CfP ‘Rethinking the Enlightenment’, Deakin University, 16 December 2015.

Rethinking the Enlightenment’ will be hosted by Deakin University’s European Philosophy and the History of Ideas Research Network, housed with the Alfred Deakin Institute of Citizenship and Globalisation on Wednesday December 16, 2015 at the Deakin Burwood campus.  The conference will be led by keynote papers by Genevieve Lloyd, Dennis Rasmussen, Karen Green, and Peter Anstey.

Though not specifically about women in the history of philosophy, two of the keynotes, Genevieve Lloyd and Karen Green are central figures in the feminist history of philosophy, and the details of the CfP certainly leave plenty of space for proposals including women.

Here is the call for papers:

Older and recent work in the history of 18th century ideas calls into question popular images of the enlightenment as a single movement of thinkers characterised by a naïve, utopian rationalism closed to otherness or difference, and the affective, playful and poetic dimensions of thought, sociability and experience in ways that would lead, in time, to the horrifying European catastrophes of the world wars and total states.  Works such as those by our keynotes Rasmussen and Lloyd, but differently the influential work of Jonathan Israel (to evoke only a few), have instead explored the different strands of enlightenment thought, and the importance of deistic, empiricist, sceptical, literary, and moral-sentimental (as well as rationalist and materialist) strands of the French and British enlightenments.  In thinkers like Voltaire, the first conceptions of religious toleration were developed, while in thinkers like Diderot, important criticisms of Western colonialism emerged; with figures like Wollstonecraft (also Condorcet and Bentham), we see the first advocates of women’s rights, and Israel in particular has traced the emergence of competing, contested conceptions of democracy in the 17th and 18th centuries.  The continuing rise of what sociologist Robert Antonio has called ‘reactionary tribalisms’ predicated on openly anti-enlightenment visions, and differently the political and philosophical questions raised by the crises of Greece and the Eurozone make scholarly and wider reassessments of the European enlightenment in all of its complexity, promises and limits a newly contemporary task.

We hereby invite papers on ‘Rethinking the Enlightenment’ on or around the following (or related) themes from graduate students, early career and more established researchers:

–          Conceptions of democracy in the 18th century

–          Conceptions of religious toleration in the 18th century

–          Deism and/or biblical criticism in the enlightenment

–          The role of scepticism and empiricism in shaping enlightenment thought

–          18th century conceptions of the role of science in society

–          Enlightenment sinophilia and images of the non-European ‘other’

–          Criticisms of colonialism in Jeremy Bentham, Condorcet, Diderot, Herder, Kant, Adam Smith, and Raynal et al

–          The role of literary forms (eg satires, contes, letters, dramas …) in enlightenment thought, and enlightenment politics

–          Conceptions of the public sphere emerging in the enlightenment

–          Conceptions of polity, democracy and law in the lumières and Scottish authors

–          Conceptions of the intellectual and/or ‘philosophe’ in the 18th century

–          The history or histories of images of the enlightenment, from the 18th century to today

–          The effects of subsequent historical events (eg the great war) on images of the enlightenment

Expressions of interest, and abstracts of not more than 300 words, should be sent to and/or by August 31, 2015.  Papers will be in 30 minute sessions, so should be between 2-4000 words at the maximum.

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Women in Logic

David Marans‘ s Logic Gallery a chronology of logicians from Antiquity to the 21st century, now features nine women logicians:

Mary Everest Boole, Constance Jones, Christine Ladd-Franklin, Susan Langer, Ada Lovelace, Susan Stebbing, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Victoria Lady Welby, Julia Bowman Robinson.

Each page contains biographical and bibliographical details, as well as links to works.

The book is available as a free pdf here, however, if you’d like a print copy, you can order it here. Note that if you purchase the book from this link, you will also support Doctors without Borders.

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Eleanor Bisbee, early analytic philosopher from Istanbul.

A colleague in Boğazici, Istanbul, alerted me to the fact that an early American analytic philosopher once worked there.

