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Starting Points for Catholic Social Thought

  • Posted by: Nikolaus Fogle
  • Posted Date: February 18, 2013
  • Filed Under: Uncategorized

As Catholic social thought finds its way onto syllabi across the curriculum, you may be wondering what the best starting points are for research in this field. Over on Falvey’s Library News blog, theology and religious studies librarian Darren Poley written a terrific post to get us oriented.


More Companionship in Philosophy

  • Posted by: Nikolaus Fogle
  • Posted Date: February 5, 2013
  • Filed Under: Uncategorized

Despite their popularity, the Cambridge Companions are not the only user-friendly scholarly compendia to the different areas of philosophy. In addition to the Cambridge series, the library provides access to several other series of guides, notably the Continuum Companions, Blackwell Guides, and Oxford Handbooks. These typically follow the model set by the Cambridge Companions: each volume presents specially-commissioned articles that orient the reader in a given topic, while in most cases also setting out the author’s own position as a point of entry to the wider debate. These series also draw authors who are experts on their topics, so the quality is consistently high. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see the same authors cropping up repeatedly across several series.

And as with the Cambridge Companions, these series are good for providing a foundation in a topic, and pointing out avenues for further investigation. Titles invariably contain representative bibliographies, and the essays themselves provide context for other important authors and their contributions. The Continuum Companions do a particularly nice job of supplying extras. The Continuum Companion to Pragmatism, for example, includes a list of important journals and professional organizations, and directs readers to the Pragmatism Cybrary, an internet hub for pragmatism scholarship. Similarly, The Continuum Companion to Continental Philosophy comes with a glossary, a contextual timeline, and a list of research resources.

The main drawback to these other series is that, unlike the Cambridge Companions, they are not generally available online. There are times when this is less than ideal. The Oxford Handbooks in particular tend to be large, bulky things that are difficult to read comfortably. But that shouldn’t dissuade you from using them, since they often contain valuable content not available elsewhere. For instance, an entire third of The Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy—seven essays—is devoted to “problems of method,” an important topic to which the rival Continuum volume gives only a single essay. (At the moment there is no general Cambridge volume for continental philosophy). Oxford is also the first to deliver a volume (coming soon to Falvey) focused on philosophy and neuroscience, an area that is attracting great attention at present.

A list of our holdings for each of these series can be obtained by doing a title search in the catalog for “Continuum Companion,” “Blackwell Guide,” or “Oxford Handbook.”


Interviews with Alain Badiou on France Culture

  • Posted by: Gabriel Rockhill
  • Posted Date: January 31, 2013
  • Filed Under: Uncategorized


Psychoanalysis and Politics

  • Posted by: Gabriel Rockhill
  • Posted Date: January 30, 2013
  • Filed Under: Uncategorized


About Psychoanalysis and Politics

PSYCHOANALYSIS AND POLITICS aims to address how crucial contemporary political issues may be fruitfully analyzed and addressed through psychoanalytic theory. It is an interdisciplinary conference series – we invite theoretical contributions and historical, literary or clinical case studies on these and related themes from philosophers, sociologists, psychoanalysts, group analysts, psychotherapists, literary theorists, historians and others. Perspectives from different psychoanalytic schools are most welcome.

The symposia differ from most conferences in that they are democratic; they make room for presenters at different stages in their careers, and from outside as well as inside academia. They present a space for discussion, with an emphasis on engagement and active participation from everyone who is present. The debates continue during joint meals at the symposia.
E-mail: psychoanalysis.politics@gmail.com

Psychoanalysis and Politics is funded by, and forms a part of, NSU, an initiative of The Nordic Ministerial Council, which aims to promote original and interdisciplinary research collaboration between Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and between these countries and the rest of the world. See the page ‘about NSU’ and:  www.nsuweb.net

LENE AUESTAD, Research Fellow, Philosophy, University of Oslo/ Centre for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities/ currently London
JONATHAN DAVIDOFF, Psychologist, Postgraduate Student in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Tavistock Centre, London


London Critical Theory Summer School 2013

  • Posted by: Gabriel Rockhill
  • Posted Date: January 18, 2013
  • Filed Under: Uncategorized

The 2013 London Critical Theory Summer School will take place at Birkbeck from 1st July – 12th July 2013. This unique opportunity is for graduate students and academics to follow a course of study and to foster exchange and debate. It will consist of at least 6 modules over the two weeks, each convened by one of the participating academics.



