CFP: Debunking Inefficacy Reasoning

Submission deadline: September 30, 2022

Conference date(s):
December 8, 2022 - December 9, 2022

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands


CfA Workshop: “Debunking Inefficacy Reasoning”

When: December 8-9, 2022
Where: Vrije University (VU), Amsterdam

To successfully avert a climate crisis, governments, scientists and big corporations have to cooperate. However, we tend to believe that citizens have to do their part as well: climate change can only be mitigated if people collectively change their behavior to reduce their carbon emissions. Similarly, such collective efforts are required in solving many other societal problems, such as fighting a pandemic or raising money for charity (etc.). However, since each individual contribution to the collective carbon footprint is extremely small, individuals face the Inefficacy Problem: “why should I cooperate, if my contribution makes no difference? It seems to be a waste of my efforts!” Can we adequately debunk reasoning of this sort and, instead, find reasons to cooperate in spite of the inefficacy problem? This question will be the focus of the workshop.

Invited keynote:
Felix Pinkert (University of Vienna)

In addition, we will select 4-6 external speakers to present a paper related to the theme of the workshop (slots will be 1 hour).

For this workshop, we’ll especially be interested in novel solutions that focus on underexplored aspects of this problem, such as:

- the practical reasoning involved in social or interpersonal dilemmas
- parallels between intra- and interpersonal inefficacy problems
- the instrumental (ir)rationality of cooperation
- non-instrumental (e.g. expressive) reasons for cooperation
- whether cases with sharp and vague thresholds can be analyzed in a similar way

Call for abstracts: We invite anyone who is interested in presenting to send an abstract of up to 500 words, prepared for blind review, to Tessa Supèr ([email protected]) by September 30th. Any questions related to the workshop can be directed to the same address. We aim to inform applicants about our decision by October 14th. Please include your name, title of the paper, and institutional affiliation in the body of the e-mail.

The workshop will in all likelihood be in person. Food and drink will be provided during the workshop. Unfortunately, we won't be able to cover travel and accommodation costs for speakers.

Benjamin Mullins (EUR)
Tessa Supèr (VU)
dr. Jan-Willem Wieland (VU)

This workshop is acollaboration between:

Ethics and Political Philosophy, VU (Research project: “The Ethics of Cooperation”)

Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics, EUR (Research project: “How Much is Enough?”)

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)