Call for presentations International conference A world without foundations (September 23 & 24, 2015)


A world without foundations:
Politics, society and history in post-foundational thought

September 23 & 24, 2015
Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago de Chile

Keynote speakers:

Oliver Marchart (Academy of Arts Düsseldorf, Germany)
Martín Plot (CalArts, EE.UU.)

In political as well as scientific debate, not having “foundations” for the things one says or does is often considered as indicating a failure to comply with certain moral or epistemic standards, as it suggests the absence of grounds upon which one’s words and actions may be interpreted, evaluated and justified. In view of this fact, it may seem surprising that “post-” or “antifoundationalism” has become established as a label and general description for a particular strand of contemporary philosophical, political and social thought. The term designates a kind of thinking that conceives the human being, society, history, or the cosmos at large as lacking any fixed ground or telos (revealed divine precepts, universal moral and political principles dictated by reason, immutable laws of nature, etc.), a thinking that insists on the contingency, fragility, and plurality of our modes of living. Thinkers as diverse as Arendt and Foucault, Laclau and Deleuze, Agamben and Badiou—to name but a few of the most prominent—have been associated with this description.

This conference is intended to explore the very idea of anti- or post-foundational thought from an interdisciplinary perspective (including philosophy, sociology, politics, history, among others). More specifically, it seeks to discuss the various challenges that this way of thinking confronts. How can one think without solid foundations? Can such an approach be consistently carried out, i.e., can it avoid the risk of self-contradiction? Does it lead to the sterile conclusion that “anything is possible” or “anything goes”? Are the thinkers who commonly receive the label adequately understood in this way?

The conference invites proposals for presentations in English or Spanish. We welcome submissions of extended abstracts of around 500 words, or else of complete papers. They should be prepared for blind review and sent to The deadline for submissions is June 14. Notices of acceptance will be sent by July 6.

The conference is hosted by the Instituto de Humanidades and the Facultad de Ciencias Sociales e Historia of the Universidad Diego Portales. For additional information, please contact the organizers, Rodrigo Cordero and Wolfhart Totschnig, at the email address above.

Support: FONDECYT Initiation Project No. 11121346