Monthly Archives: November 2007

Northwestern: 2nd SETPP Conference Call for Papers

Northwestern SETPP: 15-17 May 2008 | CFP: 15 February 2008

Via Douglas Portmore at PEA Soup:

The Northwestern Society for Ethical Theory and Political Philosophy will hold its second annual conference from 15-17 May 2008. David Velleman and Susan Wolf are the keynote speakers. Submissions from faculty and graduate students are due by 15 February 2008. Here’s the flyer.

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Teaching Nietzsche

I am teaching Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil) for the first time this term, and I have run into some puzzles I am hoping some of the more experienced Nietzsche scholars on this list can help me work through. The points are two; these have come out in class discussions and I’ve been uncertain how to respond. I’ll put them as tendentiously, contentiously, and ignorantly as I can, and plan on backtracking as quickly as I can once knowledge is imposed upon me.

1. Nietzsche seems to suggest contradictory things as to what sort of social arrangements his view would prescribe (if it would prescribe anything; more on this next). On the one hand, he indicates that the oppression of the “free spirits” by the moral codes of the herd (“one long coercion”) are necessary for the development and fruition of the greatness of spirit and exfoliation of the will to power in those spirits. On the other hand, he also indicates that hierarchical societies — with abundant sacrifice of the lower forms of human life for the sake of the development of the higher forms — are a precondition for the highest development of the type “human being.” These seem like contradictory prescriptions. The best I can do with them is to think that his view is analogous to Marx’s on the communist revolution. The idea in that case is that capitalist societies overproduce to a point at which, after the revolution, the superabundance of material goods “launches” the new communist arrangements successfully. Here, the idea would be that the “long coercion” does likewise for the development of free spirits or “philosophers of tomorrow” — in effect the hierarchical societies would build on the obstructive “capital” of the long period of “rule of the rabble” under the usual run of moral codes. Beyond this, I am stuck. read more...

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Samuel Scheffler on “Immigration and the Significance of Culture”

In our political philosophy reading group yesterday, we read Samuel Scheffler’s new essay “Immigration and the Significance of Culture” published in Philosophy & Public Affairs 35(2) (2007). It can be downloaded here.

There was quite a lot that colleagues objected to in the essay, but a major worry concerns a summary of his views at the end of his essay. Scheffler says:


“….The implication of my argument, then, is not that all of the political claims advanced under the heading of cultural rights or cultural preservation should automatically be dismissed, but rather that those claims should be redescribed in such a way as to make clear the values, ideals, and principles that are at stake. Ver often, I believe, these will turn out to be moral, religious, or philosophical values or ideals, so that the appeal to cultural will turn out to have been redundant … it may in some cases turn out that there was really no value at all at stake, and that the appeal to culture was sheer bluff: that it was simply an appeal to the brute fact that some people behave in a certain way, which by itself has no normative force….” (p. 124). read more...

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Twin Cities: Grad Conference Call for Papers

Minnesota: 29 February-1 March 2008 | CFP: 10 December 2007

A third graduate conference CFP coming up soon: “Philosophy of Ice,” hosted by the graduate students of philosophy at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, from 29 February to 1 March 2008. Keynote speaker is J. David Velleman. CFP deadline is 10 December 2007. Here’s the flyer.

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Fordham: Grad Conference Call for Papers

Fordham: 11-13 April 2008 | CFP: 1 December 2007

Another conference for graduate students, this time at Fordham University in the Bronx, from 11-13 April 2008. The topic is “Cosmopolitanism in Philosophical Contexts”; the keynote speaker is Yale’s Seyla Benhabib and the plenary speaker is Fordham’s John Davenport. Papers or abstracts should be emailed by 1 December 2007. Here’s the flyer.

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Princeton: Grad Conference Call for Papers

Princeton: 11-12 April 2008 | CFP: 15 December 2007

This is one I’ve been meaning to post for a while. The Graduate Conference in Political Theory at Princeton will take place from 11-12 April 2007. The deadline for papers is 15 December 2007, and these should be submitted via a submission form.

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