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1st of May - Humility and Terrorism.jpg

1st of May, 2019 (5pm-7pm)


[S 0.11 – Social Sciences Building, University of Warwick]

Intellectual humility requires a willingness to acknowledge and take ownership of one’s intellectual limitations. These limitations include gaps in knowledge. Owning limitations that result from wilful ignorance is false rather than genuine intellectual humility. Other forms of false humility include owning gaps in our knowledge that do not exist or that can easily be closed. In these terms, some accounts of our supposedly limited knowledge of the root causes and motives of terrorism are expressions of false humility. False humility is especially prevalent in relation to ‘new terrorism’, whose Middle Eastern practitioners are assumed to be irrational, implacable and unknowable.


The representation of terrorism and terrorists as beyond rational comprehension is a form of ‘othering’. The othering of terrorism is rooted in what Edward Said describes as the Orientalist myth of the alien and fundamentally irrational Orient. There are strong empirical and conceptual objections to this approach. True intellectual humility in terrorism studies means recognising the inability of general models of terrorism to explain why some people but not others in the same situation resort to terrorism.


critiques of security.jpg

21st of March, 2019 (4pm-7.30pm)


[S 2.81 – Social Sciences Building, University of Warwick]


The aim of Philosophy and the Critiques of Security –  a working group organized as part of a ‘Philosophy in a Time of Crisis’ [] -  will be to explore, compare and create a dialogue between several theoretical and philosophical sources of “security critique”: a term by which we may refer to the complex nexus of critical reflections on and against the increasingly important role played by ‘security’ - as a politico-legal concept and as a technology of power - in modern (neo)liberal societies. In particular, the workshop will explore lines of divergence and convergence across different critiques of liberal security,  including those emerging from the work of Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Evgeny Pahukanis, Carl Schmitt, Michel Foucault, Paul Virilio and Giorgio Agamben.

Despite the exponential growth of ‘security studies’ - and the many fundamental critical works currently available –  this may be the first collective work bringing together multiple critical traditions with the explicit aim of: reflecting the multiple forms taken by ‘security’ and by the ‘critique of security’ since the nineteenth century; exploring the lines of convergence and divergence that compose the foundational theoretical landscape on which ‘critical security studies’ is currently growing as a discipline; reconstruct the multi-dimensional nature of ‘liberal security’ through the mobilization of different optico-theoretical perspectives and parallax views.


Confirmed participants: Miguel Beistegui (University of Warwick), Arthur Bradley (Lancaster University), Antonio Cerella (Kingston University), Oliver Davis (University of Warwick), Michael Dillon (Lancaster University), Jean-Francois Drolet (Queen Mary University), Tor Krever (University of Warwick), Amedeo Policante (University of Warwick), Martina Tazzioli (Swansea University).

Circulation and Hospitality as Fundamental Rights
February 11, 2019 - 6pm to 8pm - University of Warwick, Social Sciences Lecture Hall (S0.21)


As migrants and refugees are subjected to extreme violence in their attempts at crossing borders to reach a more livable place, a fundamental reflection is needed to update the concepts which frame mankind’s treatment of its own mobility. This includes a critical return on the question of the “law of population” of capitalism, but also a juridical elaboration of the rights of circulation and hospitality which articulate territory, citizenship, and community. At stake, ultimately, is a political transformation of the world into a place where everyone can live a decent life.


Etienne Balibar is Emeritus Professor at Paris X Nanterre and Anniversary Chair of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London. He is an internationally recognized political philosopher and critical thinker, a leading voice in the Marxist tradition, and the author of ‘The Philosophy of Marx’, ‘Spinoza and Politics’, ‘We, the People of Europe?’, ‘Identity and Difference’, ‘Violence and Civility’, ‘Citizen Subject’ and co-author of Race, Nation and Class’ (with Immanuel Wallerstein) and ‘Reading Capital’ (with Louis Althusser). In these, and many other seminal works, he has addressed fundamental questions such as racism, the notion of the border, whether a European citizenship is possible or desirable, violence, identity and emancipation.

