The Many Faces of Contemporary Phenomenology: Heresies or Roads to Renewal ?

Call for Papers / Appel à contributions

The Department of Contemporary Philosophy (University of Gdańsk, Poland)

A Topography of Heresies or the Road to Renewal? The Many Faces of Contemporary Phenomenology
26–27 June, 2014

Keynote speakers:

  • George Heffernan (Merrimack College)
  • Jean Leclercq (Université Catholique de Louvain)
  • Andrzej Przyłębski (Adam Mickiewicz University)
  • Nicolas de Warren (KU Leuven)

Please send paper proposals, including titles and abstracts, up to 2,000 characters, BY THE DEADLINE OF MARCH 3, 2014, TO Chair of the Organizing Committee: Dr. Witold Płotka

The main idea for the conference A Topography of Heresies or the Road to Renewal? The Many Faces of Contemporary Phenomenology stems from a recognition of the paradox that today the many applications of phenomenology — from classical theory of knowledge and metaphysical inquiry to increasingly popular studies in cognitive science, philosophy of mind, and hermeneutics, as well as, beyond philosophy, to mathematics, architecture, and medicine — represent diverse conceptions of how to do phenomenology, while some of these conceptions exceed the limits of phenomenology as demarcated by Edmund Husserl.

Paul Ricoeur already claimed that one has to understand the history of the phenomenological movement as the history of Husserlian heresies (A l’école de la phénoménologie, pp. 9, 182). Consequently, more than 100 hundred years after the publication of Ideas I, we propose to repose the perennial question about the contemporary significance of phenomenology. What is the most important heritage of Husserl’s phenomenology for contemporary philosophy? Does phenomenology today present a consistent and unified philosophy? Or does it rather represent a robust mosaic, inviting but confusing, of different, heteronymous ‘games’? Should we understand contemporary phenomenology as a series of heresies, or can we rather observe a genuine renewal of classical phenomenology in it? Within the horizon of more than a century of development in the phenomenological movement, we know that such thinkers as Max Scheler, Martin Heidegger, Emmanuel Levinas, Roman Ingarden, Jacques Derrida, Hermann Schmitz, and Michel Henry have questioned the adequacy not only of some of Husserl’s key positions and arguments, but also — and above all — his very idea of phenomenology in general, calling for a new phenomenology.

With all this in mind, we propose to consider such questions as the following: Does cognitive science accept any phenomena as described by Husserl’s phenomenology? How does phenomenology adapt in the face of other ways of philosophizing, e.g., Neokantianism, philosophy of dialogue, French existentialisme and German Existenzphilosophie, and hermeneutics? What about the impact of phenomenology on philosophy of mind and vice versa? What aims should the application of a phenomenological method have in analytical philosophy or in contemporary pragmatism? How about its application to art, music, literature, and even to digital technology? Are there any limits to the application of a phenomenological method? Do the many different ways of doing phenomenology retain any methodological consistency? Is it possible to do phenomenology “correctly” and to exceed the limits of the philosophies of Husserl, Heidegger, Scheler, and Ingarden — to name only a few of the classical phenomenologists? Finally, can we say that today we have one phenomenology, or do we rather face many phenomenologies? The primary and ultimate aim of the conference is to achieve clarity about the place of phenomenology in contemporary philosophy.

Proposals in English, German, and French are welcome.

  • Proposals will be evaluated in a process of blind peer-review.
  • No registration fee is required.
  • The organizers provide conference materials, a reception, and coffee breaks.
  • The time limits for speakers are: 30 minutes for presentation + 10 minutes for discussion.
  • We invite both senior researchers and graduate students.

The organizers plan to publish the conference proceedings.

Download the call for paper