The Third Georg Henrik von Wright Lecture: Professor Cora Diamond, “Von Wright on Wittgenstein in Relation to His Times”, May 18th 2016, Helsinki


Venue: University of Helsinki, Main building/Small Hall (Pieni juhlasali\Lilla festsalen), Fabianinkatu 33, 4th floor, May 18th 2016, 17.00-19.00 (5-7 pm). 



Von Wright was profoundly interested in Wittgenstein’s attitude to his times, and in how that attitude was related to his philosophy.  Professor Diamond’s lecture picks up themes from von Wright’s discussion of these issues, and brings out the importance of the deep conflict within Wittgenstein’s conception of philosophy in the Tractatus. An understanding of that conflict enables us to see both constancy and change in Wittgenstein’s attitude to his times. 


Professor Cora Diamond

Cora Diamond is University Professor and Kenan Professor of Philosophy, emerita at the University of Virginia. She is the author of The Realistic Spirit: Wittgenstein, Philosophy, and the Mind and the editor of Wittgenstein's Lectures on the Foundations of Mathematics, Cambridge, 1939, and has written numerous papers on topics in philosophy of language and ethics, and on the work of Wittgenstein and Frege.


The Georg Henrik von Wright Lecture 

The Georg Henrik von Wright Lecture is funded by a donation to the University of Helsinki made by the von Wright family 2013. It is intended as a recurring event with the purpose of promoting research and debate relating to the philosophical work of the Finnish philosopher Georg Henrik von Wright (1916–2003).

Additional information is provided by Bernt Österman, curator of the von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Helsinki (WWA).

Bernt.Osterman at

For other events of the von Wright centennial year, see

VIII Jaakko Suolahti -luento torstaina 31.3.2016


50-vuotisjuhlavuottaan viettävä Suomen Oppihistoriallinen Seura järjestää VIII Jaakko Suolahti -luennon Seuran ensimmäisen puheenjohtajan, yleisen historian professori Jaakko Suolahden (1918–1987) kunniaksi torstaina 31. maaliskuuta 2016 kello 17:00 Säätytalossa, sali 15 (Snellmaninkatu 9–11).


Cambridgen yliopiston tieteenhistorian ja -filosofian Hans Rausing -professori Hasok Chang luennoi aiheesta ”Putting Science back into History of Science”.



A renowned philosopher, professor Michael Devitt (City University of New York) will give a talk: "Justifying Scientific Realism". Mon 14.9.2015 14.15-16.00 Pinni B4115

The second Georg Henrik von Wright Lecture: Professor Jaakko Hintikka on “The Logical Problems of Induction”, May 20th 2015, Helsinki

Venue: University of Helsinki, Main building/Small Hall (Pieni juhlasali\Lilla festsalen),

Fabianinkatu 33, 4th floor, May 20th 2015, 16-18 (4-6 pm). 

live stream:


“I have often thought that to have reared one such pupil is reward enough for a whole career as an academic teacher”. (G.H. von Wright about Jaakko Hintikka).


Professor Jaakko Hintikka

Jaakko Hintikka has been professor of philosophy at Boston University and the University of Helsinki. He was a student of  G.H. von Wright in the late 1940s and the early 1950s. Hintikka has done pioneering work in mathematical logic, philosophical logic, the philosophy of mathematics, epistemology, the philosophy of language, the philosophy of science and the history of philosophy, and published over 30 books. He is also known as the inventor of possible-worlds semantics and independence friendly (IF) logic. Besides G.H. von Wright Jaakko Hintikka is the only Nordic philosopher who has been honoured with a volume in the Library of Living Philosophers series.

In his lecture Professor Hintikka revisites the subject of G.H. von Wright’s dissertation from 1941 by discussing what he sees as the true logical problem of induction,  to understand the nature of the orderliness of the world that is required by inductive reasoning – an enterprise to which significant contributions have been made by Finnish thinkers, including G.H. von Wright, his students and their students.


The Georg Henrik von Wright Lecture

The Georg Henrik von Wright Lecture is funded by a donation to the University of Helsinki made by the von Wright family 2013. It is intended as a recurring event with the purpose of promoting research and debate relating to the philosophical work of the Finnish philosopher Georg Henrik von Wright (1916–2003).

Additional information is provided by Bernt Österman, curator of the von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Helsinki (WWA).

