Critique is an assertion of values pitted against a state of affairs. To say that things should not be the way they are–to respond to questions such as ‘Why do I think this political or economic arrangement is wrong (and why should I care?)?’ implies an ethical stance. Critique thus draws together fact and value, domains that a long tradition of moral thought has argued exist on distinct planes. For there are dimensions of political life that are incomprehensible without this conjunction between ethical motivations and social realities. But if they are to have political consequences, such questions cannot be confined to private introspection. Scale matters. This talk looks at the articulation between everyday interactions and social movements to show the interplay among the first, second, and third person stances that characterize ethical life. Drawing ethnographic examples from American feminism and Vietnamese Marxism, it considers some of the ways in which ethical intuitions emerge, consolidate, and change, and argues that objectifications and the reflexivity they facilitate help give ethical life a social history.
Rebecca Comay, Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature, The University of Toronto discusses Hegel and Beckett followed by a response from Paul Kottman of The New School for Social Research.
Columbia University’s Department of Philosophy, the Morningside Institute, and the Thomistic Institute invite graduate students in philosophy, theology/religious studies, literature, and related disciplines to submit papers for “The Moral Imagination of the Novel.” The conference will examine the ways in which individual novels and the novel as a literary genre can be understood both to depict the search for moral, philosophical, and religious truth and to engage in this very search themselves. Is the novel a realistic or idealistic genre? Can novels expand our sense of moral possibilities? Can they contract them?
The conference will begin with four twenty-minute graduate student papers on Friday, October 4, followed by talks that day and the next from faculty. Confirmed speakers include:
Paul Elie (Georgetown)
Ann Astell (Notre Dame)
Thomas Pavel (Chicago)
Lauren Kopajtic (Fordham)
Dhananjay Jagannathan (Columbia)
Limited financial assistance is available to defray the cost of travel for student presenters, but students are encouraged to seek funds from their own institutions as well.
One-page proposals should be emailed to Molly Gurdon at firstname.lastname@example.org by Saturday, August 31 to be considered. Invitations to present papers will be sent by Friday, September 6. Submissions should not contain any identifying information except for a title, but the author’s institution and program, along with the title of their proposed submission, should be noted in the e-mail submission.