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2024 PhilSoc International Event: Revolution
Toulouse, 6-9 June 2024

We are asking for a modest (£20) deposit to establish committed numbers by 21 February 2024. We have five wonderful talks planned thus far, and our 2024 International Event is shaping up to be a delightful experience! We appreciate your support of PhilSoc by joining us in France! Please kindly submit your deposit here.

Outline Details

From midday Thursday June 6th to p.m. Sunday June 9th. The main philosophical event will take place on Friday and Saturday, with seven speakers and a plenary session. The other two days will comprise local visits of historical or revolutionary interest, time in Toulouse, and organized meals ‘out’. A full programme will be issued later.

Location: Chateau de Seguenville at Cabanac-Seguenville , near Toulouse. The chateau is recently refurbished with room for about 20 people (see also camping – below). It is run by Mark and Becky Jamieson and is also a family home. This website describes the gite in the grounds Gite du Rossignol - Sawday's (sawdays.co.uk). There is no website for the chateau itself. The location is about 45 mins drive from Blagnac Airport (Toulouse), and Montauban station (preferred pickup). There will be local assistance with transit.

Chateau Accommodation:

Capacity - about 20 people, depending on numbers of sharers. There is some flexibility, with camping onsite or c/o AB at modest cost. (12mls/20mins away). Local gites may offer extra beds if necessary. 2 rooms easy access. Cost – current estimate €120/night per person for B and B, including free meeting rooms and nominal cost for transit. PhilSoc will charge £20 each to cover incidentals and local petrol.

Facilities - 2 meeting rooms – 1 as cinema (for presentations). Swimming pool. Attractive countryside and grounds.

Meals - onsite provided by AB plus helpers. Say €25 lunch and incidentals and €30 eve if in-house.


Flights – cheapest and fastest. 3 routes – Easyjet from LGW, Ryanair from STN, and BA from LHR.

Pricing will encourage early booking!

Interrail pass - c €250 return incl seat reservations. Seems complex! Many options – tickets in France cheaper. Standard UK fares higher, and widely variable.

Car (share) - Recommended: Brittany Ferries Portsmouth – St. Malo overnight plus 7 hrs (726 km/454mls). Eurotunnel longer - 9.5hrs (950km/600 mls) Cost: UK leg + Ferry/Eurotunnel +French leg + tolls

Possible cost reductions:

  • Camping (own kit chez Alice or Chateau, mobile homes near Alice in Thoux)
  • Car share – PE to manage
  • Long-distance coaches

Local Interest:

Noteworthy philosophers from the local area are: Salustre du Barthas, friend and confidant of James 1 and 6, (optional chateau visit), Jean Jaures who wrote some of his essays in Toulouse, Petrarch who was a friend of the Bishop of Lombez. Pierre Fermat the mathematician, de Coubertin of the Olympic games. (France will be hosting the Olympic games next year), and the Serbian anarchists who plotted to kill Franz Joseph and provoked the first World War! In Toulouse there is Le Cité de l’éspace and Aeroscopia. Also Picasso paintings on show at the Hotel d’Azzezat and several really worthwhile museums.

Call for Speakers

Members are invited to offer talks on Revolution for PhilSoc’s 4th International event which will be held at Chateau de Seguenville at Cabanac-Seguenville , near Toulouse, France. Talks will be on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th June 2024, within a 4-day program. We plan to provide access via Zoom for those not wishing to attend in person.

Arguably what makes the concept of revolution of pressing contemporary interest is deepening political and religious divisions alongside the development and deployment of new technologies, including, but not exclusively, Artificial Intelligence.

The following is provided to help stimulate interest, particularly for those who might not have previously considered the philosophical importance of ‘revolution’.

Some background notes

The term ‘revolution’ is perhaps popularly understood as instances of fundamental socio-political transformation usually brought about by violence; as in, for example, The French Revolution.

