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2003 Conference Prog.



Society for Philosophy
in the Contemporary World

Intersubjectivity:  Self, Other and Lifeworld
August 10 - 16 1998
YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park, Colorado

Abstracts and biographies are available at the end of this document

Monday August 10

4:00pm - 5:30pm Registration
5:30pm - 7:00pm Dinner
7:00pm - 7:30pm Welcome/Introduction to the Society
7:30pm - 8:30pm Craig Greenman, "Writing and Ambivalence" (A paper and Performance of philosophical songs)
8:30pm - 10:00pm Reception

Tuesday August 11

Session I
8:30am - 11:30am   M. Carmela Epright, Chair

        Laura Duhan Kaplan, "Encountering the Face of God:  A Levinasian
        Exploration of Theistic Existentialism"

        Michael D. Barber, "Levinas and the Idea of Black Philosophy"

        Brian E. Bowles, "Face to Face in the Flesh:  Alterity, Ontology
        and Ethics in Levinas and Merleau-Ponty"

11:30am - 1:00pm  Lunch

Session II
1:00pm - 3:00pm   Chair, TBA

        Charles Bingham, "Language and Intersubjectivity: Recognizing the
        Other Without Taking Over or Giving In"

        James B. Sauer, "Perception and Meaning:  A Realist Account
        of Intersubjectivity"

3:00pm - 3:15pm  Break

Session III

3:15pm - 5:15pm Chair, Craig Hanks, Chair

        Mechthild Nagel, "Throwness, Play-in-the World and thQuewstion of Authenticity

        Kate Evans, "Are you Married:" Examiningh Intersubjectivity and Heternormativity in Schools"

5:15pm - 7:30pm Dinner

7:30pm  Business Meeting

Wednesday August, 12

8:30am - 11:30am   J. Craig Hanks, Chair

        Andrew Altman, "Racial Prejudice and Vote Dilution: The Meaning
        of Equal Electoral Oportunity"

        Thomas G. Bowen, "Identity and Difference: The Question of

        Katharine Loevy, "Black Identity and the Tie to Africa"

Session V

Time: TBA
Group Hike in the Rockies!!

Thursday August, 13

Session VI
8:30am - 11:30am Lani Roberts, Chair

        Gertrude D. Conway, "On the Ambiguity of Being Bicultural"

        Abolreza Banan, "The Eurocentricity of Economic Development"

        John Clark, "Regionalities"

11:30 - 1:00  Lunch

Session VII
1:00pm - 3:00pm Chair, TBA

        Charles Harvey, The Ghosts Within Us, The Others Without: My
        Father, My Self Reflections on Intersubjectivity, Intimacy and

        Gary Borjesson, "City Limits:  Reflections on the Analogy
        Between Soul and City"

3:00pm - 3:15pm  Break

Session VIII
3:15pm - 5:15pm Chair, TBA

        Chris Meyers, "Intersubjectivity and Ethics:  Good and Bad From
        the Multi-Perspective Standpoint"

        Noel E. Boulting, "Sartre's Existential Conception of Human
        Consciousness and its Implications for a Theory of

Friday August 14:

Fall River Road Trip, Time TBA

Session IX
1:00pm - 3:00 pm Charles Harvey, Chair

        Andrew W. Schwartz, "Heidegger, Gadamer and the Ethics of

        Brent Adkins, "Intersubjectivity and Death in Hegel's Phenomenology
        of Spirit"

3:00pm - 3:15pm  Break

Session X
3:15pm - 5:15pm

         J. Craig Hanks, "The Family as Facilitator and Obstacle:
        Taking Seriously (Some Notion of) Family Values"

       Lani Roberts, "Difference and Hierarchy"

5:15pm - 7:30pm  Dinner

8:00 pm - ??? Trip to Estes Park Brewery

Saturday August 15

Session XII
8:30am - 11:30am Chair, TBA

        Mary Ann Clark, "Invisible Made Visible: Radical Interpenetration
        of the Divine into the Human Lifeworld"

        Fiona Steinkamp, "Telepathy, Self and the Other"

        James Biundo, "Searching For Self:  A Pirandellian Perspective"
        11:30am - 1:00pm  Lunch

Session XIII
1:00pm - 3:00 pm Chair, TBA

        Chris Nagel, "What is T.V.?"

        Juan Ferret, "An Encounter"

3:00pm - 3:15pm Break

Session XIV
3:15pm - 5:15pm

        Jordy Rocheleau, "Discourse Ethics and the Politics of Group

Sunday August 16

        Good-Bye Friends!  Happy and Safe Travels!

