CFP: On Friendship, Affection, and Other-Concern

Submission deadline: January 6, 2023

Conference date(s):
March 18, 2023 - March 19, 2023

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Conference Venue:

Philosophy Department, Toronto Metropolitan University
Toronto, Canada

Topic areas


Friendship is an undoubtedly substantial facet of our lives, and the pervasiveness of friendship as a human constant across all societies displays that it is almost necessary to live a good life.

And while the ancient Greek word philia has long been associated with our modern conceptions of friendship, the term encompasses more than our personal intimacies and affections for friends. Far more than just rooted in bonds of affection and emotional warmth, philia also entails the duties of reciprocal obligation; our friends are whom we are obliged to help, but also whom we can rely on for help in times of need. Thus, the friend is marked not just by affection, but a series of complex obligations, duties, and concern for others (i.e., other-concern).

From this, we can call into question what goes into our friendships, and whether we can have them apart from our obligations towards them.

Contemporary questions also arise from our investigations of friendship such as: are virtual friends comparable with friends in the ‘real world’? Are there any consequences of living a friendless life? What are the ways in which we go about befriending, and are they sufficient to establish long-lasting friendships?

These inquiries are the kinds that animate the spirit of the conference. Papers on the following topics for consideration might include, but are not limited to:

· philosophy of friendship and companionship

· community, fellowship, and belonging

· friendships vs other relationships

· disagreement, trauma, and grief in friendships

· digital connections

· the rationality of concern in relationships

· mutual benefit and reciprocal obligations in social relations

· non-human friendships 

Invited speaker for this conference is Diane Jeske, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Iowa, and editor of the Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Friendship published this year. 

Please submit an abstract of around 500 words prepared for blind review with “Friendship Conference” written in the subject heading to [email protected] by January 6, 2023. We will then need rough drafts of papers not exceeding 4000 words by February 17, 2023. We are planning the conference for March 18 – 19, 2023.

Papers should be suitable for an approximately 20-25 minute presentation, followed by discussion. Please include information about yourself in the body of the email, including your name, title of paper, and affiliation. Papers will be notified of selections by January 20, 2023

The best graduate student presentation will receive a cash prize of $250 CAD.

We will also be using a commentator system, where each presenter will be given brief comments on their selected paper. This is intended as a low-stress professionalization mechanism ensuring that all papers will receive formal feedback at the conference.

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#Toronto Metropolitan Graduate Student Conference