Practicing Public Philosophy: Reflection and Dialogue

For those heading to San Francisco for the Pacific meeting of the American Philosophical Association, especially if you don’t want to cross the hotel union’s pickte line, join me off-site for a day-long discussion on public philosophy co-sponsored by the APA committee on Public Philosophy and the Center for Global Ethics (George Mason University). Here are the details:

Friday, April 2, 2009, 9-4 p.m.

Villa Florence Larkspur Hotel, 221 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA

Despite the public perception that continues to share Aristophanes’ view that philosophers remain “in the clouds,” incapable of doing publicly relevant work, at least some philosophers have remained committed to a Socratic model of philosophy that is engaged with public life.   These sessions invite philosophers who do publicly engaged work (assuming multiple publics and multiple types of engagement) to come together to both share their work and to reflect philosophically on the concept of “public philosophy.”

Please note that both sessions will focus on dialogue and discussion, and audience members are invited and expected to participate.   Speakers featured below are “catalyst speakers,” whose aim is to draw all of us into discussion.  Interested participants who require a letter of invitation in order to secure travel funding from their institution should pre-register using the form below.

Space is limited—pre-registration is strongly encouraged, and is required to participate in meals and break-out sessions. Those who wish to participate in the full-day discussion, including lunch, are asked to register no later than March 15, 2010 by completing this registration form.

To pre-register and for additional information:

Thanks to our sponsors, the sessions and meals are free.   To insure that we can accommodate those who will actually attend, registrants must agree to attend or cancel prior to March 17th; failure to do so will result in their being billed $55 of the cost of the meals ordered on their behalf. Only those who have pre-registered are guaranteed seating and meals.

Location: Villa Florence Larkspur Hotel, 221 Powell Street, San Francisco, in the Machiavelli Room.  The meeting is located ½ block off Union Square. A limited number of discounted hotel rooms are available for participants are available at the reduced conference room rate of $125 per night: and enter 001315KTO in the corp/promo box.

Schedule, April 2, 2010

All activities will take place in the Machiavelli Room, Villa Florence Hotel, San Francisco

9 a.m.             continental breakfast (free for pre-registered participants)

9 a.m.-noon              Practicing Public Philosophy:  Reflection and Dialogue, Part I (Machiavelli Room, Villa Florence Hotel)

Moderator: Sharon M. Meagher, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Dept. of Latin American Studies and Women’s Studies, University of Scranton

Catalyst Speakers:

John Lachs, Centennial Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University

Sharon M. Meagher, Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Dept. of Latin American Studies and Women’s Studies, University of Scranton

Eduardo Mendieta, Professor of Philosophy, Stony Brook University

Elizabeth Minnich, Senior Scholar, Association of American Colleges & Universities

Noelle McAfee, Associate Research Professor of Philosophy and Conflict Analysis, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University,

Noon-1.              Lunch and small group break-out sessions, topics to be determined by conference participants (Lunch is free for all-pre-registered participants).

1-4 p.m.             Practicing Public Philosophy:  Reflection and Dialogue Part II

Moderator and Discussant: Ellen Feder, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy and Acting Chair, Dept. of Philosophy and Religion, American University

Catalyst Speakers:

Linda Martín Alcoff, Professor of Philosophy, Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Center

Andrew Light, Director of the Center for Global Ethics at George Mason University and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress,

William Sullivan, Senior Scholar, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Nancy Tuana, DuPont/Class of 1949 Professor of Philosophy and Director, Rock Ethics Institute,  Penn State University

By Noelle McAfee

I am professor of philosophy at Emory University and editor of the Kettering Review. My latest book, Fear of Breakdown: Politics and Psychoanalysis, explores what is behind the upsurge of virulent nationalism and intransigent politics across the world today. My other writings include Democracy and the Political Unconscious; Habermas, Kristeva, and Citizenship; Julia Kristeva; and numerous articles and book chapters. Edited volumes include Standing with the Public: the Humanities and Democratic Practice and a special issue of the philosophy journal Hypatia on feminist engagements in democratic theory. I am also the author of the entry on feminist political philosophy in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and well into my next book project on democratic public life.

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