Upcoming conference at U. Chicago: Spiritual Exercises: From Antiquity to the Present

We wanted to let you know of the following conference, which will take place at the University of Chicago from January 27-28, 2011:

Spiritual Exercises: From Antiquity to the Present

Pierre Hadot’s seminal work on the ancient conception of philosophy as a way of life has had a deep impact on contemporary philosophers as diverse as Michel Foucault, Myles Burnyeat, and Hilary Putnam. On Hadot’s view, philosophy in Antiquity was not, or not primarily, conceived of as the exposition of an abstract theory or doctrine. Philosophy was a way of life, a set of activities and practices—or exercises—that aim at human happiness, at self-transformation in the service of the perfection of wisdom, and at the transformation of one’s perception of the world.  Despite Hadot’s growing influence, there has been relatively little scholarship extending the tradition of spiritual exercises from Antiquity forwards. This conference will be the first to bring together a wide group of scholars working on the diverse range of contexts in which spiritual exercises figure: from the Arabic and Buddhist traditions to medieval Jewish philosophy to medieval Christianity to early modern philosophy and mathematics and, finally, to nineteenth and twentieth century theology and philosophy.  It will be the first attempt to do a comparative study of the exercises, studied through multiple disciplines and across a range of religious and philosophical traditions.

Speakers include:

Laura Cremonesi (Warwick)
Arnold Davidson (Chicago)
Paul Fenton (Sorbonne)
Michael Fishbane (Chicago)
Rachel Fulton (Chicago)
Clark Gilpin (Chicago)
Matthew Jones (Columbia)
Matthew Kapstein (Chicago)
Sandra Laugier (Panthéon-Sorbonne)
Elisha Russ-Fishbane (Princeton)
Josef Stern (Chicago)

This conference is sponsored by the Dept. of Philosophy, Chicago Center for Jewish Studies, the France-Chicago Center, and the Divinity School.

Conference Coordinators: Josef Stern and Arnold Davidson

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