BERLIN PRACTICAL PHILOSOPHY INTERNATIONAL FORUM e.V.
is pleased to announce an international conference
within American and European Values-Berlin Edition series of conferences
5th International Conference on Santayana:
The Life of Reason in the Age of Terrorism
Berlin, Germany, July 12-14, 2016
(Preceded by A Student Seminars Day on July 11)
The intention of the organizers of the 5th International Conference on George Santayana in Berlin 2016 is (1) to refresh Santayana scholarship by attracting some new scholars, from outside of the present Santayana scholarship circle, who are interested and willing to share with us with their perspectives; (2) to apply Santayana’s ideas to contemporary contexts, and (3) to show the practical importance of Santayana’s philosophy in the sense of relating it to the biggest problems that we all factually face now. Terrorism, understood here as terrorist acts and the ideology that supports them, seems to be one of these topics.
We think that the philosophy of Santayana, one of whose main ideas is encapsulated in the title of his five-volume work – ‘the life of reason’ – can serve as a strong voice that confronts terrorism in both of these meanings of this term, and shows how to live worthy lives without brutal violence. However, we do not want to limit the discussion to Santayana’s five volume The Life of Reason (1905-1906) nor to terrorism; rather, we want to take into consideration all of Santayana’s work and focus upon its different aspects, and also the phenomena that fuel terrorism: insecurity, conflicts, wars, cultural clashes, among others. Examples of Santayana’s themes and ideas that can be fruitfully developed here include:
remembering and forgetting history
the limits of relativism in ethics and culture
madness and ‘normal madness’
cosmopolitanism vs/and nationalism
the limits of toleration
the naturalistic origin of conflicts and wars
the role of philosophers, philosophy and liberal arts in education
The assumption of the organizers is that these Santayanan themes can be developed in the present context and serve as sources of reflection for many audiences nowadays. In other words, it is NOT the reconstruction of Santayana’s ideas that is at stake here (though we invite scholars to think about it as well, if they wish), but rather evoking these ideas and developing them, rethinking them, and, perhaps even redescribing them (to use Richard Rorty’s term) in the light of the perspectives that we have today.
The organizers of the fifth international conference on Santayana hope to continue the spirit of discussion that was so visible in the previous congresses: Avila, Spain (1992), Opole, Poland (2006), Valencia, Spain (2009), and Rome, Italy (2012). At the same time, it is hoped that the sum and substance of the conference will attract more attention from the mass media, social media, cultural institutions, and political centers so that this spirit of discussion can move beyond the walls of academia within which Santayana’s philosophy is already well known.
The official language of the conference is English.
We intend to publish a volume of scholarly edited papers, previously selected on competitive basis.
Unfortunately, we are not able to pay you any honorarium nor provide any funds for travel and/or hotel. Nevertheless, we hope you can come.