Brent Adkins
Department of Philosophy
Loyola University of Chicago

"Intersubjectivity and Death in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit"

In this paper I argue that in its articulation of intersubjectivity Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit becomes increasingly complex and these articulations always occur as a more sophisticated encounter with death. There are four such encounters with death in Phenomenology. The first encounter is the well-known and perhaps overused master/slave dialectic which begins with a life-and-death struggle (Kampf auf Leben und Tod) (187). While this is a very important inaugural gesture for Hegel it does not represent either his final or his most complete consideration of death or intersubjectivity in the Phenomenology. The second encounter with death happens in the "ethical order." In the ethical order there is now a twofold consideration of intersubjectivity and death. One from the point of view of the state, and one from the point of view of the individual. From the state's point of view creating situations where individuals will risk their life is absolutely necessary for the maintenance of the structures of the state. From the side of the individual death is no longer a meaningless acquiescence to natural negativity. Rather death can now be recuperated by making it a conscious action on the part of the individual. Of course, the actions are done on behalf of the individual by his family. The third encounter with death occurs in the French Revolution where consciousness seeks to act only universally. Since no individual action can represent the universal, everyone is guilty of betraying the revolution, and the only remedy the state has is execution. This leads to two consequences. The first is that death has no meaning, like "lopping off cabbage heads" in Hegel's words. The second is that this difference in the encounter with death allows consciousness to move beyond this stage. Otherwise, the French Revolution risks being just another war on behalf of the state. The final encounter with death comes in the Revealed Religion section. No individuals are risked here. It is God who is risked. The death of god allows the "Transfiguration of death" according to Hegel. From this I argue that this transfiguration of death allows a very different type of intersubjective community from what was possible before. If natural negativity has been destroyed, then there is no danger that the activities of the community will degenerate into some kind of natural order. Rather, they can remain a spiritual order. This is why the community of absolute knowing is the highest form of intersubjectivity in the Phenomenology.

Brent Adkins is a graduate student at Loyola University Chicago. He is currently writing a dissertation on the role of death in Hegel and Heidegger. His other philosophical interests include contemporary appropriations of Kant and Hegel in light of psychoanalysis and phenomenology.

Andrew Altman
Dept of Philosophy
The George Washington University

"Racial Prejudice and Vote Dilution: The Meaning of Equal Electoral Opportunity"

At the center of voting rights law is the principle that citizens must have equal electoral opportunity regardless of race. The principle was enshrined in the Fifteenth Amendment but long ignored throughout the South. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 turned it into more than a paper guarantee. But the Act's effectiveness rested on the expansive interpretation of it given by the Supreme Court. Key to this interpretation was the idea that districting arrangements can "dilute" the votes of racial minorities and that such dilution violated equal opportunity. Yet, the Court has never specified what equal electoral opportunity is or developed a cogent conception of racial vote dilution. My aim is to vindicate a broad interpretation of the Act by developing persuasive accounts of vote dilution and equal electoral opportunity. The accounts revolve around the idea that racial prejudice can unfairly distort the democratic process in ways that violate equal opportunity.

Andrew Altman is Professor of Philosophy at The George Washington University. He is the author of Critical Legal Studies: A Liberal Critique (Princeton U.P.) and Arguing About Law (Wadsworth). His articles on legal and political philosophy have appeared in Philosophy and Public Affairs, Ethics, and American Philosophical Quarterly, among other journals. His extracurricular interests include weight lifting and running.

Abdolreza Banan
Department of Economics
Mount Saint Mary's College

"The Eurocentricity of Economic Development"

This paper considers aspects of the systematic drive toward globalization of Western capitalism. It focuses on the failure of economic development from two perspectives, namely, the perspective of the eurocentricity of economic development theory and from the Western subordination of economic development to its national security and political interests. The paper argues that the blame for the present Third World underdevelopment rests on faulty prescriptions driven by the Western mainstream and positive economic theorizing. It argues that (1) mainstream economics has produced flawed theories for economic development of the Third World, (2) these imported flawed theories have lacked fit, resulting in distorted, biased Third World development, (3) Western eurocentric theory has ignored these biased theoretic flaws, and (4) these conditions have resulted in growth without development, equity or social justice. The paper concludes with the claim that sound theories of economic development must be constructed indigenously and inductively and grounded in culture-specific realities. Sound economic theorizing must be rooted in the philosophical understanding of cultural norms, practices and values.

