[SydPhil] ACU Philosophy seminar series: Jodie McNeilly, Xavier Symons

Stephen Matthews Stephen.Matthews at acu.edu.au
Tue Sep 13 15:28:45 AEST 2016

ACU Philosophy Seminar Series:

We have two talks this week being given by two of our HDR students. Titles and abstracts below.

WHEN: Friday September 16, 2.30 PM – 4.00 PM

WHERE: Any of the following venues which are linked by video conference.

Ballarat: CB1.104
Brisbane: TC.19
Canberra: B6
Melbourne: 250 Victoria Pde 4.28
Strathfield: C2.31
North Sydney Tenison Woods House, 8 Napier Street North Sydney, Floor 16, room 24

Jodie McNeilly

TITLE: God Without God: the divine limit of the phenomenon
 ABSTRACT: The background concern of this paper is the well-rehearsed debate on the ‘theological turn’ (or “veerings”) in French Phenomenology that was ignited by Dominique Janicaud some 25 years ago in his vociferous critique of several leading French thinkers. It also responds to subsequent contestations against Janicaud by numerous scholars defending these thinkers radicalising of phenomenology in their attempts to account for what Emanuel Levinas had “stirred up in the phenomenological field” by “re-posing the question of the philosophical status of the idea of God” What is pivotal to Janicaud in his exclusionary critique and drawing of phenomenological boundaries is to hold dearly to the method as Edmund Husserl intended. In doing so, only describable phenomena that appear (or are logically subtended to appear) provide the litmus for a bona fide phenomenology. In opening and broadening the method to include experiences of a transcendent, religious nature as the French thinkers do, orthodox Husserlian thinking places these projects into question. The purpose of this paper is to introduce one argument from my bigger project that (like Janicaud) questions these post-Husserlian thinkers from a strict, un-radicalised Husserlian view of phenomenology and which (unlike Janicaud) permits a phenomenology of religion with Husserl’s philosophy. In this presentation I will focus upon my ‘working’ analysis pertaining to three key aspects to suggest a divine limit to phenomena: first, the concept of ‘the phenomenon’ as developed in Husserl’s project; second, the “status of the idea of God” in Husserl’s writings; and third, the relevant philosophical discourse on God that emerges from the Janicaud-led debate, which will touch on my critical commentary of the phenomenology of ‘the inapparent’, and post-phenomenological thought on the ‘uncertainty’ of God as the basis of faith.

Xavier Symons

TITLE:  A Defence of Communitarian Appeals to Culture
ABSTRACT: In the early 2000s several prominent bioethicists wrote extensively about the relevance of the communitarian-liberal debate to the field of bioethics. Discussion of this topic has since waned, in part due to a perception that the insights to be gained from the debate have been exhausted. In this paper, I wish to suggest that there are aspects to communitarian bioethics that are deserving of more attention; in particular, I believe we should give greater credence to the methodological insights latent in communitarian thought. In this paper I will argue that we should heed the ‘communitarian imperative’ to consider how our individual bioethical policies affect the moral culture and shared social values of a community. My claim is, specifically, that we have good reason to always consider the effects of our biomedical policy on the shared values implicit in local social praxis. To support this claim, I will describe how consideration of the ‘moral culture’ of a society can guide us in our evaluation of two specific bioethical issues: the commercial sale of human organs, and, more controversially, sex-selective abortion. I will argue that consideration of the moral standards of society in both cases provides us with valuable insights into the potentially negative effects of liberalising our bioethics policy.

Enquiries: Steve Matthews (stephen.matthews at acu.edu.au<mailto:stephen.matthews at acu.edu.au>)

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