J. L. Austin: Information Needed


J. L. Austin: Munich, 1945

Mark Rowe (University of East Anglia) writes the following to our readers:

For the last 18 months, I’ve been researching a biography of J.L. Austin (1911-60) for OUP. I would much like to hear from anyone who knew or met him, particularly if they have significant memories, letters or other documents which throw light on his work, career and personality. As many people who knew him are now elderly and not on the internet, I’d be grateful if my enquiry could be passed on to them. All contributions will, of course, be fully acknowledged in the biography.

Please reply to: mark.rowe@uea.ac.uk


Dr M.W. Rowe (UEA)
Ponds Farm
TN27 8JX

CFP: Ordinary / Everyday / Quotidian (Sept 2013, University of York)



An International Two-Day conference

26-27 September 2013

The ordinary and the everyday are intuitively self-evident, yet notoriously elusive. Efforts to define “ordinary language” or “everyday practice” have preoccupied thinkers across many disciplines: philosophers, historians, sociologists, political theorists, geographers and critics of literature and the visual arts. And these subjects demand more attention from scholars working on race, class, gender and sexuality, as well as food studies and the digital and medical humanities. Yet existing efforts have rarely engaged in dialogue with their counterparts in other disciplines. We call for papers from scholars in all these fields to join in a spirited dialogue at an international, two-day conference to be held at the University of York, 26 and 27 September 2013.

Scholars in all disciplines are invited to to ponder, celebrate, and critique the quotidian, ranging from the furtive pleasures of pop to the dubious delights of junk: “Does it glow at the core with personal heat, with signs of one’s deepest nature, clues to secret yearnings, humiliating flaws? What habits, fetishes, addictions, inclinations? What solitary acts, behavioral ruts?”

Confirmed events include keynote addresses by:

  • Prof. John Roberts (History of Art, Wolverhampton)
  • Dr. Jennifer Baird (Classics and Archaeology, Birkbeck)
  • Dr Bryony Randall (English, Glasgow)

It will culminate in a colloquium chaired by Prof Ben Highmore (Cultural Studies, Sussex) and featuring:

  • Prof. Michael Sheringham (French, All Souls Oxford)
  • Dr. Holger Nehring (History, Sheffield)
  • Dr. Rupert Read (Philosophy, UEA)
  • Dr. Michael White (History of Art, York)
  • Dr. Neal Alexander (English, Nottingham)

What do the terms everyday, ordinary and quotidian mean at the beginning of the twenty-first century? This conference will confront head-on the challenges and opportunities presented by the interdisciplinary nature of such an enquiry.

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to oeqyork2013@gmail.com by 16 August; general enquiries are also welcome.

To find out more about the conference visit http://www.york.ac.uk/modernstudies/conferences/oeq/


In Our Time: The Continental-Analytic Split

The weekly BBC podcast In Our Time recently broadcast a conversation titled The Continental-Analytic Split with Stephen Mulhall (New College, University of Oxford), Beatrice Han-Pile (University of Essex), and Hans-Johann Glock (University of Zurich). The program’s website also features a full archive — well worth browsing through — of podcasts on philosophical (Beauty, Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein) and literary (Psychoanalysis and LiteratureProust) topics we thought might interest many of our readers. To access the full archive, please click here.

Forthcoming: Stanley Cavell and the Education of Grownups


In a few months Fordham University Press will publish a new collection of essays centered on Stanley Cavell’s engagement with the topic of education. Titled Stanley Cavell and the Education of Grownups, the collection is edited by Naoko Saito (University of Kyoto) and Paul Standish (University of London). To visit the publisher’s webpage for this title, please click here. Here is the description of this forthcoming collection:

What could it mean to speak of philosophy as “the education of grownups”? This book takes Cavell’s enigmatic phrase as a provocation to explore the themes of education that run throughout his work—from his response to Wittgenstein, Austin, and ordinary-language philosophy, to his readings of Thoreau and of the moral perfectionism he identifies with Emerson, to his discussions of literature and film. Hilary Putnam has described Cavell as not only one of the most creative thinkers of today but as one of the few contemporary philosophers to explore philosophy as education. Cavell’s sustained examination of the nature of philosophy cannot be separated from his preoccupation with what it is to teach and to learn. This is the first book to address the importance of education in Cavell’s work and its essays are framed by two new pieces by Cavell himself. Together these texts combine to show what it means to read Cavell, and simultaneously what it means to read philosophically, in itself a part of our education as grownups.


Forthcoming: Alain Badiou’s “Wittgenstein’s Antiphilosophy”

This June, Verso Books will publish the English translation of Alain Badiou’s book on Wittgenstein, titled Wittgenstein’s Antiphilosophy, which we originally let you know about in this post. To visit the publisher’s webpage for this book, please click here. Below is the publisher’s description of this exciting new title:

The leading continental philosopher takes on the standard bearer of analytical philosophy.

Alain Badiou takes on the standard bearer of the “linguistic turn” in modern philosophy, and anatomizes the “anti-philosophy” of Ludwig Wittgenstein, in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Addressing the crucial moment where Wittgenstein argues that much has to be passed over in silence—showing what cannot be said, after accepting the limits of language and meaning—Badiou argues that this mystical act reduces logic to rhetoric, truth to an effect of language games, and philosophy to a series of esoteric aphorisms. in the course of his interrogation of Wittgenstein’s anti-philosophy, Badiou sets out and refines his own definitions of the universal truths that condition philosophy. Bruno Bosteels’ introduction shows that this encounter with Wittgenstein is central to Badiou’s overall project—and that a continuing dialogue with the exemplar of anti-philosophy is crucial for contemporary philosophy.