Abdolreza Banan is currently Professor of Economics, Director of the International Studies Program and Mazur Distinguished Professor at Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA. He was educated in Vienna, Austria and previously was a professor at Pahlavi University in his native Shiraz, Iran. His research interests include problems of economic development in the Third World, and his current research focuses on the role of Islamic economics in development. He has attended SPCW conferences with his spouse, Trudy Conway, and this is the first time he has given a presentation.

Michael Barber
Department of Philosophy
St. Louis University

"Levinas and the Idea of a Black Philosophy"

If intellectual beliefs are not necessarily associated with gross racial morphological features, as Appiah argues, then the possibility of a black philosophy produced by black philosophers becomes problematical. However, such gross morpohological features, subsumed within a culture, become the basis for racial discrimination whose victims in their turn offer creative resistance -- and the processes become the focus of various black studies, including back philosophy. Emmanuel Levinas' philosophy provides a general theoretical framework that informs West's idea of a black philosophy, responsive to its Other, the black underclass; that guides and unifies diverse black philosophers and methodologies; that permits non-blacks to contribute to a black philosophy that takes its cue not from its author's skin color but from the plight and struggle of the victim of racism; that precludes any racist counter-response to racism; and that founds racial solidarity on ethics rather than on discredited racialist premises.

Michael Barber Associate professor of Philosophy, at St. Louis University has authored several articles and fourbooks: Social Typification and the Elusive Others, The Place of Sociology of Knowledge in Alfred Schutz's Phenomenology: Guardian of Dialogue, Max Scheler's Phenomenology: Sociology of Knowledgeand Philosophy of Love; Ethical Hermeneutics: Rationality in Enrique Dussel's Philosophy of Liberations; and Equality and Alterity: Phenomenological Investigations of Discrimination.

Charles Bingham
Department of Education
University of Washington

"Language and Intersubjectivity: Recognizing the Other Without Taking Over or Giving In"

In this paper I look at the role speech plays in intersubjectivity. I begin with a traditional phenomenological definition of intersubjectivity. Intersubjectivity is the ability of the self or recognize a self-conscious other. Phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty has argued that speech is the bedrock of this brand of intersubjectivity, but I find severe limitations withhis view of language. Specifically, Merleau-Ponty does not account for our compulsion to keep speaking with and other once we have recognized her autonomous otherness. Nor does he account for the use of speech when the other is repulsive to the self, or when the other threatens to overcome the self's autonomy. Why would we wan to keep speaking in such cases? I argue that the intersubjectivity position of psychoanalysis helps to account for the limitations of Merleau-Ponty's notion of intersubjectivity speech. Because intersubjectivity psychoanalysis accounts for the symbolic qualities of speech, we can better understand the role of speech as an ongoing project, and as a mode of avoiding domination and submission. I use the work of Jessica Benjamin to illustrate intersubjective psychoanalysis. Benjamin's analysis of symbolic speech reminds us that speech is more than simply a bedrock of intersubjectivity. Language enables us to keep a healthy tension between the other as we represent him psychically, and the other as we represent him concretely as an autonomous subject.

Charles Bingham, is currently completing his doctoral degree in Philosophy of Education at the University of Washington. His dissertation topic is "Dialogue and Recognition," which furthers his interest in dialogue relations, how we come to recognize an other through discourse. He is author of "The Goals of Language, the Language of Goals: Nietzsche's Rhetoric and Its Implications for Education," which will appear shortly in Educational Theory. He spent his formative years as an educator in a small village in South Africa.

Thomas G. Bowen
Department of Philosophy
Loyola University

"Identity and Difference: The Question of Community"

It has been said that the question of community is one of the most pressing of our time. The importance of this question is presented most powerfully in the recent history of the collapse of communism. With political ideology no longer a sufficient binding force, many of the old nations of the Soviet Bloc have fractured along ethnic, religious and ancient nationalist lines. In the Balkans, and especially the former Yugoslavia, this has been most apparent and tragic. Where once Serbs, Croats, Muslims and Christians lived and worked side by side in community, now they stand apart and engage in ethnic cleansing structuring their communities along ethnic and religious lines, and reviving long past memories of long dead nations. Even here, in the United States, many have bemoaned the seeming balkanization of American politics with the emergence of political groups and interests that structure themselves chiefly along lines of strict identities whether these are identities solidified by race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion which call into question conceptions of a larger American Community, whether multi-, or mono-cultural. These events bring to the fore many questions concerning the nature of communities: how they are formed, how they dissolve, the role of the concepts of identity and difference in their structure, and how the manner in which they are conceived alters conceptions of rights, justice and citizenship.