Bernt.Osterman at

Guest lecture by Robert Leventhal


Welcome to the guest lecture by Associate Professor Robert Leventhal (The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, USA)


“Making the Case: Psychological Case Histories and German Literature, 1750-1830” on Friday 27 March 2015 at 12-14, Jäntere seminar room (E121), Minerva, 1st floor, Kaivokatu 12, Turku.


The lecture is organised by The Romantic Era Research Group (RERG) and the Department of Cultural History.


Robert Leventhal received his Ph.D. in German Literature and Thought from Stanford University. He has taught at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Virginia prior to William and Mary. His research is currently focused on the emergence of the psychological case history at the crossroads between literature and medicine 1750-1830, on which he is completing a book Making the Case: Psychological Case Histories and the Emergence of Modern German Literature. His other project concerns the Spinoza-Renaissance in Germany, 1750-1800, in which he is focused on Herder's early Spinoza reception and studies 1768-1778, a transcription of the "Blue Notebooks," and Herder's Gott, einige Gespraeche (1787). He has written on G.E. Lessing, J.G. Herder, F. Schlegel, Kant,  Karl Philipp Moritz, Marcus Herz, Kafka, Thomas Bernhard, Wim Wenders, Jewish Identity and Community in Munich, and, most recently, the birth of Kriegsarzneywissenschaft (War Medicine) in Germany, 1700-1763 in Stefanie Stockhorst, ed., Krieg und Frieden (Wehrhahn, 2014). Forthcoming articles include "The Jew as Respondent, Confidant, and Proxy: Marcus Herz and Immanuel Kant, 1770-1797" in a volume entitled On the Word of a Jew: Oaths, Testimonies, and the Nature of Trust (Oxford: The Littman Library,  2016)  and "Friedrich Schlegel's Lessing and the Enlightenment," in Johannes Endres, ed., Friedrich-Schlegel-Handbuch (Stuttgart: Metzler, 2015).

Lisa Adkins, Professor Newcastle University Australia / FiDiPro professor, University of Tampere & University of Turku


Time: 24.3.2015 14-16

Place: University of Helsinki, Topelia building, lecture hall D112

Street address: Unioninkatu 38

Title of presentation: What Can Money Do? Feminist Theory in Austere Times


What can money do? Can it be put to work to address deepening forms of social and economic inequality associated with the financial crisis, recession and still unfolding politics of austerity? Can we have faith in money as an injustice remedying substance in a crisis ridden and yet still thoroughly financialized reality? While the latter scenario is implied in recent feminist calls to redistribute resources to redress widening socio-economic inequalities under austerity, in this talk I suggest that such a redistributive logic fails to account for the shifting capacities of resources, including the capacities of money. To track these shifting capacities, I revisit the demands of the 1970s women’s liberation movement and especially the assumptions at play in these demands that money both measure and distribute justice. While these assumptions were arguably politically efficacious in that moment, in the contemporary present pervasive financialization has involved a material transformation to the capacities of money, a transformation which, I will suggest, leaves its justice distributing potential in doubt. This talk therefore not only calls for careful exploration of the capacities of resources in analyses of crisis, recession and austerity but also for feminist theory to rethink redistributive justice in the light of such transformations. Central to these considerations is money in the wages form.

More information and upcoming lectures:


Inaugural lecture by Sigridur Thorgeirsdottir, the Jane and Aatos Erkko Visiting Professor in Studies on Contemporary Society:

Being Indebted: From a Contractarian to a Care Ethical Approach

Date: Thursday 30 October 2014 at 16:15

Venue: Lecture Hall 13, University Main Building, Fabianinkatu 33 (3rd floor), Helsinki

Free admission. Welcome!

Short bio: Sigridur Thorgeirsdottir is professor of philosophy at the University of Iceland and presently Erkko Professor at Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. She studied philosophy in Boston and Berlin. She has published books on the philosophies of Nietzsche and Arendt, feminist philosophy, Beauvoir, and women in the history of philosophy. Her current research project, “Transphilosophies”, is about philosophy as transformative knowledge in an individual and sociopolitical sense. She is member of the board of FISP (International federation of philosophical societies), chair of its gender committee, and she is one of the founders and first chair of board of the United Nations University GEST Programme, a transnational studies and training program in gender equality. She belongs to a group of Nordic philosophers who are presently preparing the establishment of a joint Nordic MA-program in feminist philosophy.

