Empire of Idealism conference, Prato, Italy

Palazzo Datini

At the Empire of Idealism conference, organized by the R.G. Collingwood Society, in Prato, Italy, immediately after the ISKCON Studies conference outside Florence, I presented in broad outline my defence of ‘Idealism as Alternative Modernity’, or rather, of a few general aspects of it. With no parallel sessions, the presentations at this conference had to be very short; when I sent my abstract, I didn’t know I had only twenty minutes + ten minutes for questions and discussion; when I learnt this, I had to write another paper than the one I had originally planned. But it seems I managed to communicate some of my main points. Many of the scholars attending I knew well from other idealism conferences over the years. The organizers’ emphasis on Collingwood probably explains why some were missing this time, though (Phillip Ferreira, James Allard, and Leslie Armour, for instance). Although the Collingwoodians have broadened their meetings to include earlier idealism, or, I should say, idealism proper, and the theme of this conference was the spread, and variations, of idealism throughout the British empire, there were still many more specialized Collingwood papers here than at the more general idealism meetings. Prato was chosen because of the Australian Monash University Centre there, the organizers coming from Australia; but we only met at this centre for a drinks reception – the sessions were held in the beautiful Palazzo Datini. Everything, including hotels and restaurants, was conveniently within walking distance  inside the walls of Prato’s medieval historic centre.




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"A Self-realized being cannot help benefiting the world. His very existence is the highest good."
Ramana Maharshi