Since “the age of revolutions” in the late 18th century, philosophers and theorists have developed approaches aimed at defining what forms of transformation can count as ‘revolution’, as well as determining when such change can be justified by normative arguments or, for example, human rights. Many questions arise from such theories. They pertain to problems of the new, of violence, of freedom, of the revolutionary subject, the revolutionary object or target, and of the temporal and spatial extension of revolution.

Political usages of “revolution” particularly stress moments of irregularity, unpredictability, and uniqueness. Our first thoughts might turn to the traditional ‘greats’, such as Thomas Paine, de Condorcet, Immanuel Kant, Hegel, Bakunin, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Hannah Arendt, and Michel Foucault, who variously reflect on the possibilities and conditions of radically transforming political and social structures.

Kant’s mature philosophy famously drew inspiration from “the Copernican revolution”, Copernicus’ explanation of the movement of the celestial host which, instead of assuming the pre-existing orthodox view that the celestial bodies revolve around the Earth-bound observer, places the observer revolving around the Sun.

Thomas Kuhn’s book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, published in 1962, raises questions about the existence and nature of scientific revolutions, about how to interpret the sciences, about creative innovation, and hence about our understanding of knowledge acquisition.

We might also perceive ‘revolutions’ as occurring in the domains of technology, culture, art, religion, medicine, industry, sports, and social matters.

Identifying and conceptualizing Revolution involves issues in epistemology, metaphysics, methodology, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, political philosophy, moral philosophy, philosophy of religion, value theory, and more.

We aim to consider the revolutionary aspects of all of these within one multifaceted intellectual space. We hope to map out and explore that space, with debate – and maybe even elusive consensus! – extracting lessons from a wide range of conflicted human striving and endeavour. Of course, not all Revolutions are successful – what can we learn from failure and collateral damage? Are revolutions historic accidents and, thus, avoidable. Are they somehow necessary for progress? Is there a discernable pattern to all forms of revolution? There is vast scope here and we will look for a wide range of topics and themes.

Suggested readings:

Revolution, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Political Revolution. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Scientific Revolutions, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Panikkar, R. (1973). Philosophy and Revolution: The Text, the Context, and the Texture. Philosophy East and West, 23(3), 315–322.

Call for papers

If you are interested in giving a talk, please indicate your interest as soon as possible by emailing Fauzia Rahman-Greasley fauzia.rahman-greasley@oxfordphilsoc.org . Please write ‘Philosophy of Revolution’ in the subject header. You will need to submit your title, abstract (c. 300 words) and brief biography (c. 100-150 words) by 21st February 2024. Fauzia and Peter Gibson have kindly offered to make the selection.

We plan to have about 7 presentations of up to 40 minutes – say 4-5000 words, depending on content and any planned participation. Each will be followed by about 20 minutes of Q&A. There will be a final plenary session and Q&A involving all presenters and audience.

We hope that the French Revolution and the revolutionary activity across Europe in the C19th will be represented, but the overall subject will be best-served by a wide variety of themes and approaches. We encourage you to put forward ideas, and stress that speakers do not require any particular background or experience, merely enthusiasm for Philosophy and a wish to explain their ideas!

Please also note below a list of Philosophers from the Toulouse area. In the event that they may be referenced, we may bring some of these to life with local visits.

Toulouse – local thinkers:

Noteworthy philosophers from the local area are: Salustre du Barthas, friend and confident of James 1 and 6, (we have the opportunity for a visit to his chateau), Jean Jaures who wrote some of his essays in Toulouse, Petrarch who was a friend of the Bishop of Lombez, the mathematician Pierre Fermat, de Coubertin, founder of the Olympic games (France will be hosting the Olympic games that year), and the Serbian anarchists who plotted to kill Franz Joseph and provoked the first World War.

Other information

In addition to the two days of philosophy, there will be optional group excursions to places of local interest on 6th and 9th June; and optional dinners on each of the four evenings of the event.

If you have any queries regarding the event, please contact the event organisers, Alice Bouilliez alice.bouilliez@oxfordphilsoc.org and Paul Entwistle pephilsoc@gmail.com