Lecture abstract: The current state of financial capitalism as a “debt-economy” (Lazzarato 2012, Graeber 2012, Offe 2013) is a significant factor in producing subjects through debtor-creditor relations. Individuals as well as states are burdened with problem debt, creating nationally and globally an inacceptable imbalance of wealth. Indebting of the younger and future generations endangers the generational contract as well as social reproduction. The understanding of the debtor-creditor relation among institutions of financial and political power is based on a contractarian idea that dates back to Hobbes idea of the free individual and Locke´s idea of property in the person (Pateman 2007). The idea of individuals that are free to make contracts with each other presuppose equality and free relations. I will argue that a materialistic, care ethical perspective that is based on the idea of embodied, relational subjects shows the limits and endangerments of the contractarian conception of the debtor-creditor relation. A care ethical approach accounts for interdependence and asymmetrical relations and is hence better suited to deal with problems of debt-economies. A care ethical perspective furthermore allows problematizing simplified oppositions of greed and generosity and scarcity and abundance.

About the Jane and Aatos Erkko Visiting Professorship: The Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation donated 2.92 million euros to the University of Helsinki Funds in 2008 for the establishment of a visiting professorship in studies on contemporary society at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. The research emphasis of the professorship will be on issues concerning social justice.

The first Georg Henrik von Wright Lecture: Sir Anthony Kenny on ”Anthropomorphism vs. Humanism”, June 17th 2014, Helsinki

Venue: University of Helsinki, Main building/Small Hall (Pieni juhlasali\Lilla festsalen), Fabianinkatu 33, 4th floor, June 17th 2014, 14-16 (2-4 pm).

Sir Anthony Kenny

Sir Anthony Kenny has written books on the philosophy of human action and questions concerning free will and determinism. He is also known for his writings on Aristotle, Descartes and Wittgenstein. In addition, Kenny has published a series of books on the history of western philosophy, which are widely used as university course books. Georg Henrik von Wright nominated Kenny as his successor as trustee of the Wittgenstein Nachlass.

Kenny’s lecture ”Anthropomorphism vs. Humanism” will deal with the question of how the use of anthropomorphic concepts in biology, IT, politics and theology undermines genuine humanism, or the study of human beings in human terms.

Kenny will also participate in a public discussion on the life and work of Georg Henrik von Wright and Ludwig Wittgenstein chaired by Ilkka Niiniluoto at Think Corner (Tiedekulma\Tankehörnan), Porthania, Yliopistonkatu 3, Helsinki, June 16th, 16-18 (4-6 pm).


The Georg Henrik von Wright Lecture

The Georg Henrik von Wright Lecture is funded by a donation to the University of Helsinki made by the von Wright family 2013. It is intended as a recurring event with the purpose of promoting research and debate relating to the philosophical work of the Finnish philosopher Georg Henrik von Wright (1916–2003).

Additional information is provided by Bernt Österman (bernt.osterman at

FD Bernt Österman


The von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives (WWA)

University of Helsinki

Professor PENELOPE DEUTSCHER (Nortwestern University):

‘That Death Which is Not One: Woman as Exception in Derrida’s The Death Penalty’

Time: Monday 16.6.2014 at 14-16

Venue: Main building, auditorium IX (Unioninkatu 34, University of Helsinki)

In his recently published Death Penalty seminar, Derrida describes death as distributed between the threshold states of termination of heart, brain and breath. He considers the death penalty in terms of a phantasmatic sovereign decision : the determination of the moment of another's death. But he also revisits a longstanding dialogue with Foucault. As Derrida returns to Discipline and Punish,  as he too considers the perversions of philanthropic, humanist cruelty, as both look back at the same passages  from Beccaria, an encounter takes  shape between Foucault and Derrida's treatments of sovereign power, disciplinary power, souls, cases, sovereign decisions, and biopolitical concerns. So too does an encounter take place between the images of  nation and progress  given (as Derrida observes) sexualized connotations, and images of the woman (sometimes reproductive)  before the sometimes deadly law of the nation (again, sometimes sexualized).  What kind of provocation to Foucault can we find in Derrida’s renewed interest in Death Penalty in sexual difference, and in the “sex which is not one” of the "death which is not one."

