Cambridge Calls

Conference: Cultural Heritage and the Ethics of War

Homerton College, Cambridge

18 – 19 September 2019

Keynote Speakers:

Simon Blackburn (Cambridge)

Ruth Chang (Oxford)

Victor Tadros (Warwick)

The AHRC-funded Heritage in War Project, led by Helen Frowe and Derek Matravers, explores the moral value of cultural heritage and how we ought to incorporate this value into our accounts of the ethics of war, and deal with damage to heritage in the aftermath of conflict.  Whilst some work has been done on these topics by people working in cognate areas, few philosophers have directly engaged with these sorts of questions. The aim of this conference is to begin to develop a robust account of the status of heritage in war by exploring philosophical work on such matters as incommensurability and incomparability, the nature and status of cultural heritage, risk imposition, and the reconstruction and replacement of damaged or destroyed heritage.

Possible questions to be addressed include (but are not limited to): When it might be permissible for soldiers to cause collateral or intentional damage to a heritage site? What kinds of risk may we impose on individuals for the sake of protecting non-human goods? How we should compare damage to heritage to other types of harm, particularly the harms at stake in war? May individuals or states direct resources towards cultural property protection rather than using those resources to protect civilians and their homes? How should we understand the value of cultural heritage, and how does it stack up against other sorts of value?

Please send your abstracts of no more than 800 words, as an attachment in either Word or PDF, to Josh Thomas ( by 14th of January 2019.

“When the Moon Comes”


Author: Paul Harbridge

Illustrator: Matt James

Publisher: tundra – Random House Canada

Review by Bob Lane, Siena Brandstaetter, and Holt Brandstaetter

Confession: I am no expert on children’s literature. As a father, grandfather, and great grandfather I have always bowed to the “expertise” of the audience. If the child is saying “read it again” you have a good indication that the book is a winner. Often books that I have chosen, thinking they would be great hits with the kids turned out to be boring, receiving no “read it again” requests.

This book is a “read it again” book based on some empirical research! Two greats thought it worthy of a “read it again” stamp of approval.

First, it tells a compelling story. A story set in Canada about snowy landscapes, frozen ponds, and kids playing hockey. Cover blurb: “The beaver flood has finally frozen – perfect ice, without a bump or a ripple. The kids in town wait impatiently for the right moment. Finally, it arrives: the full moon. They huff and puff through logging trails, farms, back roads and tamarack swamps, the powdery snow soaking pant legs and boots, till they see it – the perfect ice, waiting. And the game is on.”

Paul Harbridge is an award winning short story writer (he works as a speech-language pathologist for adults with developmental disabilities) and he knows how to tell a story. Matt James is a painter, illustrator and musician. His illustrations are, in a word, beautiful. They are perfect at complementing the words of the story and drawing the audience into that wonderful world of make-believe that children of all ages enjoy.

Together words and pictures tell the story of some small-town Canadian kids who have been waiting for the perfect time to hike out to the beaver flood, clear the snow, and start the game. The time has come! The full moon lights the night and off they go.

Simple, engaging, and worthy of the “read it again” stamp of approval.

SS: art and language

Theme: The Intersection of Art and Language
Type: Conference
Institution: Ryerson University
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Date: March 22-23
Submission Deadline: December 14th

Ryerson University is now accepting papers for its 2019 Graduate Conference “Language, Expression, Aesthetics”. The purpose of the conference is to explore the relationship between the philosophy of language and the philosophy of art.

The linguistic turn in twentieth century philosophy can be understood as the attempt to solve philosophical problems by attaining a clearer view about the language that we use and how it works. It is in this context that Michael Dummett has maintained that “the philosophy of language is first philosophy”. Other trends in philosophy put the very status of language itself in question. Donald Davidson for one has provocatively claimed that “there is no such thing as language, not if a language is anything like what many philosophers and linguists have supposed”. Further developments in the continental tradition have also complicated the matter. Jacques Derrida famously claimed that “there is no outside-text,” while Martin Heidegger, in his later stages, argued that the study of metaphysics is inextricably bound to the history of the West, which has itself culminated in a cultural nihilism that leads him to conclude that philosophy itself should give way to a thinking that seems to largely be informed by an understanding of poetry.

There are of course other trends and arguments but it is in the context of these problems that this conference seeks to address the following question: how do questions concerning the status of language and the status of art inform each other? Possible topics for papers include but are not limited to:

How do the cultural norms that shape language influence art?

Can the explanatory entities picked out by the philosophy of language help explain artistic
phenomenon? Or vice versa?

Can philosophical questions of art be reduced to questions about language?

How does conceptual analysis help clarify art meaning?

Does art or philosophy have a privileged relationship to the “nature” of things?

Can language accurately “picture” experience?

Can language go beyond expressing cognitive content?

Can all experiences be expressed in words? Or is there an ineffability to experience?

Must language be verbal or linguistic? What kinds of possibilities are there for “non-verbal” and non-linguistic approaches to art?

What is the “language of cinema” and how might it be understood?

What is the correlation between art and subversive expression?

To what extent do developments in literature problematize the philosophy of language?

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Dr. Brendan Moran (University of Calgary)
Dr, Tim Sundell (University of Auburn)
Dr. Don Beith (University of Maine)
Dr. Jim Vernon (York University)

Please email submissions to The deadline for submissions is December 14th, 2018. Papers should be presentable in 20-25 minutes (around 3000 words), to be followed by a question period. With your submissions, please include a cover page that includes your name, affiliated institution, contact information, title, and a 200-300 word abstract.