Liverpool Forum Past Events


Modern European Philosophy and the Problem of Religious Language

This event was organised in Association with the Royal Institute of Philosophy| 

Tuesday 5 November 2013, 4.30 – 7pm
SOTA Library, 19 Abercromby Square, University of Liverpool

See also:|

This workshop will explore the rich resources for analysing, theorising and interrogating religious language within the continental tradition. It marks the publication of two new books in the field, Daniel Colucciello Barber’s Deleuze and the Naming of God: Post-Secularism and the Future of Immanence (Edinburgh University Press) and Daniel Whistler’s Schelling’s Theory of Symbolic Language: Forming the System of Identity (Oxford University Press), as well as the reissue of Steven Shakespeare’s classic Kierkegaard, Language and the Reality of God  (Ashgate, 2001; Biblio, 2013).   


4.30 – 5.15        Daniel Colucciello Barber|  (ICI, Berlin)
                            The Senseless Fabulation of Icons 

5.15 – 5.50        Steven Shakespeare| (Liverpool Hope) 
                            The Sign of Contradiction: Paradox versus Apophasis in Kierkegaard’s 
                            Philosophy of Language  

5.50 – 6.25        Catherine Tomas| (University of Oxford) 
                            The Making of Mystics: How the Congregation for the Doctrine
                            of the Faith Abjects

6.25 – 7.00         Duane Williams| (Liverpool Hope)
                            Aristotle, Heidegger, and the Architectonic Structure of Language 


The Senseless Fabulation of Icons
Daniel Colucciello Barber|

This paper addresses the conjuncture of philosophy and religious language by taking up the work of Gilles Deleuze, according to which there is a constitutive senselessness to language, one that calls for an affirmation of the crack of interstitiality against the relation of association. Such interstitial senselessness is at the heart of Deleuze's seemingly religious invocation of "belief in the world." This invocation amounts to a call for the fabulation of icons -- a call that is religious but that is likewise posed against the account of language produced by standard Christian soteriological narratives.  

The Sign of Contradiction: Paradox versus Apophasis in Kierkegaard's Philosophy of Language
Steven Shakespeare|

Approaches to the philosophy of religious language often stress the inadequacy of words to refer to or describe the divine. However, such apparent humility can hide a domineering claim: only this language and these symbols are properly inadequate - only these keep the mystery of God pure. This paper will challenge the notion of proper inadequacy by critically deploying Kierkegaard's account of the paradoxicality of the sign, and the inevitability of poetic invention in relation to the absolute.   

The Making of Mystics: How the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Abjects
Catherine Tomas|

The Catholic Church maintains its doctrine and power through the maintenance and policing of language boundaries. This is demonstrated clearly when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) engage with those who claim to have direct communication with God. Here, the policing of ‘religious language’ borders gets real: modern day mystics are made ‘abject’ through complex language games employed by those in the CDF, who attempt to remove the epistemic authority of the mystic. Although this is not the only way modern day mystics are rendered abject, it is the most significant, and feeds into wider questions about the role of language and subject formation in mysticism. Julia Kristeva’s model of abjection helps us to describe and understand what goes on when the CDF engage with mystics. In this paper, I will address some of the issues that arise from any attempt to legislate what counts as religious language. Moreover, I will show how the CDF’s treatment of those who disrupt language borders ironically endorses them as true mystics.  

Aristotle, Heidegger, and the Architectonic Structure of Language
Duane Williams|

Heidegger argues that the Stoa saw a change in the way language as a sign was understood. Language is thus seen to merely designate that which is already known by thought, and consequently the true nature of reality is forever out of language's reach as it becomes no more than a method of logical assertion. But for Heidegger, language speaks existentially and not propositionally, and it is this concrete interpretive discourse that first connects us with the world because we dwell poetically in the world through language as the House of Being.    


Public Lecture

Victims over Victors

Thursday 13 December 2012, 5.30pm
Eden building, room 014, Liverpool Hope University

Anthony Paul Smith|, Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, La Salle University

Is there a way to think about victims and victimhood that doesn't just pity them and thereby participate in the vicious circle of victors and victims? François Laruelle argues that instead of thinking about victims we should think through victims. It isn't that there are victims over there, and we ourselves are outside this circle, but that the victim is uniquely revealing of what it means to be human. With philosophy's historic focus on heroes and victors over victims it has been unable to deal with one of its most important questions: what does it mean to be human? In this lecture Anthony Paul Smith introduced the general outline of Laruelle's project before developing Laruelle's ethical theory through a discussion of media-friendly intellectuals, photo-journalism, and the role theory plays in the pursuit of justice.  


Philosophy in the Gallery

Wednesday 21 November 2012, 5.30-7pm 
Tate Liverpool  

Katrina Mitcheson|, Lecturer in Philosophy at Manchester Metropolitan University, will be discussing work by Sophie Calle| currently on display in Tate Liverpool's Biennial exhibition, Thresholds |

For further information, go to:|


Philosophy in the Gallery

Darren Ambrose on Francis Bacon's Three Figures and Portrait

Wednesday 24 April 2012, 5.30-7pm
Tate Liverpool

Darren Ambrose|, Senior Lecturer, Department of Media, Art and Design, Canterbury Christ Church University