Philosophical Empires

Chris Meyns and Adam Ferner with Yoko Arisaka

What makes a philosophical text a "classic"? For a long time, those trained in anglophone philosophy have been encouraged by Eurocentric reading lists to see philosophy as a series of “great works” by “great men” (typically European, typically racialised as white). This feeds into a general, often unconscious understanding of what makes a work “properly philosophical”. However, the politics of the Canon is currently under much-needed review. 

In this discussion, Chris Meyns and Adam Ferner will talk to Yoko Arisaka about their new book, The Philosophers' Library discussing the way literary catalogues are enmeshed with projects of empire, and why certain texts rise to prominence at certain times and why others are left languishing.

Chris Meyns is a philosopher and historian of science based at Uppsala University. They regularly write, give talks in places worldwide, and organize events. In 2021, they are publishing two books, Information and the History of Philosophy and The Philosopher’s Library (co-written with Adam Ferner). chrismeyns.xyz 

Adam Ferner has worked in academic philosophy both in France and the UK, but much prefers working outside academia in youth centres and other alternative learning spaces. He has published widely in philosophical and popular journals. adamferner.com 

Yoko Arisaka is a research associate on the research project, "Histories of Philosophy in a Global Perspective" (uni-hildesheim.de/en/histories-of-philosophy) at the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Hildesheim, Germany. Her fields of research include political philosophy (including philosophy of race and gender issues), modern Japanese philosophy, and phenomenology.


Monday 14th June

7.00 p.m. (UK time)/2.00 p.m. (EST)

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Published since 1923