|2 Dec 2005 - 3 Dec 2005
CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge
Convenor: James Montgomery (Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Cambridge)
From its formal origins in the law courts of Classical Athens, dialectic has proved to be a very successful method of making and unmaking knowledge, of practising philosophy, of realising justice, and of engaging with existence. Dialectic on Trial will focus on philosophers who were put on trial and trials which were informed by dialectic.
Central to the conference will be exploration: we hope to have allowed for the exploration of a viable genealogy of dialectic and thus to consider those fascinating moments when dialectic has been free of the constraints of methodology and frustrations of scepticism so as to be able to assume an ontological dimension for its practitioners; i.e. rather than being a way of doing philosophy or making and unmaking knowledge, it emerges as the very shape of knowledge itself. The inspiration of the conference is an intriguing observation by the tenth century Baghdadi philosopher, Abu Nasr al-Farabi (d. 950) that the (Neoplatonic) structure of existence is syllogistic.