Sunday, September 11, 2011

Philosophical Progress?

Brian Leiter mentions an upcoming Symposium on Philosophical Progress to be held at Harvard next weekend. The question is, will the consumption of alcohol lead to violence?


Jason Stanley and Carlin Romano will be pitted against each other in a panel discussion entitled "Philosophical Progress and Intellectual Culture" immediately after a wine and cheese break. Stanley, it is safe to say, will come down hard on the side of progress. He stands behind decades of advanced work in linguistics and epistemology. He doesn't just stand behind it. He banks on it. Carlin Romano, on the other hand, represents the literary critic's vitriolic rejection of so-called "positivist epistemology," a phrase which presumably is meant to cover any sort of philosophy which is not literary criticism--in other words, any sort of philosophy which calls itself "philosophy" without irony.

I'm not sure you could find panelists more invested in such incommensurable approaches to philosophy. Even without alcohol, this could easily become a heated exchange. Will there be pokers on hand? Hopefully a video of the symposium will be available online.