Women in leadership in the American Philosophical Association, past or

Women in leadership in the American Psychological Association, past or

*Deadline extended:*

Submit completed papers as Word or PDF documents (10-page maximum, standard
margins and fonts): Dorothy Rogers – – by *August
10, 2013*.****

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Conf: Philosophical Revolutions

Call for Abstracts

Experiential Learning in the Philosophy ClassroomDue date for abstracts: July 19, 2013Edited by Julinna C. Oxley, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Coastal Carolina University

The purpose of this edited collection is to articulate and examine pedagogical practices that focus on student engagement, by showcasing different models of experiential learning (such as service learning) in the discipline of Philosophy. While many university administrators praise MOOCs (massive open online courses) and distance learning courses, research on student learning reveals that students learn the most – in the sense that they acquire long-term knowledge and practical understanding – when the course involves experiential learning.  Experiential learning is a pedagogy that emphasizes student engagement outside the classroom structure, as in traditional service learning or internships, or the practical application of knowledge in a reflective, creative and rigorous way, as in collaborative projects like creating websites and videos.   Experiential learning is one of the few instructional strategies that are considered “high impact educational practices” – along with first-year seminars, learning communities, and undergraduate research.  Experiential learning enables students to apply what they are learning in a Philosophy course beyond the classroom, and thus enables them to prepare for jobs in different sectors of society. This volume will examine different methods of experiential learning currently used in Philosophy, including service learning, civic engagement, and activism. It will thus be a timely reflection on best practices for teaching Philosophy and an anticipation of the ways in which pedagogical practices will continue to evolve in the 21st century. 
 Chapter proposals may include, but are not limited to, the following types of experiential learning: ·     Internships, Service Learning and Volunteer Work·     Experiential Learning (Site Visits, Performances, Guest Speakers, Reflections)·     Political Activism and Social Change (Demonstrations or Letter-writing Campaigns)·     Community Action or Campus Project·     Creative Artifacts (a zine, pamphlet or PSA)·     Collaborative Projects such as creating websites, videos, skits, or games

Contributions from the following types of courses are desirable:
·     Lower division courses, Upper-division courses, and Graduate courses·     Internships and Capstone Seminars·     Study abroad courses

Courses may be related to any area of Philosophy: 
·     Metaphysics or Epistemology (including Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind, or Philosophy of Religion)·     Philosophy of Science (including Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of Physics or Philosophy of Mathematics)·     Ethics (Normative Ethics, Applied Ethics, Meta-Ethics) and Political Philosophy (including Philosophy of Law)·     Aesthetics·     Logic·     Feminist Philosophy·     Philosophy of Race·     History of Philosophy·     Special Topics in Philosophy

Solicited by: Lexington Books (A Division of Rowman & Littlefield) though other academic presses will be explored

Abstracts of 500-700 words should include: (1) A brief overview of the course and its learning outcomes or goals
(2) A summary of the experiential learning activity
(3) A short description of the relationship between course readings and the proposed activity
(4) Assessment tools and guidelines
(5) The outcomes of the experiential learning activity
Submission Guidelines:(1) Submission deadline for abstracts (500-700 words): July 19, 2013. Submissions should be prepared for blind-review (with author’s name and institutional affiliation appearing on a separate page) in a Word or PDF document and sent via email to: Julinna Oxley at
(2) Notification of Acceptance: September 2013.
(3) Due date for drafts of accepted papers (c. 5,000 words):  March 15, 2014.
(4) Publication date:  Fall 2014.

Inquiries regarding topics, pedagogical activities, submissions or deadlines are welcome, and should be directed to Julinna Oxley

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Naturalizing Phenomenology

My most recent project has been a French translation on French semiotics and phenomenology. The author, akin to my own project, seeks the "naturalization" of phenomenology, which is not to say the reduction of conscious phenomena to physical nature, but of establishing the continuity of nature and mind. Below I reproduce some choice passage explicating Peircean natural semiotics.

Living organisms are teleological semiotic machines
" Peirce the opposition between the non-semiotic and semiotic does not duplicate that between natural and cultural. Peirce can as a result have natural “minds” acting as final causes. To some extent, all function attached to a structure is semiotic and may serve as an interpretant. For example, the complex physical-chemical reactions constitutive of the metabolism of a biological organism are “semiotic” in this sense. In virtue of the constitutive links between structure and function, the living is a natural semiotic machine.
    Peirce thus reformulated, both semiotically and naturalistically, the question of the genesis and evolution of the complexity of forms and natural structures. In his attempt to understand the enigma of the diversification and growing complexification of organized beings, he revived in his own way the problem of morphogenic entelechies. He elucidated a new kind of critique of teleological judgment, entelechies, and the “internal purpose” as self-interpreting natural signs."

Peircean "semiotics," or the more widely known moniker "biosemiotics," is the study of existential relations that is capable of handling a processional account of time. It is absolutely basic to most work in pragmatism, yet is not well known or understood, and is probably part of the reason pragmatist metaphysics seems so bizarre to neophytes. Cultural semiotics and semantics are founded on natural signifiers? Nature is self-interpreting? Teleology as "purposefulness without purpose" (Kant) within nature itself (not Kant) and the same with entelechies (not your Momma's Aristotle)?

