Philosophy, Nature, and Climate Change

September 15, 2022 - September 16, 2022
Department of Philosophy and History of Ideas , Aarhus University

Mødelokale 2 (Meeting Room 2)
Fredrik Nielsens Vej 2-4
Aarhus 8000

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


  • Carlsberg Foundation


Aarhus University
Université Libre de Bruxelles
University of Oslo
University of Sydney
Aarhus University
Aarhus University


Aarhus University

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The issue of climate change is an incredibly multivariate phenomenon. Consequently, it has in recent years become increasingly evident that understanding and responding to it requires a highly interdisciplinary effort. We see, for instance, physical science providing future climate projections predicated upon sociological hypotheses about the large-scale trajectories of human behavior, but we need also the study of individual human psychology in order to most efficiently create the motivation needed to avert such trajectories. 

Perhaps the most recognized connection between philosophy and climate change has been environmental ethics, which, drawing on the tradition of ethical theory, has been a vigorous, ongoing field of labor for half a century. But the intersections between philosophy and climate change are more wide-ranging.

For instance, climate science raises questions of what we can know and accurately predict about the future due to increasingly sophisticated scientific methods, such as measurement of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, analyses of satellite imagery, and climate modelling. In turn, epistemological as well as ethical considerations presuppose agents, relations, and domains, inviting ontological enquiry.

The ambition of this conference is to facilitate discussion of the ways in which philosophy can fruitfully engage with the issue of climate change. We therefore invite contributions dealing with, but not restricted to, questions such as:

  • What are the criteria for moral responsibility vis-á-vis issues related to climate change, such as loss of biodiversity, non-human suffering, and intergenerational impact?
  • Is the climate crisis an appropriate impetus for restructuring political norms and institutions?
  • Are current legal systems and practices adequate to cope with climate change? 
  • Do some parts of the human community have an obligation to bear more of the costs of climate change mitigation than others?
  • Is so-called geo-engineering ethically justified? 
  • What are the epistemological implications of climate modelling? E.g., what are the epistemological implications of operating with large time-scales, such as in the case of ice-core analysis?
  • What is ‘nature’? Is the distinction between ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ tenable?
  • Can different ontological conceptualizations of nature have different normative consequences?
  • What are the metaphysical implications of modern human technology?
  • In relation to the climate crisis, what can we learn from great cultural movements such as the renaissance, the scientific revolution, the enlightenment age, or romanticism?
  • Can aesthetic experiences foster environmentally responsible behavior?
  • Can phenomenological analyses contribute to our body of knowledge within the climate science field?

The format is 45 minutes per talk, followed by 15 minutes of Q & A.

Besides the talks of the invited speakers, the conference invites young and senior researchers to fill a number of open slots. Please submit a proposal containing name, affiliation, a title and an abstract between 200 and 300 words before 1 July 2022 to [email protected] Accepted proposals will receive notification about acceptance or rejection of the proposal by 1 August 2022.

For more information please contact:
[email protected] 

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September 10, 2022, 11:45pm CET

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