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Schedule for the Human Sciences Seminar research programme – Spring Term

Please find enclosed the Spring Term schedule for the Human Sciences Seminar research programme, an invited speaker research seminar funded by the Royal Institute of Philosophy. The lecture series is free and open to everyone, including students and the general public.

Spring 2017 Schedule

9th February: Professor Constantine Sandis (University of Hertfordshire): ‘Who Are “We” for Wittgenstein?’

9th March: Professor Helen Frowe (Stockholm University): ‘Preferential Saving: The Duty to Rescue and the Duty to Minimise Harm’.

16th March: Professor Sheryl Tuttle-Ross (University of Wisconsin – La Crosse): ‘Propaganda and the Moving Image’.

23rd March: Dr Jennifer Corns (University of Glasgow): ‘Hedonic Independence’.

30th March: Dr Lubomira Radoilska (University of Kent; 2016 Mind Association Fellow): ‘Williams on Agent Regret and Ancient Greek Moral Psychology: Two Lessons for the Epistemic Condition on Responsibility’.

Time: Thursday, 17:00-18:30
Venue: Geoffrey Manton Building Room GM 332.

Specific information about each seminar (abstract, etc.) will be circulated to you in separate correspondence; information about the opening seminar on 9th February is enclosed below.  

HSS 9th February 2017. Speaker: Professor Constantine Sandis, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire.

Title: Who Are “We” For Wittgenstein?

Abstract: ‘If a lion could speak, we could not understand him’, Wittgenstein famously wrote. But who are ‘we’ for Wittgenstein? Most commentators assume that he is here referring to all human beings and that, by way of symmetry, the lion represents all animals. In this talk I argue that this is not so. Across his writings Wittgenstein uses the word ‘we’ to include and exclude various kinds of groups, including philosophers, language-users, and Europeans. I explore these uses alongside the more general question of the relation of ‘I’ to ‘we’, as it appears in the work of Wittgenstein and his near-contemporaries (most notably Arthur Koestler, George Orwell, & Roman Jakobson). In conclusion, I maintain that we would do best to understand Wittgenstein’s ‘we’ as here meaning something like ‘the average person’, in a sense that excludes ethologists, lion tamers, and ‘jungle men’ such as Mowgli and Tarzan. This puts a whole new perspective on what Wittgenstein’s remark is actually about, if not human-animal communication. It also invites us to re-consider the precise modality of ‘could not’ in the same remark.

All welcome!

The Human Sciences Seminar Series is a research seminar organised by the Philosophy section of Manchester Metropolitan University’s Department of History, Politics and Philosophy. It continues thanks to the generous support of the Royal Institute of Philosophy. Meetings are held regularly in at 5pm on Thursdays during the autumn and spring term. The series was founded by David Melling and Wolfe Mays in 1979 out of a desire to explore the various human sciences in a systematic way from the standpoint of critical philosophy. It has now run without break for over thirty years. Talks usually last 45-50 minutes, followed by an answer and question session. After the talk we will take the speaker for drinks and dinner, all of which everyone is welcome to join.

Dr Anna Bergqvist
Lecturer in Philosophy
Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Science