New Philosophy Books

  • Posted by: Nikolaus Fogle
  • Posted Date: January 7, 2013
  • Filed Under: Uncategorized

Falvey Library receives new philosophy books every day, and you never know when something exciting, important or serendipitous will appear. Here are a few of the latest.

The New Wounded: From Neurosis to Brain Damage by Catherine Malabou (Fordham University Press)

From the publisher: “This book employs a philosophical approach to the “new wounded” (brain lesion patients) to stage a confrontation between psychoanalysis and contemporary neurobiology, focused on the issue of trauma and psychic wounds. It thereby reevaluates the brain as an organ that is not separated from psychic life but rather at its center.The “new wounded” suffer from psychic wounds that traditional psychoanalysis, with its emphasis on the psyche’s need to integrate events into its own history, cannot understand or cure. They are victims of various cerebral lesions or attacks, including degenerative brain diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. … Effacing the limits that separate “neurobiology” from “sociopathy,” brain damage tends also to blur the boundaries between history and nature. At the same time, it reveals that political oppression today assumes the guise of a traumatic blow stripped of all justification. We are thus dealing with a strange mixture of nature and politics, in which politics takes on the appearance of nature, and nature disappears in order to assume the mask of politics.”

Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting by Sianne Ngai (Harvard University Press)

From the publisher: “The zany, the cute, and the interesting saturate postmodern culture. They dominate the look of its art and commodities as well as our discourse about the ambivalent feelings these objects often inspire. In this radiant study, Sianne Ngai offers a theory of the aesthetic categories that most people use to process the hypercommodified, mass-mediated, performance-driven world of late capitalism, treating them with the same seriousness philosophers have reserved for analysis of the beautiful and the sublime. Ngai explores how each of these aesthetic categories expresses conflicting feelings that connect to the ways in which postmodern subjects work, exchange, and consume. As a style of performing that takes the form of affective labor, the zany is bound up with production and engages our playfulness and our sense of desperation. The interesting is tied to the circulation of discourse and inspires interest but also boredom. The cute’s involvement with consumption brings out feelings of tenderness and aggression simultaneously. At the deepest level, Ngai argues, these equivocal categories are about our complex relationship to performing, information, and commodities.”

The I in We: Studies in the Theory of Recognition by Axel Honneth (Polity)

From the publisher: “In this volume Axel Honneth deepens and develops his highly influential theory of recognition, showing how it enables us both to rethink the concept of justice and to offer a compelling account of the relationship between social reproduction and individual identity formation. Drawing on his reassessment of Hegel’s practical philosophy, Honneth argues that our conception of social justice should be redirected from a preoccupation with the principles of distributing goods to a focus on the measures for creating symmetical relations of recognition. This theoretical reorientation has far-reaching implications for the theory of justice, as it obliges this theory to engage directly with problems concerning the organization of work and with the ideologies that stabilize relations of domination. In the final part of this volume Honneth shows how the theory of recognition provides a fruitful and illuminating way of exploring the relation between social reproduction and identity formation. Rather than seeing groups as regressive social forms that threaten the autonomy of the individual, Honneth argues that the ‘I’ is dependent on forms of social recognition embodied in groups, since neither self-respect nor self-esteem can be maintained without the supportive experience of practising shared values in the group.”

Heidegger and Cognitive Science edited by Julian Kiverstein and Michael Wheeler (Palgrave MacMillan)

From the publisher: “The cognitive scientists of today are increasingly occupied with investigating the ways in which human cognition depends on the dynamic interaction over multiple time scales of brain, body and world. The old vision of the mind as a logic machine whose workings could be explained in abstraction from the biological body and the cultural environment is looking increasingly untenable and outdated. This collection explores the idea that this development in cognitive science can be productively interpreted through an encounter with Heidegger’s existential phenomenology. Not only can Heidegger help us to understand the history of cognitive science but his philosophy also provides a conceptual framework for the cognitive science of today and of the future. Heidegger, however, is standardly interpreted as being resolutely anti-naturalist, as insisting that a scientific understanding of human beings is necessarily limited and partial in what it can tell us about human existence. Can there be a cognitive science of human existence or is such a project doomed to fail for reasons already articulated in Heidegger’s philosophy?”