Penelope Deutscher is Professor in the Department of Philosophy and an affiliate of  the  Comparative Literary Studies and Gender and Sexualities programs at Northwestern University. She is the author of The Philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir: Ambiguity, Conversion, Resistance (Cambridge U.P, 2008),  How to Read Derrida (Granta/Norton 2005), A Politics of Impossible Difference: The Later Work of Luce Irigaray (Cornell U.P., 2002) and Yielding Gender: Feminism, Deconstruction and the History of Philosophy (Routledge 1997). She co-edited Repenser le  politique: l’apport du féminisme. (co-edited, with Françoise Collin, Campagne première/Les Cahiers du Grif, 2004) and  Enigmas: Essays on Sarah Kofman.,co-edited, with Kelly Oliver ( Cornell U.P. 1999). In 2000 she was guest editor of a special issue of Hypatia, Contemporary French Women Philosophers. She is the coeditor of a forthcoming volume of essays on Foucault and Derrida with Columbia University Press, and completing work on Foucault's Children: Biopolitics, Thanatopolitics, and Reproductive Futurism.


The doctoral programme Gender, Culture and Society (Sukupuoli, kulttuuri ja yhteiskunta, SKY) is a multidisciplinary programme based at Gender Studies at the Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies in the University of Helsinki. The guest lecture is arranged by SKY together with Academy of Finland project Philosophy and Politics in Feminist Theory.

Michael Halewood's guest lectures also in Helsinki (Turku, see:

Michael Halewood, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Essex (UK)

Friday 9. 5. 2014 12 pm – 4 pm

Porthania, University of Helsinki, Yliopistonkatu 3


"The Social is Natural"

Lecture Hall Porthania 723, Friday 9. 5. 2014, 12 pm

Bruno Latour has, notoriously, seemed to undermine some of the most important concepts and assumptions of sociology. He has questioned the very existence of “the social” itself, as well as the validity of purely “social” explanations. Many elements of his argument could be seen as aimed at the work and approach of Durkheim.

In this talk, I aim to present some of my thoughts based on a recent re-reading of Durkheim in the light of Latour’s critique. My aim is not to defend Durkheim against Latour, nor do I want to say that Durkheim is “right”. However, I do want to suggest that Durkheim may have been maligned. He does get things wrong (to my mind) but in an interesting way. We may have underestimated the strangeness of Durkheim’s argument.

In order to outline this strangeness I will insist that, for Durkheim, society and nature are not opposed for the social is natural. Furthermore, I will argue that the concept of society is a problematic one for Durkheim and he never manages to define it. It seems that not only can animals have societies (in the Durkheimian sense) but that societies are based on association. This will bring us back to Latour, in that he wants to set out his own “sociology of associations”.


Toward a “Philosophy of the Social”: Sociology, Philosophy and Speculation

Lecture Hall Porthania 723, Friday 9. 5. 2014, 2 pm

In recent years there has been something of a resurgence in interest in the relationship between philosophy and sociology. This has involved a shift away from the traditional philosophy of social science. Even more recently, there has been a suggestion that we should, or could, use speculation as an important tool within sociology.

In this lecture, I will not talk about speculative realism. Instead, I will suggest that we can learn from the late work of Durkheim (The Elementary Forms of Religious Life), that such concerns have a long history. I will argue that Durkheim developed a kind of philosophy of the social, though he did not refer to his work in such terms. I will look at: Durkheim’s approach to “Things” and “Force”; whether his categories are Social or Natural; his discussions of Collectivity and Totality.

Rather than argue that we should somehow agree with Durkheim, I will suggest that he points up the kind of problems which endure within sociology and which still need addressing philosophically. I will conclude by building on the work of Isabelle Stengers and Bruno Karsenti in order to sketch my own approach which I have termed “the philosophy of the social” and the opportunities and constraints that are offered by speculation.


Michael Halewood is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Essex (UK).

His research covers the intersection between philosophy and social theory and he has written on topics such as the work of A. N Whitehead, the concept of the social and its relation to the natural, the body, sexual difference, contemporary theorizations of subjectivity and materiality, and the work of Marx, Gilles Deleuze, Judith Butler and John Dewey in various journals such as: 'The British Journal of Sociology'; 'Theory, Culture and Society' and 'Configurations'. His last book "A. N. Whitehead and Social Theory. Tracing a Culture of Thought" has recently been reprinted in paperback. Currently, he is working on a book titled "Rethinking the Social. Towards a Philosophy of the Social" which revisits the work of Durkheim, Marx and Weber in light of contemporary concerns. He will base his lectures on some of the material developed in the preparation of this text.

For further information concerning the guest lectures please contact

Seppo Poutanen (seppou at – tel- 0407238993).

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