Workshop on Late Modern Philosophy
The BU Workshop on Late Modern Philosophy is an annual forum for presenting new work on late-eighteenth through early-twentieth-century philosophy.
THEME FOR 2018 WORKSHOP:
The theme for the 2018 workshop is fanaticism. Today, philosophical analyses of fanaticism are rare. But it was not always so: in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, the “fanatic” (or the “enthusiast,” as he was sometimes called), was one of the central targets of ethical theory. Philosophers including Hume, Locke, Wolff, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche endeavored to provide accounts of fanaticism. Some of these accounts present the fanatic as manifesting rational defects; others, emotional excesses; others, still, analyze fanaticism as a cultural, rather than individual, pathology. Some of the accounts draw peculiar conclusions: Kant claims that Taoists and Buddhists are the most extreme cases of fanaticism, whereas Nietzsche argues that Kant himself is a prime example of moral fanaticism. Taken together, the philosophical accounts of fanaticism raise a number of central questions: what are these accusations of fanaticism based upon? What, if anything, is fanaticism? What is the proper role of ideals in human life and moral theory? To what extent can ideals be rationally justified? Are there domains in which reason must yield to some other form of insight? Are there emotional pathologies that arise from the attempt to limit rational critique? Is it possible to treat a moral, religious, or social ideal as sacrosanct without succumbing to intolerance?
Paul Katsafanas (BU)
The Workshop provides speakers with an opportunity to receive constructive feedback on work in progress. Papers are distributed in advance and should be read prior to the workshop. At the workshop, the participants give brief summaries of their papers; this is followed by an hour of discussion per paper. The discussion is open to all audience members.
745 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 325
2018 Workshop Schedule