Functional Hypotheses and the Engaged Point of View

September 14, 2023 - September 15, 2023
Department of Philosophy, University of Nottingham

Humanities Building
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

This event is available both online and in-person


  • The Aristotelian Society
  • University of Nottingham School of Humanities
  • Analysis Trust


Nottingham University
University of Bern


Nottingham University

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Conference times: First session starts: 11am, Thu 14th Sep. Final session ends: 12noon, Friday 15th Sep.

A recent trend proposes that we can make progress in disciplines such as ethics, epistemology, aesthetics, and modality by turning attention away from an investigation of their apparent objects (goodness, knowledge, beauty, necessity) and towards the question of what purposes might be served by thinking in terms of their characteristic concepts. As part of this trend, we find hypotheses concerning the functional role of the concepts good, knowledge, necessity, and beauty, among others. But how should we understand the notion of functional role contained within such hypotheses? And how should those who actively deploy those concepts react to such hypotheses? These and related questions have recently begun to be explored in general ways that bridge boundaries between philosophical subdisciplines (for example, in Matthieu Queloz’s 2021 book The Practical Origin of Ideas). This conference aims to further this approach.  

The aims of the conference are threefold. First, to explore diverse ways of understanding the notion of "function" used in functional hypotheses (concerning a concept, set of concepts, or conceptual/linguistic practice). Second, to explore the impacts that distinct types of functional hypotheses can and should have on the perspectives of the engaged users of those concepts. Third, to pursue these first two aims in an inter-sub-disciplinary way that builds bridges between philosophy of science, philosophical methodology, (meta)epistemology, metaethics, modality, philosophy of language, aesthetics, and other philosophical subdisciplines.  

Bursaries to support graduates attending the conference are available, supported by the Analysis Trust. Please contact organiser for details.

Accessibility Information

  • All conference spaces are fully accessible and rooms for conference sessions have hearing loop fitted. Disabled parking is available nearby. 

  • Conference venue will include a quiet (low-sensory environment) space, and seating will be available in communal areas. 

  • Delegates are encouraged to use our AccessAble app: 

  • Accessibility requirements can be noted during theregistration process.  

  • Online attendance available. 

  • Delegate pack will include detailed information regarding the venue, transport links, emergency contact etc.  

  • Please feel free to contact the conference organiser ([email protected]) for any accessibility queries. 

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September 6, 2023, 12:00pm BST

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