Adam WESTRA

E-Card

Adam WESTRA
Postdoctoral Fellow

Ph.D., Philosophy, Université de Montréal
M.A., Philosophy, Université de Montréal
B.A., Honours Philosophy, University of British Columbia


Work E-mail: awestra@uOttawa.ca

Adam Westra

Biography

Current Research

My postdoctoral research project aims to contribute to the history of ideas by highlighting a significant yet overlooked shift in the Enlightenment. During this period, philosophers turned their attention to the human mind’s distinctive ability to create symbols (in language, art, religion, and science). However, the relevance of this ‘symbolic turn’ has yet to be fully recognized. I will demonstrate that the question of symbolism became indissociable from the pursuit of the Enlightenment ideals of rationality and intellectual emancipation and that Enlightenment thinkers devised new theories of symbolic representation to achieve these ends. My investigation will draw from the works of the twentieth-century German philosopher and intellectual historian Ernst Cassirer, whose works offer a unique synthesis between a general theory of symbolism and historical studies on the Enlightenment. This FRQSC-funded project will be carried out under the supervision of Professor Mitia Rioux-Beaulne.

 

Publications

Books:

The Typic in Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason: Moral Judgment and Symbolic Representation, Vol. 188, “Kantstudien-Ergänzungshefte” (Studies on Kant: Supplement Issues), edited by Manfred Baum, Bernd Dörflinger, and Heiner Klemme. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter. Hardcover, March 2016. Paperback, November 2017. 270 pages. Description: http://www.degruyter.com/view/product/466415

 

Articles, essays, book chapters:

“The second ‘type’ in Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason,” forthcoming in Rethinking Kant: Volume 5 (Selected Proceedings of the North American Kant Society), edited by Oliver Thorndike, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle. In press.

 

“Nietzsche’s Nose,” Scents Sense: Current Paper 3, Spring 2016. Amsterdam: Solar Initiative. URL:

http://issuu.com/solarinitiative/docs/scentssense_solarinitiative_s2016/15?e=14270538/36442733

 

Kritik ist Pflicht: La dimension éthique de la Critique de la raison pure,” in Kant – La raison pratique: concepts et héritages, edited by S. Grapotte, M. Ruffing and R. Terra, “Les Années Kant,” Paris: Vrin, 2015, pp. 263-274.

 

“L’être humain comme ‘l’animal symbolique’ chez Ernst Cassirer,” in De La Nature humaine / On Human Nature, Proceedings of the 1st Philosophy Graduate Student Colloquium, Université de Montréal, 2011: http://www.revueithaque.org/colloque-de-ladepum/

 

Elle de Douglas Glover : une satire ménippéenne,” with Haijo Westra, Littoral, no. 5, automne 2010, pp. 82-87.

 

“Les Yeux grands fermés : une analyse du Traité de la Comédie de Pierre Nicole,” Ithaque, 2, 2008, pp. 19-34.

 

“Metaphors of Objectivity,” Episteme, 18, September 2007, pp. 43-61.

 

“Man, Paradox, Myth: Plato's Philosophical Pedagogy,” Sophia, 10, 2007, pp. 75-85.

 

Book reviews:

Review of Paradigms for a Metaphorology, Hans Blumenberg, trans. Robert Savage, Ithaque, 7, Fall 2010, pp. 119-129.


 

“A Critical Review of Douglas Hofstadter’s I Am a Strange Loop,” Numéro Cinq Magazine, first posted on 1 July 2010. http://dgvcfaspring10.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/godel-hofstadter-the-self-an-essay-by-adam-westra/

 

Review of The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding, Mark Johnson, Ithaque, 2, Spring 2008, pp. 163-168.

 

Editions for classroom use

“Extraits de L’Avenir d’une illusion de Sigmund Freud” (Excerpts from Sigmund Freud’s The Future of an Illusion), revised French translation with commentary, Les Éditions Tout est dans Tout, 2016.

URL: http://lestextes.com/textes/l-avenir-d-une-illusion

 

“« Qu’est-ce que les Lumières ? » d’Emmanuel Kant” (Immanuel Kant’s ‘What is Enlightenment?’), revised French translation with commentary, Les Éditions Tout est dans Tout, 2016.

