Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Call for Papers

I've just received this information about a conference that will take place next year:

Papers are invited for presentation on the topic “Scepticism between Science, Literature and Philosophy”, for a one-day workshop in the frame of the 12th International Conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas (ISSEI).

The conference will be held at Çankaya University, Ankara, Turkey, on August 2-6, 2010.

Please submit an abstract (one page) by January 1st, 2010 to:

Sébastien Charles (Université de Sherbrooke, Canada):

Speakers will have 20 to 30 minutes to present their papers in English or French (exact time to be confirmed, depending of the number of papers accepted).

Presentation of the workshop:

The analysis of the revival of scepticism in early modern times, which was done notably by Richard Popkin, has shown the importance of the sceptic figure in order to better understand early modern philosophy. In particular, it has shown the real function of Cartesianism, which was the most prodigious war machine against sceptical philosophy. But the diffusion of scepticism at that time was larger than the philosophical field; it also touched literature and science, creating new problems and hypotheses. In fact, scepticism was one of the major problems and matters of interest of the République des lettres. Given these conditions, the way in which literature presented the sceptic figure still needs exploring. It is well-known, for instance, that Molière made comical use of the sceptic’s suspension of judgement. What other representations can we find of this figure in early modern literature? And how was scepticism addressed by a science that pretended to reach a universal truth? A specific focus on such major figures of scepticism in early modern times as Montaigne, Gassendi, Huet, La Mothe le Vayer, or Bayle, could help us answer these two questions and understand the nature and function of scepticism in regard to literature and science. For example, by insisting on the relativity of customs and habits, the sceptics have forced writers to take into account other cultures, and even to write in favour of them. And by evoking the difficulty to find the truth, even for modern scientists, they have encouraged scholars to adopt a probabilistic conception of science, which has some relation to later empiricism. In this perspective, scepticism is crucial to our comprehension of early modern times, and it is important to deal with other aspects than just the philosophical ones in order to better evaluate its impact on this time-period.

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