Theoretically, two paradigms of community dominate attempts to analyze and understand these phenomena. On the one hand, neo-Kantian liberals like John Rawls continue the classical tradition of conceiving community as a contract. Individuals are viewed as fundamentally separate and independent of one another, and community is structured instrumentally geared towards the furtherance of, and refereeing of, individual interests and pursuits. On this model, community is external and accidental to the individual. On the other hand, the so-called communitarians have attempted to retrieve certain pre-modern conceptions of community as respublica. Here the emphasis is on the way in which individual identities are constructed in and by community. Rather than instrumental and external to the individual, this is a constitutive community, one which is bound together by a shared good or shared self-understanding around which the community is organized. While the differences between the liberal and communitarian conceptions of community are important, their similarities are equally telling. Both paradigms construct community on the basis of identity. Either the substantive identity of a common good or self-understanding, or the abstract identity of individuals as rights-bearers, the legal construction of personhood. Hence, the important question for each of these paradigms is what to do with difference or the other.

Many scholars have turned to the work of Hegel in order to find a path between these two paradigms. Generally focusing on the concept of recognition, they believe that Hegel offers a way to reconcile the communitarian with the liberal conceptions of community. My paper will examine whether Hegel in fact offers any new possibilities for understanding community that can steer clear of the dangers of the liberal Scylla and the communitarian Charybdis. Specifically, I will argue that while Hegel does offer some new insights into the nature of community, nevertheless the concept of recognition and Hegel s use of it, cannot be the final answer. The question of difference remains still in Hegel s work, and to find an answer to this question we must turn elsewhere.

Biography unavaliable at time of program printing.

Brian E. Bowles
Loyola University of Chicago

"Face to face in the flesh: Alterity, Ontology, and Ethics in Levinas and Merleau-Ponty"

Levinas' insistence on the priority of the face in the ethical encounter goes a first step toward realizing the ethical dimensions of the human body. However, his sharp separation of ethics and ontology hampers his ultimate goal of getting at the meaning of ethics by robbing the individual of any concrete means of responding to the other as concrete other. In his endeavors to show that the face of the other is the infinite, meaning that it cannot be comprehended or that it does not have a horizon within which it becomes significant, what Levinas seems to require is a meaningfulness of the face without any possibility of being comprehended or recognized as a face. But, as others have already pointed out, Levinas does not give an account of how it is possible to respond to the other as other without first understanding the being of the other as other. That is, in order to respond appropriately to the other in the face to face encounter I must first recognize the other as other and not, for example, as a lampshade. But in this case I have understood in some sense the being of the other, and consequently an ontology is already present. Ultimately, Levinas' separation of ethics and ontology proves insufficient in understanding the ethical encounter in so far as the face risks becoming purely formal by being separated from any existing being. For these reasons, I will argue in this paper that despite his claims to the contrary, Levinas must rely on an ontology in order to complete his goal of establishing the importance of the ethical relation. Towards this end, I will contrast his exclusively ethical understanding of the face (which of course follows from his insistence on the separation of ethics and ontology) with Merleau-Ponty's ontological understanding of flesh and the ësocialí relation. In working out his radically new ontology of the flesh, Merleau-Ponty strove to respect alterity without reducing it to a moment of sameness. I will show that we would do better to understand the face of the other where the face is the body of the other in its ethical significance, its ethical dimensions, or in its capacity to oblige meóusing Merleau-Ponty's ontological notions of flesh and reversibility rather than in the exclusively ethical terms that Levinas sets forth. The actual obligation or responsibility to the face of the other, and thus the significance of ethics, is first made intelligible given the ontological thesis of the reversibility of the flesh. Levinas' face of the Other is inadequate because it is too formal, because it is not of this world (it has no being, it is not) and thus unrecognizable, and because it is mute until it is the face of a concrete other. Reversing a statement by Levinas, we could say that the Other is not an interlocutor first and an object of recognition second. The two relations are intertwined. In other words, the invocation of the Other is inseparable from the recognition of him or her. As Merleau-Ponty would likely say, just as "pure thought" does not mean anything except by coming to words, a "pure command of the face" does not oblige except by reference to a specific situation.

Brian Bowles is a graduate student at Loyola University Chicago who will soon begin work on his dissertation. He studied philosophy and German at the University of Missouri in Columbia, as well as at the University of Tbingen in Germany. His research interests include Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, the philosophy of the body, Gilles Deleuze and environmental philosophy. Publications include a book review to be appearing in The Review of Metaphysics, along with a translation of an address by Heidegger forthcoming in Supplements: Texts in Heidegger's Development.

James Biundo
Assistant to the President for University Relations
Southeast Missouri State University
James Biundo f458url@semovm.semo.edu

"Searching for Self: A Pirandellian Perspective"