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Personhood and Selfhood: Social Personhood

Starts: 16 January 2018
Ends: 16 January 2018
What is it: Conferences
Organiser: School of Social Sciences

The first in a Royal Institute of Philosophy conference series on Personhood and Selfhood at the University of Manchester.

Additionally sponsored by the AHRC North West Doctoral Training Partnership.

Deadline for abstract submissions: Friday 24th November 2017.

Keynote speaker: Professor Arto Laitinen (The University of Tampere, Faculty of Social Sciences)

Call for Papers:

Social accounts of personhood, in which being a person entails – at least in part - interacting with other persons in some way, play a key role in diverse philosophical fields, appearing for example in theories of collective agency, in philosophical considerations of social robotics, and in ethical, political and ontological accounts of the role of recognition for human beings. More generally however, various epistemological, and ethical theories appear to depend for their fulfilment or truth on interaction with other persons; in terms of our motivational attitudes and internal states, and in our practices and behaviours. To what extent does this entail that personhood itself is social?

In this workshop, we ask attendees and speakers to specifically consider this. We are interested in an assessment of, and argument for or against, those aspects of personhood which depend upon, or are constituted by, social interactions and / or roles in society. We are interested in insights from across the philosophical spectrum, and so whilst the following are topics contributors might wish to consider, this is by no means intended to be an exhaustive list of areas to consider:

*How do persons rely on other persons (if at all) for their status qua persons? What kind of relationship is this?

*What are the ontological, epistemic and/or political foundations of a social conception of personhood?

*To what extent is personhood pluralistic; how should we understand this, conceptually and practically?

*What lessons can we draw (or should we reject) from legal frameworks and treatment of persons / personhood?

*If personhood is social, to what extent (and in what ways) might group agents, social robots, and non-human entities meet the criteria? What are the implications for rights, responsibilities and / or ethical treatment of these groups?

*If personhood has a social dimension, what are the ontological, epistemological and / or ethical implications for those human beings who cannot participate in personhood, or who are not recognised as persons?

*What harms might be incurred when individuals are denied access to recognition, interaction and respect from other persons in the social sphere(s)?


Please send abstracts of c750-1000 words prepared for anonymous review to by Friday 24th November 2017 (midnight UK time). Please also include a separate cover note containing:

*Forename and surname.

*Academic affiliation.

*Paper title.

*Whether or not you may require childcare support if asked to present at the event.

*(Documents can be formatted in any MS Word-compatible software or in pdf format.)

We are particularly keen to encourage applications from philosophers with backgrounds and / or identities which are not currently well-represented in academic philosophy, so please also add any additional information you feel is relevant to this goal, to your cover note (and please note that this information is not mandatory).

Successful participants will be notified of their acceptance by 15th December 2017.

Registration details for both presenters and attendees will be issued once the speaker schedule is confirmed.

Bursaries, meals, and childcare support

*Registration: There is no registration fee for this event.

*Bursaries: A number of bursaries for partial or full coverage of travel costs (we are unable to support accommodation costs) will be available to those presenting papers. Accepted papers will automatically be considered for this financial support, and there is no need to indicate financial need on your application. If you would however like to opt-out of the bursary scheme (if you have alternative means of support), please let us know on your cover page.

*We also intend to support the cost of childcare to enable speakers to attend. Further details will be supplied after acceptance, but please indicate on your cover note if you may require this support. This will in no way affect the review or acceptance of your paper.

*Meals: Those presenting papers will be invited to attend the conference dinner on the day of the event at no cost. Lunch and refreshments will additionally be provided during the event for all attendees, subject to pre-registration by the conference deadline. If you have any specific dietary requirements, please let us know about these at the point of registering and we will work to try and accommodate your needs wherever possible (there will be vegan options at both lunch and dinner).

Accessibility information

*Physical access: The venue for the event (the Arthur Lewis Building) is accessible, but please contact the organisers if you have any specific questions or needs relating to access. We are happy to provide detailed routes and photos of the venue in advance to help with planning your trip, and will do what we can to facilitate specific access requests if advised in advance. For more information on venue accessibility more generally, including parking information for blue badge holders, please visit the link on the right.

*Access for those unable to attend in person: The event will not be live-streamed, but subject to speaker consent, we hope to make video presentations available after the event, for those who are unable to attend on the day. All speakers may opt out of this, and may revoke any previously-supplied consent after filming and before the videos are made available, or by contacting the organisers and asking for the video to be removed at a later date. More information on this service will be provided closer to the event.

*General: If you have any other access requirements, in terms of equipment, reading materials, or any other aspect that will help facilitate your attendance and / or ability to present, please let us know either on your cover note, or when accepting an offer to present / registering to attend.

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