University College Dublin, June 15th-17th

The contemporary interest in realism and naturalism in continental philosophy, under the banner of ‘speculative’ or ‘new’ realism, has recently led a number of continentally-trained philosophers to approach texts from the canon of analytic philosophy, where the debates on these topics (and their dialectic with anti-realism) has a decades-long history. This has been particularly evident in the unprecedented way in which the philosophy of Wilfrid Sellars has been object of a rediscovery: a unique stance in the landscape of 20th century Anglo-American philosophy — an ambitious blend of Kantian systematicity, scientific naturalism, post-Carnapian formal reflection on language, Wittgenstenian sensitivity to the use-dependence of meaning, and profound reverence towards the history of philosophy — Sellars’ thought has proved itself as remarkably able to both 1) offer a contemporary re-formulation of traditional ‘continental’ concerns into a more cross-traditional form, amenable to realist and rationalist concerns, and 2) serve as an unexpectedly accessible entry point into the Anglo-American tradition for continental philosophers, precisely in virtue of its somewhat heterodox placement within the analytic spectrum.

With the aim of appraising this fertile theoretical convergence — and to assess how it can serve as the basis for a future cross-traditional philosophical research project — this conference will explore, in particular, the ways in which Sellars’ engaged Kantianism (treating Kant as more than a philosopher of historical interest — an unorthodox approach in his own philosophical milieu) can be put into dialogue with the different ways in which, throughout the 20th century, Kantian transcendentalism has been a constant discussion partner for continental philosophers, whether painted as a precious resource for philosophical creation or as a constrain to be jettisoned. The widely influential work of Quentin Meillassoux, and his recent coinage of the term ‘correlationism’ to indicate a harmful Kantian paradigm to be rejected (underlying most of twentieth-century continental anti-realism) will be examined in this comparative light, as the latest exemplar of this fraught relationship.


Provisional Programme

Wednesday 15th of June
9:45 – Registration, Coffee/Tea and Pastries, and Meet&Greet
10:15 – Fabio Gironi, “Opening Remarks & Introduction”
11:15 – James O’Shea, “After Kant, Sellars, and Meillassoux: Back to Empirical Realism?”
12:30 – Lunch Break
14:00 – Joseph Cohen, “Speculating the Real”
15:15 – Tea Break
15:30 – Kenneth Westphal, “Wilfrid Sellars, Philosophical Semantics & Synthetic Necessary Truths”
16:45– End of Day 1

Thursday 16th of June
10:00 –Peter Wolfendale, “Copernicanism without Correlationism”
11:15 – Coffee Break
11:30 – Taylor Carman, “Realism, Old and New”
12:45 – Lunch Break
14:15 – Ray Brassier, “Correlation, Speculation, and the Modal Kant-Sellars Thesis”
15:30 – Tea Break
15:45 – Gabriel Catren, “A Plea for Narcissus: On the Transcendental Reflection – Refractive Mediation Tandem”
17:00 – End of Day 2

19:30 – Conference Dinner
Friday 17th of June
10:00 – Muhannad Hariri, “Paths After Finitude: Semantic and Pragmatic Alternatives to The Necessity of Contingency”
11:15 – Coffee Break
11:30 – Dionysis Christias, “Towards the Kantian Thing-in-Itself: A Sellars-inspired Alternative to Meillassoux’s Critique of Strong Correlationism”
12:45 – Lunch Break
14:45 – Roundtable Discussion (Conference Speakers and 4 Respondents)
17:00 – Conclusion
17:30 –Wine Reception and Book(s) Launch: James O’Shea’s Sellars and His Legacy (OUP) and Kenneth Westphal’s How Hume and Kant Reconstruct Natural Law (OUP).


Please register here as seats in the conference venue are limited (registration is free).

A limited number of on-campus rooms for conference attendees is available, please click here to access the UCD Residences Registration page and book your room.

UCD campus is easily reached via Bus Eirann busses (line 16+line 46a) or directly with the Aricoach service (with a stop inside the campus, about 55 minutes ride: use the discount code “SUMMER2016” and ask to be dropped inside UCD).

For more info, email the conference organizer at