‘Rethinking Transformation’ – International Conference, Spain


The question of transformation is a fundamental and topical one in the history of philosophy generally and post-Kantian philosophy specifically. Whether thought politically to determine how to effect or forestall change, psychologically to alter human behaviour, morally to ensure that the ‘correct’ path is adhered to, ontologically (including biologically) to understand the becoming of things, and/or socio-historically to understand the differences and relations between different periods and places, there has been substantial, if at times subterranean, interest on this issue. Regardless of the sphere from which the question is engaged with, two positions seem to stand out: transformation thought in terms of fundamental rupture from that which has gone before and transformation understood to entail a continuing trace of that which preceded it. The former position raises questions including what permits such a fundamental rupture and what such a rupture means for our relations to that which preceded it. By claiming that we are always tied to that which preceded us, the latter faces questions relating to the issue of ‘originality’ and ‘the new.’

The purpose of this two-day international conference is to bring together a range of scholars to hear and discuss a selection of papers related to the multi-dimensional nature of transformation. This will not only engage with different ways in which ‘transformation’ has been thought, but, in so doing, also bring us to question whether these two historically dominant conceptions of it are sufficient. We welcome papers that broach the topic from a variety of angles, perspectives, and figures, but are especially interested in papers that deal with it in relation to post-Kantian thinking, because it is here that the most sustained and radical engagement with this issue is found. Potential topics might include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Historical analyses of the role(s) that specific (post-Kantian) thinkers have given to the notion of transformation, including how they conceptualize it.
  • Normative conceptions of transformation and the reasons supporting such claims.
  • The relationship between different periods and changing concepts in an oeuvre.
  • Differences and similarities between contemporary and ancient conceptions of the topic.
  • Conceptions of political, social, ontological, theological, moral, epistemological, aesthetic, and /or psychological transformation.
  • Who or what effects change?
  • Whether transformation is open-ended or restricted and/or tied to a particular end or method.

Rethinking Transformation

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain

Puerta de Toledo Campus

7-8 March 2018.

Those interested in presenting a paper should send a 300 word abstract (for a 20 minute presentation) including name and institutional affiliation, to rethinkingtransformation@uc3m.es by the 30th November 2017. The language of the conference is English and attendance will be free. More information can be found at the conference website: https://rethinkingtransformation.wordpress.com/

The conference forms part of the activities for the Conex Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Project ‘Sovereignty and Law: Between Ethics and Politics’ co-funded by the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration under Grant Agreement 600371, The Spanish Ministry of the Economy and Competitivity (COFUND2013-40258), The Spanish Ministry for Education, Culture, and Sport (CEI-15-17), and Banco Santander. More information about the research project can be found at: https://sovereigntyandlaw.wordpress.com/ Support is also being provided by the Department of Theoretical Philosophy, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, where the conference forms part of the activities for the research project ‘Pensamiento y Representación Literaria y Artística Digital ante la Crisis de Europa y el Mediterráneo’ PR26/16-6B-3.