Toril Moi at Boston University (Oct 13th)


Toril Moi (Duke University) will deliver a lecture titled “When It Makes Sense (or Not) to Claim that Sex, Gender, and the Body are Socially Constructed” at Boston University on Wednesday, October 13th as part of the series “Lectures in Criticism.” The event will take place at 5:30 pm in the Photonics Center (Room 906) at 8 St. Mary’s Street. It is free and open to the public.


Philosophy and the Arts Conference (April 2011, Stony Brook Manhattan)

The Philosophy and the Arts Program at Stony Brook University in Manhattan has issued a call for papers for its fourth annual meeting. The official call for papers appears below:

The Masters program in Philosophy and the Arts at Stony Brook University in Manhattan centers on intersections of art and philosophy. In an effort to encourage dialogue across disciplines, we offer this conference as an interdisciplinary event and welcome participants working in a variety of fields and media to respond to this year’s topic:

Between the familiar extremes of redeeming oneself (as in the eyes of God, or a friend) and of redeeming a coupon, the term redemption shoulders a rich range of expressive possibilities.  Each sense reveals an aspect of the event of exchange of one thing, condition, or meaning for another. “Redemption” may express conversion, salvage, ransom, reparation, purchase, or liberation, and these definitions all vary in their economic, ontological, and hermeneutical hefts.

We welcome the submission both of original academic papers and of artwork for exhibition or performance from graduate students across disciplines. All submissions should be formatted for blind review, and suitable for a 20-minute presentation (approximately 3000 words or 8-11 pages). Please visit the Philosophy and the Arts Conference website for complete submission instructions, as well as information on past conferences and regular updates. All submissions must be received by January 13th, 2011. Submitters will be notified of the committee’s decision regarding their work via email no later than February 7th, 2011. The conference will take place at Stony Brook Manhattan, 387 Park Ave. South. Feel free to contact the conference coordinators for help with additional questions at philosophyartconference@gmail.com.


Contemporary Aesthetics: Symposium on Laurent Stern’s Interpretive Reasoning

The new issue of Contemporary Aesthetics includes a symposium on Laurent Stern’s Interpretive Reasoning with essays, among others, by John Gibson (Philosophy, University of Louisville) and Paul Guyer (Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania). To access the issue, please click here. Here is an excerpt from John Gibson’s introduction to the symposium:

The philosophy of interpretation, at least in the analytic tradition, has produced an extraordinary amount of work on a surprisingly narrow range of issues.   This is not to dismiss its importance, but it is to say that we should be thankful for a book that moves the debate beyond just wondering whether authorial intentions can determine meaning or whether there is a single right interpretation of an artwork, questions to which most players in the debate now respond with a provocative “sometimes” and “no,” respectively.  When we find ourselves at this point, it is a good thing to have new ideas arrive on the scene, and this is what Laurent Stern has offered the philosophy of interpretation with his fascinating and challenging book, Interpretive Reasoning, the subject of this symposium.

Paul Guyer and Mary Wiseman will join me in discussing Stern’s book.  While we will naturally busy ourselves with interpreting Stern’s theory of interpretation, we hope to show that a discussion of the book brings to view a number of issues that should be of general interest to philosophers of art.  For Stern’s account of interpretation is general, concerned with much more than the interpretation of art, and this is for the good.  It is important to see the continuity (and, at times, the discontinuity) of our various interpretive practices, whether they concern the language of poems, the meaning of paintings, or the behavior of persons, and it is our hope that this symposium will shed light on this.


Forthcoming: Cambridge Critical Guide to Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations

Forthcoming (June 2010) from Cambridge University Press is Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations: A Critical Guide (ed. Arif Ahmed). The table of contents of this new volume can be found below or by clicking here:

  1. From referentialism to human action: the Augustinian theory of language–Robert Hanna
  2. What’s doing? Activity, naming and Wittgenstein’s response to Augustine–Michael Luntley
  3. Measure for measure? Wittgenstein on language-game criteria and the Paris standard metre bar–Dale Jacquette
  4. Wittgenstein on family resemblance concepts–Michael Forster
  5. Wittgenstein on concepts–Hans-Johann Glock
  6. Wittgenstein vs contextualism–Jason Bridges
  7. Wittgenstein and the linguistic turn–Richard Rorty
  8. Rorty’s Wittgenstein–Paul Horwich
  9. Are meaning, understanding, etc. definite states?–John McDowell
  10. Another strand in the private language argument–David Stern
  11. Deductive inference and aspect perception–Arif Ahmed
  12. Remembering intentions–William Child


Forthcoming: Robert Pippin on Hollywood Westerns and American Myth

Next month Yale University Press will publish Robert Pippin’s new Hollywood Westerns and American Myth: The Importance of Howard Hawks and John Ford for Political Philosophy. (The Harvard Film Archive, incidentally, is currently running a John Ford retrospective from April 10th to May 28th.) Here is the publisher’s description of Pippin’s forthcoming book:

In this pathbreaking book one of America’s most distinguished philosophers brilliantly explores the status and authority of law and the nature of political allegiance through close readings of three classic Hollywood Westerns: Howard Hawks’ Red River and John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and The Searchers.

Robert Pippin treats these films as sophisticated mythic accounts of a key moment in American history: its “second founding,” or the western expansion. His central question concerns how these films explore classical problems in political psychology, especially how the virtues of a commercial republic gained some hold on individuals at a time when the heroic and martial virtues were so important. Westerns, Pippin shows, raise central questions about the difference between private violence and revenge and the state’s claim to a legitimate monopoly on violence, and they show how these claims come to be experienced and accepted or rejected.

Pippin’s account of the best Hollywood Westerns brings this genre into the center of the tradition of political thought, and his readings raise questions about political psychology and the political passions that have been neglected in contemporary political thought in favor of a limited concern with the question of legitimacy.