I learned about the Feminist Epistemologies, Metaphysics, Methodologies and Science Studies (FEMMSS) 6th conference at the GLCA Women’s/Gender/Sexuality Studies workshop in Ann Arbor last May from someone who works in science studies. FEMMSS is the feminist epistemologists and metaphysicians equivalent to the Feminist Ethics and Social Theory (FEAST) conference. Since FEAST meets every other year, FEMMSS meets on the off year. What’s great about this conference is how interdisciplinary it is — people from physics, neuroscience, philosophy, anthropology, history and sociology are here. I have enjoyed the interdisciplinary conferences I’ve attended in the last several years, from HASTAC to PODNetwork to Wonder and the Natural World at IU this last June. The conversations are lively and cross-pollinating, and the intradisciplinary anxiety and intensity seem softened by the interdisciplinary engagements. Read more
Today was the first day of the Ancient Philosophy Society in Portland, Maine, hosted by Jill Gordon at Colby College. A new day has dawned for the APS when so much discussion of gender in ancient philosophy and explicitly of feminist approaches to ancient philosophy is given center stage. I was planning on posting a blog on the conference as a whole, but today’s program was so rich, and so focused on gender, that it deserves a post of its own. Read more
At the Mentoring the Mentors Workshop yesterday, four faculty at philosophy doctoral programs (UNC Chapel Hill, Marquette, University of Oregon and Brown) talked about how to advise students about graduate school. This is the kind of information that is difficult to find in print, although some advice can be found in the blogosphere here and here, and Brown’s program offers advice here. Beware: the one thing I took away is that different programs run their admissions process differently and so advice about how to apply to one program might be the anti-advice for another program. Read more
Image from PODNetwork, logo for 2015 conference.
Just left my first PODnetwork meeting in San Francisco. POD is the acronym for Professional Organizational Development, which, I know, sounds like something I’d never be a part of. But the meeting was about pedagogy, which I am very much a part of. I’m a faculty member who does not have an official role in a Center for Teaching and Learning, but I am the program chair of the Gender Studies minor; I administer a GLCA grant on Ancient Philosophy Teaching and Research where one component is a pedagogy workshop; and I’m actively engaged in discussions of pedagogy as many other faculty are on my campus (as part of the academic honesty task force, for example). All this to say, I was thinking about the discussions at the meeting very much from a faculty perspective. Read more
I have of late found myself turning to Aristotle’s biological works to think more carefully about Aristotle’s conception of nature, because I think it is there that the strongest challenge to my reading of physis as the internal principle by which things move from within themselves to fulfill themselves is found.
In the biology, the male semen seems to impose its form on the female menses, suggesting that at the microcosmic level of natural generation, form is imposed on material, external principles master what needs forming. But as I investigate Aristotle’s biology, I have come to learn that material in Aristotle might not be what we’ve thought it was.
On Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 11 AM at the Ancient Philosophy Society meeting at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, I am presenting a paper (part of my current book project) that focuses on the strange and evasive role of vital heat in Aristotle’s biology. I argue that the complexities of vital heat might tell us something about whether Aristotle has a one-sex or two-sex model of sexual difference and that his model might also recast our understanding of Aristotelian material. Read more
Since Rousseau expressed his concern that government, established to carry out the general will of the people, might become a separate body with its own distinct general will, members of the polity have worried from one end of the political spectrum to the other, that government is imposing its will on the people, rather than executing the people’s will. It’s not even correct to date this concern to Rousseau, since we could argue that such a concern is encapsulated in Thrasymachus’ realpolitik definition of justice — we all know, let’s be honest Socrates, that the laws serve the powerful and not those who are supposed to follow them. In these cases, government is understood to be against us, treading on us with its laws and impositions, limiting our freedom rather than protecting it.
Government and Constitution in Aristotle
Eric Schwitzgebel refers to Aristotle to talk about blameworthiness for implicit biases in his talk at the Pacific APA next week. I’m pleased to join in the appeal to Aristotle to think about contemporary political and ethical problems. My argument is that Aristotle addresses this problem of thinking the government as an imposition by arguing for an account that drives politeuma, or government, closer to an identity with the politeia, constitution or regime. Read more
On November 20, 2014, we held Ancient Philosophy Workshop 2014, sponsored by the Great Lakes Colleges Association. Students from Earlham College, Antioch College and Wabash College presented papers and students and faculty responded. We were thrilled to have Dr. Jacob Howland, McFarlin Professor of Philosophy at University of Tulsa, speak on “City of Pigs, City of Men: Divine Measure in The Republic’s ‘True’ and ‘Healthy’ City.”
View the Storify of the event #GLCAnct14 here.
Last weekend, the annual meeting of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, the umbrella organization for continental philosophy in North America was held in New Orleans. New Orleans is a fantastic city. I had never visited before, so I had an impression that was kitschy. But I left thinking it was beautiful. I stayed in the Garden District. My first morning there I took the streetcar to the conference hotel and the driver of the streetcar got out of the streetcar and went into a hotel and was gone for five minutes. As a friend said, “Union break, don’t h8.” The city was loud and colorful and much better than anything I had ever learned from The Pelican Brief about what the city would be like.
SPEP was all a-Twitter® and I storify it here. In this post, I want to give a more sustained consideration to two panels I attended, two papers in particular: Sara Brill’s “Beyond Zôê and Bios: On the Concept of Shared Life in Aristotle’s Ethics” and Robin James’ remarks at the Advocacy Committee’s New Media, Social Networks and Philosophy panel.* Read more
On April 27, 2014, I will be commenting on Emanuela Bianchi’s essay, “The Aristotelian Organism and Aleatory Matter.” I’m posting my comments here for those of you who won’t be attending the Ancient Philosophy Society in Tampa, FL April 24-27. I’ll be live tweeting at #APS14, follow me @adrieltrott.
A note on the photograph: Emma took this photo of my husband and I in Città di Castello, Umbria, Italy in 2012. At the time, we’d only been married for three weeks. She later posted it with the caption, “Marriage: Italian Style.” I think this it’s particularly apropos given the dispute that she and I have over the role of the feminine in Aristotle’s work.
It is a pleasure for me to comment on Emma Bianchi’s work, not only in the spirit of friendship, but also in the spirit of true and earnest disagreement with a friend with whom I share many philosophical commitments. This project seems to be drawing together some elements of Bianchi’s previous work, and as such, I find her formulations and concerns to be helpful in my own thinking on Aristotle. So I’d like to express my gratitude to her for keeping these questions and concerns about Aristotle at the fore. These are questions and concerns that I share, questions that I thank Bianchi for forcing me to think about more carefully in Aristotle. They are important questions whose ramifications extend beyond the confines of Aristotle and Aristotle scholarship. Bianchi encourages us to critically consider the implications of the standard of substance as a unified and hegemonic totality. Read more