"How dangerous is the Ir-rational?"
ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry
Friday, 30 October 2009, 2 – 9 pm
Doomed to a constant oscillation between the realms of the Unknown and the illusion of meaning, we advance regressing. Echoing various other scholars, the American philosopher William James marked “the recesses of feeling the darker, blinder strata of character” as the only places in the world in which “we catch real fact in the making.” Yet, instead of curiously exploring what cannot be known, we push it further away, enveloped with fear and anxiousness. The “darker strata” regularly produce angst, aversion, or awe. In this one day symposium, acclaimed scholars and artists will shed “light” on what has been relegated to the sphere of unreason: magic, the irrational, spectrality, the daemonic. Who is afraid of the irrational? What is “magic philosophy” and who needs it? How much reason is reasonable? The symposium ends with a keynote by the distinguished anthropologist Michael Taussig who will share with the audience his own private fear of the ir-rational.
- 14.00 Welcome, Christoph Holzhey (Director ICI Berlin)
- 14.10 "Reasonable Ghosts: The Dream of Reason and Magic Philosophy in the 1790s," Sladja Blazan (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin)
- 14.50 "Non timebis a daemonio meridiano: Greek Irrational and the Construction of Modernity," Fabio Camilletti (ICI Berlin)
- 15.30 Coffee Break
- 16.00 Artist Presentation: "Visual Languages and Observable Planets," Jesse Bransford (New York University)
- 16.40 "Beyond Cognition? Emily Dickinson, Poetry, and the Brain," Sabine Sielke (Universität Bonn)
- 17.20 "Facing up to Magic: Fascination and Illusion in Bergman’s ANSIKTET (The Magician/The Face, 1958)," Brigitte Weingart (Universität Bonn)
- 18.00 Coffee Break
- 18.30 Keynote: "My Fear of the Rational," Michael Taussig (Columbia University)
- 19.30 Reception