A ridiculously great conference at Dundee this weekend – a great contingent of people, a lively audience, and a series of excellent papers from everyone involved. Much thanks to Mike Burns and Brian Smith for organizing the event. And thanks to Reid Kotlas for opening his house to the conference attendees. As Graham has mentioned on his blog, the talks have been recorded and will be posted soon. (And the talks from the Warwick Laruelle conference will soon be posted online as well.) Graham’s paper was a particularly devastating critique of James Ladyman and Don Ross’ Everything Must Go (a book I’ve argued before has much to contribute), though I would argue that his paper still left scientific realism as a viable option. Adrian Johnston’s paper was a fascinating journey through ‘two Zizeks’ and the ways in which philosophical materialism and scientific naturalism can be productively brought together to understand the emergence of subjectivity from a materialist foundation. Peter Hallward’s talk at the end of the conference was a significant step forward for his ongoing project to revitalize the notion of the will. Beyond the assertion that the will exists (justified by Hallward through an invocation of Adrian’s work) Hallward sought to understand the highly practical and contingent nature of collective association, and how our current time requires the formation of novel collectivities and new institutions. The highly programmatic and practical nature of his paper was a great way to finish the conference and it will be exciting to see where his project goes, as well as Graham and Adrian’s.
We’ll have an event announcement coming up soon that hopefully most readers will be interested in – it’ll be May 11 at Warwick University for anyone who can make it.