(CFP is now closed) ‘Understanding Impact’

4th Conference of the Public Philosophy Network

New Location: Boulder, Colorado*   |   February 8-10, 2018

Submission Deadline Extended: September 25   |   Notice of Acceptance: Oct. 1

The Public Philosophy Network invites proposals for its fourth conference on Advancing Public Philosophy. The 2018 conference theme is understanding impact: What practices improve the uptake of philosophy, both across the disciplines, and throughout society? This question will be pursued through workshops and papers, topical investigations (e.g., climate change) and case studies, and engagement with philosophers, STEM researchers, administrators, policy professionals, and journalists. Conference website: https://philosophyimpact.org/ppn2018/.

We invite proposals on a wide range of topics related to understanding and advancing public philosophy. Submitters might also consider the following issues:

  • Best practices in public philosophy;
  • Questions of how to define, evaluate, and measure the impact of public philosophy;
  • Philosophical work on substantive policy issues (e.g., environment, LGBTQ, health, housing, economics, and many more);
  • Accounts of philosophical work with other disciplines (e.g., STEM), as well as engagement with various non-academic publics – and of the impacts of such work;
  • Reflection on pathways to greater impact: How can philosophers increase the impact of their work? And the skills needed to engage in public philosophy;
  • Questions surrounding the responsibilities and loyalties of the public philosopher;
  • Responses to the accountability or audit culture and neoliberal trends in the academy;
  • The institutional dimensions of public philosophy (for example, tenure, funding, pedagogy, the structure of academic units and programs, etc.);
  • Reflections on how philosophy itself is transformed by turning outward: How does public engagement inform philosophical concepts and understanding of audience, credibility, expertise, standards of rigor or excellence; and
  • Accounts of the relation between public and normal (‘disciplinary’) philosophy.

Toward the goal of making our meeting more participatory and interdisciplinary in nature, plenaries and sessions will include (in addition to PPN’s traditional approaches):

  • Presentations by scientists, engineers, and policy-makers on how philosophers can better help with the philosophical aspects of their work;
  • A discussion on the changing place of philosophy within the university, and the increase of support for public philosophy; and
  • A plenary on the challenges of doing philosophy in the public sphere.

Venue: The conference will take place in Boulder, CO, on site at the newly constructed hotels: the Embassy Suites by Hilton, Boulder and the Hilton Garden Inn, Boulder. The hotels adjoin one another via a shared courtyard, so participants can stay at either location.

Submissions: Send an abstract with “PPN Submission” in the subject line by September 15, 2017 to philosophy@unt.edu. Abstracts should be limited to 300 words. Please also specify in your abstract whether you are submitting a proposal for a workshop or an individual paper.

Details on these two formats are as follows:

Workshops (2 hour sessions). Proposals should include a workshop title and descriptions of the organizer(s)’ interests and experience with the subject matter and how the topic is of concern to philosophy or public life. Proposals should also include an overview of how the workshop will proceed, highlighting how it will be participatory and experiential, and indicating any non-academic participants you might invite. We anticipate that workshops will take different formats, depending on the issues being addressed and the number and type of participants.

The goals of these sessions can include 1) to foster partnerships and projects, whether new or ongoing, and, where appropriate, to spark substantive dialogue between philosophers and “practitioners” (public policy makers, government officials, grassroots activists, nonprofit leaders, etc.) or 2) to focus on how to do certain kinds of work in public philosophy. A second call will be issued later in the year inviting people to apply to participate in the workshops. Workshop organizers should help publicize this second call. Each workshop will be limited to ~20 participants.  Workshop participants chosen after the second call will be listed on the program as discussants, though they will not be expected to make any formal presentation.

Papers (to be grouped into 90 minute sessions). We are especially interested in papers that report on public philosophy projects or reflect on the practice of public philosophy. Proposals should include the title and a brief description of the paper. Presenters should plan for brief presentations followed by longer conversations.

Conference Website: Details about the conference are forthcoming on the conference website at https://philosophyimpact.org/ppn2018/.

*New Location: The conference will take place in Boulder, Colorado, February 8 to 10, 2018. Originally scheduled to take place in Denton, Texas, the organizers changed the venue due to the recent passage of a discriminatory Texas law that prompted California to issue a ban against state-funded travel to Texas. You can read a press release about the move here: https://philosophyimpact.org/ppn2018/ppn-2018-moves-to-boulder/.

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