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CALL. 18.03.2016: Reconciling Ancient and Modern Philosophies of History and Historiography - London


FECHA LÍMITE/DEADLINE/SCADENZA: 18/03/2016

FECHA CONGRESO/CONGRESS DATE/DATA CONGRESSO: 18-19/08/2016

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Senate House (London, England)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Aaron Turner

INFO: aaron.turner.2013@live.rhul.ac.uk.

CALL:

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

  • Dr. Katherine Clarke (Oxford)

  • Prof. Jonas Grethlein (Heidelberg)

  • Prof. Neville Morley (Bristol)

  • Prof. Aviezer Tucker (Harvard)

Classical scholarship and methods were prominent in the early development of modern philosophy of history and historiography. Giambattista Vico, whose scholarly output is littered with classical analysis, is now generally considered as one of the progenitors of modern anthropology and philology. Leopold Ranke, widely regarded as the father of modern scientific historiography, presented himself as profoundly influenced by Thucydides. The historical philosophies of Wolf, Hegel, Weber, Croce, Nietzsche, and Collingwood were similarly influenced, at least partially, by the classical corpus of historical texts and by trends in classical studies including textual criticism and later archaeology. The philosopies of history and historiography consequently conceptualised and sometimes formalised the traditional epistemological problems of evidence, interpretation and explanation, causation, realism, and narrative. This conference aims to reconcile ancient ideas concerning the interpretation and explanation of the past and the methods and theories of classical studies with the modern philosophies of history and historiography.

The theme of the conference is based on two fundamental questions:

  1. How can modern approaches, methodologies, hypotheses, and theories in the philosophies of history and historiography inform our analyses of ancient historiography?

  2. Are ancient historical writers still relevant in the modern discourse of the philosophies of history and historiography? Can they contribute to ongoing debates regarding the interpretation and explanation of past events and the production and presentation of historical knowledge?

Scholars of all disciplines are invited to contribute papers that engage with the above questions and provoke fruitful and edifying interdisciplinary discussion. Some possible topics for discussion include, but are not by any means limited to:

  • To what extent do ancient historians produce generalisations in their explanations of historical events? Are they nomic or simply analytic? How do ancient historical writers differentiate between the universal and the particular, between types and tokens?

  • What do the criteria for selecting historical evidence reveal about the ancient and modern historian’s ideological or theoretical understanding of historical processes? How is meaning imposed/constructed/interpreted?

  • How can the analysis of counterfactuals within ancient historical narrative improve our understanding of the ancient philosophy of historiography? How does such analysis contribute to the current discourse on counterfactuals in historiographical explanatory models?

  • What do ancient ideas of causation and contemporary historiography of the classical world offer modern philosophers of historiography in terms of their methodological approach (for example, unificationism vs. exceptionalism; eliminativism; primitivism)?

  • To what extent did ancient historians consider past events to be determinate/indeterminate? How can we relate such models to the existing debate regarding historical necessity and contingency?

  • How was the autonomy of human agency conceived in ancient historical explanations? Can arguments be made for or against methodological individualism/methodological holism in ancient historiography?

  • How do ancient writers theorise the function of narrative in their production of historical explanations?

Scholars of all disciplines are invited to contribute papers of 30 minutes with 10 minutes of discussion to follow. Abstracts between 350-500 words may be sent to aaron.turner.2013@live.rhul.ac.uk. The deadline for abstract submission isMarch 18th. Notifications will be sent out by mid-April.



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