Call for Participants, Summer Seminar. Stakes of Speech: Self-Revelation and Theatricality

Posted: 25 de March de 2012 by Fernando Furtado in Call for Papers, Event, News
Quarta-feira, 14 de Março de 2012 11:24

A Call for Participants

Stakes of Speech:  Self-Revelation and Theatricality
A Summer Seminar on Wittgenstein in the Spirit of Cavell and Rhees

July 9-18, 2012
The Humanities Center
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Seminar Leaders:
Steven G. Affeldt, Le Moyne College.  (
Gordon C.F. Bearn, Lehigh University. (
Victor J. Krebs, Pontifical University of Peru, Lima.

Stipend for all Participants: $500.
Accommodations provided for all participants, free of charge.

Applications due May 1, 2012, Decisions made May 8, 2012
Application Information Below

Seminar Website:

1.  Seminar Description
It was to have been a revolution.  Wittgenstein hoped to turn our
(philosophical) lives around, or upside down.  But the fires of
Wittgenstein’s revolution were no match for philosophy’s fantasy of
rigorous science and his work was soon assigned its narrow place on
the shelf of formal semantics: an appendix of pragmatics.  The fires
cooled to embers guarded—perhaps smothered—by a dwindling band of

Thankfully some continued to write as though nothing had happened in
analytic philosophy of language.  And now the years of work and the
shelves of books by Stanley Cavell and Rush Rhees seem finally to be
reigniting those old revolutionary hopes, not only in philosophy but
throughout the literary humanities.

As taken up by Cavell and Rhees, the heart of Wittgenstein’s effort to
revolutionize our lives lies in his binding the intelligibility of
speech to self-revelation: to revealing the positions from which we
speak and the multiplicity of cares, interests, expectations, and more
that give shape and direction to our lives. Such revelation is not
inevitable.  Nor is the only alternative the sensible silence that
comes of recognizing that you can’t, and shouldn’t, talk to everyone
about everything.  On the contrary, the revolutionary urgency of
Wittgenstein’s work is rooted in confronting the myriad forms of
emptiness and nonsense that spring from trying to evacuate the self
from our words and to mean without disclosing ourselves.

This summer, we will spend an intensive and collegial week exploring
some of the questions provoked by this picture of what is involved in
speaking intelligibly.  How should the demand for self-revelation or
the presentation of the self be understood?  What are its
presuppositions and implications?  What kinds of factors and forces
(linguistic, psychological, aesthetic, inter-personal, cultural,
social, political, etc.) that shape the possibilities of self-
presentation and so intelligibility?  Does the demand for self-
revelation insinuate, or even essentially involve, a concern for
audience?  If so, does this attractive Wittgensteinian picture begin
to smack of theatricality and stagework and so of insincerity and
inauthenticity?  Must it endure a Beckettian fate where “damnation
lies not in a particular form of theater, but in theatricality as
such” (Cavell, MWM, p. 160)?

2. Financial Support.
The generous support of the Lehigh University Office for International
Affairs and the Philosophy Department of Lehigh University make it
possible for us to offer each participant in this seminar:
a.  A stipend of $500
b.  Free dorm style accommodations across the street from
the Lehigh Humanities Center where we will be meeting.
c.  Lunches on every meeting day and dinners at the
opening and closing of the seminar.

3.  Eligibility.
Although there are places for only 10 participants, this seminar is
open to any graduate student, faculty member, or independent scholar
who expresses an interest in its themes.

4.  Application
Send a CV along with a letter to Gordon C.F. Bearn at articulating how the themes of this seminar engage
your research interests either in philosophy, or in the literary
humanities more broadly, or in both.

Deadline:        e-mail applications should be sent by May 1, 2012 to
Notifications:  We will notify all applicants by May 8, 2012.

5.  Further Information.
A detailed schedule for the seminar and a list of readings for each
meeting is available at the seminar website:

For further information feel free to contact any of the three leaders
of this seminar:

Steven G. Affeldt, Le Moyne College.  (
Gordon C.F. Bearn, Lehigh University. (
Victor J. Krebs, Pontifical University of Peru, Lima.


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