Philosophy Isn't Dead Yet

Far from having replaced metaphysics, science is in a mess and needs help. Einstein saw it coming

From The Guardian.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Chained Eyes, Fettered Thought

Some people believe with their eyes. Some people believe with their thoughts. For those who see their truths, only experience is real, and they are easily mislead through a puppetry or performance, for they trust their discernment too much. Chained to unconscious habits. For those who think their truths, experience is a stage for ideas, yet thoughts can be as scripted as any theater. Fettered to ideologies, only in this case consciousness of the bonds does little good.

I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what motivates people, perhaps because I don't "get it." Precisely what I do not get is the gestalt when an individual or a group shifts from the dominance of unconscious habits to conscious ideologies. No one, and of course including myself, is immune from this. Perhaps what surprises me most of all is the multitude that thinks that they are nothing other than the story that they tell themselves, i.e., that the self-given narrative of their lives is truly who they are despite their deeds seen from another perspective. But it makes sense, as divesting oneself of a treasured narrative identity is fundamentally traumatic, something which we are psychologically primed not to do. Yet the alternative is either sensual or cognitive slavery.

Conference: Why Process Philosophy

Why Process Philosophy?
May 29, 2013
11:00am - 12:30pm
Location: Craig 110, CST
with Jay Nahm
Sponsored by Korea Project of CPS

Don't live near Claremont? Then watch this event streamed live at:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

White Dudes -- Am I Right? (Reblogged)

This morning, I posted a series of tweets mocking The New Atheism. It was probably inevitable, then, that I got embroiled in a long discussion with a white dude who was very concerned to clarify that they’re not all like that. And I’m sure they’re not — but I was instantly reminded of the many discussions of race where the white dudes in the room were in an absolute panic to make sure that the conversation could not move forward until everyone posited that they personally were totally innocent of racism.

And this response is natural, because every white dude is a unique snowflake. They cannot be lumped together with any group or trend. To the extent that a white dude is associated with a group or trend, he gets to define its meaning unilaterally — so for instance, The New Atheism is not intrinsically imperialist because he personally is not an imperialist. Every white dude is entitled to total self-definition, and anyone who perceives him differently from how he wants to be perceived is committing an injustice against his personhood. Isn’t the person who presumes a white dude is racist, for instance, perilously close to the logic of racism? After all, what is racism but the making of generalizations — and hence, can we conclude anything but that generalizations are inherently racist? If I made any generalization about black people, for instance, you’d be jumping down my throat! But here you are claiming that all white dudes tend to be defensive, and are you any better?

I want to tell you a little story. Once I was on a crowded train. I observed that there was a family scattered across several seats near me, some closer to the door and some more distant, and it so happened that they were getting off at the same stop as me. Out of politeness, I waited for all of them to get off the train before proceeding to the door myself, so that they could keep their group together. When I got up, I wound up stepping in front of a young black man. He became offended and pushed past me, accusing me of racism because I had let the white family go ahead of me but felt entitled to cut in front of him.

The white dude in me was crying out — I’m not a racist! I had a perfectly justifiable reason to do what I did! I didn’t even notice who was behind me when I got up! Yet there was something else there as well, something that had developed during my years of living in a diverse community in grad school, something that said: Let it go. If he sees me as an entitled white dude, that’s fair enough. I really do look like that. I get so many advantages from looking how I look that I should put up with it on those extremely rare occasions where it proves disadvantageous as well.

I don’t want to put myself forward as a hero or an example. All I want to suggest is that being a white dude might be a least partially curable. The first step is admitting that you have a problem.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Foibles of French Translation

I have been translating a philosophical article in French on semiotics off-and-on for the last few months, and in the process had the following thought about academic American English vs. Parisian French style, especially as regards prepositions and relative pronouns.

In contemporary academic English, pronoun use is like plumbing. One connects just the right pronoun to just the right verb or noun, where each kind of connection serves a notably different purpose. Meaning flows through the verb+preposition or noun+preposition in directed streams, and good use of relative pronouns and prepositions allows an author to direct attention as well as logical and semantic structures at the level of grammar.

Yet in my experience of recent academic French, especially translation, pronoun use feels like directing traffic. Yes, grammatically French is far more restrictive than English, but in reading and written translation it feels like the rules are rigidly directing traffic while it is up to the reader to navigate the semantic terrain. That is, despite the stricter grammar, I feel the ambiguity and perhaps freedom of French in a way that I do not in English.

As a caveat, while I have some limited immersive experience in Quebecois French, most of my lengthy experience in the French language has been either in a classroom or in translation, and thus my perceptions may be very idiosyncratic. It may be entirely due to the wide differential in my abilities with both languages, but I still find the thought intriguing. 

