[SydPhil] University of Sydney Philosophy Seminar Series: Kristin Gjesdal

Ryan Cox ryan.cox at sydney.edu.au
Mon Oct 23 09:00:00 AEDT 2023

Hi everyone,

This week’s speaker in the University of Sydney Philosophy Seminar Series is Kristin Gjesdal (Temple University).

The title of Kristin’s talk is “A Malady of the Soul: Germaine de Staël on Passions, Politics, and Fanaticism”. Here’s the abstract for the talk:

Over a period of more than two decades, Germaine de Staël tackles the philosophical dimensions of political fanaticism and our responses to it. Discussions of enlightenment approaches to fanaticism typically ignore her contribution. Similarly has Staël’s discussion of fanaticism been overlooked within scholarship on her work. This presentation seeks to highlight Staël’s contribution to the philosophical discussion of fanaticism. While accepting the basic enlightenment phenomenology of fanaticism (its dangers and its challenges), Staël launches her analysis of fanaticism from within her larger moral psychology. She sees fanaticism as part of a web of passions with which we are all familiar and suggests, from within this framework, a set of productive responses. In this way, she challenges Voltaire’s identification of fanaticism and religion and his notion of the fanatic as being beyond both reason and the worthiness of tolerance. Staël’s model is philosophically robust, politically relevant, and indeed worthy of our attention when we seek to map the phenomenon of fanaticism and the historical roots of our responses to it.

The talk will take place on Wednesday the 25th of October at 3:30 p.m. in the Philosophy Seminar Room (N494) in the Quadrangle.

The talk will be immediately followed by the book launch event<https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/gKu4CQnMBZfXMDlprHxMXcc?domain=eventbrite.com.au> featuring Associate Professors Luke Russell & Luara Ferracioli at the Chau Chak Wing Museum.

Enquiries about the seminar series can be directed to ryan.cox at sydney.edu.au<mailto:ryan.cox at sydney.edu.au>

Ryan Cox
Associate Lecturer in Philosophy
Discipline of Philosophy
School of Humanities
University of Sydney
ryan.cox at sydney.edu.au<mailto:ryan.cox at sydney.edu.au>

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