URL: http://lestextes.com/textes/qu-est-ce-que-les-lumieres

 

Scholarships and awards

2017-2019 Postdoctoral Fellowship, $64,000, FRQSC (application ranked 2nd / 15)

 

2013 End of doctoral studies scholarship, $10,000, Faculté des études supérieures et postdoctorales, Université de Montréal

 

2011 Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement (October-February) $6,000, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)

 

2011 Intensive Language Course Grant (Intensivsprachkursstipendium): €2,400, Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD)

 

2010-2013 Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship: $105,000, SSHRC

 

2009-2010 Doctoral Excellence Scholarship, $15,000, Département de philosophie, Université de Montréal

 

2008-2009 Joseph-Armand-Bombardier Canada Masters Scholarship, $17,500, SSHRC

 

2007-2008 Masters scholarship for Canadian students who are not Quebec residents, $5,625, Faculté des études supérieures, Université de Montréal

 

2007 James Ruggles MacDonell Memorial Scholarship (Top Honours Philosophy Student), $1000, Philosophy Department, University of British Columbia

 

2003-2007, Undergraduate Scholar Program Scholarship, $10,000, University of British Columbia

 

Conference participation

Organized conferences

“La raison figurative : l’analogie et la métaphore dans la démarche philosophique,” Symposium held on 10 May 2011 at the Conference of the Société de Philosophie du Québec, held at the 79th Annual ACFAS Congress, Université de Sherbrooke / Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, 9-13 May 2011

 

Invited talks

“Supersensible nature: systematicity in the second Critique,” talk at “The Genesis of the Idea of System in Germany,” a workshop organized jointly by the SSHRC Canada Research Chair in Transcendental Philosophy and the Chaire Ésope, Université de Montréal, Montreal, 3 November 2016.

 

“La Typique : jugement moral et représentation symbolique chez Kant,” Table Ronde en Philosophie Moderne de Montréal / The Montreal Early Modern Philosophy Round Table, Université de Montréal, 2 December 2015.

 

“Große Gedanken Lesen: Philosophische Texte und die Kognitive Textlinguistik,” invited talk at the Institut für Sprache und Kommunikation, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, 11 July 2012.

 

“Analogien in Kants Philosophie,” invited talk at the Institut für Philosophie, Freie Universtität Berlin, 14 July 2011.

 

Conference papers

“Qu’est-ce que le symbolisme « éclairé » ? Kant et Cassirer,” paper presented on 12 May 2016 at the Annual Congress of the Société de philosophie du Québec, Université du Québec à Montréal, 9-13 May 2016.

 

“Kant’s anti-mystical conception of symbolic representation,” paper presented on 31 May 2015 at the 59th Annual Congress of the Canadian Philosophical Association, University of Ottawa, 31 May – 3 June 2015.

 

“The second ‘type’ in Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason,” paper presented on 26 May at the 58th Annual Congress of the Canadian Philosophical Association, Brock University, St. Catharines, 25-28 May 2014.

 

“La représentation symbolique chez Kant,” paper presented on 14 May 2014 at the Symposium “Travaux de jeunes chercheurs en philosophie,” held at the Annual Congress of the Société de Philosophie du Québec, ACFAS, 13-15 May 2014.

 

“The second ‘type’ in Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason,” paper presented on 3 May 2014 at the annual meeting of the North American Kant Society, Eastern Study Group, Temple University, Philadelphia, 2-3 May 2014.

 

“Nietzsche’s Nose,” paper presented on 22 February at Philopolis 2014, Montreal, 21-23 February, 2014.

 

Kritik ist Pflicht: La dimension morale de la Critique de la raison pure,” paper presented on 9 October 2013 at the 11th International Congress of the Société d’Études Kantiennes de Langue Française (SEKLF), Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, 8-11 October 2013.

 

“Reading Great Minds: Using Metaphors, Analogies and Models to Interpret Philosophical Texts,” poster presented on 7 June 2012 at the Psycholinguistics in Flanders conference, co-organized by the Radboud University Nijmegen and the Max Planck Institute of Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 6-7 June 2012.

 

“Rire, métaphore et connaissance,” paper presented on 9 May 2012 at the Round-Table “Pourquoi rit-on ?” held at the 80th Annual Congress of the Association Francophone pour le Savoir (ACFAS), Montreal, 7-11 May 2012.

