Philosophy and Literature in Dialogue

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Date(s): 11. March – 01. May


Annual Conference of the Institute of Philosophy, 2022

Venue: Palace of Matica hrvatska, Ul. Matice hrvatske 2, 10000 Zagreb

December 8-9, 2022.


Since its inception, philosophy has been closely intertwined with literary invention. The aphorisms of Heraclitus, Nietzsche and Cioran, the poems of Parmenides, Empedocles and Lucretius, the dialogues of Plato, a form adopted by Cicero and Augustine, by Renaissance Platonists like Cusanus, Patricius, and Abravanel, by philosophers of nature like Bruno, and modern thinkers like More, Berkeley, Hume, and Edith Stein, the use of symbols, analogies, thought experiments, and other “intuition pumps” by philosophers of all epochs – show how philosophy plumbs the resources of oral and written tradition to tackle the most pressing questions of human thought and existence. Ever and again philosophers reach for poetry and literary forms to create a vessel for speech on topics which transcend the boundaries of empirical investigation and rational discourse, just as poets, novelists, and storytellers seek by their art to illuminate, enlighten, and inspire.

What are the grounds of this intimate connection between philosophy and literature? María Zambrano (1904-1981) saw in the poet and the philosopher two sides of the human individual, each insufficient in itself; yet only in rare instances do poetry and philosophy merge into a single expressive form, whereas for the most part, “throughout the length of our culture,” they appear “in serious confrontation.” Despite his critique of the epic poets and tragedians, Plato makes mousikē a requisite element of the education of the philosopher. Susanne Langer (1895-1985) speaks of the indispensable role of artistic expression and symbolic transformation as a means by which intuitive thought is woven into discursive argument. Can poetry do without philosophy, or philosophy without poetry? What differentiates philosophical investigation from literary invention? What purposes and aims do they share? How do literary forms and devices enhance philosophy, and how does philosophy inspire literary production?

The annual conference of the Institute of Philosophy 2022 takes for its theme historical and theoretical aspects of the interrelationship and mutual entwinement of literature and philosophy, philosophy and literature. We invite papers on any topics related to this central theme. Sample topics might include: the differing role of truth and morality, knowledge and value in literature and philosophy, uses of literary forms and devices in philosophy, the embodiment of philosophical ideas in literature, roles of philosophy in the interpretation of literature.

Abstracts should be between 250 and 300 words and include the author’s name, address, contact information, and institutional affiliation, if any. Please also include 5-7 keywords, and a brief biographical note of up to three sentences. Abstracts and queries may be sent to the e-mail address:
The deadline for submission of abstracts is May 1, 2022. Accepted presenters will be notified by June 1, 2022.

The symposium is being planned as an in-person conference. Remote participation will be possible for those who wish to follow the live lectures. If circumstances require, contingency plans are in place to allow the conference to be moved online.


Confirmed speakers:

Prof. em. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael Erler, University of Würzburg, keynote speaker

Prof. em. Dr. Nadežda Čačinovič, University of Zagreb, invited speaker

Prof. Dr. Peter Lamarque, University of York, invited speaker

Prof. Dr. Violetta Waibel, University of Vienna, invited speaker


Organizational Committee

Pavel Gregorić, Institute of Philosophy, Zagreb

Ivana Skuhala Karasman, Institute of Philosophy, Zagreb

Iris Vidmar Jovanović, University of Rijeka

Marie-Élise Zovko, Institute of Philosophy, Zagreb