In a parting thought, years ago my studies of French altered how I write in English, as I returned to writing in clausal structures that haven't been common in English since the Victorian era, yet much more closely match French structures. Specifically, I began using more relative pronoun and preposition combinations for clauses, whereas contemporary English prefers appositive phrases or adverbial phrases functioning as adjectival phrases. I dislike that development in English, for while it is easier to skim, the grammar obscurs the logical and clausal structure of a sentence. That is, adverbial-adjectival phrases and appositive phrases are not grammatically connected with the rest of the sentence, though they must be semantically connected, yet semantic connection is usually not strong enough to support the causal and logical. I might comment later with an example, as I have grown so used to doing without appositive phrases that I cannot think of a good example....

CFP: ARPA 2013: Pragmatism, Naturalism, and Moral Objectivity

ARPA 2013 Annual Meeting

Pragmatism, Naturalism, and Moral Objectivity

Dalhousie University  October 4-5, 2013

(download a PDF of the Call for Abstracts here)

Keynote Address by Philip Kitcher: “Rethinking Ethics”

Kitcher JPEG

 Philip Kitcher was born in 1947 in London (U.K.).   He received his B.A. from Cambridge University and his Ph.D. from Princeton.   He has taught at several American Universities, and is currently John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia.   He is the author of books on topics ranging from the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of biology, the growth of science, the role of science in society, naturalistic ethics, Wagner’s Ring and Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.   He has been President of the American Philosophical Association (Pacific Division) and Editor-in-Chief of Philosophy of Science.   A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was also the first recipient of the Prometheus Prize, awarded by the American Philosophical Association for work in expanding the frontiers of Science and Philosophy.    He has been named a “Friend of Darwin” by the National Committee on Science Education, and received a Lannan Foundation Notable Book Award for Living With Darwin.     In 2011, two new books were published: Science in a Democratic Society (Prometheus Books) and The Ethical Project (Harvard University Press).    During 2011-12, he was a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, where he was partially supported by a prize from the Humboldt Foundation.  His collection of essays, Preludes to Pragmatism, was published in September 2012 by Oxford University Press, and Deaths in Venice: The Cases of Gustav von Aschenbach will appear from Columbia University Press in 2013.  You can visit his personal website here.


Papers in any area or tradition of philosophy are welcome.  Papers relating to the theme of the conference are especially encouraged.  Please e-mail abstracts of 200-250 words, prepared for anonymous review, to:  Include your name, contact information, institutional affiliation, as well as a (short) title in the body of your email.  The deadline for receiving submissions is July 31, 2013.
Please email with any questions.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Conference on Dewey in France

le 17 mai 2013
vendredi 17 mai 2013 à partir de 14h
Conférence organisée par l'Institut de recherches philosophiques de Lyon (IRPhiL), l'ENS Lyon et la Faculté de Philosophie de Lyon 3.
Conférence DeweyOrganisation :Claude Gautier (ENS de Lyon) et Stéphane Madelrieux(Université Jean Moulin - Lyon 3)


14h : Louis Quéré (EHESS)
"Pourquoi Dewey n'a pas besoin d'une théorie critique ?"

15h30 : pause

16h : Raymond D. Boisvert (Siena College)
"Dewey : l’enjeu non-moderne d’un pluraliste radical"

Contact :

Nazaré Marques
IRPhiL EA 4187 - Institut de Recherches Philosophiques de Lyon,
Université Jean Moulin - Lyon 3
18 rue Chevreul - 69007 Lyon
Tél. : 04 78 78 73 94 - Fax : 04 78 78 72 27 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Sexualization of Male Agency

Recently, I had an excellent discussion of sexual objectification in an ethics course. However, I was concerned about the way in which my students—especially my female ones—insisted that anyone who “dressed like a ho” was denigrating themselves. My concern was the cultural and historic tone-deafness in which these claims were made. To try to get them to pause and reflect, I told them that by the standards of my youth in the 1980s, the typical dress of contemporary young women is scandalous. The implication was, though I am not sure anyone got it, that those who were decrying the other women were in fact in violation themselves. Hence, I tried to get them to move beyond drawing lines given whatever current beliefs they had. I failed, I believe, but at least one of my male students make a funny comment about male sexual objectification and “crotch rockets” (not referring to motorcycles), and thus I would turn to male sexual objectification, which is much less discussed in contemporary American culture.

While there is much fuss over the hyper-sexualization of the female body in American culture, there is not enough discussion of the sexualization of male desire and agency. While one can rarely watch a commercial without a female sex object implicitly hawking wares, rarely does the public consciousness note that such marketing treats men as dumb brutes largely subsumed by the power of sexualization and gendering. Should we really conceive of masculinity as wholly beholden to any seduction that fulfills heterosexual male fantasies?

In all the public discussion of the hyper-sexualization of the female body, where is the discussion of such for male desire and critical intelligence? In fact, while the female submission to male fantasies, becoming a sex object, is publically considered “bad” or at least ambivalent, the male submission to these heterosexual fantasies is meet with knowing glances, fist bumps, and backslapping.

I long for a resistance to the sexualization of male desire and agency.