What is the 'History of Philosophy'?

1 March 2023

A Roundtable Discussion
St. Joseph's College and the Department of Philosophy, UofA

Presented by:

  • Dr. Amy Schmitter, Professor - Philosophy (PhD Pittsburgh)
    Executive Editor for the Canadian Journal of Philosophy and past Editor of Hume Studies, works on early modern philosophy, including Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Poulain de la Barre, Astell, and Hume, and on the history of emotions (passions and affects). She also works in philosophy of art.
  • Dr. Robert Burch, Professor Emeritus - Philosophy (PhD Toronto)
    Works on the possibility of post-Hegelian, postmetaphysical philosophizing, with a particular expertise in Kant, Hegel, and Heidegger. 
  • Dr. Jack Zupko, Interim Chair & Professor - Philosophy (PhD Cornell)
    Past Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of the History of Philosophy, specializes in medieval philosophy, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion. He focuses especially on 14th-century thinkers like Duns Scotus and Buridan and has served as the medieval subject editor for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy since 1998.
  • Dr. Matthew Kostelecky, Dean & Associate Professor - SJC (PhD Leuven)
    Works on pre-modern history of metaphysics and the methodological issues therein, with a particular focus on figures like Ibn Sina, Dominicus Gundissalinus, Aquinas, and Scotus.
Moderated by: Dr. Marie-Eve Morin, Vice-Dean of Arts & Professor - Philosophy (PhD Freiburg)
Works on 20th-century Continental philosophy, with a particular focus on ‘post-structuralism’ and ‘post-phenomenology’ in thinkers like Derrida, Levinas, and Nancy, with interests in existentialism and phenomenology (e.g., Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger and Sartre).

When: Friday, March 24 from 3:00pm - 4:30pm
Where: In-person (SJC Boardroom) and by Zoom (Register here in advance)

The Question: It is difficult to articulate just what ‘the history of philosophy’ is. Is it an account of aggregate thinkers from the past? Who gets included or excluded from the ‘history of philosophy’? Why? Is it an integral part of what makes ‘philosophy’ philosophy? If so, in what sense? Did past philosophers who engaged with previous philosophy, like Aristotle, Confucius, Ibn Sina, Hegel, Heidegger, and de Beauvoir, themselves engage in project of ‘the history of philosophy’ as we understand it? Essentially, what is ‘the history of philosophy’?

The Format: The primary discussants will each give a short presentation, before they turn to discussion among themselves. Then the floor will be open to questions and conversation among all gathered for the occasion. The conversation will be moderated by Dr. Marie-Eve Morin. All are welcome.