CfP: Comparative History of Philosophy, Università degli Studi di Milano

Call for Abstracts
Comparative History of Philosophy
9th June 2017
Doctoral School in Philosophy and Human Sciences, University of Milan
Confirmed Keynote: Prof. Enrico Pasini (University of Turin)
History of philosophy has grown into one of the main fields in philosophical research, with a flourishing and ever-expanding scholarly literature. Specialization followed, almost as a natural consequence of the growth of history of philosophy. Philosophers now specialize in a variety of specific historical periods and topics, such as Eastern Philosophy, Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages, Early Modernity, Post-Kantian Continental Philosophy, Early Analytical Philosophy and so on.

In recent years, the methodological side of historical philosophical research has attracted the attention of both philosophers and historians. This has happened, we believe, as a consequence of the maturity of history of philosophy and because it raises specific meta-philosophical and historiographical questions. In 2016, two international conferences were dedicated to this topic: the international Symposium of the Swiss Philosophical Society in Geneva and the 17th Graduate Philosophy Conference at the Boston College. In 2017, the conference “Distant Reading and Data Driven Research in the History of Philosophy”,  held in Turin, added the digital humanities approach to the debate.

We announce a call for papers for an exploratory, one-day symposium on the idea of a comparative history of philosophy to be held at the University of Milan on 9th June 2017.

The aim of the workshop is to discuss the methodology of the history of philosophy by focusing on the role that a comparison between different philosophies and periods might play. We believe that a comparative history (or histories) of philosophy is a new approach to the discipline worthy of more scrutiny.

While in other human and social sciences, such as sociology, geography and history, the comparative method has a strong tradition, in history of philosophy (at least in the last decades) it has not been widely used by scholars, who in general preferred to focus on particular subjects. We think that it is time to discuss the idea of comparison as a tool of the historian of philosophy.

We invite proposals for papers on the following topics, but not limited to:
  • Trans-historical trends in history of philosophy
  •  Comparison of different epochs in the history of philosophy, even very distant in time (e.g. Late Scholasticism and contemporary analytic philosophy)
  •  “Continuist” (e.g. Claude Panaccio, Robert Pasnau) versus “discontinuist” (e.g. Alain de Libera) readings of the history of philosophy: which contribution can the comparative study of history of philosophy bring to this debate?
  •  Evaluating the possible application of specific categories, born to describe a particular period, to other periods in the history of philosophy
  • Meta-philosophical significance of the comparative method: what insight can it give on the nature of philosophical research?
  •  Longue durée approaches to the history of philosophy
  • Comparative history of philosophy and the problem of periodization in the history of philosophy: when and how does a philosophical epoch end or begin?
  • Paradigm theory: what use, if any, in history of philosophy?
  • The "social dimension" of philosophical production: today and yesterday

Given the exploratory nature of the workshop, we encourage innovative research, especially by young researchers. We are committed to a gender balance and equal opportunities.

Proposal (max. 500 words) must be sent by 3rd April, 2017 (notification of acceptance or refusal by 2nd May 2017), in word or pdf formats, to The language of the workshop will be English.

Important dates
Application deadline: 3rd April, 2017
Notification of acceptance:  2nd May 2017
Workshop date: 9th June 2017

Scientific committee: Marialuisa BALDI (University of Milan), Mauro BONAZZI (University of Milan), Guido BONINO (University of Turin), Guido CANZIANI (University of Milan), Giovanni GELLERA (Université de Lausanne)