Philosophy and the West: On the Future of Universality
12th Annual Philosophy Graduate Conference
The New School for Social Research
February 28th – March 1st 2013

Keynote Speakers:
Talal Asad (CUNY) and Susan Buck-Morss (CUNY)  

The philosophical tradition has generally taken itself to be a project that is both universal in scope and uniquely Western in nature. The tension between the universal aims of rationality and the historical situatedness of the philosophical tradition has been exacerbated by the increasing dominance of Western society: on the one hand, the proliferation of socio-cultural forms such as the modern state, the capitalist market and European university have seemed to make the universal pretensions of Western philosophy a reality; on the other hand, the negative consequences of this proliferation have led to an increasing suspicion of traditional philosophical commitments to ideas such as reason, humanity and the subject. In the wake of this suspicion, adherence to these commitments has been characterized as a disguised intellectual imperialism. More recently, many political thinkers have critiqued this reaction as a renunciation of the potential for universal emancipation offered by Western rationality.

These questions indicate the pressing need to re-evaluate the possible role of philosophy in our current historical context. Given the seeming realization of Western rationality’s global vision and its attendant victories and disappointments, what are we, as philosophers, to do?

This conference will attempt to approach this question from a variety of angles by welcoming all papers that broach these questions from an intellectual, political or historical perspective. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Philosophy and (Universal) History
  • The Question of Humanism
  • Globalization and/or Cosmopolitanism
  • Colonial and Post-Colonial Thought
  • Enlightenment, Auklärung, Lumières
  • The current function of identity politics
  • Christianity and its Universal Promise
  • The Greeks and the Western Tradition
  • Philosophy and War/Imperialism
  • Analyses of Modernity and/or Civilization
  • Philosophy, the West and Islam
  • Secularization and Laïcisation
  • Crises of the European/Modern Tradition
  • Universal Human Rights and Emancipation
  • De-Colonializing Critical Theory
  • Philosophy and ‘America’
  • Feminism outside the Occident
  • European Science, Technology and Reason
  • (Possible) Dialogues between Eastern and Western Philosophy
  • Subjectivity and the Soul as features of the Western Tradition

Papers should range from 3,000 to 4,500 words and should be sent to: 

Please make sure all submissions are sent in blind-review format.

Please include your name, institution and the title of your paper in the body of your e-mail.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, November 16th 2012.

Notification will occur during the second week of January 2013.

For further information please check our conference website: