>Parallax Conference (2018)<

International Conference at the Munich School of Philosophy, Germany Nov. 30. – Dec. 1, 2018

Parallax - The Dependence of Reality on Its Subjective Constitution     



The concept parallax refers to the apparent displacement in the position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight. Yet, more precisely, it includes the assumption to understand the observable change not simply as a subjective change of focus on the part of the subject, but also as a change of the object (characterized by an internal antagonism) on the level of its ontological status. In this case, a shift in the epistemic standpoint of the subject implies an ontological change in the object as well. To give an example, one can refer to Galilei's astronomical observations. They were obviously more precisely reflected in celestial objects, even though the subject-object determination of his antipode, Bellarmin, was epistemologically more in accordance with the established web of reasons. Galilei's 'victory' not only shifted the modern subject in the cosmos, but provoked a change of status of cosmic spheres themselves. Parallax refers to such and similar shifts between subject and object in historical processes, which cause both entities to circling each other again and again due to their lack of reconciliation. This is a process that has no end, because, as Hegel says, subject and object are mediated in themselves through time. Jacques Lacan expresses this idea likewise when he shows to what extent the subject's gaze is always inscribed in the perceived object, in the form of a "blind spot", from which the object can literally (in times of both epistemic and and political crises) return the sight.

Parallax can be detected in Kant's antinomies, as well as in the incommensurability of various debates between eliminative scientistic and historically dialectical materialists, and it can be identified in the struggles for the sovereignty of a scientific worldview over, for example, life forms of religions. At the conference, internationally outstanding philosophers devote themselves to the concept of parallax within German Idealism and contemporary ontology in order to present it as an illuminating figure of thought and explanation, especially in theoretical philosophy.

As multifaceted as this figure of thought is, it contradicts both a naive epistemological realism, widespread in the academic world of today, and an eliminative scientism, namely in rejecting the belief in one basic structure of reality in which subject and object can harmoniously be put to rest. Parallax stands in opposition to this belief.

Sponsored by pro philosophia e.V.


Key / Public Lecture:

Slavoj Žižek (Birkbeck, University of London, et al.) : „The Parallax of Ontology: Reality and Its Transcendental Supplement“ (Dec. 1, 11h30 am)              


– Dominik Finkelde (Munich School of Philosophy) :„Being Awake is Being in Dreams. On the Parallax between Dreaming and Awakening“ (working-title)  

– Sebastian Gardner (University College London):„Sartre’s Inverted World: Psyche, Society and History“                          

– Graham Harman (SCI-Arc, Los Angeles): „Parallax and Modern Philosophy“                         

– Thomas Khurana (Yale University): „The Irony of Self-Consciousness“                                    

– Christoph Menke (Goethe University, Frankfurt M.): „Truth as Subjective Effect. Adorno Against Hegel“                   

– Robert Pfaller (University of the Arts, Linz): "Parallaxes of Sinister Enjoyment" 

– Dirk Quadflieg (University of Leipzig): „The Preponderance of the Object. Adorno’s Ontological Claim and the Structure of Desire.“ 

– Jan Völker (University of the Arts, Berlin): "Parallactic Concepts"


Time: 30 Nov. (9am) - 1 Dec. (2pm), 2018. 

Place: Hochschule für Philosophie / Munich School of Philosophy. Kaulbachstr. 31a, 80539 Munich

Registration fee: 80 €, students 20 € (free for students of HfPh)

(The event has limited places.)

Please transfer the amount to the account below.  

The registration-desk opens on Nov. 30 at 8am: Kaulbachstr. 31, Munich. 

Account holder: Dt. Provinz der Jesuiten
Account number: IBAN: DE50 7509 0300 0002 1398 20
LIGA Bank Regensburg
Intended use: Parallax [Your NAME]

Registration: finkelde.office@hfph.de




 Graham Harman (Los Angeles), who is one of the most prolific proponents of "Speculative Realism" will give an additional talk (in English) on "object-oriented ontology" and discuss his work with Slavoj Zizek at the book-shop-cafe "Lost Weekend"