CFS Workshop: The Second Person

Workshop on the Second Person

10:00-11:15 On Address - Adrian Haddock (University of Stirling)

Speech acts in which one speaks not (or not only) about another subject but to another subject appear to exemplify a distinct and neglected form of intentionality—a form of directedness which is not merely directedness at objects, but directedness towards one’s fellow subjects. The aim of this talk is to begin to shed light on this neglected form by establishing: first, that this form intrinsically involves the application of the first person concept to a subject other than the one who employs this concept; second, that intentional actions cannot be the only exemplifications of this form; and third, that understanding this form requires understanding the sheer bodily presence of one subject to another as itself a cognitive act. The talk ends with some remarks about the significance of this form for understanding the basic concepts of “social philosophy”—testimony, community, social practice, and so on.

11.15 – 11.30 Coffee Break

11:30-12:45 Practical Contradiction - Matthias Haase (University of Leipzig)

The paper investigates the conditions of the possibility of a certain posture the mind can adopt towards the action of another. It is characteristically expressed by a specific use of what G.E.M. Anscombe calls “stopping modals” – namely, the one where the ‘You can’t do this; it’s my…’ signifies the necessity of what is traditionally called ‘justice’. In a speech act of this form the speaker addresses the hearer as having a duty to her not to do the thing in question, because she has a right towards him that he doesn’t. The aim of the paper is not to provide an account of the possibility of the posture of mind so expressed, but to articulate a condition of adequacy for such an account. It argues that a proper account will have to be one that vindicates a peculiar claim that Aristotle makes at the beginning of the Politics. Aristotle suggests that this form of speech defines the very idea of language and with it the very idea of a rational animal: we are told that the point of language is to express the just and the injust and that it therefore belongs to the nature of rational animals to live in a state. In contemporary literature, this thesis tends to be regarded as a metaphysical excess. Why should one make such a strong claim? The demand would be vindicated if it could be shown that to understand the necessity of justice one has to understand how the principle in the light of which actions are just or injust must at the same time explain the reality of the subjects so related. The aim of the paper is to argue that this is so.

The conference is free and open to all, including students. Welcome!
Prior registration is not required, but recommended.
If you wish to attend please send an email to Glenda Satne (