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Faculty of Philosophy

 

Verstehen Colloquium

The Verstehen Colloquium began, informally, with a reading group on Dilthey’s The formation of the historical world in the human sciences in the summer of 2019. This reading group brought together a group of people interested in trying to recover, principally from the phenomenological and hermeneutic traditions, ways of thinking about the nature of knowledge of human behaviour and systems which have perhaps become obscure from the perspective of current "analytic" philosophy of science, epistemology and moral philosophy. Brought together as the Verstehen Colloquium, this group now meets frequently during and outside term-time both to discuss readings of shared interest, and also to provide sessions for participants to sound out their own work making efforts on this direction.

Current Convenors: Daniele Garancini, Orsolya Petocz, Sebastian Raza-Mejia, Senthuran Bhuvanendra

Cave paintings from Lascaux in France
Cave paintings from Lascaux in France, discussed in Fiona Hughes’ 2013 paper on passivity in Merleau-Ponty [Attribution: Lascaux / Public domain]

 

Upcoming meetings

 

During Michaelmas Term 2021, we will meet online on Thursdays, 10:00-11:30, in the initial weeks of term we will discuss texts by Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault before moving on to work by Max Scheler (who we plan to continue reading after term ends, for those able and interested to join). The provisional schedule is as follows:

 
Thursday 14 October

Derrida, “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences” (1966)

Thursday 21 October

Derrida, “Différance” from Margins of Philosophy (1972)

Thursday 28 October

Foucault, “The Human Sciences” from The Order of Things (1966)

Thursday 4 November

Scheler, Formalism in Ethics and Non-Formal Ethics of Value (1913-16), ch2, section A: “The A Priori and the Formal in General”, pp45-81

Thursday 11 November

Scheler, Formalism in Ethics, ch2, section B: “The Non-Formal A Priori in Ethics”, pp81-110

Thursday 18 November

Scheler, Formalism in Ethics, ch6, section A (“On the Theoretical Conception of the Person in General”), subsections 1, 2 and 3a-d (on reason, ego, transcendental apperception, act, object, consciousness, world and God), pp370-98

Thursday 25 November

Scheler, Formalism in Ethics, ch6, section A, subsection 3e-f (on lived body, environment and ego), pp393-424

Thursday 2 December

Paper Discussion: Tingwen Li (Xiamen University), "Deception, Correction, and Affect Theory—On Edith Stein’s Pedagogical Empathic Acts"

Thursday 9 December

Scheler, “The Essence and Concept of a Sociology of Culture”, from Problems of the Sociology of Knowledge (1924)

For access to the texts, and for updates and Zoom invitations through our mailing list, please contact us@verstehencolloquium.org

Previous meetings

 

Summer 2021

Thursday 24 June

Paul Ricœur, The Voluntary and the Involuntary (1950), “General Introduction: Question of Method”, sections 1 and 2

Thursday 1 July

The Voluntary and the Involuntary, Part I, ch1, intro and ss1-2 (on decision)

Thursday 8 July

The Voluntary and the Involuntary, Part I, ch 1, s3 and ch2, introduction and s1, subsection 1 (on motives, the body and the nature of need)

Thursday 15 July

The Voluntary and the Involuntary, Part II, ch1 (on acting and moving)

Thursday 22 July

The Voluntary and the Involuntary, Part III, ch2, s2 (on the unconscious)

Background reading: Part III, ch1, s1 and s2, subsection 1 (on the problem and structure of consent), pp341-7

Thursday 29 July

Ricœur, Fallible Man (1960), Preface and ch1 (on method, the “pathétique” of misery and reflection)

Thursday 5 August

Fallible Man, ch2 (applying Kant’s transcendental synthesis), 

Thursday 12 August

Fallible Man, ch3, intro and s1 (on “practical synthesis” and character), and conclusion (on the concept of fallibility)

Thursday 19 August

Ricœur, The Symbolism of Evil (1960), Part I, intro (on methodology for study of symbols)

Thursday 26 August

The Symbolism of Evil, Part I, ch1, ss1-3 (on symbols of defilement) and ch2, s5 (on the relation to symbols of sin)

Background reading: Part I, conclusion (on relations between symbols), pp151-7

Thursday 2 September

The Symbolism of Evil, Part II, intro (on symbolic function of myth) and conclusion (“The symbol gives rise to thought”)

Thursday 9 September

Jean-Paul Sartre, “Existentialism is a Humanism"

Martin Heidegger, Letter on Humanism

Thursday 16 September

Heidegger, Letter on Humanism (cont.)

Thursday 23 September

Heidegger, Letter on Humanism (cont.)

Thursday 30 September

Heidegger, Letter on Humanism (cont.)

Thursday 7 October

Jacques Derrida, “The Ends of Man”

Convenors: Sebastian Raza-Mejia and Senthuran Bhuvanendra

Easter Term 2021

Thursday 29 April

Hans Blumenberg, Introduction to Paradigms for a Metaphorology (1960) and “Prospect for a Theory of Nonconceptuality” (1979)

Thursday 6 May

Blumenberg, “Prospect for a Theory of Nonconceptuality"

Thursday 13  May

Blumenberg, “Theory of Nonconceptuality” (excerpt, c.1975)

Thursday 20 May

“Theory of Nonconceptuality"

Thursday 27 May

“Theory of Nonconceptuality"

Thursday 3 June

Blumenberg, Shipwreck with Spectator

Thursday 10 June

Paper Discussion: Samantha Matherne (Harvard), “The Status of Art in Cassirer’s System of Culture” (2021)

