Two events in the UK coming up for the new year (and the year after!)…
12 January 2011 – London, UK
This symposium draws on recent paradigms in contemporary philosophy, physics and critical theory. It assembles unique and multidisciplinary reflections on the idea of darkness in its relation to matter in diverse locations, namely: physics, astronomy, ecology, mysticism, speculative realism, psychoanalysis and literature. As a conceptual framework, dark materialism engages with matter at the thresholds of its annihilation and disappearance beyond the topographies of ‘base materialism’ and at the very edges of forms of thought where the objects, things, Things and no-things on which it depended exert their independence. Darkness, in matter, energy, ecology and life itself, in black holes in the universe and in the mind, emerges as baseless and founding, exterior and interior at once. It leaves thought in the void, enabling disruptions and speculative realignments of diverse concepts and the real itself, reshaping not only the world of ideas but also the very order of things.
Thinking the Absolute: Speculation,Philosophy, and the End of Religion
29 June–1 July 2012 – Liverpool Hope University, UK
Keynote Speakers to include Catherine Malabou, Iain Hamilton Grant and Levi Bryant
‘The contemporary end of metaphysics is an end which, being sceptical, could only be a religious end of metaphysics.’
Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude. An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency (London: Continuum, 2008)
Meillassoux identifies the ‘turn to religion’ in contemporary continental philosophy with a failure of thinking. The Kantian refusal to think the absolute leads to scepticism about reality in itself. Ironically, this lends itself to ‘fideism’, the decision to project religious meaning on to the unknowable beyond. According to Meillassoux, a philosophy obsessed with mystery becomes the accomplice of irrational faith. The solution is to find ways of once more thinking the absolute in its reality, severed from its dependence upon a knowing subject, or upon language and social norms. At the same time, new possibilities for thinking religion (exemplified by Meillassoux’s own Divine Inexistence) are emerging.
This conference invites proposals which critically consider this speculative turn in philosophy and its implications for thinking about religion. To what ‘end’ is speculation leading? Does it simply announce the closure of religion and its subordination to a philosophy of the absolute, nature or the ‘All’? Can it open new lines for a philosophy of religion which is not wedded to the Kantian horizon? Is speculation itself open to Kierkegaardian critique as yet another move to position and reduce ethical and religious claims, sacrificing the future on the altar of abstract possibility? Does renewed attention to the canon of speculative idealism offer a way beyond the impasse between relativism and dogmatism?
The organisers welcome proposals which examine the roots and extensity of recent speculative thinking, and which critically consider its impact – direct and indirect – on philosophy of religion. Relevant thinkers and themes might include Quentin Meillassoux on God and the absolute, Alain Badiou’s ontology, Catherine Malabou on Hegel and plasticity, Francois Laruelle’s ‘future Christ’, Iain Hamilton Grant on Schelling’s Naturphilosophie and the thinking of the All, Ray Brassier’s nihilism, the impact of object-oriented ontologies on theology and metaphysics. However, we are particularly looking for contributions which creatively use or depart from the speculative turn to offer original insights into the nature and content of the field.
Abstracts of 300 words for 20 minute papers to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com by end of February 2012.