CANCELLED - James Conant - "The Logical Alien" - David Finkelstein

Thursday, April 9, 2020 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
James Conant

**This event has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule in the coming months.**

“A remarkable book capable of reshaping what one takes philosophy to be.” — Cora Diamond, Kenan Professor of Philosophy Emerita, University of Virginia

James Conant discusses The Logical Alien: Conant and His Critics. He will be joined in conversation by David Finkelstein. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the book: Could there be a logical alien--a being whose ways of talking, inferring, and contradicting exhibit an entirely different logical shape than ours, yet who nonetheless is thinking? Could someone, contrary to the most basic rules of logic, think that two contradictory statements are both true at the same time? Such questions may seem outlandish, but they serve to highlight a fundamental philosophical question: is our logical form of thought merely one among many, or must it be the form of thought as such?

From Descartes and Kant to Frege and Wittgenstein, philosophers have wrestled with variants of this question, and with a range of competing answers. A seminal 1991 paper, James Conant's "The Search for Logically Alien Thought," placed that question at the forefront of contemporary philosophical inquiry. The Logical Alien, edited by Sofia Miguens, gathers Conant's original article with reflections on it by eight distinguished philosophers--Jocelyn Benoist, Matthew Boyle, Arata Hamawaki, Martin Gustafsson, Adrian Moore, Barry Stroud, Peter Sullivan, and Charles Travis. Conant follows with a wide-ranging response that places the philosophical discussion in historical context, critiques his original paper, addresses the exegetical and systematic issues raised by others, and presents an alternative account.

The Logical Alien challenges contemporary conceptions of how logical and philosophical form must each relate to their content. This monumental volume offers the possibility of a new direction in philosophy.

About the author: James Conant is Chester D. Tripp Professor of Humanities, Professor of Philosophy, and Professor in the College at the University of Chicago, as well as Humboldt Professor at the University of Leipzig. He works broadly in philosophy and has published articles in Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind, Aesthetics, German Idealism, and History of Analytic Philosophy. His two most recent books are The Logical Alien (Harvard, 2020) and The Analytic Tradition (Norton, 2017). The former volume, edited by Sofia Miguens, gathers responses to his work by eight distinguished philosophers, followed by Conant’s responses in which he offers his own alternative readings of Descartes, Kant, Frege, and Wittgenstein. The latter volume, co-edited with Jay Elliott, presents an overview of the entire sweep of the analytic tradition, from its late 19th-century beginnings in Frege, Moore and Russell to its philosophical present in the early 21st century.

James Conant will also be presenting his remarks on Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho with the University of Chicago Philosophy Review on 3/12 at 6pm. Learn more and RSVP here.


Event Location: 
The Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637