Friday 11 June

Talk: Samantha Matherne, “Cassirer on Art and Self-Knowledge

Convenors: Sebastian Raza-Mejia and Senthuran Bhuvanendra

Lent Term / Easter Vacation 2021

 
Thursday 4 February

Ernst Cassirer, The Logic of the Humanities (Kulturwissenschaften), Ch.1, “The subject matter of the humanities”, part 1

Thursday 11 February

Cassirer, Logic, Chapter 1, part 2

Thursday 18 February

Cassirer, Logic, Chapter 2, “Perception of things and perception of expression”

Thursday 25 February

Cassirer, Logic, Chapter 2

Thursday 4 March

Cassirer, Logic, Chapter 3, “Nature-concepts and culture-concepts”, part 1

Thursday 11 March

Cassirer, Logic, Chapter 3, part 1 + part 2

Thursday 18 March

Cassirer, The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol.3, ch.2 “The phenomenon of expression as the basic factor in the perceptive consciousness”

Thursday 1 April

Shaun Gallagher (2008) “Philosophical Antecedents of Situated Cognition”

Thursday 15 April

Paper Discussion: Daniele Garancini (Lingnan University, Hong Kong), “Cassirer's Naturalism, Precious yet Forgotten, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Kantian Philosophy”

Convenors: Sebastian Raza-Mejia and Senthuran Bhuvanendra

Michaelmas Term 2020

Thursday 8 October

Friedrich Albert Lange, The History of Materialism, 2nd book, 2nd section, Ch.1: “Materialism and Exact Research"

Thursday 22 October

2nd book, 3rd section, Chapter 3: “Scientific Psychology”

Thursday 5 November

2nd book, 3rd section, Chapter 4: “The Physiology of the Sense Organs and the World as Representation"

Thursday 19 November

2nd book, 4th section, Chapter 1: “Political Economy and Dogmatic Egoism”

Convenors: Matt Bennett and Senthuran Bhuvanendra

Summer 2020

 

Monday 20 July

Edith Stein, The Philosophy of Psychology and the Humanities, First Treatise, Ch. I: "Causality in the Realm of Pure Experiences"

Monday 27 July

Stein, First Treatise, Ch. V: "The Intermeshing of Causality and Motivation", sections 1-4

Monday 3 August

Stein, Second Treatise, Ch. I ("The Experiential Current of the Community"), s3: "The joining of experiences in the current"

Monday 10 August

Stein, Second Treatise, Ch. II, s2, "The community's life-power and its sources"

Convenors: Matt Bennett, Rosie Worsdale and Senthuran Bhuvanendra

Easter Term/Summer 2020

 

Tuesday 12 May

Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, Part I, Chapter 1, section 1

Monday 18 May

Gadamer, Truth and Method, Part I, Chapter 1, sections 2 and 3 (selections)

Monday 25 May

Gadamer, Truth and Method, Part I, Chapter 2, section 1, subsections A and B

Monday 1 June

Gadamer, Truth and Method, Part II, Chapter 3 (selections)

Monday 8 June

Gadamer, Truth and Method, Part II, Chapter 4, section 1 

Monday 15 June

Gadamer, Truth and Method, Part II, Chapter 4, section 3

Monday 22 June

Gadamer, Truth and Method, Part III, Chapter 5, section 1

Monday 29 June

Gadamer, Truth and Method, Part III, Chapter 5, section 2

Monday 6 July

Gadamer, Truth and Method, Part III, Chapter 5, section 3

Convenors: Matt Bennett, Rosie Worsdale and Senthuran Bhuvanendra

Easter Vacation/Spring 2020

 

Monday 23 March

Fiona Hughes "A Passivity Prior to Passive and Active: Merleau-Ponty’s Re-reading of the Freudian  Unconscious and Looking at Lascaux":
https://doi.org/10.1093/mind/fzt061

Monday 30 March

Continuation of Hughes’ paper

Monday 6 April

Edmund Husserl The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, sections 33-41

Tuesday 14 April

Husserl, Crisis sections 42-55

Tuesday 21 April

Husserl, Crisis sections 47-55

Monday 27 April

Husserl, Crisis sections 57-64

Monday 4 May

Husserl, Crisis sections 59-64

Convenors: Matt Bennett, Rosie Worsdale and Senthuran Bhuvanendra

Summer 2019

 

Wilhelm Dilthey, “General Theses about the System of the Human Sciences” from The Formation of the Historical World in the Human Sciences

 
Tues 9 July

Introduction and Section One, Makkreel and Rodi translation, pp142-51 (Gesammelte Schriften 7:120-9) on objective

Tues 16 July

Section One to Section Two, pp145-55 (7:123-33), on objective apprehension, life and the human sciences

Thurs 25 July

Section One, part 2 and Section Two, chapter 1, pp149-57 (7:127-35)

Tues 30 July

Section Two, chapter 1, pp152-60 (7:130-8), on life-experience

Tues 6 August

Section Two, chapter I, pp155-62 (7:133-40), on life-attitudes, life-experience and lived experience

Tues 13 August

Section Two, chapters 1 and 2, pp158-66 (7:137-45)

Tues 27 August

Section Two, chapter 2, pp160-8 (7:139-46) on structural nexus of consciousness, reflection on lived experience, time, mutual understanding, and generality/universality

Tues 3 September

Section Two, chapters 2 and 3, pp163-70 (7:141-8) on understanding, generality and universality

Tues 10 September

Section Two, chapters 2 and 3, pp167-74 (7:145-52)

Thurs 19 September

Section Two, chapters 3 and 4, pp169-75 (7:147-53) on objectivity

Thurs 26 September

Section Two, chapter 4, part 1, pp170-8 (7:148-56)

Convenors: Rosie Worsdale and Senthuran Bhuvanendra