The Department of English invited Mr Naudé to attend the conference on behalf of the Department. Bernard is a Masters student in the Department and his dissertation has relevance to the theme of the conference which was Interrogating the Human: literary and epistemological interchange.
Keynote speakers at the conference included Prof. Laura Otis and Prof. Robert J.C. Young. The Conference was opened by a welcoming address by the DVC Academic and Student Affairs of Rhodes University.
The following is a short abstract of the paper delivered by Mr Naudé:
“Descartes’s cogito ergo sum and transcendentalism exemplify Enlightenment thinkers’ attempts to unveil the subject through reason, assuming an atemporal “I”. Post-Enlightenment thinkers such as Gadamer argue that reason is neither transcendental nor ‘acontextual’, but is effected by context. Although 20th century literary texts may not explicitly explore effective context, these aspects inevitable occur in such texts due to their Wirkungsgeschichte – post-Enlightenment formulations of the “I” are transmitted through texts via language and history. These aspects are not overt in texts, inviting elucidation of such frameworks, possibly uncovering frameworks’ shortcomings. This paper demonstrates how Huxley’s text foreshadows philosophical hermeneutics and how critics can interrogate philosophy.