Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey


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June 6-8 2013

Convenors: Prof. Dr. Manuel Andreas Knoll (mknoll@fatih.edu.tr), Nurdane Şimşek, M.A. (nsimsek@fatih.edu.tr), Department of Philosophy, Fatih University  

Call for Abstracts

Following Rawls, the prevailing political thought aims at some form of consensus about justice. Rawls conceives of this as a consensus about an initial choice situation for principles of justice, as a rational consensus about which principles to choose, or as an “overlapping consensus”, which a pluralist society should reach with regard to the political conception of justice he proposes.

The idea of a consensus on justice was questionable from the beginning. For some theorists this was made evident through Robert Nozick’s strong disagreement with Rawls’s fundamental moral intuition that the inequalities of natural endowments are undeserved and call for social redress or compensation. Likewise, Rawls’s idea that individuals are equal as moral persons does not allow for a consensus. Going back to Aristotle, John Kekes argued that people who habitually harm others have a lower moral worth than people who habitually do good. In this case, isn’t Rawls’s rationalist creed that all persons should be convinced by the same arguments, and must therefore reach a rational consensus on principles of justice, highly questionable? In her systematic study of justice Dagmar Herwig showed, as early as 1984, that throughout the history of political philosophy there are irreconcilable conceptions of social and political justice. While egalitarians hold it is just to establish arithmetic, numeric or simple equality, non-egalitarians like Plato, Aristotle or Nietzsche conceive of a just distribution of goods as a distribution in proportion to existing inequalities. For non-egalitarians, it is just to allot equal shares only to equals, not to everyone.

The conference takes as its point of departure the well-researched conviction that there are fundamental disagreements about social and political justice. On the one hand, the conference strives for a more detailed comprehension of the various aspects of the irreconcilable pluralism of conceptions of justice. On the other hand, it investigates the reasons for the fundamental opposition of existing moral intuitions and conceptions of justice. Are these reasons social, cultural, psychological, historical, or even biological? One main focus of the conference will be the relation between conceptions of justice and images of humanity. Do the opposing conceptions of justice derive mainly from opposing anthropological convictions about the equality, or inequality, of men? Do the different understandings of human worth, or value, provide a key to comprehending the fundamental disagreements about social and political justice? In addressing these questions, the conference aims at a more adequate understanding of the concept of justice and the human sense of justice, which can be achieved beyond the idea of the consensus.         

Abstracts of no more than one page for talks and suggestions for panels should be sent to both convenors by March 1, 2013. Decisions will be made within two or three weeks. The length of the talks will depend on how many proposals are accepted, but will be at least 25 minutes. The registration fee of 100 USD covers three lunches and the final conference dinner on a boat on the Bosporus. For students who want to participate in the conference the registration fee is reduced to $ 50.

CONFIRMED INVITED SPEAKERS: Professor Renato Cristi (Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada), Professor Maria Dimitrova (Sofia University, Bulgaria), Professor Giovanni Giorgini (Bologna University, Italy), Louis I. Jaffe Professor Lawrence Hatab (Old Dominion University, Norfolk, USA), Professor Michael Haus (Heidelberg University, Germany), Professor Christoph Horn (Bonn University, Germany), Professor Peter Koller (Graz University, Austria), Professor Angelika Krebs (Basel University, Switzerland), Professor Chandran Kukathas (London School of Economics), Professor Francisco L. Lisi (Carlos III University Madrid), Professor Lukas Meyer (Graz University, Austria), Professor John Skorupski (University of St Andrews, Scotland), Professor Ulrich Steinvorth (Hamburg University), Assist. Prof. Barry Stocker (Istanbul Technical University), Professor Kok-Chor Tan (University of Pennsylvania, USA), Professor Harun Tepe (Hacettepe University, Ankara), Professor John Tomasi (Brown University, Providence, USA), Professor Jonathan Wolff (University College London)


Written by Lucas Thorpe

December 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm

One Response

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  1. [1] Rawls (2003: 5-6) develops his theory for a democratic system of government, and he assumes that society is comprised of a fair system of social cooperation between free and equal citizens. He also assumes that society is well-organized and regulated by a public perception of justice. Further, he assumes that society is guided by rules and procedures that are publicly recognized and agreed to, that the rules specify fair terms of cooperation and are rooted in the notion of reciprocity or mutuality so that each person has a chance to promote his or her own advantage or good. Thus, his theory is aimed at determining the “political conception of justice for specifying the fair terms of cooperation between citizens regarded as fair and equal and as both reasonable and rational … (Rawls, 2003: 7-8).

    Sheila Grimes

    January 10, 2013 at 2:58 am

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