Figuring Existence: A Postgraduate Conference in Existential Analysis

deadline for submissions: 
January 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Centre for Theology and Modern European Thought, University of Oxford





A Postgraduate Conference in Existential Analysis


Friday 1st March 2019

University of Oxford

United Kingdom


Keynote Speaker: Kate Kirkpatrick (King’s College London)


Organisers: Elizabeth Xiao-an Li and Nikolaas Deketelaere

Centre for Theology and Modern European Thought


The Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno summarised the guiding motive of those intellectual approaches we might nowadays call existentialist by saying that “philosophy is a product of the humanity of each philosopher, and each philosopher is a man of flesh and bone who addresses himself to other men of flesh and bone like himself. And, let him do what he will, he philosophizes not with reason only, but with the will, with the feelings, with the flesh and with the bones, with the whole soul and the whole body. It is the man that philosophizes.” Yet, it is perhaps also because of definitions as broad as this one that Jean-Paul Sartre felt that “the word is now so loosely applied to so many things that it no longer means anything at all.” This conference aims to provide a sketch of the style of thinking that can broadly be conceived of as existential analysis. To that end, we are inviting contributions on the following topics:


Existential analysis amongst the disciplines

  • Existential conceptions of the relationship between philosophy and theology (Bultmann, Tillich, Kierkegaard)

  • The relationship between existential analysis and phenomenology (Merleau- Ponty, Sartre, Heidegger)

  • The relationship between existential analysis and literature (Dostoevsky, Camus, Beauvoir)

 Themes of existential analysis

  • Reason, humanity and nature
  • Freedom, decision and responsibility

  • Finitude, guilt, anxiety and death

  • Authenticity and facticity

  • The paradox and the absurd

  • God, hope and faith


 The history of existentialism

  • Proto-existentialism (Augustine, Pascal)

  • The 19th century existentialists (Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky)

  • The 20th century existentialists (Heidegger, Jaspers, Sartre, Camus)

  • Existential analysis in contemporary thought


 Varieties of existential analysis

  • Existential analysis and the transcendental

  • Christian existentialism and atheist existentialism

  • Existential analysis and systematic philosophy


 Proposals for presentations in English should be sent to the organisers ( by 1st January 2019. Proposals should include a title, abstract, your name, affiliation and contact information. Abstracts should not exceed 500 words. existential-analysis