Philosophy and its History – a Contemporary Debate

Country: Switzerland

City: Geneva

Abstr. due: 31.01.2016

Dates: 16.09.16 — 17.09.16

Area Of Sciences: History and archeology; Philosophy;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: Genevian Section of the French-Speaking Swiss Philosophical Society and Department of Philosophy, University of Geneva


Since the end of the 1980s, the relation of philosophy to its own history features prominently in the discussions concerning the nature and method of philosophy. What can philosophy do with its history? as Gianni Vattimo asked in 1989 in his book bearing the same title. Influenced by continental philosophers like Foucault or Collingwood, a so- called “relativist” position emerged from the works of Alain de Libera and Kurt Flasch, in opposition to a ‘continuist’ position (Claude Panaccio, Pascal Engel) having its source in great figures from the analytic tradition like Peter Strawson, Donald Davidson, or Michael Dummett. These debates stimulated and renewed the interest of the philosophical community for metaphilosophical and methodological questions. The 2016 Symposium of the Swiss Philosophical Society will go further in this direction, bringing history back to the forefront of the philosophical scene. Attendants will be expected to discuss the relation of philosophy with its history from one of the following points of view: 1) in contemporary philosophy (20th and 21st century), in the continental and/or analytic tradition; 2) in ancient, medieval, and modern philosophies; 3) from a metaphilosophical perspective, offering thereby a contribution to what one might call after Brentano the “philosophy of the history of philosophy”. Questions like the following could be addressed: is philosophizing possible without doing history of philosophy at the same time? What are the methodological alternatives available to historians of philosophy? What are the different orientations in history of philosophy? Are there specific developments or breaks in the ways of doing history of philosophy? What impacts do have these different approaches to history of philosophy on the very concept of philosophy?

Conference Web-Site: