McDowell Graduate Workshop (2014)

13 June 2014, Radboud University Nijmegen

The OZSW section History of Philosophy and the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies of the Radboud University Nijmegen invite applications by PhD students and master students for its graduate workshop on John McDowell and his significance for contemporary philosophical debates, organized on 13 June 2014.

About the topic / workshop

Since his ground-breaking Mind and World (1994), John McDowell is considered to be one of the most important thinkers in contemporary philosophy. During this workshop we aim to focus on two interesting aspects of McDowell’s work:

  1. The fact that McDowell has been the source of much controversy and started and contributed to many debates in contemporary epistemology, metaphysics and philosophy of mind, perception and action
  2. The fact that McDowell engages extensively with the history of philosophy (whether correctly/adequately or not), and brings together lines of thought he finds in Kant, Hegel, Aristotle, Wittgenstein, Locke and others.

In this workshop we want to deepen our understanding of McDowell’s work, discuss the merits and deficits of his contributions to contemporary philosophy and the way he uses the history of philosophy to develop his own thought.

Together with Prof Dr. Dietmar Heidemann (University of Luxembourg), Dr. Rasmus Thybo Jensen (University of Copenhagen) and Fleur Jongepier MA (Radboud University Nijmegen), who engage and have engaged in diverse ways with McDowell’s work, we will focus on three fundamental problems throughout McDowell’s work:

  • (I) Dietmar Heidemann: The (non-)conceptual in perception and thought (Kant/Hegel)
  • (II) Rasmus Thybo Jensen: Intentional (skillful) action (Aristotle/Wittgenstein)
  • (III) Fleur Jongepier: Self-knowledge and –consciousness (Locke/Hume)

The workshop has the character of an intensive study day and will be a collective effort to get a better grip on McDowell’s work and his position in the philosophical landscape nowadays. No presentations will be given, much discussion will be held. The three experts will pick texts by McDowell, themselves or others related to the aforementioned themes.

Preparation / participation

All participants are asked to come prepared by reading these appointed texts, formulating questions, answers and discussion points, and they will engage actively in the discussion throughout the day.

Master students can gain 2 ECTS by participation in the workshop (including preparation, attendance and evaluative essay). PhD students can get a certificate indicating that they have participated in the workshop


The workshop will be organized at the conference hotel “Soeterbeeck”, an old monastery in the little town of Ravenstein, close to Nijmegen:

How to apply

Please apply before the 20th of April, 2014 by filling out the registration form, which will ask for your name, affiliation, a short motivation and an indication of your knowledge of McDowell’s work. There is a limited amount of places available, in accordance with the character of the workshop. Notification of admittance will be given by the 28th of April, 2014.


This workshop is organized by:

  • Dr. Cees Leijenhorst (Radboud University Nijmegen)
  • Ludo Vlaar BA (Radboud University Nijmegen)
  • Carli Coenen MA (Open University & Radboud University Nijmegen)

For any further inquiries, please send them to