Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Final version of the conference program + Maps and directions

With our conference less than a week ahead, I can finally announce the final version of the program. A pdf version of the booklet is available here.

The conference will take place in the premises of the English Park Campus' Centre for the Humanities (Thunbergsvägen 3). For a map of the Centre, please consult this link.

By far the easiest way of getting to Uppsala from the Arlanda airport is the Upptåget, a commuter train that stops at all terminals. For further information, please consult this link.

Barring the possibility that I've forgotten something crucial, this will be the final post in this blog. Looking forward to meet everyone in Uppsala.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The conference program

Subjectivity, Selfhood and Agency in the Arabic and Latin Traditions
University of Uppsala, August 15-18, 2012
Jointly organized by Subjectivity and Selfhood in the Arabic and Latin Traditions (ERC) and Understanding Agency (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond)

Wednesday, August 15

15.30               Registration
17                    Opening address (Taneli Kukkonen & Tomas Ekenberg)
17.15-18.15     Keynote lecture: Taneli Kukkonen, TBA
19                    Cocktail

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Thursday, August 16

9.30-10.30       Keynote lecture: Calvin Normore, 'Causa sui': Awareness and Choice in the Constitution of the Self
10.45-12.15     Panels
1 Aristotle transformed
Valérie Aucouturier, Aristotle after Descartes. Revisiting the Issue of Intentionality in Action
Peter Lautner, Intellection as Reversion. Interpretations of Aristotle’s Notion of the Intellect in actu in the Commentary Tradition in Late Antiquity
Mika Perälä, Perceiving and Living Together with a Friend: Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics 9.9

2 Self and self-awareness in Arabic philosophy
Luis Xavier López-Farjeat, Avicenna on Non-Conceptual Content and Self-awareness in Non-Human Animals
Joonas Maristo, Criticism of Avicennan concept of self-awareness in Tahâfut al-Falâsifa of Abu Hâmid al-Ghazâlî
Inka Nokso-Koivisto, Human Archetype and the microcosm-macrocosm analogy

14-15.30          Panels
3 Plotinus
László Bene, Transmigration, self-constitution and moral responsibility in Plotinus
Sara Magrin, Common sense transformed: Plotinus’ account of the “conscious center”
Panayiota Vassilopoulou, The Interior Gaze: Plotinus on the Individuation of Soul

4 Agency in Arabic and Latin philosophy
Janne Mattila, The Position of Philosophical Practice in the Thought of al-Fârâbî and Avicenna
Traci Philipson, Averroes and Aquinas on Human Agency and Personhood
Mostafa Younesie, Ta autou prattein/suum agere: Exploring Political Agency in Avicenna?

16-17.30          Panels
5 The Augustinian tradition
Ekenberg, Tomas, Practical Rationality and the Wills of Augustine’s Confessions 8
Tamer Nawar, Varieties of Self-Knowledge in Augustine
José Filipe Silva, Awareness, Intentionality and Perception in Medieval Augustinianism

6 Selfhood and rationality: Greek, Arabic, Latin
Pauliina Remes, Phronesis in Neoplatonism
Richard Taylor, The Development of Averroes’s Conception of the Self
Mikko Yrjönsuuri, Universality of Reason and the Individual Self

* * *

Friday, August 17

9.30-10.30       Keynote: Udo Thiel, TBA
10.45-12.15     Panels
6 Self-awareness in medieval Latin philosophy
Therese Scarpelli Cory, Self-Awareness and the Duality of Consciousness in Aquinas
Daniel De Haan, “Hic homo intelligit”: Deborah Black, Bernard Lonergan, and Aquinas’s critique of Averroes
Sonja Schierbaum, What do I refer to when I say “I”? The construction of the Self according to William of Ockham

7 Leibniz II: Cognition and Agency
Sebastian Bender, Reflection and Rationality in Leibniz
Peter Myrdal, Leibniz on Force and Agency
Markku Roinila, Leibniz on Apperception, Memory and Attention

14-15.30          Panels
8 Human and non-human subjects in medieval philosophy
Vesa Hirvonen, Children’s mind in Ockham’s philosophy
Jörg Alejandro Tellkamp, Albert the Great on animal agency
Juhana Toivanen, Beasts, Human Beings, or Gods? Freedom and Human Subjectivity in Medieval Political Philosophy

