/Symposium/Conference "The Existential Interpretation of Human Beings in Philosophy and Psychology: Validity and Topicality"

  • Conference "The Existential Interpretation of Human Beings in Philosophy and Psychology: Validity and Topicality"
  • LocationVilnius
  • Organized byEuropean Humanities University, Vilnius, Center for Philosophical Anthropology  
  • Date
    3 — 6 октября 2013г.
  • ContactsTo submit a proposal for a paper, please send an abstract of 250-300 words to Tatiana Shchyttsova ( and Jon Stewart (
  • DetailsOn Occasion of the 200th Anniversary of Kierkegaard´s Birth. Call for Papers! Deadline for submissions: 30 December 2012.

Sponsored by The Nordic Network of Kierkegaard Research (NordForsk)
In cooperation with The Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre (Copenhagen)

The interpretation of Kierkegaard's contribution to the European intellectual tradition is no longer framed in terms of his identification as "the forerunner of existentialism"; moreover, one of the key concepts of his thinking-that of existence-has become accepted far beyond the historical frames of the above mentioned philosophical school. Today, scholars of different sorts, in so far as they are concerned with reflections about human reality, are faced with the necessity of taking into account the existential dimension of human experience as such. Remarkably, with regard to this particular dimension, there seems to be some more or less stable consensus regarding the meaning of the definition "existential." It implies, that scholars share some idea of human existence, which has remained persistent after the long-term and profound criticism of concepts such as "the subject" and "humanism." At the same time, many of the crucial social and intellectual processes characteristic of our epoch seem to have a tremendous potential to cause such changes in our life, which threaten to provoke an unpredictable suppression or distortion of the existential dimension of human beings. When seen from the other side, this dangerous situation means that it is the existential dimension that authentically resists various destructive tendencies of our epoch which concern both the individual and social relations.

The conference has as its goal to reconsider the validity of the existential interpretation of human beings from the point of view of its relevance to different topical problems and challenges of contemporary world, which involve all significant spheres of our life-such as health, education, labor/work, social bonds, faith, sexuality, self-realization and others. Thus, the whole tradition of existential thinking-both in philosophy and psychology-should be explored anew in the light of the question of whether and why the existential vision is important today.

We welcome contributions from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives dealing with the topic of the existential dimension of human experience. Contributions of practicing psychologists are welcomed as well. Questions to be discussed will be (but are not limited to):

  1. The concept of existence and the criticism of the idea of the Subject in contemporary philosophy
  2. The genesis of existential tradition (from Kierkegaard to Levinas): unity and ruptures
  3. Existential phenomenology as method: introspection, interpretation, dialectics
  4. Advantages and limits of the existential approach:
    - existential hermeneutics and social theory
    - existential hermeneutics and psychoanalysis
  5. The idea of authenticity in philosophy, psychology and social theory
  6. Fundamental moods of human being and neuroses conditioned by the epoch
  7. The existential interpretation of bodily experience and challenges of newest medical technologies
  8. The lived body and the virtual body: the contribution of existential phenomenology to the exploration of the role of embodiment for human meaning-making
  9. Existence and co-existence: the questions of communication and ethical relation to the Other in existential thinking
  10. Kierkegaard's anthropology and the validity of his ideas for psychotherapy