CFP: Ancient Philosophy and the Ethics of Belief: Ancient Philosophy Today

Submission deadline: April 1, 2024

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Ancient Philosophy and the Ethics of Belief CFP

Ancient Philosophy Today: Dialogoi Special Issue

Guest Editors: Nicholas R. Baima and Tyler Paytas

In “The Ethics of Belief,” W. K. Clifford famously argued that “it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.” William James responded in “The Will to Believe” that under certain conditions morality requires that our beliefs go beyond the evidence. The debate between Clifford and James concerns how ethical norms relate to epistemic norms, and these issues are widely discussed by philosophers today in ethics, epistemology, philosophy of religion,  and philosophy of science. However, these discussions are not only of academic concern. The ethics of belief is central to social and political debates about healthcare, the environment, and social justice. It is also pertinent to individual beliefs concerning religion, morality, and interpersonal relationships.

Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy provide a rich resource for contemporary discussions of the ethics of belief given that ancient epistemology is deeply infused with ethics. Socrates, for example, argues that all wrongdoing is the result of ignorance, and Pyrrho of Elis argued that skepticism was the path to tranquility. Ancient Philosophy Today: Dialogoi believes that ancient philosophy isn’t merely of historical interest but is of value for its philosophical insights. As such, this journal invites paper submissions about the ethics of belief (broadly construed) in ancient philosophy and its contemporary relevance for a forthcoming special issue.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

·       The relationship between ethics and epistemology in ancient philosophy. Are we ever justified in holding a position that goes beyond rational (i.e. epistemic) support, according to philosopher X? If so, under what conditions?

·       Epistemic virtues and norms in ancient philosophy. Are there any overlooked epistemic virtues or norms in ancient philosophy?

·       Forms of assent. Today, philosophers distinguish between belief, acceptance, and faith. Are there any analogous distinctions in ancient philosophy?

·       Doxastic voluntarism. How did ancient thinkers view the question of how much control we have over the belief-formation process?

·       Norms of assertion. What are the norms concerning giving information to others? Are we ever justified in lying or misleading, or ought we always be truthful?

·       Truth/Falsehood. What is the value of truth and the disvalue of falsehood?

·       Self-deception. What is self-deception? What are the dangers or potential benefits of self-deception?

·       Contemporary/Ancient. Are there philosophical ideas in contemporary ethics of belief that can help make sense of ancient philosophy, or vice versa?

Style and Length: The articles should be between 5,000 – 9,000 words in length, including notes. Papers should be double-spaced and should have an accompanying abstract of 100 words. For information about the style of the journal, please see For the purposes of initial consideration, we will consider extended abstracts of around 1,000 words, though our preference is for complete papers.

Due Date: Please email submissions to [email protected] by April 1, 2024

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