Kierkegaard: Acts of philosophy - the Second Ereignis Conference
How can we enlist the literary image to move readers to act in the world, and how may a philosophical life serve as a theatre in which ideas are enacted? These are key questions for our second Ereignis conference, to be held on-site in Gdynia, Poland, and online on Saturday, June 11, and online-only on June 12, 2022. Hosted by Ereignis Center for Philosophy and the Arts, and headlined by internationally acclaimed speakers on literary and political philosophy, this conference seeks to show a wide array of philosophical, literary, and social junctures where Kierkegaard’s philosophy meet with contemporary concerns.
Kierkegaard: Acts of philosophy - the Second Ereignis Conference in Gdynia, Poland, and on-line.
Submission deadline: 1 May, 2022 (guidelines below).
Our time’s continued interest in the work of Søren Kierkegaard, the existentialist philosopher and litterateur (e.g. Ziolkowski, 2018; Millay, 2020), is matched by a growing attention to the existential act in and of philosophy (Badiou, 2011, cf. 2018; Sloterdijk, 2014). This conference will shed renewed light on the literary and artistic character of Kierkegaard’s work, as well as on literature and art that connect with key ideas in his work. We will be particularly attentive to how the literary image is enlisted to move readers to act in the world (Garff, 2018), and to how a philosophical life can serve as a theatre in which ideas are enacted (Badiou, 2011). How are Kierkegaard’s novel singularities relevant as potentialities for our time?
Confirmed keynote speakers
- Kresten Lundsgaard-Leth, International People’s College, Denmark: “For the Love of God? On Hägglund’s misunderstanding of Fear and Trembling” Abstract.
- Prof. Gisle Selnes, University of Bergen, Norway;
- Prof. Dr. Jørgen Veisland, University of Gdańsk, Poland: “What’s in a name. A Kierkegaardian approach to Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus and Paul Auster’s City of Glass” Abstract;
The concepts and practices of freedom and choice are essential elements in Kierkegaard’s philosophical works: they exemplify the continuous crisis the individual human subject is precipitated into when confronted with the perplexing, problematic dilemmas arising in everyday existence. Further, they demand concrete action, or actions, propelled by the existential requirement that the individual come to her/himself by attaining an awareness of the unavoidable necessity of absolute freedom and ethical choice. Kierkegaard as ‘author’ of his philosophical life’s work is himself suspended in an eternal aesthetic game whereby his life’s work turns into play. The playfulness emerges through the consistent use of pseudonyms, indicating an infinite openness produced and continuously set in motion by the relation between the individual and her/his existence.
The work Either-Or employs the intra-textual pseudonyms A. and B. where A. is the aesthetic individual and B. the ethical individual. The aesthete believes s/he is free from choice whereas the ethical subject realizes that genuine freedom and ultimate selfhood may only come about as ethical commitment to others, a commitment that is on-going and never-ending, as it involves daily choices that are not subject to an intellectual, ideological or otherwise systemic program. Ethical choice pits the individual into the field of concrete action. Such action is preconditioned upon the attainment of Self, and the action or actions leading to Self constitute a process of becoming that culminates in Absolute Selfhood, the final choice of religious faith as choosing the Infinite, as clearly stipulated in Stages on Life’s Way.
Choice and choosing on a daily basis are thus a process of becoming; and yet this process is conducive to the Absolute. For underlying the concept and practice of choice is the absolute spiritual and existential concept of freedom, the adverse of which is un-freedom, the demonic state of mind. Faced with the abyss of absolute freedom the individual experiences anxiety and dizziness, as Vigilius Haufniensis writes in The Concept of Anxiety. Paradoxically, the absolute freedom and the abyss of nothingness facing the individual at the moment of her/his choice of Self emerges as the demand, or rather, the commanding voice of the Absolute itself, in Fear and Trembling by Johannes de Silentio where Abraham responds with an affirmative silence to the voice demanding the ultimate sacrifice. Crises demand absolute commitment.
Thus, behind the immediacy of Kierkegaard’s acts there always lurks a rigorous ethical consideration: over and beyond the aesthetic and knowable surface Kierkegaard sets out to interrogate our ethical stance, and our essential calling. For this conference we are particularly interested in contributions that enlist notions such as concealment, revelation, and salvation to engender a social approach to our being-in-the-world. One relevant framework for such thinking is Wolfgang Schirmacher’s clandestine or artificial ethics, the sense in which we in our ordinary technicity operate without explicit regard to our deeper, more authentic ethical commitment.
Key questions for this conference include:
- How is Kierkegaard’s philosophical message shaped, reinforced, or undermined by his literary form?
- In what ways do Kierkegaard’s philosophical trajectory deviate from more traditional approaches, and what lessons can we can draw from his example?
- How can we with the aid of Kierkegaard rethink the relations between our knowing, ethical, and believing beings-in-the-world?
We invite papers from all traditions and schools of philosophy, as well as adjoining disciplines, to address any of the topics and questions above. General paper submissions should be structured, well-argued, and show evidence of rigorous scholarship. We also welcome submissions for a special Practice/s section, where we seek interventions that challenge the traditional academic conference format, establish new ground, and open up for new ways of thinking and being together. Submissions should include an abstracts (max. 300 words) and a short author bio (max. 50 words), including the authors current affiliation and interest.
Send proposals/abstracts via e-mail by May 1, 2022 to email@example.com. We will return in early May with a notification on acceptance. Indicate whether you would like your proposal to be considered for the special Practice/s section.
The conference will be held on-site at Hotel Antares in Gdynia, Poland, and on-line on the Zoom videoconferencing platform. Get in touch with the conference organisers for assistance in finding reasonable accommodation in the vicinity. Registration will be required on the eventbrite.co.uk/ platform.
All presentations will be considered for publication in a special section of Inscriptions.
- General attendance: €80 (standard fee);
- Reduced fee: €40 (students and the unwaged).
OrganisersThe Second Ereignis Conference is hosted by the Ereignis Center for Philosophy and the Arts.
- Prof James Bahoh, University of Memphis;
- Dr Mehdi Parsa, Ereignis Center for Philosophy and the Arts;
- Dr Simon Smith, British Personalist Forum;
- Dr Torgeir Fjeld, Ereignis Center for Philosophy and the Arts.
- Proposals/abstracts to be submitted via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 1, 2022;
- Notifications by May 10;
- Registration for conference on the eventbrite.co.uk/ platform by June 1, 2022.
The 2022 Ereignis Conference is generously sponsored by Adrianex.
Last updated: 01 July, 2022