Seminar on philosophy of the social sciences

lfilo2940  2020-2021  Louvain-la-Neuve

Seminar on philosophy of the social sciences
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information below is subject to change, in particular that concerning the teaching mode (presential, distance or in a comodal or hybrid format).
5 credits
30.0 h
Main themes
The seminar will deal with a topic in the area of the philosophy of the human sciences to be determined by its members in relation to research projects they are currently involved in. Active participation in discussions is strongly encouraged. Professors and researchers from the UCL who are interested in the topic and specialists in the topic from outside the UCL are invited to participate in the seminar.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 Upon successful completion of the seminar the student should be able :
- To conduct research into a topic in the area of the philosophy of human sciences based on a critical analysis of major works and texts by authors who are dealing with that topic, and also based on contributions presented in the framework of the seminar;
- To write a scientific paper on a precisely delimited research topic that is germane to the topic of the seminar ;
- To participate actively in cooperative research in the philosophy of the human sciences, especially through participation in discussions of contributions made within the framework of the seminar

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
By approaching the issue of public space from the interactionist presuppositions found in the various forms of procéduralisme, namely in Rawls’ communicational approach and Habermas’s communicational alternative, we remain blind to a crucial phenomenon that nevertheless conditions that way that particular interests are rationalized, a process that democracy’s existence depends on. We are referring to the phenomenon of identification. This phenomenon is dealt with in issues of public space, from what we might call the standard approach, by referring back to the self-referential aspect of constitutional systems. However, by taking such an angle, social interactionism presupposes that individuals have already acquired a capacity to resist forms of interpellation within public space that fosters a rigidification of their identities. These rigidifications can lead to the formation of blockages that some authors call ‘semantic barriers’, or even forms of self-devalorization, especially in contexts marked by denigration, as is the focal point of decolonial studies. We are thus faced with two antithetical ways of approaching public space, one recursive and one defensive. Our working hypothesis is that these standard models of identification are insufficient to grasp the pragmatic functions of identification for the concerned actors themselves.
Evaluation methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

Students will be asked to write a 10 page on the basis of an author or a subject studied in the course. After emailing the paper, the student will receive a question on the paper to be prepared for the oral exam.
The student will have approximately 15 min. to present this answer during the oral exam.
The paper may be written in French, English, or Italian, with the professor's agreement.
Students are invited to discuss with the professor the subject on which they would like to write their paper.
Bracher M., (2009), Social Symptoms of Identity Needs: Why We Have Failed to Solve Our Social Problems and What to do About It, Routledge, London/NY.
Cronin C., (2003), « Democracy and Collective Identity », in Defence of Constitutional
Gillespie A., (2006), Becoming Other: From Social Interaction to Self-Reflection, Information Age Publishing, Greenwich (CN).
Mouffe Ch., (2000), The Democratic Paradox, Verso, London,
Swann W.B.Jr., (1999), Resilient Identities: Self-relationships and the construction of social reality, Basic Books, NY.
Wagenaar H., (2015), Meaning in Action: Interpretation and Dialogue in Policy Analysis: Interpretation and Dialogue in Policy Analysis, Routledge, London/NY (1st pub. 2011).
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Certificat universitaire en philosophie (approfondissement)

Master [120] en éthique

Master [120] en philosophie