The title of Stephen Rainey’s paper is “Berlin’s Invisible Omelettes: Human Nature and the Before Now”
Abstract: Isaiah Berlin champions a sort of humanism inspired by Tolstoy to replace a C17th view of human nature. This comes through in his analysis of Giambattista Vico and Johann Gottfried von Herder. This analysis presents us with a way of looking at history in an unsettled, value-laden and contestable way. Whilst Berlin might be right about this view of history, it isn’t clear that his argument supports his conclusion. Specifically, it looks like Berlin remakes the mistakes of C17th thinkers like Descartes and posits a sort of human nature to underwrite his interpretive, postmodern history.
Dr. Stephen Rainey is a Research Fellow in Philosophy at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, having previously worked in European research projects in Belgium. He obtained his PhD in 2008 from Queen’s University, Belfast. Dr. Rainey has published articles on topics related to the philosophy of language, artificial intelligence, ethics, governance and rationality. He continues research in these areas and others. He also acts as an ethics expert for the ethics sector of the European Commission.
Everyone is welcome to the seminar. It will be held in the Senior Common Room at St Mary’s University, Twickenham and will start at 2pm. There will be a discussion and home made cake afterwards.
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