CFP: MANCEPT Workshop - Causal Histories: The Role of Genealogical Inquiries in Moral, Social and Political Philosophy

Submission deadline: June 5, 2023

Conference date(s):
September 12, 2023 - September 13, 2023

Go to the conference's page

This event is available both online and in-person

Conference Venue:

Manchester Centre for Political Theory (MANCEPT), University of Manchester, Manchester Centre for Political Theory (MANCEPT), University of Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom

Topic areas


CFA: MANCEPT workshop - Causal Histories: The Role of Genealogical Inquiry in Moral, Social and Political Philosophy. (University of Manchester, 12-13 September 2023)

Workshop format: in-person (we will consider a small number of online presentations for speakers from overseas)

Abstract deadline: June 5th, 2023

Workshop dates: 12-13 September 2023

Invited speakers: Matthieu Queloz (University of Basel), Alexander Prescott-Couch (University of Oxford), Benjamin De Mesel (KU Leuven), David Owen (Southampton) 

Convenors: Francesco Testini (Jagiellonian University), Victor Braga Weber (UCL) 

In recent years, the term ‘genealogy’ has been gaining currency in moral, social, and political philosophy, with several authors arguing that attending to the causal histories of certain beliefs, concepts or practices can contribute to their evaluation. Whether, how, and which genealogical methods can contribute to this end, however, is still subject of debate.

The issue cuts across traditional methodological borders. Authors working in the critical theory tradition generally agree that genealogical accounts can reveal something puzzling about their targets – although they disagree both on what these puzzling features are (Haslanger 2012, Srinivasan 2019), and on whether this revelation is an integral or only a propaedeutic component of critique (Koopman 2013, Lorenzini 2020). On the other hand, analytic philosophers tend to look at genealogies with an eye on gaining functional insights about their targets, but disagreements remain as to what these insights amount to and how they can be retrieved (cf. Smyth 2020 and Queloz 2021).

At the applicatory level, the debate is gaining just as much traction, with several authors using genealogies to elucidate, criticize or vindicate certain conceptions of - and views about - terrorism (Erlensbusch-Anderson 2018), adaptive preferences (Enoch 2020), liberalism (Testini 2021), property (Rossi and Argenton 2021), forward-looking responsibility (Alfano 2021) and reasonableness (Lawlor 2022).

This variety shows that genealogical approaches are set to become a key topic of discussion in practical philosophy broadly construed, and such a discussion promise to be a lively one, bringing scholars with different backgrounds together and getting philosophy in closer contact with empirical disciplines such as evolutionary anthropology, sociology, and cultural history, to name but a few.

This workshop aims at gathering scholars working on genealogical methods and their applications to explore potential links and synergies among different lines of enquiry. Topics to be discussed will include (but are not limited to):

  •        What role(s) does historical information play within genealogies that seek to reach normative conclusions? Is there room for philosophical fictions in genealogies? If so, of what kind?
  •        What relevant ends can genealogy pursue within moral, social, and political philosophy? Are any of these ends in tension with one another?
  •       How many varieties of genealogical investigation are to be found within the contemporary philosophical landscape? What (if anything) unites these forms of investigation, and where do the main differences between them lie?
  •        Are some genealogical endeavors self-defeating? How worried should genealogists be about committing the genetic fallacy?
  •        What different kinds of objects can be the target of genealogical enquiries?
  •        Do different objects of inquiry require different methodological approaches?
  •        Should we think of the methods and aims of genealogical inquiry within moral, social and philosophy as being consistent with normative theorization in such fields? If not, why?

Please send an email with an anonymised 600 - 800 word abstract to [email protected] by June 5th, 2023. Please, let us know in the email whether you plan to attend the conference in person or online. Also, please include a separate cover sheet with your paper title, contact details (name, email, institutional affiliation), and whether you intend to participate in person/online.

Online attendance: 

Academics: £ 45.00 

PG: £ 20.00 

Non-speaker: £ 15.00 

In Person attendance: 

Academics: £ 230.00 

PG: £ 135.00 

Dinner: £ 30 

Bursaries: MANCEPT offers a small number of fee waiver bursaries. The deadline for bursary applications (available to current graduate students only) will be the 27th of June, and successful applicants will be informed by July 11th. To give presenters time to apply for a bursary, authors will receive decisions by June 22nd, 2023.

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