Title: 'Identity and Community: Metaphysics, Politics, Aesthetics'. Keynote Presentation by Professor Alison Stone (Lancaster). Panel Discussion with Professor Miguel de Beistegui (Warwick) based on his forthcoming book 'The Government of Desire: A Geneology of the Liberal Subject', alongside Daniele Lorenzini (Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles/Columbia University) and Federico Testa (Warwick/Monash).
The history of the concept of identity is marked by a fundamental tension: between the individual as subject, and the example of the group; between identity as an inherent or essential nature or specified as a ratified connection. The relation between identity and community, the relational qualities of each, and the content which they encompass has been subject to repeated reformulation throughout history. On the one hand, it has been argued that the subject itself has been constituted in a new way by concrete changes in the way in which we live: by modernism, capitalism, or new technologies. On the other, new examinations of history have drawn into question narratives regarding different nations, classes, genders and cultures.
The identity of individuals, and the aspects of their lives which are to be considered constitutive of that identity, is an issue which is central to a host of complex political and ethical issues. What does it mean to have an identity: to belong to a nation or a continent, to a race, gender or religion? And what is the connection of this belonging and our individual existence and consciousness? During an ongoing refugee crisis, rising nationalism and within an increasingly globalised world, how have the metaphysical and political boundaries of identity shifted?
Art and aesthetics share this tension. The place of the work of art and the individual artist within a genre or movement remains an open question - whether the author is dead, the work a manifestation of the group; whether the ideas behind the artwork are more important than the socio-economic foundation from which it arises. Corollary to this, discussions of art and the political have opened questions concerning the relation of aesthetics to community, and the possible connection of new identities and new forms of, or values within, aesthetics. Does art play a mediating role in the formation of the new community, allow for the expression of a communal voice, or reveal the individual identity then imitated by the mass?
Philosophy in The Time of Crisis (www.philosophyX.co.uk) is a new digital platform and research project, supported by the University of Warwick and the Meyer Foundation. The project aims to promote philosophy as an essential tool to reflect upon the major crises and challenges of our times, and the meaning and nature of crisis itself.
February 2018 marks the publication of two important philosophical texts by Professor Keith Ansell-Pearson, both published by Bloomsbury Academic.
‘Bergson: Thinking Beyond the Human Condition’ is described by the publishers as an elegant overview, bringing Bergson to a new generation of readers. ‘Ansell-Pearson contends that there is a Bergsonian revolution, an upheaval in philosophy comparable in significance to those that we are more familiar with, from Kant to Nietzsche and Heidegger, which make up our intellectual modernity’.
‘Nietzsche’s Search for Philosophy: On the Middle Writings’: PDF eBook. The publishers observe that ‘this study explores key aspects of Nietzsche’s philosophical activity in his middle writings, including his conceptions of philosophy, his commitment to various enlightenments, his critique of fanaticism, his search for the heroic-idyllic, his philosophy of modesty and his conception of ethics, and his search for joy and happiness. The book will appeal to readers across philosophy and the humanities, especially to those with an interest in Nietzsche and anyone who has a concern with the fate of philosophy in the modern world’.
'Self-Knowledge for Humans' by Professor Quassim Cassam: Recommendation for the Best Modern Philosophy Book
Angie Hobbs has selected 'Self-Knowledge for Humans' by Quassim Cassam as her recommendation for the 'Best Modern Philosophy Book' on the current 'The Reading Lists' (TRL) website.
Professor Hobbs is Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield. Her chief interests are in ancient history and literature, ethics and political theory. She describes Professor Cassam's book as a "lucid, revealing and engaging account of the many non-epistemic and non-rational factors that cloud our ability to know ourselves (and indeed others, and various states of affairs). Professor Cassam argues persuasively that we should start with the human predicament, not an unrealistic ideal of homo philosophicus."
Dr Andrea Giananti
Dr Andrea Giananti is visiting the Philosophy Department during the spring and summer terms, 2018. In his own research, Andrea works on perceptual knowledge and self-knowledge, and has a post-doc in Fribourg as part of the Fribourg-Warwick SNF project on Perception, Rationality and Self-Knowledge. Read more below: