CFP: [International] What Is Second Nature? (Evian Colloquium 2008)

full name / name of organization: 
David Lauer
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Call for papers

14th International Philosophy Colloquium Evian
What is Second Nature? - Reason, History, Institutions

Evian (Lake Geneva), France
July 13-19, 2008

New conference website:

Georg W. Bertram
Freie Universitaet Berlin, Institut für Philosophie, Habelschwerdter
Allee 30, D-14195 Berlin

Human beings have always understood themselves as beings that are not
(merely) natural in certain respects. They are faced for this reason with
the question of how their way of life should be understood as distinct
from their "first nature". As a response to this question, there is
widespread agreement that understanding the human way of life involves
clarifying how it is essentially shaped through human beings' engagement
in practices, an engagement through which they also shape themselves.
Familiarly, the concept of culture expresses this basic situation of
being human in manifold ways. But insofar as human beings comprehend
themselves as beings with a particular first nature, it is also
legitimate to account for the human way of life in terms of the workings
of this first nature. It is in this theoretical context (among other
things) that the invocation of the idea of "second nature" becomes
interesting as a possible alternative to that of culture. For what
distinguishes the idea of second nature is its insistence that the
irreducibly expressive and self-constituting activities of human beings
should be understood as broadly natural phenomena, not solely cultural
ones. The wide variety of determinations of the concept of second nature
brought forward in the course of Western thought from Aristotle through
Hume and Hegel to Bourdieu and McDowell (to mention only a very small
selection of thinkers), can be arguably captured in terms of the three
concepts of reason, history, and institutions. But different
philosophical traditions and systematic options intersect in multiple
ways in the course of reflecting on the idea of second nature. The 14th
International Philosophy Colloquium Evian invites philosophers to
consider and discuss these intersections in an intensive and collective
way, transgressing the narrow confines of particular schools and
traditions in philosophy. The passive mastery of French, German, and
English (the three languages of discussion of the colloquium) is an
indispensable prerequisite for its participants.

A detailed exposition of the topic and all relevant information
concerning the character and history of the colloquium as well as matters
of accomodation and costs can be found on our website.

Call for Papers:
We invite proposals for presentations (maximum length: one page), along
with a short CV (maximum length: two pages), by April 1, 2008. Please
send these documents via e-mail to the following address:

Organisation: Georg W. Bertram (Berlin), Robin Celikates (Bremen), David
Lauer (Berlin), in cooperation with: Karin de Boer (Groningen), Karen
Feldman (Berkeley), Jo-Jo Koo (Pittsburgh), Christophe Laudou (Madrid),
Jérôme Lèbre (Paris), Diane Perpich (Clemson), Hans Bernhard Schmid
(Basel), Chris Doude van Troostvijk (Strasbourg/Amsterdam)

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