CFP: Understanding Matter

A call for papers has been announced by the International Center for Philosophical Research at the University of Palermo. The conference will focus on the concept of matter from antiquity to modern times.

Deadline for Panel Submissions: September 30, 2013Deadline for Paper Submissions: January 30, 2014

Understanding Matter: Philosophical Perspectives
When: April 10-13, 2014
Where: University of Palermo, Sicily

From the organizers:

How do we experience matter? Does it present itself to the senses? Or is it only an empty substratum that cannot be grasped if deprived of all sensible qualities? Is it perceived as a continuum, or rather intellectually reconstructed through mental and logical forms? Or is it that the very idea of a continuum in itself the outcome of mental abstraction? And what about the status of matter in light of contemporary subatomic physics? Is matter an unpredictable flux of pure energy or an organized kosmos of even more basic elements?

The nature of matter has been a central issue for philosophy from its very beginning. Over the course of centuries of debate, a wide variety of theoretical solutions have been proposed. Indeed, all major historical shifts of thought have prompted fundamental re-thinking of the nature of matter.For instance, the rise of the importance of mathematics in the natural sciences helped shape the transition from positing a “philosophy of nature” to concentrating on the empirical sciences. Debates about matter were intimately connected with the polemical rejections of Materialism and Dogmatism in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Most recently, contemporary physics has called for a fundamental re-orientation of the traditional paradigm.

The aim of this conference is to provide scholars from across the world an opportunity to discuss these and other important issues in an interdisciplinary environment. The organizers of the conference are open to a wide range of fields of research and historical eras. The organizers hope to bring together a program which spans from ancient to modern philosophy, and includes perspectives from drawn from the criticism of Kant, idealism, and materialism, as well as contemporary physics and biology.

Learn more about the conference here.