The Good-Enough Life

March 24, 2023 - March 25, 2023
Department of Philosophy and Religion, Mississippi State University

Starkville 39759
United States

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  • Mississippi Philosophical Association


University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


Mississippi State University

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Description of Theme:

According to Kant, humanity is not destined for perfection, but rather to engage in an unending movement toward progress. One way the ideal of progress ad infinitum is expressed is through the hope that children should have it better than their parents. What is generally meant by this is that, ideally, each generation would enjoy more freedom, more choices, more happiness, more comfort, and more prosperity than the one before it.

But this raises questions. Is it true that utility can be boundlessly increased? Should it be? Are there saturation points at which benefits no longer expand? Is there ever a point at which we have had enough? Perhaps in the end, humanity’s crowning achievement will not have been that we grew and developed unceasingly, but that we learned to stop doing so – that we defined our limits and learned to remain, rest, and hold steady.

What is the good-enough life? When has one lived enough? Done enough? Enjoyed enough? For this conference, we are interested in exploring both ‘floors’ and ‘ceilings.’ What is required to live a minimally decent life (floor)? Are there points at which a limit has been reached, beyond which it is not desirable to proceed (ceiling)? What does the good-enough life say about the limits of our moral and political obligations to one another? Should consideration of feasibility or ecological constraints figure into how we define enough?

Topics for presentations might include but are not limited to:

Basic rights
Central human capabilities
Well-being and happiness
A social minimum
Universal Basic Income
Caps on wealth accumulation
Sufficientarianism (economic, political, or ecological)
Limitarianism (ethical, democratic, or corporate)
Intergenerational Justice
Environmental Sustainability
Other creative interpretations of the theme are welcome

Submission Details:

While the MPA is a regional organization, we seek broad participation in this conference. Philosophers from all institutions and locations are encouraged to submit abstracts.

Submission should include a title page with the title of the presentation, author’s name, institutional affiliation, and email address. A 500-word abstract should be prepared for blind review and sent as a second file (docx or pdf only). Email all submissions or questions to Dr. Manuel Rodeiro ([email protected]).


The MPA Graduate Student Presentation Prize:

The winner will receive a cash prize of $250 for the best graduate student presentation. If you are a graduate student and want to be eligible for this prize, please note your graduate student status on the title page of your submission.

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