Philosophy as Translation

American Philosophy in Cross-Cultural Settings

Helsinki, Finland
17-18 November 2014


In non-American contexts, what would “American philosophy” signify and what kind of role would it play? We are thinking first and foremost of those distinctive forms of philosophy that are found in transcendentalism and pragmatism. But how far are these necessarily American?

In response to these questions, this symposium will address the role of American philosophy in both American and non-American contexts through the dialogue among international scholars (including American, Asian and European scholars). We shall explore the reception of American philosophy in different cultural contexts, while at the same time considering its distinctive American aspect. Hence, American philosophy is to be understood in the light of the thematic of translation. More specifically, the presenters will explore its nature in dialogue with other strands of philosophy, including the Kyoto School of philosophy and aspects of poststructuralism.


The conference takes place at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies in 17-18 November 2014. It is co-organized by Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Kyoto University and the Nordic Pragmatism Network The main organizers are Naoko Saito (Kyoto/Helsinki) and Sami Pihlström (Helsinki).

The event is a part of Naoko Saito’s research project, “Philosophy as Translation and Understanding Other Cultures: Interdisciplinary Research in Philosophy and Education for Bidirectional Internationalization” (Supporting Program for Interaction-based Initiative Team Studies [SPIRITS] funded by Kyoto University).

The conference is free of charge to the participants. More information about the schedule and exact locations will be available on this webpage


Monday, November 17

9.30 – 9.45
Opening (Naoko Saito and Sami Pihlström)

Session I (Chair: Naoko Saito)

9.45 – 10.45
Sandra Laugier (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne): Stanley Cavell, the Ordinary, and Democratization of Culture-s

10.45 – 11.45
Paul Standish (Institute of Education, London): Rebuking Hopelessness

11.45 – 13.30: lunch break

Session II (Chair: Henrik Rydenfelt)

13.30 – 14.30
Heikki A. Kovalainen (IASR / University of Tampere): Philosophy as Translation? Reflections on Terrence Malick’s Post-Pragmatism

14.30 – 15.30
Ian Munday (University of Stirling): Problems in Translation

15.30 – 16.00: coffee break

Session III (Chair: Sami Pihlström)

16.00 – 17.00
Henrik Rydenfelt (University of Helsinki): Meaning, Conduct and Cultures of Inquiry

17.00 – 18.00
Vincent Colapietro (Pennsylvania State University): The Pragmatics of Translation and the Transposition of Practices

Tuesday, November 18

Session IV (Chair: Heikki A. Kovalainen)

10.00 – 11.00 Russell B. Goodman (University of New Mexico): Emerson’s Philosophical Style

11.00 – 12.00
Naoko Saito (Kyoto University / HCAS): Realism of the Obscure: Cavell, Thoreau and Philosophy as Translation

12.00 – 13.30: lunch break

Session V (Chair: Paul Standish)

13.30 – 14.30
Joris Vlieghe (Edinburgh University): The Im/possibility to Speak: Cavell and Agamben on Culture and (Re)vitalization

14.30 – 15.30
Nobuo Kazashi (Kobe University): American Junctures in Modern Japanese Thought: Centering on Nishida, Sōseki, and Maruyama

15.30 – 16.00: coffee break

Session VI (Chair: Sari Kivistö)

16.00 – 17.00
Sami Pihlström (HCAS / University of Helsinki): The Cries of the Wounded in Pragmatism

17.00 – 17.30
Closing (Sami Pihlström and Naoko Saito)