 

“Suis-je une boucle étrange? Sur l’autoréférentialité de la conscience chez Douglas Hofstadter,” paper presented on 10 May 2012 at the Symposium “Débats autour des théories réflexives et non réflexives de la conscience,” ACFAS.

 

“La typique dans la Critique de la raison pratique,” paper presented on 11 May 2012 at the Round-Table “Travaux de jeunes chercheurs en philosophie moderne,” ACFAS.

 

“Am I a Strange Loop? On Douglas Hofstadter’s Analogical Conception of the Self,” paper presented on 24 September 2011 at “Dimensions of the Self,” McGill Philosophy Colloquium, McGill University, Montreal, 23-24 September 2011.

 

“Vers une analectique: le cas de Kant,” paper presented on 10 May 2011 at the Symposium “La raison figurative : l’analogie et la métaphore dans la démarche philosophique.”

 

“Kant et l’analogie transcendantale,” paper presented on 14 May 2010 at the Round-Table on “Idéalisme et causalité chez Kant” at the “Esprit et nature” Conference of the Société de philosophie du Québec, held at the 78th Annual ACFAS Congress, Université de Montréal, 10-14 May 2010.

 

“La ‘nature’ et la ‘destinée’ de la raison dans la Critique de la raison pure,” paper presented on 11 May 2010 at the Symposium “Expériences de pensée : exemples, figures, hypothèses et fictions dans le discours philosophique moderne (XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles),” at the “Esprit et nature” Conference of the Société de philosophie du Québec, held at the 78th Annual ACFAS Congress, Université de Montréal, 10-14 May 2010.

Workshops

“La Typique dans la Critique de la raison pratique,” paper presented on 10 October 2013 in the Ph.D. Workshop held at the 11th International Congress of the Société d’Études Kantiennes de Langue Française (SEKLF), Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, 8-11 October 2013. 

 

“A Passion for Reason – Kant-Workshop with Paul Guyer,” University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany, 7-8 July 2012.

 

“La Critique de la raison pure, une révolution du mode de pensée,” paper presented on 8 October 2011 at the Ph.D. Workshop held at the University of Luxembourg during the 10th International Congress of the SEKLF, Abbaye de Neumünster, Luxembourg, 5-9 October 2011.



 

Employment

2016-2017 Researcher & Writer, Grants Management Department, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

 

2014-2017, Instructor, Department of Philosophy, Cégep de Saint-Jérôme, “Philosophy and Rationality,” “The Human Being”

 

2015, Instructor, Department of Humanities, Champlain College Saint-Lambert, “Gender and Knowledge,” “Knowledge and Conspiracy Theories”

 

2012-2013 Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, Université de Montréal, “Rational Thought and Argumentation,” “Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason

 

2009-2010 Teaching Assistant, Department of Philosophy, Université de Montréal, “Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason,” “Kant’s Practical Philosophy”

 

2005-2007 Tutor (English, French), Alma Mater Society, University of British Columbia

 

Community service

2015- Peer Reviewer for the philosophy journal Ithaque

 

2014 Taught a series of pedagogical workshops on reading and writing for philosophy students at the Cégep de Saint-Jérôme

 

2013- Peer Reviewer for the Canadian Philosophical Association

 

2012 Budget checker for the Société de Philosophie du Québec

 

2011 Organized and taught a workshop on reading in German for philosophy students, Département de philosophie, Université de Montréal, 26 September 2011

 

Other relevant experience

Research stay abroad

2010-2013 Visiting Scholar (Gastwissenschaftler), Institut für Philosophie, Freie Universität Berlin

 

Language courses

2011 Two advanced, intensive German courses (up to level C2) at the Freie Universität Berlin and “did deutsch-institut” with funding from the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD)

 

Membership in Professional Associations

Canadian Philosophical Association

Société de Philosophie du Québec

American Philosophical Association

Société d’Études Kantiennes de Langue Française

North American Kant Society

Fields of Interest

  • Early Modern Philosophy
  • esp. Kant Ethics Critical thinking & logic Epistemology Aesthetics Philosophy of culture Philosophy of religion Neo-Kantianism
  • esp. Ernst Cassirer
Back to top