In 1637, Descartes declared “je pense donc je suis.” Today, The Partner University Fund delves into the modern iterations of French and American philosophical thought with the French Philosophy in the 20th Century project.
Professor Daniel W. Smith of Purdue University and Professor Jean-Michel Salanskis of Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense have teamed up with the ambitious goal of exploring the relationship between contemporary French philosophy and the traditional, analytic philosophy of the Anglo-American world, against a broader current scientific and cultural backdrop. Now in its second year, the project has initiated a promising dialogue between the two fields and shatters the distinct separation between continental and analytic philosophy. Twenty French and American faculty members and 16 students from Purdue University and French institutions have participated in the project, which organizes conferences and workshops on both sides of the Atlantic. Extensive travel of 16 French and American scholars involved in the project has already led to concrete collaboration and a first joint paper.
The PUF project has brought together international groups of philosophers to discuss topics related to analytic and continental philosophy traditions. One particular conference, called Logic, Mathematics, and Philosophy, united philosophers, logicians and mathematicians from both analytic and traditional European schools of thought and nurtured a productive conversation on the importance of philosophy in both academic and cultural arenas.
A summer school for doctoral and post-doctoral philosophy students at the University of Paris served as a crash-course for all relevant content pertaining to analytic and French contemporary philosophy and offered ten cutting-edge philosophy courses. These included the “The Locus of the Mind (A Reassessment of Active Externalism),” “Science, Reality, and Explanations,” and “Logic and Ontology: Absolute Generality.”
In fulfillment of the fundamental goals of PUF, two graduate students, one French and one American, who met at the University of Paris summer school, have produced a joint paper, which they will present at an international philosophy conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Their work was a direct result of their interactions at a seminar for graduate students at the summer school.
With eight more conferences, a website, and a possible philosophy handbook in the works, the French Philosophy in the 20th Century PUF project propels the ancient art of reflection into 21st Century with a cosmopolitan and rigorous approach.