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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. 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, David Ewing, 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 2022, we will meet online on Wednesdays, 1:00-2:30 to discuss Husserl’s Logical Investigations. We will also have an additional hybrid session (see below) with guest speakers, Paul Joosse and Dominik Zelinsky, on political charisma. The schedule is as follows:

 
Wednesday 9 November

Investigation I, ch.1, ss.1-14 on meaning and expression, sense-giving and sense-fulfilling acts, content and objects (Vol.1, pp.183-200)

Background reading: Dermot Moran, pp. xxi-xxvii

Thursday 10 November

**5pm**: Paper Discussion (in-person and online): Paul Joosse (Department of Sociology, University of Hong Kong) and Dominik Zelinsky (University of Copenhagen) on “Sharing the Emperor’s New Clothes: Charisma and Imitation in the Case of Volodymyr Zelensky”

Kathleen Lyttelton Room, Selwyn College

Wednesday 16 November

Investigation V, introduction and ch.1 on consciousness, the ego and inner perception (Vol.2, pp.79-94)

Wednesday 23 November

Investigation V, ch.2, ss.9-15 on intentional experience, acts, objects and relations (pp.94-111)

Wednesday 30 November

Investigation V, ch.2, ss16-21 on intentional content, object, quality, material and essence (pp.112-25)

Wednesday 7 December

Investigation V, ch.3 on the acts of presentation and judgement (pp.128-44)

Wednesday 14 December

Investigation VI, ch1, ss1-8 on meaning-expression, meaning-intention and meaning-fulfilment (pp.191-208

Page numbers are from the 1990 Routledge edition. For access to the texts, Zoom invitations and updates through our mailing list, please contact us@verstehencolloquium.org.

Previous meetings

 

Late Summer  2022

Wednesday 14 September

Iris Marion Young, “Throwing like a Girl: A Phenomenology of Feminine Body Comportment, Motility and Spatiality” (1980)

Wednesday 21 September

Judith Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory” (1988)

Wednesday 28 September

Butler, “Sexual Difference as a Question of Ethics: Alterities of the Flesh in Irigaray and Merleau-Ponty” (2006)

Wednesday 5 October

Sara Ahmed, “Introduction: Find Your Way” and “Sexual Orientation”, in Queer Phenomenology: Objects, Orientations, Others (2006)

Wednesday 12 October

Gayle Salamon, “The Sexual Schema: Transposing and Transgenderism in Phenomenology of Perception” in Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetorics of Materiality (2010)

Convenors: David Ewing and Orsolya Petocz

Summer  2022

Wednesday 13 July 

Claude Lefort, “Thinking Politics” (1963)

Wednesday 20 July 

Lefort, “The Permanence of the Politico-Theological?” (1981)

Wednesday 27 July

Lefort, “The Death of Immortality?” (1982)

Wednesday 3 August

Lefort, “The Question of Democracy” (1983) and “The Logic of Totalitarianism” (1980)

Wednesday 10 August

Lefort, “Hannah Arendt and the Question of the Political” (1985) and “Reversibility: Political Freedom and the Freedom of the Individual” (1986

Wednesday 17 August

Lefort, “Rereading The Communist Manifesto (1986)

Wednesday 24 August

Lefort, “Politics and Human Rights” (1980) and “Human Rights and the Welfare State” (1984)

Convenors: David Ewing, Orsolya Petocz, Sebastian Raza-Mejia and Senthuran Bhuvanendra

Easter Term  2022

Wednesday 11 May

Elías José Palti, ‘The “Theoretical Revolution” in Intellectual History’ (2014) & ‘From Ideas to Concepts to Metaphors: The German Intellectual Tradition and the Complex Fabric of Language’ (2010)

Wednesday 18 May

Palti, “The Theological Genesis of the Political” in An Archaeology of the Political (2017)

Wednesday 25 May

Discussion with Elías José Palti (Universidad Nacional de Quilmes and Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires)

Wednesday 1 June

Palti, “Koselleck – Foucault: The Birth and Death of Philosophy of History”

Wednesday 8 June

Paper Discussion: Sebastian Raza-Mejia (Department of Sociology), “The Normative Turn in Sociological Theory: Sociology’s Garden of the Forking Paths” (co-authored with Daniel Chernilo)

Wednesday 15 June

Paper Discussion: Zach Freig (Faculty of History), “A Tale of Two Primacies: the Social, the Political, and Logical Methods in Twentieth-Century France”

Convenors: David Ewing, Orsolya Petocz, Sebastian Raza-Mejia and Senthuran Bhuvanendra

Lent Term / Easter Vacation  2022

Wednesday 26 January

Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception (1945), Part One, Section III (“The Spatiality of One’s Own Body and Motricity”) and Part Two, Section II, Subsection A (“Up and Down”)

Wednesday 2 February

Phenomenology of Perception, Part One, Section IV (“The Synthesis of One’s Body”) and Section VI (“The Body as Expression, and Speech”)

Wednesday 9 February

Merleau-Ponty, “Cézanne’s Doubt” (1948)

Wednesday 16 February

Alternative discussion due to UCU strike

Wednesday 23 February

Merleau-Ponty, “On the Phenomenology of Language” (1951)

Wednesday 2 March

Alternative discussion due to UCU strike

Wednesday 9 March

Merleau-Ponty, “Indirect Language and the Voices of Silence” (1952)
Wednesday 16 March

“Indirect Language and the Voices of Silence” (1952) 

Wednesday 23 March

Alternative discussion due to UCU strike

Wednesday 30 March

Merleau-Ponty, “Eye and Mind” (1960)

Wednesday 6 April

Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible (1964), Chapter 1 (“Reflection and Interrogation”)
Wednesday 13 April

Paper Discussion: Cristina Lafont (Northwestern University), “The Politics of Imagination: Critical Theory and Realistic Utopias”.

Wednesday 20 April

The Visible and the Invisible, Chapter 1

Wednesday 27 April

The Visible and the Invisible, Chapter 4 (“The Intertwining – The Chiasm”)

Wednesday 4 May

Institution and Passivity (1954-55), Part 1 (“Institution in Personal and Public History”)

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

Michaelmas Term 2021

Thursday 14 October

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

Thursday 21 October

Derrida, “Différance” (1968)

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”

Thursday 11 November

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

Thursday 18 November

Scheler, Formalism in Ethics, ch6, section A (“On the Theoretical Conception of the Person in General”), subsections on reason, ego, transcendental apperception, act, object, consciousness, world and God

Thursday 25 November

Scheler, Formalism in Ethics, ch6, section A, subsection on lived body, environment and ego

Thursday 2 December

No meeting due to UCU strike
Thursday 9 December Paper Discussion: Tingwen Li (Xiamen University), "Deception, Correction, and Affect Theory—On Edith Stein’s Pedagogical Empathic Acts"

Thursday 16 December

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

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

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

Talk: Barnaby Aspray (University of Oxford), "The Keystone of Ricœur’s Thought: Finitude and What Lies Beyond"

Thursday 16 September

Jean-Paul Sartre, “Existentialism is a Humanism"

Martin Heidegger, Letter on Humanism

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