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CFP: Between Metaphysics, Aesthetics and Religion

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On April 19-20, 2017 the Institute of Philosophy of KU Leuven (University of Leuven, Belgium) organizes a symposium entitled ‘Between Metaphysics, Aesthetics and Religion’ in honor of the retirement of Prof. William Desmond (KU Leuven and Villanova University). The keynote speakers at this occasion are Jack Caputo, Richard Kearney, John Milbank and Rémi Brague; other invited speakers are Cyril O’Regan, Christopher Ben Simpson, Willie van der Merwe and Sander Griffioen. The theme of the symposium is the metaxological philosophy of William Desmond.

‘Metaxology’ is the key-term of Desmond’s philosophy, which is a way of doing philosophy in the ‘between’. Central to this style of philosophizing is a ‘porosity’ to an ‘overdeterminacy’, in terms of a surplus to (self)determinate being, that resists ‘univocal’ or ‘dialectical’ (self)mediation, which in turn engenders a ‘perplexity’ towards such a ‘surd’ to determination. The task of metaxological philosophy is then to stay faithful to what exceeds univocalizing thought by allowing reflection to hyperbolically (i.e. to ‘be thrown beyond’) transcend itself for a metaphysical account of being. Central to metaxological philosophy is then a profound engagement with being (metaphysics), being good/beautiful (ethics and aesthetics) and absolute being (religion). Among the many thought-provoking features of metaxology, there are two that merit special mention here since they go against the grain of postmodern philosophy. On the one hand, metaxology cultivates a community in which there is an open dialectics between being, goodness, beauty and absolute being; on the other hand, metaxology does not shun a metaphysical account of that open dialectics, in which porosity between being receptive (porosity) and being active (thought) is of central importance. Needless to say, most of postmodern philosophy prefers to separate being, goodness, beauty and absolute being into their respective domains. This symposium is dedicated to clarifying, testing and applying metaxological philosophy with regard to metaphysics, aesthetics and religion.

The general objective of this conference is to bring together people of various backgrounds working on the subject of metaphysics, aesthetics and religion, who will then engage metaxological philosophy. For these purposes, there will be lectures engaging (1) metaxology and metaphysics; (2) metaxology and aesthetics; (3) metaxology and religion. The different split-sessions of the conference will then be divided into these topics. Questions that will be addressed include but are not limited to: does the critique of the traditional sense of metaphysics require a re-evaluation?; is the critique of metaphysics applicable to metaxology?; what is the relationship between moral goodness and the beautiful?; does the experience of beauty require a metaphysical explanation?; can human beings, and in what way, know absolute being?; in what way is there a community possible between religion, ethics and aesthetics?

The organization would like to raise a call for papers on subjects related to the issues outlined above. Abstracts up to 500 words should be submitted before September, 2th 2016 to Dennis.Vandenauweele@hiw.kuleuven.be. Abstracts should be blind and accompanied (in a separate file) by a short CV. Slots are limited so the reviewing committee will give preference to papers that explicitly engage Desmond’s metaxology in light of metaphysics, aesthetics of philosophy of religion. Notice of acceptance will be given before October, 1st.