CfP: Humankind as Historical Beings: Karl Jaspers and José Ortega y Gasset

KJSNA cordially invites proposals for presentations that discuss the philosophy of history in the work of Jaspers and Ortega, focusing on humankind as historical beings. The meaning of "historical beings" is the subject for discussion. Jaspers argued, "Man is not history as a natural being, but as a spiritual being." Ortega argued, "we have no nature, only history." Clearly, history is fundamental to humans for both of these European philosophers (who were born in the same year). Thoughtful historical scholarship requires philosophizing about history. In Jaspers' view, our spiritual historicity is, in fact, our nature. In Ortega's broader perspective, our general historicity is, in fact, our nature. The role of history is central to both thinkers for understanding human existence.

Topics may include (but are not limited to) consideration of the following:
• What it means to be "historical beings"
• What is "natural" about our historicity; the relationship between history and nature
• Jaspers' and Ortega's stance on dualism in view of the idea that our history is our nature
• How is the historical record itself historical
• Where do Jaspers and Ortega coincide, how are they different?

Presentations are limited to a maximum of 20 minutes, with emphasis on dialogue, since the event will be videotaped and an edited version of the recording will be posted online. All participants are encouraged to submit their final, edited papers for consideration to be published in Existenz. All contributors are welcome regardless of membership. A registration fee of $25.00 applies for all who are not an active member in the Karl Jaspers Society of North America.

Please send your working title and a brief abstract (200 words) to the program chair:

Marnie F. Binder ( by September 1, 2018. Earlier submissions are appreciated.

Notification of placement will take place by November 20, 2018.

Posted: 04-07-2018 | Updated: 14-10-2022