Rethinking Modern Philosophy: Origins, Connections, and Traditions

14 and 15 June 2015

Halifax Hall, Endcliffe Vale Road, Sheffield, S10 3ER


Adi Efal (Universität zu Köln)
Massimo Ferrari (University of Turin)
Catherine Legg (University of Waikato)
Alexander Klein (California State University)
Christopher Macleod (Lancaster University)
Dean Moyar (John Hopkins University)
Trevor Pearce (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)
Robert Stern and Neil Williams (University of Sheffield)
Daniel Whistler (University of Liverpool)
Kenneth Winkler (Yale University)

The nineteenth-century was one of the most creative and revolutionary periods in the history of modern philosophy. The work of the idealists, pragmatists, positivists, and spiritualists in Europe and America was conceptually rich and theoretically ground-breaking, and it set the foundation for the formation of the analytic and continental strands of philosophy, as we understand them today. This is why contemporary philosophers are beginning to recognize that these traditions still offer an enormously varied and rich set of untapped resources for contemporary arguments and concepts. Nevertheless, the standard historical narratives have focused on a relatively limited number of figures and have often treated these dominant traditions as having developed in complete isolation.

This workshop aims to bring together philosophers from a wide variety of backgrounds who are working on modern philosophy in order [1] to explore the historical links and divergences between these philosophical schools; [2] to investigate how these traditions developed in reaction to their early modern predecessors; [3] to examine the work of under-researched figures and debates within these traditions; and, [4] to ask how historical research on the history of modern philosophy might inspire us to think differently about contemporary problems. Therefore, although the focus of the workshop is on traditions that flourished during the nineteenth-century, we will also examine the development of these traditions throughout the twentieth-century, and assess their continued importance in the twenty-first.


Sunday 14 June

09:30 - 10:00 - Registration and Coffee
10:00 - 11:00 - Robert Stern and Neil Williams ‘James and Hegel: Looking for a Home’
11:05 - 12:05 - Dean Moyar ‘Fichte and Hegel on Counter-normative Conduct’
12:05 - 14:00 - Lunch
14:00 - 15:00 - Daniel Whistler ‘Schelling, Cousin and the Eclectic System’
15:05 - 16:05 - Adi Efal ‘Ravaisson’s “Spiritualism” and French “Classicism”’
16:05 - 16:30 - Coffee
16: 30 - 17: 30 - Massimo Ferrari ‘From Harvard to Paris: William James and Émile Boutroux’

Monday 15 June

09:30 - 10:00 - Registration and Coffee
10:00 - 11:00 - Christopher MacLeod Naturalism, Judgement, and Discussion in the work of J.S. Mill
11:05 - 12:05 - Alexander Klein ‘T. H. Green, Early Modern Empiricism, and the New Science of Mind’
12:05 - 14:00 - Lunch
14:00 - 15:00 - Trevor Pearce ‘Pragmatism, Positivism, Evolutionism: Currents in
Late-Nineteenth-Century American Philosophy’
15:05 - 16:05 - Kenneth Winkler ‘Emerson’s Idealism’
16:05 - 16:30 - Coffee
16: 30 - 17: 30 - Catherine Legg ‘Realism and Universals in Charles Peirce and the British Idealists: A Comparative Study’

This workshop has been made possible through the generous funding provided by the University of Sheffield, the Leverhulme Trust, and the British Society for the History of Philosophy.

For further details, please contact Jeremy Dunham.