Home » Call for abstracts » Shakespeare: the Philosopher

Shakespeare: the Philosopher

University of Hertfordshire, 12-13 September 2014

Speakers to include:

Miranda Anderson (University of Edinburgh)

Gregory Currie (University of York)

Maximilian de Gaynesford (University of Reading)

Derek Matravers (Open University)

Tzachi Zamir (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Shakespeare’s work is rich in philosophical themes, addressing questions in areas including metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of mind, and social and political philosophy. Meanwhile, issues concerning how Shakespeare’s works manage to represent what they do are ripe for consideration in aesthetics, with the plays raising questions about the nature of representation, fiction, interpretation, literature and history, tragedy and comedy. Shakespeare: The Philosopher aims to explore the importance of philosophy in understanding Shakespeare, and the importance of Shakespeare to issues in philosophy.

We welcome abstracts of around 1000 words on any aspect of the relationships between Shakespeare and philosophy. Questions considered could include (but are not limited to):

– Do Shakespeare’s worlds have distinctive metaphysical features?

– What are Shakespeare’s views about knowledge, perception and belief?

– How does Shakespeare’s use of language impact on questions in the philosophy of language?

– Do Shakespeare’s works suggest particular accounts of interpersonal relationships such as marriages, friendships and family loyalties?

– Do Shakespeare’s plays illuminate the notion of political authority?

– How do Shakespeare’s characters navigate issues of trust, deception, testimony and epistemic responsibility?

– Does engaging with Shakespearean theatre require entertaining a set of values distinct from one’s own?

– Does engagement with the plays reveal ideas about equality and justice?

– What do we learn about virtues by examining Shakespeare’s characters?

– How has Shakespeare been influenced by philosophy? How has Shakespeare influenced philosophy?

– To what extent is Shakespeare’s work Platonistic?

– Are there genre-specific principles which determine what is true in a Shakespearean fiction?

– Are departures from the actual world’s history licensed in interpretations of the plays?

– Do anachronistic accounts of Shakespearean worlds and characters constitute permissible interpretations?

– Is establishing the authenticity of various scenes important for aesthetic engagement?

Two sessions are reserved for papers from current graduate students. Please indicate in your email if you would like your abstract to be considered for a graduate speaker session.

The papers from the conference will be considered for an edited collection (subject to peer-review). Early discussions with a major publisher are underway.

Please send abstracts, and any questions, to shakespeareandphilosophy@gmail.com. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 16 June 2014, and we aim to inform potential speakers by 30 June.

The conference is made possible by the generous support of the British Society of Aesthetics. We are also grateful for additional support from the University of Hertfordshire.

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