Against the Physicists by Sextus Empiricus – a new translation by Richard Bett (Cambridge University Press)

From the publisher: “Sextus Empiricus’ Against the Physicists examines numerous topics central to ancient Greek inquiries into the nature of the physical world, covering subjects such as god, cause and effect, whole and part, bodies, place, motion, time, number, coming into being and perishing and is the most extensive surviving treatment of these topics by an ancient Greek sceptic. Sextus scrutinizes the theories of non-sceptical thinkers, and generates suspension of judgement through the assembly of equally powerful opposing arguments. Richard Bett’s edition provides crucial background information about the text and elucidation of difficult passages. His accurate and readable translation is supported by substantial interpretative aids, including a glossary and a list of parallel passages relating Against the Physicists to other works by Sextus. This is an indispensable edition for advanced students and scholars studying this important work by an influential philosopher.”


The New Issue of Expositions is Philosophy-Rich

  • Posted by: Nikolaus Fogle
  • Posted Date: December 21, 2012
  • Filed Under: Uncategorized

The new issue of Expositions, the interdisciplinary journal of the Villanova Center for Liberal Education, features a number of selections that will be of particular interest to students and scholars of philosophy:

Expositions Vol. 6, No. 2 (2012)
V.C.L.E. is pleased to announce the publication of “Expositions” Vol. 6, No. 2. There is an interview with Alasdair MacIntyre (conducted after his recent visit to Villanova). An Academic Roundtable on Daryn Lehoux’s recent work in the history and philosophy of science, “What Did the Romans Know? An Inquiry into Science and Worldmaking.” A discussion of teaching Cervantes’ masterpiece, “Don Quixote,” and a review of Brad Gregory’s “The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society.”

For additional information: http://expositions.journals.villanova.edu/
If you have questions, please contact: gregory.hoskins@villanova.edu


The Cambridge Companions to Philosophy, Religion and Culture

  • Posted by: Nikolaus Fogle
  • Posted Date: November 29, 2012
  • Filed Under: Uncategorized

By Nikolaus Fogle

Let’s say you’re taking a course on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. You’ve gone to the lectures, read your textbook, maybe a few articles, and now it’s time to start working on your term paper. You know you need to dig deeper, and you want sources that will provide insight while also helping you identify the key points of dispute about Kant, so you can intelligently enter the debate. This is when you turn to The Cambridge Companion to Kant.

The Cambridge Companions to Philosophy, Religion and Culture—171 volumes at last count—provide a wealth of resources to students and scholars alike. Each one is devoted to a specific figure, period, or topic, and helps readers break into the serious scholarship on that subject.

There are Cambridge Companions to Plato, Nietzsche, Marx and Jung, to Arabic philosophy, the Scottish enlightenment, and postmodern theology, to name a few. The series ranges broadly, as titles like The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Skepticism and The Cambridge Companion to Modern Chinese Culture testify. There are even a couple of surprisingly specific ones, like The Cambridge Companion to Nozik’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia.

They’re ideal resources for term papers, since each volume is carefully curated to inform and advance the scholarship at the same time. The contributors are most often internationally-recognized authorities on their subjects. For instance, The Cambridge Companion to Kant is edited and introduced by Paul Guyer, the author of at least eight books on Kant, and one of the principle translators of Kant into English. It also includes essays by a dozen other Kant experts, each focusing on a particular facet of his thought.

Finally, the bibliographies at the end of each volume are ready road-maps to some of the most important literature on their subjects. Sometimes they’re even broken down into thematic sections, e.g., books and articles on Kant’s moral theory, his anthropology, his philosophy of religion, etc.

So as you write your term papers this semester, give the Cambridge Companions a try. Falvey has both the print and digital editions of nearly every one.


Three Philosophy Encyclopedias

  • Posted by: Nikolaus Fogle
  • Posted Date: October 26, 2012
  • Filed Under: Uncategorized

By Nikolaus Fogle

Philosophy is a pretty esoteric field of study. For beginning students the wilderness of names, schools, -isms, and assorted jargon can seem to stretch on forever. Often the best way to get oriented is to start with an encyclopedia article.

Falvey Library provides access to an extensive selection of philosophy reference resources, the majority of which are accessible online. These range from large, general works like the MacMillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy, to more specialized ones like the Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy, the Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy and A Dictionary of Continental Philosophy. In nearly all cases the entries are penned by respected scholars who are experts in their fields, so you can be confident that you’re getting top notch knowledge.

