Young Researchers Conference on Classical German Philosophy
Centre for German Idealism

VU University Amsterdam, August 27, 2010, Room 13A-11/13.

The Dutch-Flemish Centre for German Idealism (‘Centrum voor Duits Idealisme’) invites PhD students, research master students aiming at starting a PhD project soon and PhDs that have graduated recently to submit a proposal for a presentation at the ‘Young Researchers Conference on Classical German Philosophy’ to be held in Amsterdam on August 27, 2010. The conference aims to offer young researchers the opportunity to communicate their results to a larger community, and for all researchers in the fields to meet and reinforce scientific and personal links.

Presentations should concern Classical German Philosophy from Kant to Hegel, possibly in contrast to or comparison with other thinkers. Their aim should be systematic rather than merely historical-philological.

Presentations should be in English (20 minutes). Presentation will be commented upon by a senior member of the Centre for German Idealism, after which discussion will follow.

Submission deadline of the proposal: May 1, 2010. Proposals (PDF) should contain an abstract of ca. 500 words and a CV. Submissions can be sent to j.t.zinkstok(at) Notification of selection before May 15; papers must be delivered by June 15, 2010.

Christian Krijnen (VU University Amsterdam), Paul Cobben (Tilburg University), Job
Zinkstok (University of Groningen)

Centre for German Idealism
Conference: The Cartesian “Myth of the Ego” and the Analytic/Continental Divide, Nijmegen (The Netherlands), 3-4 September 2010

Cees Leijenhorst & Marc Slors (Department of Philosophy, Radboud University Nijmegen)

Themes and Objectives
The philosophical scene has been dominated for many years by the analytic/continental divide. This protracted history of antagonism has tended to obscure the fact that at least on one point the two traditions seem to be remarkably close, if not convergent. Despite all the differences in style and choice of topics, both traditions have been strongly shaped by a profound discussion with “Cartesianism”. Obviously, the term “Cartesianism” here does not necessarily refer to the historical positions defended by René Descartes. Quite to the contrary, both traditions seem to battle against a certain image of Cartesianism, broadly understood as the cluster of philosophical convictions grounded upon the supposition that philosophy should start from “the immediate data of consciousness” and not, for example, from human behaviour or man’s practical relation to reality as the existentialists and pragmatists would have it.    

One of the Cartesian doctrines that both analytic and continental philosophers generally found most unacceptable was that of the supposition of a pure Self, a pure Ego.  What we could call the Cartesian “Myth of the pure Ego” stands for a number of theses:  These roughly include two groups of convictions:

1) the metaphysical and epistemological claim that the conscious mind is an inner realm, connected to the outside world via the senses, to which only the ego has privileged access and about which it has incorrigible knowledge.

2) the methodological idea that this self forms the self-evident starting point of a philosophical system.

Cartesian philosophy of mind has been a favourite target for analytic philosophers from the very beginning. Think only of Ryle’s critique of substance dualism as a category mistake. In recent days, Dennett’s use of the term “Cartesian Theater” is a prototypical example of the strawman-like position labelled ‘Cartesianism’. The term is used to denounce the view that consciousness is an inner space in which an ego, homunculus or other fictitious entity watches the data coming in from the ourside world. For its part, the continental tradition only became obsessed with combatting “Cartesianism” after Husserl revived the Cartesian ego in the shape of his transcendental phenomenology. In this sense, Husserl’s “Cartesianism” became profoundly influential exactly because it was so unacceptable to most of his followers. Continental philosophers have portrayed Descartes’s/Husserl’s “pure self” as a “phantastical invention” (Heidegger) or as a linguistic fiction (Derrida).

This colloquium aims at a critical evaluation of the hidden anti-Cartesian consensus between analytic and continental philosophy. In this context, the colloquium will ask both historiographical and philosophical questions. Examples of historiographical questions include: to what extent did Descartes actually defend the “myth of the pure ego”? In other words, to what extent is “Cartesianism” a twentieth-century construction? What philosophical purposes does this construction serve? Is the rift between analytical and continental philosophy as deep as many have portrayed it? Philosophical questions include: which elements of the Cartesian tradition now still seem worth defending? Which ones should definitively be rejected, be it on the basis of insights gathered in analytic or on the basis of continental philosophy? Can philosophy really do without a “pure self”? Are there viable alternatives for a “pure self”? The organizers of this colloqium do not take an a apriori stand on these questions but invite participants to come to terms with “Cartesianism”, both from historical and contemporary philosophical perspectives. It is the hope of the organizers that in this fashion a fruitful dialogue not only between historical and systematic scholarship, but also between analytic and continental perspectives may result.

Confirmed speakers
Tom Sorell, Kathalin Farkas, Dan Zahavi, Shaun Gallagher


Papers are invited on any topic related to the theme of the conference. Please send us a brief summary of your paper (maximum 500 words) and a short CV. Submission deadline: 1 April, 2010. Decisions will be reported by 1 May, 2010. Inquiries and submissions should be directed to: leijenhorst(at) Costs for travel and accomodation will be covered by the organizers. There is no conference fee.
Extended Deadline: 11th October 2008

Bochum/Tilburg: First European Graduate School -- Philosophy of
Language, Mind and Science

"The Philosophy of Psychology"

*Session 1: Rationality, Consciousness and the Architecture of the Mind
10-14 November 2008
Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany*

Keynote Speakers: José Luis Bermúdez (Washington University St. Louis),
Peter Carruthers (University of Maryland) and Michael Esfeld (University of

*Session 2: Reasoning and Decision Making
17-21 November 2008
Tilburg Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science (TiLPS), Tilburg
University, The Netherlands*

Keynote Speakers: Ulrike Hahn (Cardiff), Michael
Pauen (HU Berlin), J.D. Trout (Loyola University Chicago) and Michiel
van Lambalgen (University of Amsterdam)

Each session consists of
*a series of lectures by the invited speakers
*a closing workshop (details below)
*student presentations (details below)
*a mini-workshop on getting jobs in academic philosophy

The closing workshop in Bochum features Andreas Bartels (Bonn), Peter
Carruthers (Maryland), Michael Esfeld (Lausanne), Albert Newen (Bochum)
and Markus Schrenk (Nottingham). The closing workshop in Tilburg
features Vincenzo Crupi (Trento/Venezia), Ulrike Hahn (Cardiff) and
Kevin Korb (Monash).

Graduate students are invited to apply, for the entire graduate school
as well as just for one session. They can also apply for giving a talk.
To this end, we invite submissions of extended abstracts between 1000
and 1500 words by the 11th of October 2008. Decisions will be made by
20th of October 2008. See the website for details.

Graduate students who have registered can attend all lectures without
fees. Students who apply for a presentation and are selected to present
their work will receive financial support. Participants in the whole
graduate school (both weeks) are eligible for a grant of 300 Euro. Those
who only attend the session at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum are eligible
for a 150 Euro grant. The four best presentations will receive an
additional award.

Participants have to register by sending an email to
<anifiebich (at)> (Bochum) or
<blt2008_0 (at)> (Tilburg)
by 1 November 2008.
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