Phenomenology as Critique

9 – 11th October 2020


Given increasing interest and recent scholarly engagements with ‘critical phenomenology,’ the need has arisen to clarify what critique amounts to and what all it entails within the framework of phenomenological philosophy. Drawing on classical Husserlian resources as well as existentialist and hermeneutical approaches, the conference explores in what senses phenomenological critique is intricately intertwined with questions of method. 

The conference also seeks to explore in what distinctive ways phenomenological discussions of acute social and political problems also engage a rich tradition of radically critical investigations in epistemology, social ontology, political theory, and ethics. At the same time, it will also strive to show that contemporary phenomenological investigations of various forms of oppression and domination develop new critical-analytical tools that complement those of other theoretical approaches, such as analytics of power, critical theory, and liberal philosophy of justice. 

By its clear methodological focus, the conference will offer in-depth investigations of the key role that modalities, such as potentiality, actuality, and necessity, play in phenomenological-critical endeavors. In light of this, political change emerges as neither a question of utopia nor of calculative reason but one that demands rigorous thinking about possibilities. All in all, the conference seeks to explicate the multiple critical resources phenomenology has to offer, precisely in virtue of its distinctive methods and methodological commitments, and thus shows its power in tackling timely issues of social injustice – such as xenophobia, bigotry, and oppressive practices – in various registers. The import of the conference thus goes beyond the confines of the field, speaking to phenomenology’s interdisciplinary value.

Andreea Smaranda Aldea (Kent State University, University of Jyväskylä)
David Carr (Emory University, The New School)
Natalie Depraz (Rouen University)
James Dodd (The New School)
Sara Heinämaa (Academy of Finland, University of Jyväskylä)
Hanne Jacobs (Loyola University Chicago) 
Julia Jansen (KU Leuven)
Alice Pugliese (University of Palermo)
Lanei Rodemeyer (Duquesne University)
Anthony Steinbock (SUNY Stony Brook)
Michaela Summa (University of Würzburg)
Nicholas de Warren (Penn State University)
Maren Wehrle (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Organised by:
– Sara Heinämaa Academy Professor, Professor of Philosophy (University of Jyväskylä)
– Andreea Smaranda Aldea, Assistant Professor of Philosophy (Kent State University), Kone Foundation Senior Researcher (2019-2020) and Visiting Researcher, MEPA (2019-2020)
Assisted by:
Joni Puranen Project Researcher / Doctoral Candidate (MEPA, University of Jyväskylä)

Research project Marginalization and Experience (MEPA), directed by Academy Professor Sara Heinämaa and funded by Academy of Finland and University of Jyväskylä.