Conference | The Enlightenment and Philosophical Anthropology

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on October 27, 2013

From the Sydney Intellectual History Network at the University of Sydney:

The Enlightenment and the Development of Philosophical Anthropology
University of Sydney, 4–6 November 2013

hoppius_anthropomorphaThe conference focuses on the development of various forms of anthropology in the second half of the eighteenth century, with a special focus on philosophical anthropology, as a distinct discipline that competed with metaphysics, both in scope and aim.

The birth of philosophical anthropology in the mid-eighteenth century and its development well into the nineteenth signaled a fundamental shift – not only did it emphasise the historical character of thought, but it also sought to understand the human being in context, whether biological, cultural-historical, literary or psychological. For this reason, Odo Marquard has termed it one of the “three great epochal shifts” (alongside aesthetics and the philosophy of history) in the history of modern Europe.

The main focus will be on the way in which various forms of anthropology, philosophical (Germany) but also medical (France) both contributed to and challenged the notion of “Enlightenment” in Europe. That the European Enlightenment was a contested ground is well known; however, the fact that anthropology played a fundamental role in its orientation remains an understudied topic.

Many of the papers will focus on the role that Johann Gottfried Herder played in the development of philosophical anthropology, and in examining the debate between him and his former teacher, Immanuel Kant, this conference will be one of the first to address the ways in which philosophical anthropology developed in relation to the larger project of Enlightenment in Europe.

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Monday, 4 November

Peter Anstey (Sydney), The Enlightenment natural history of man

Charles Wolfe (Ghent), ‘Whoever takes man as an object of study must expect to have man as an enemy’: The tension between naturalism and anthropocentrism in La Mettrie and Diderot

Jennifer Milam (Sydney), Doggie Style: Rococo Representations of Interspecies Sensuality and the Pursuit of Volupté

Stephen Gaukroger (Sydney), The demise of anthropological medicine: the challenges of experimental medicine and Mesmerism

Ofer Gal (Sydney), Anthropology vs. metaphysics: Hobbes and Spinoza on the passions

Tuesday, 5 November

Daniela Helbig (Sydney), Self-positing: experimental subjects in Kant’s thought and in scientific practice

Nigel DeSouza (Ottawa), Between Leibniz and Kant: the philosophical foundations of Herder’s anthropology

Anik Waldow (Sydney), Natural history and the formation of the human being: Kant and Herder on active forces

Dalia Nassar (Sydney), Kant and Herder on analogy

Stefanie Buchenau (Paris), Herder: From comparative anatomy to philosophical anthropology

Wednesday, 6 November

John Zammito (Rice), The Animal-Human Boundary and Anthropology: Herder between Reimarus and Tetens

Kristin Gjesdal (Temple), Hermeneutics and Anthropology in Herder’s Early Thought

Gabriel Watts (Sydney), Herder’s theological anthropology

Marion Heinz (Siegen), Cultural theory in Kant and Herder

Michael Forster (Bonn), Herder’s anthropology and human rights

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