June 20, 2018
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Nico Jenkins at the Camden Public Library May 12

By Ardeana Hamlin, BDN Staff

CAMDEN — “Language brings the world to be.” It is the way humans “present and represent” the world around them. But might it be “vertiginously liberating” both for ourselves and the objects around us if we could remove the name? If we could think beyond language? These are some of the questions philosopher Nico Jenkins will pose and examine in a talk at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 12, in the Picker Room at the Camden Public Library.

His talk, “The Gravity of Pure Forces: On the Difficulty of Naming,” will be sponsored by the Camden Philosophical Society. It is free and open to all.

“The Gravity of Pure Forces” is a phrase used by German philosopher Martin Heidegger, whose view on “language as language” Jenkins will explore, along with his own efforts “to clear the way towards a philosophy in which …  the object is allowed to abide without subject.”

Jenkins, a lecturer in philosophy and ethics at Husson University in Bangor and an adjunct professor at the University of Maine, received a master’s degree in eastern classics and philosophy from St John’s College in Santa Fe, N.M. He is working on his doctoral dissertation, which examines the problematic role of language and words in the thought of Martin Heidegger, Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida.

Jenkins has exhibited widely as an artist while residing in New York City, and he is co-editor and founder of the magazine continent. Begun as an experiment in academic publications,continent ranges across new thinking and alternate directions in culture, theory, biopolitics and art.

This is the first in a series of evening talks the Camden Philosophical Society will sponsor at Camden Public Library this spring and summer. Other speakers will be philosophy professor John Zavodny of Unity College on June 9 and jeweler and sculptor Michael Good on June 30. The talks will be followed on July 23 by a full-day conference on Experimental Philosophy: Out of the Armchair — into the Lab, featuring Joshua Knobe of Yale University, Thalia Wheatley of Dartmouth College, and Dan Cohen of Colby College. The conference will be Held at St. Thomas church hall in Camden.

The philosophical society, formed in 2005, holds a monthly reading and discussion group 4-6 p.m. the fourth Thursday of each month. All these events are open to the general public. For more information, emailinfo@philosophyedge.com.

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