9 The early modern subject
Véronique Decaix, On the Genealogy of Modern Subjectivity: Augustine, Dietrich of Freiberg, Descartes
Colin Chamberlain, The Cartesian Experience of Embodiment
Vili Lähteenmäki & Christian Barth, Descartes and Knowledge of the Self

16.00-17.30     Panels
10 Leibniz II: Subjectivity
Julia Borcherding, The Bounds of Reason: The Role of Subjectivity in Leibniz and Spinoza
Kelley Schiffman, Perfection and Limitation in the Absolutely Perfect Being

11 Revisions of antiquity and modernity
Ina Nalivaika, Constructing the Self: The Self and Power in Ancient Greece
Timothy Riggs, Evaluating Heidegger’s History of Metaphysics: Proclus and Leibniz on the Structure of the Soul

12 Self in practical concerns in early modern thought
Ruth Boeker, Locke’s forensic term ‘person’ and his account of personal identity in terms of consciousness
Christopher Edelman, Belonging to Oneself: Montaigne on Moral Autonomy
Ilmari Karimies, Human self as the subject of communicatio idiomatum in Martin Luther’s thought

19                    Conference dinner

* * *

Saturday, August 18

10.15-11.15     Keynote lecture: Lilli Alanen, TBA
11.30-12.15     Open discussion / Final address (Taneli Kukkonen & Tomas Ekenberg)

* * *

In all practical concerns, please get in touch with Jari Kaukua (

Monday, April 23, 2012

This blog is intended to provide the most up to date information concerning the conference Subjectivity, Selfhood and Agency in the Medieval and Arabic Traditions, to be held in August 15-18 in the University of Uppsala, Sweden. The conference program will be posted in June and updated until the conference dates. In the meantime, below is the call for papers for your information.

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Subjectivity, selfhood and agency in the Arabic and Latin Traditions
An international conference on the history of philosophical psychology and moral psychology
August 15-18, 2012, Uppsala, Sweden

Subjectivity, consciousness, self-awareness, and the intentional aspects of perception and apprehension are popular topics in the contemporary philosophy of mind. A common thread amongst the various approaches to them has been dissatisfaction with the Cartesian paradigm of a self-constituted subject that is perfectly free in its volitions and epistemically transparent to itself, typically presented as standard for the modern age. Working from the opposite end, historians of philosophy and ethicists have noted that ancient and medieval ethics operated in a strikingly different understanding of self. Far from subscribing to the Cartesian notion, pre-modern moral philosophy generally took its cue from the assumption that human selfhood is socially construed. Our instinctive apprehension and evaluation of reality has as much to do with our upbringing as it does with our conscious acts of cognition and evaluation.

It is in the Middle Ages that these two lines of thought converge. Historians of philosophy have noted that Descartes’ understanding of subjectivity did not develop in a vacuum; rather, it represents the culmination of medieval debates, which in turn build on ancient precedents. At the same time, the virtue ethics tradition underwent significant transformations, thanks in part to pressures arising from religious and legal considerations. These include a preoccupation with the freedom of choice and one’s culpability for the character one acquires.

The present conference invites abstracts for submissions relating to these issues in Antiquity, the Latin and Arabic Middle Ages, and the Early Modern period. Relevant questions to consider are, for example: descriptions and explanations of consciousness and self-consciousness; degrees of self-consciousness; the conceptual shift from soul as the form of the human body to human self; human selves and the divine self; techniques of the self, constructability of the self; social conditioning of human selfhood; and the dual concept of microcosm and macrocosm.

The submissions will be allotted 30 minutes for presentation and discussion. An abstract of max. 300 words should be sent for evaluation by January 31st, 2012, to At present, confirmed keynote speakers include Calvin Normore and Udo Thiel.

Uppsala is located about 70km north of Stockholm (20-30 minutes from Arlanda airport). The fourth largest city in Sweden, Uppsala is an historical treasure with beautifully preserved monuments from both the pre-Christian and the Christian era. Uppsala University is the oldest in Scandinavia and presently a leading international centre of higher learning and research.

The conference is jointly financed by the University of Jyväskylä and Uppsala University, and organized by two research groups, SSALT (Subjectivity and Selfhood in the Arabic and Latin Traditions) in Jyväskylä and Understanding Agency in Uppsala.

For all further enquiries, please consult