17 Feb 2008

Cornell conference

looking forward to my first conference in the US

The Substance of Thought: Critical and Pre-Critical

keynote speakers: Simon Critchley (The New School for Social Research) and Alberto Toscano (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, April 10th-12th, 2008


The last few decades have witnessed a struggle within continental philosophy between those thinkers who accept Immanuel Kant’s “Copernican Revolution” and those who refuse critical philosophy in favor of a “classical” metaphysics that, in the words of Alain Badiou, “considers the Kantian indictment of metaphysics…as null and void.” This conference will consider the conflict between “critical” and “classical” or metaphysical strains in contemporary thought. Has critical philosophy run its course, as Badiou suggests? Or has Kant’s critical turn determined the horizon of all future philosophical work? Or is there an alternative path?

We are interested in analyzing the contemporary division between thinkers who prescribe a return to the pre-critical metaphysics of, for example, Spinoza, Leibniz, or Lucretius, and those who continue to take up various trajectories of Kant's critical legacy. The former camp might include Deleuze and Badiou as well as Negri and Althusser, while the latter might include Adorno, Benjamin, Heidegger, and Derrida. We particularly wish to encourage work that takes a stand on the conflict between the two camps, as well as work that considers the implications of the conflict for the arts and social sciences. The wide range of our inquiry includes interrogations of the nature of critique, the fate of aesthetics, the privilege accorded to immanence or transcendence, and the status of materialism.

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