The relation between mind and nature is one of the oldest questions in philosophy. Already in Plato’s Phaedo, we find Socrates praising Anaxagoras for having introduced nous (mind) into the explanation of nature, but criticizing him for not having made sufficient use of this principle. Turning to the modern day, we see a wide variety of questions surrounding this relation: Is a naturalistic account of mind possible? Would such an account threaten our conceptions of subjectivity and agency? Can the structure of nature be explained by the cognitive structures of the mind, or vice versa?
The University of Ottawa Graduate Philosophy Students’ Association (GPSA) invites contributions related to this topic from graduate or advanced undergraduate students in all areas of philosophy, in either English or French. Please send an abstract of 250-500 words, prepared for blind review, to by 1 February 2016, along with a cover sheet containing your name, institutional affiliation, and contact information.
Possible subjects include, but are not limited to:
- nature in German idealism; or mind in nature-philosophy
- naturalistic theories of mind (Millikan, Dennett)
- the relation between mind and “forms of life” (Wittgenstein) or “second nature” (McDowell)
- political/social implications of the neurosciences and naturalistic accounts of mind
- animal minds, and evolutionary explanations of mind
- phenomenology of nature; or the possibility of naturalizing phenomenology
- mind and ecology; philosophical implications of anthropogenic climate change
- aspects of mind commonly regarded as distinctly “natural” (emotion/affect, drives, embodiment)
Accepted presenters will be notified by late February and will be expected to submit the completed paper, suitable for presentation in 25 minutes (approximately 4 000 – 4 500 words), by 25 March 2016. Each presentation will be followed by a short prepared response by a University of Ottawa graduate student. The conference will take place 8-10 April 2016 at the University of Ottawa, with exact dates to be determined subject to the number of accepted submissions. The keynote presentation will be delivered by Sean McGrath (Memorial University Newfoundland.