Philosophy encyclopedias aren’t just for newcomers, either. Veterans of philosophy will find them helpful too, when they need to refresh their memories about an infrequently used term, or when the search for knowledge carries them into previously unplumbed depths. The encyclopedias  also make great leisure reading for the intellectually curious. Seriously. You can learn an awful lot about, say, psychoanalysis, or Derrida, or stoicism, in about twenty minutes. Think of them as a Wikipedia for philosophy that you can actually trust. Here are the three most inclusive ones:

Macmillan’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy is the old workhorse. Falvey currently has both the print and online versions of the 2nd edition, revised in 2006. Its 2,100+ entries cover philosophy from a range of perspectives: there are entries about individual philosophers, entries devoted to various national and regional traditions, as well as ones about specific historical movements, concepts and terms. In the first volume, for instance, you’ll find articles on aesthetics, African philosophy, alterity, Anaxagoras, and artificial intelligence (among other things). As with the Routledge encyclopedia, the bibliographies that accompany each article tend to be useful and manageably sized. The online version is accessible through the Gale Virtual Reference Library, and articles can be viewed in text or PDF formats.

If you’re looking for an insightful first encounter with almost any topic in philosophy, the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy is the place to go. It’s more exhaustive than Stanford, and easier to use than Macmillan. The articles are informative, consistent, and push the reader just a bit toward a deeper understanding of their topic. They also put the most essential information up front, or on the first page, leaving it up to you whether you want to delve deeper or not. The interface is simple and flexible: you can browse for articles by subject, and perform basic or advanced searches.  There is also a glossary component that gives brief descriptions of specialized terms, and within each article there is a tab that lists related entries. The only downside of the Routledge encyclopedia is that there is no option for a PDF view, which would make for easier reading.

Finally, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a web-only, continuously-updated encyclopedia that anyone can access. It’s also fully peer-reviewed and the articles are contributed by some of the leading figures in their fields. The SEP tends to assume a higher level of familiarity with philosophy than other encyclopedias, and this can be daunting for newcomers. Authors tend to delve into fine-grained analyses of their topics, more in the style of a journal article than an encyclopedia. And not infrequently they break out long stretches of formal logic. That said, you’ll probably walk away from an SEP article with a deeper understanding of a topic than you otherwise would. The SEP is the place to go for special topics in analytic philosophy, such as rigid designators or zombies, that won’t be covered in much detail by Routledge or MacMillan.



  • Posted by: Annika Thiem
  • Posted Date: February 3, 2012
  • Filed Under: Uncategorized

This prize is awarded to the best unpublished essay or monograph on the
philosophy of war and peace submitted for the competition.
Process: The winning entry is selected by a committee of 3-6 members, appointed
by the Chair of the APA’s Committee on Lectures, Publications, and Research, in
consultation with LPR committee members.

Frequency: Every 2 years (odd years)

Award Amount: $1,500

Last Award: 2011

Next Award: 2013


The Frank Chapman Sharp Memorial Prize was established in 1990 with funds
donated by Eliot and Dorothy Sharp and several other members and friends of the
Sharp family to honor the memory of Eliot’s father. Frank Chapman Sharp was
President of the Western Division of the APA in 1907-08 and was a member of the
philosophy faculty at the University of Wisconsin from 1893 until his retirement
in 1936. Dr. Sharp was born in 1866 and died in 1943.

Submission Procedures

APA Members and student associates are eligible to submit unpublished essays or
monographs for the prize. Manuscripts should be between 7,500 to 75,000 words
(between 30 and 300 double-spaced typed pages), and not published OR committed
for publication at the time of the award. Undergraduate entrants must be
philosophy majors (or something close); graduate students must be enrolled in,
or on leave from, a graduate program in philosophy. Authors must be members in
good standing of the APA. Send the paper (electronically) with the title and
author’s name and affiliation on a separate page. Any identifying references in
the body and footnotes of the manuscript should be removed. Deadline for
submission: March 15, 2012. Submissions should be sent via email to: Linda
Nuoffer (lnuoffer@udel.edu) with the subject line: Sharp Memorial Prize.

Previous awardees:

2011 – Seth Lazar (University of Oxford), War and Associative Duties
2009 – No award given
2007 – Jeff McMahan, “The Morality and Law of War”
2005 – Larry May, “War Crimes and Just Wars”
2003 – James Bohman, “Punishment as an International Political Obligation:
Crimes Against Humanity and the Enforceable Right to Membership”
2001 – No award given
1999 – Brian Orend, “A Theory of War Termination”
1997 – David Rodin, “Self-Defense and War”
1995 – No award given
1993 – No award given
1991 – Barry Gan, “Anti-Warism: A New Pacifist Perspective”


From the APA webpage: http://www.apaonline.org/APAOnline/Profession/Prizes_and_Awards/Frank_Chapman_Sharp_Memorial_Prize.aspx

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Last Modified: February 3, 2012