Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism

Theory Sessions

The Theory Sessions, a student initiative, serves as a forum for the exchange of ideas to promote interdisciplinary research in theory at the Centre and across campus. Students and faculty present their papers and engage in spirited discussions, with contributions from interested Centre scholars as well as faculty and students from other fields and disciplines at Western. Topics have included cannibalism, camp, vaginas, anarchism, bioeconomics, and photography.

This Friday, Nov. 28the at 12:30pm in SH 2348:
Will Samson, On the ‘Neuro’ Turn in the Humanities: Naturalism, Hyper- Empiricism, and the Understanding
samson poster
Abstract: Philosophers have done a lot of stupid things. From drinking hemlock to endorsing the Nazi party, it's sometimes amazing that these lovers of wisdom have the mental fortitude to put their pants on in the morning. This theory session attempts to correct some of continental philosophy's most recent errors, specifically those that emerge when continental philosophers engage with contemporary neurosciences. Through a reading of Catherine Malabou and Francisco Varela, I attempt to highlight some ways in which continental philosophers have gone wrong (mostly from a methodological perspective), and provide avenues for more fruitful collaboration between the disciplines of continental philosophy (which for my purposes stands in for a large swath of the humanities) and the neurosciences. Given the commitment to interdisciplinarity of theory in general and the Theory Centre in specific, it behooves us to consider how best to bring together insights from disparate disciplines.

This will be the last Session of the fall term. Thanks to all who have participated or attended so far! Stay tuned for the winter term line-up.


 Consider volunteering to be a respondent for any Theory Session that interests you.  To respond to a paper it’s not necessary to write a paper of your own; nor do you have to be an expert in the field. All that is asked is that you be willing to raise a problem or offer a comment based on the paper that’s just been given. The speaker will provide you with a copy of the paper a week in advance. To volunteer, e‐mail Grant Dempsey or Katie Grant.