On The Margins of European Philosophy
May 21, 2018 at 11am - London School of Economics: "The Thai Theatre” - New Academic Building (Lincolns Inn Fields)


Robert Bernasconi, Giuseppe Bianco, Lucie Mercier, Simon Glendinning


What is the relationship between philosophy and the border? And then: What are the limits of philosophy? Who decides on the inclusion/exclusion of specific discourses and knowledges into the canon of this academic discipline? How does philosophy continously (re-)trace and police its own margins? What is the status of those questions, knowledges and methods who are marginalized and delivered outside the pure land of philosophical criticism?


These are some of the questions that will animate the PTC roundtable "On the Margins of Philosophy", which will take place starting from 11am on the 21st of May, 2018 at the London School of Economics (New Academic Building Lincolns Inn Fields, The Thai Theatre).






[11.15-12.15] GIUSEPPE BIANCO

“From the free thinker to the salaried philosopher. Creating ‘philosophy’ and defending its borders during the long 19th Century”.


Despite the absence of an agreement concerning the epistemological status, aims and method proper to their discipline, since the 19th century, European knowledge-producers occupying academic chairs of philosophy had been treating this term, “philosophy,” as a rigid designator. Nonetheless, whenever they had to give a definition valid for all the texts treated as “philosophy,” they started playing the shell game, constantly oscillating between two ideas: on the one hand a regional science, on the other hand, the totality of the open territory of knowledge. This is the reason why, after the end of both the imperialist projects of German absolute idealism and French eclectic spiritualism, European philosophers presented their erudite practice of knowledge-production both as going through an identity crisis and as the very practice of provoking crisis.



[12.15-13.15] LUCIE MERCIER

Exemplarity', 'Authority' and the Boundaries of the Philosophical.


To think the boundaries of 'European philosophy' means taking into account both its 'external' and 'internal' limits: not only its institutional and political conditions of possibility but also the way it relates to its own history, canon and generalisation process. To create more 'inclusive' curricula can only be a temporary, and limited response to a set of  dynamics that are yet to be accounted for in their complexity. Focusing on such internal limits, I will put forward  'exemplarity' and 'authority' as sites of particularly difficult, but also productive conflict around philosophy today. I will conclude by reflecting on some of the counter-strategies that have been developped to critically expand these boundaries.




How Marginal is Racism to the History of Modern European Philosophy?

The border between philosophy and religion is still policed; it has been since the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when the philosophical canon that is still largely in place in the West today was established. At that time much that had previously been attributed to philosophy was reclassified as religion as part of what appears to have been a concerted effort to identify philosophy as exclusively Western. But there are other ways in which the way that philosophy is still presented in the Universities today can be seen as racist. It can be seen in the way that the racism of past philosophers is often without adequate investigation dismissed as somehow marginal to their thought or as a relatively innocent product of the times in which they lived. Given that we live in a time when around the world the statues of imperialists, slave owners, and American civil war generals are being toppled, it is time to ask why so many philosophers in the academy seem so reluctant to reassess the canon they inherited?





Robert Bernasconi is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy and African American Studies at Penn State University. He is the editor of the journal Critical Philosophy of Race and the author of How to Read Sartre, Heidegger in Question and The Question of Language in Heidegger's History of Being. Moreover, he has edited several anthologies on race and a collection of essays on the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. [Title of the intervention: How Marginal is European Philosophy's Racism?].


Giuseppe Bianco is a researcher at the Universidade de Sao Paulo and at the EHESS. He is the author of Après Bergson. Portrait de groupe avec philosophe. He has also edited La signification du concret. Philosophie et psychologie chez Georges Politzer and The Care of Life (with M. De Beistegui and M. Gracieuse). [Title of the intervention: “From the free thinker to the salaried philosopher. Creating ‘philosophy’ and defending its borders during the long 19th Century”].


Lucie Mercier is Early Career Researcher in Philosophy at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) at Kingston University. Her doctoral dissertation, titled 'The Inside Passage: Translation as Method and Relation in Serres and Benjamin' focused on the concept and philosophy of translation. Currently, she is working on a a new research project investigating the 'crisis of reference' in 1960s French structuralism and at the conflictual threshold between philosophy, race and decolonisation.





Simon Glendinning is Professor of European Philosophy at the London School of Economics. He published widely on continental philosophy and its margins. He is the author of In the Name of Phenomenology (2007) and Author, The Idea of Continental Philosophy (2006). He is also the director of the Forum for European Philosophy.




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