On the Possibility of Worlds
6-7th of March 2009
Keynote Speaker: Thomas Pavel (University of Chicago, Committee on Social Thought)
Submission Deadline for Abstracts: December 15, 2008
This conference will bring together graduate students and faculty from across the humanities and social sciences to discuss a topic being studied in a number of disciplines: the possibility of worlds–worlds actual and imaginary, secular and divine, real and utopian. Possible worlds theory, a central topic in contemporary philosophy, particularly in metaphysics and the philosophy of language, has also drawn interest from scholars of literature, religion, history, and political theory: What, for example, is the relation between the fictional worlds created by literary texts and the actual world? How does possible worlds theory let us contemplate how history might have gone differently? How have messianic hopes for a better world influenced religious thought?
Thomas Pavel, Gordon J. Laing Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, will deliver the keynote address. A scholar of French literature at the Committee on Social Thought, Pavel has drawn on analytic philosophy in his work on possible worlds and the ontological status of fiction.
Princeton and Princeton Theological Seminary faculty members will serve as respondents for four panels (on Philosophy, Literature, History, and Religion) with graduate student presenters drawn from other schools. Prof. Gideon Rosen will be the chair of the philosophy panel. For this panel, we invite papers on any relevant area of academic philosophy–from contemporary analytic philosophy, to continental philosophy, to the history of philosophy. Topics might include: possible worlds semantics, the metaphysics of modality, future contingents, the ontological status of fictional characters, Aristotle, Leibniz, Deleuze.
Please submit abstracts, prepared for blind review, of approximately 500 words by no later than Dec. 15, 2008. Email as PDF or MS Word files to PossibilityofWorlds@gmail.com. Include in the body of the email (or as a separate attachment) your name, the title of your paper, your institutional affiliation, your contact information, and a brief bio of no more than 300 words. Those invited to present will be notified by Jan. 15, 2009.
For questions regarding the philosophy panel, contact: Andrew Huddleston, email@example.com.