Thursday, August 6, 2009

Naturalism and Normativity Reading Group, Semester Two 2009

Convenors: David Macarthur, Paul Griffiths, Charles Wolfe

This reading group is designed to take advantage of the visit of Prof Lenny Moss, University of Exeter, to explore the connections between contemporary biology and the philosophical debate over the place of the normative in the natural world. Prof Moss holds PhDs in cell biology from UC Berkeley and philosophy from Northwestern University and his research examines contemporary biology from the perspective of post-Kantian philosophical anthropology (see: His visit is part of an ongoing collaboration between the researchers at the University of Exeter and a five-year ARC-funded project on postgenomic biology and human nature headed by Prof Griffiths and Dr Karola Stotz. Two visiting students from Exeter will also be participating in the seminar.

Amongst the other seminar convenors, Dr David Macarthur is editor of the recent Normativity and Nature: Toward a Liberal Naturalism (Columbia 2008) and has published extensively on these themes. Dr Charles Wolfe brings expertise on the history of biological thought about the role of purpose in nature, and is currently editing a special issue of History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences on the idea of the organism.

The seminar will meet Friday 1-3 except on two dates when it will meet Wednesday 11-1 to accommodate Prof. Moss’s other commitments while in Australia.

Contact Paul Griffiths

Times and (tentative) Texts

1. Friday July 31, 1.00-3.00
Science, Nature and Normativity - Renewing Critical Theory from a Naturalistic Point of View. Lenny Moss & Vida Pavesich (Manuscript) Discussion leaders: Moss and Pavesich

2. Friday Aug 7, 1.00-3.00
“Naturalizing the Human or Humanizing Nature: Outlines of a New Naturalism, David Macarthur. Discussion leader David Macarthur

3. Wednesday Aug 12, 11.00-1.00
Exchange between John McDowell and Herbert Dreyfus, Inquiry 50 (4) 2007: 338-377 and responses by each author.

4. Friday Aug 21, 1.00-3.00
Extracts from Plessner, Cassirer, Goldstein: Discussion Leader Charles Wolfe

5. Friday Aug 28, 1.00-3.00
Extracts from Georges Canguilhem Knowledge of Life

6. Friday Sept 4, 1.00-3.00
Extracts from Evan Thompson Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind (Harvard, 2007) and Marc Kirschner John Gerhart The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin's Dilemma (Yale 2006)

7. Wednesday Sept 9, 11.00-1.00
Exchange between Michael Thompson and Jay Bernstein?

8. Friday Sept 25, 1.00-3.00
Extracts from Robert Brandom?

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