Eleanor Bisbee, born in 1893 in New Jersey began her career as a philosopher in the US, studying for a PhD at the University of Cincinatti in 1929, and then working there as assistant professor and later acting chair in the Philosophy department from 1930 to 1931. Around 1931, she took up a job as Professor of philosophy at Robert College and the American College for Girls, Istanbul (Robert College is now Boğazici). She worked there till 1942, and during that time published a number of articles in analytic philosophy. 

In 1942, she returned to the US and wrote several books on Turkish politics, until her death in 1956. Her papers including correspondence are hosted at the Hoover Institution Archives in Stanford, California. Their webpage contains an inventory as well as a biography.

Eleanor Bisbee strikes me as a great candidate for the forthcoming conference on Early Analytic Women Philosophers. Note however that the deadline for abstracts is 28 July – so just a few days away!

Also, I would very much welcome a more detailed discussion of her life or work on this blog – so please get in touch (in comments) if you are interested.

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Introducing British idealist Hilda Oakeley – a guest post by Emily Thomas

It is with great pleasure that I introduce our first guest post. Its author, Emily Thomas, is a postdoc at the University of Groningen where she currently holds a Netherlands Research Council (NWO) Veni grant. Emily Thomas works on early modern, and early twentieth century, metaphysics. She is the organiser of the forthcoming conference Early Modern Women on Metaphysics, Religion and Science.

The topic of Thomas’s post, Hilda Oakeley is a philosopher who was both prolific and fascinating, but that many of us never heard of. For more on Oakeley’s life, see Howarth’s (2009) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry:

On Oakeley’s metaphysics, see Thomas’ forthcoming article in the British
Journal for the History of Philosophy:

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Introducing British idealist Hilda Oakeley

Several years ago, whilst sitting in the dim stacks of a Cambridge library reading unwieldy, dusty journals, I came across papers by Hilda Oakeley. Her work – on time, history, idealism – keyed into my own interests but I quickly discovered that there was no literature on it. This led to a project: bringing Oakeley into the scholarly fold.

One way that the history of philosophy can be of instrumental value to philosophy lies in its ability to reconstruct views that seem utterly alien, and in doing so challenge present orthodoxies. To illustrate, consider idealism, the view that mind actively constructs experience. The vast majority of twenty-first century philosophers reject idealism, and it is useful to remember that such widespread agreements can be questioned. With this in mind, this piece will offer an informal introduction to Oakeley, and explain one of the reasons why she is an idealist. Continue reading

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Women in Philosophy: An Online collection

Sandrine Berges:

This is great – note however, that Wollstonecraft is aged by a century.

Originally posted on Feminist Philosophers:

Taylor and Francis has put out an online collection of articles by and about women in philosophy.  They’re all available free until the end of the year.


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I’m announcing this conference a bit late  as the CfA  is past, but I’m posting it as there a section on the history of feminism, gender and women’s studies so might be of interest to those readers who find themselves in Ankara this coming october.

Here is the link for registration .

Here is the poster:


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Diversity Reading List: Combating under-representation in Philosophy

Sandrine Berges:

There is a section for the History of Philosophy that needs filling up – so please send your suggestions on the Contribute page.

Originally posted on Feminist Philosophers:

The Diversity Reading List  is a great new resource for introducing texts by women and non-white authors in philosophy courses. It is still very new so please contribute to help it grow.

The issue of under-representation of women and non-white persons in philosophy is now more widely known, and students are asking explicitly “why is my curriculum white?” Many faculty members are aware that one way to combat this under-representation is to include work from under-represented groups in their syllabi as it directly challenges the stereotype of the white male philosopher. However, locating a good number of suitable texts can be difficult and time consuming, and this is why we have created the Diversity Reading List which enables teachers to quickly locate high-quality texts from under-represented groups that are directly relevant to their teaching. Currently, the list focuses on ethics, but in the near future it will be…

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