Oct 13, 2015

Two Working Papers from the ACPA Conference

When I'm able to, I typically attend the American Catholic Philosophical Association, one of the larger and more important annual philosophy conferences in the United States.  As a graduate student and young professor, I started out giving papers in the main ACPA sessions (including these on Hegel, Blondel, Anselm, and Aristotle). In more recent (and busier) years, I've tended to miss the traditional April deadline for submitting papers.  But, I've also been asked to contribute papers for what are called "satellite sessions" -- which are, by the way, one of my favorite features of the ACPA conference.

This year, I was approached by several different organizations to give a paper at their satellite sessions, and I actually had to turn some down -- two is effectively the maximum for me.  The Gabriel Marcel Society and the International Etienne Gilson Society assembled their panels the quickest, so I committed to speaking during their sessions.

Drafts of the Papers and Recordings of the Presentations

The ACPA - and nearly all of the satellite societies meeting conjointly with it - remains rather 20th-century as far as publicizing and disseminating the presentations and discussions go.  Papers are read, usually verbatim, and in the main ACPA sessions, are followed by a response, before opening up a few minutes to Q&A.  Satellite sessions can be a bit more flexible, but almost none of them disseminate content in any electronic form -- even among the participants physically present, let alone to the potentially much larger world-wide audience.

I didn't make video-recordings of my two presentations, but I did record the audio, and create podcasts.  I also uploaded drafts of my papers into Academia.edu.  So for anyone who might have some interest in these thinkers or topics, here they are:

"Polemical Interlocutors: Marcel, Sartre, and Existentialist Philosophy"

"Kierkegaard’s Philosophical Fragments as Gilsonian Christian Philosophy"

About Satellite Sessions at the ACPA

Larger conferences - whether in the Philosophy, or in other academic disciplines - will often include the sort of "satellite sessions" in which I participated.  These are sessions dedicated specifically to smaller, and usually much more specifically focused, learned societies.  Those which meet at the ACPA tend to be those that have some Catholic membership, but are often not exclusively so (in fact, one need not be a Catholic to belong to, or present at, the ACPA itself).

Because of the breadth and robustness of Catholic intellectual traditions -- and note that I deliberately use the plural here -- coupled with the fact that a good bit of Continental philosophy made its way to the states through Catholic institutions, the satellite sessions at the ACPA are usually very good venues for intellectual engagement, and one will see quite a bit of overlap between the various organizations represented.

For example, I belong to the International Society for MacIntyrian Enquiry (ISME) and the International Etienne Gilson Society.  I also have longstanding connections with the Institute for Saint Anselm Studies, and will occasionally attend the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy session, if one of my former classmates is presenting.  I've long meant to attend the Gabriel Marcel Society sessions, but they always seemed to be scheduled at the same time as some other session I wished to go to or participate in.

So effectively, the ACPA provides a kind of umbrella organization - whose sessions can be worth attending for their own sake - but which also offers a variety of opportunities to interact with those whose studies are particularly focused on one thinker or school or another in these satellite sessions.