CFP: American Philosophical Association Conference

Submission deadline: October 1, 2023

Conference date(s):
March 30, 2016 - April 3, 2016

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Conference Venue:

American Philosophical Association
San Francisco, United States

Topic areas


I am organizing an invited session on hate for the 2024 Pacific APA. In order to cultivate diversity, equity, and inclusion, I am sending out this unprecedented CFP for commentators and a chair for this invited session. If you are interested in showcasing your skills and professionalism by commentating or chairing this session at the 2024 Pacific APA, please read the information provided below and complete theInvited Session on Hate Commentator/Chair Sign-up Sheetby October 1, 2023, at the latest.

We expect the following papers to be presented during the session:

Speaker: Michael Ruse (Florida State University)

Title: Hate: Why Nice People Can Be So Mean

Abstract: Humans evolved from the apes after they left the jungle for the plains on what has jocularly been referred to as a “five-million-year camping trip,” more formally, five million years as hunter-gatherers in bands of about fifty. They were not particularly strong, they were not particularly fast, they were not even particularly vicious. They succeeded because they were social. They helped other members of the band. Dangers, including other bands, they ran from. No point in getting hurt. Lots of room for everyone. Then, about ten thousand years ago, it all went wrong. Agriculture was discovered and developed. There was a huge population explosion, you could not get away from others, and so hate came on the scene. You could not get away from others and you had property that you could not pick up and take with you. War was inevitable, and prejudice also. Ingroup-outgroup. However, just as hate was not built-into the genes, as it were, so opens the possibility of reducing, even eliminating, hate through cultural means. Not atomic bombs, but the United Nations. Not slavery, but the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This talk, based on my Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict (OUP, 2022), will explain the theory in more detail and give copious examples. If you wonder why I am giving this talk, think the war in the Ukraine and the evil for which Putin is responsible. Think Florida, and the prejudice against immigrants, against African Americans, against LGBT, and against women fomented by Governor DeSantis. Deliberately, this talk is in line with the program Philip Kitcher is promoting: make philosophy relevant to regular people and not just technical thinking aimed at like analytic thinkers. 

Speaker: Noell Birondo (University of Texas at El Paso)

Title: Race, Hatred, and the Preservation of Ignorance

Abstract: Racial hatred need not be based on ignorance, far from it. But racial hatred is often the product of ignorance—the product of various failures of knowledge or understanding. Indeed, white supremacist hatred seems to depend essentially upon the preservation of ignorance. The targets of white supremacist hatred do not merit the highly aversive attitudes that are plausibly constitutive of intense forms of hatred: a desire for the destruction of the hated target or the perception that the hated target is incapable of positive change. In this paper I draw on recent discussions of ‘epistemologies of ignorance’—discussions driven specifically by an appreciation of non-ideal theory—in order to highlight the constitutive forms of ignorance that pervade the hatred found in the white supremacist tradition. But my thesis is much more specific: that morally justifiable hatred is highly asymmetric with respect to social power, given the constitutive forms of ignorance possessed by white supremacist haters. Two kinds of ignorance will be central to the discussion: (1) cases in which a person’s ignorance is broadly her own responsibility, e.g. ‘willful hermeneutical ignorance,’ and (2) cases in which one’s ignorance results from systemic features over which one has little control, e.g., one’s community’s white supremacist memorials; its support for racially biased policies, educational content, and so on; or the general paucity of concepts in the ‘shared hermeneutical resource’ tailored to understanding the experiences of marginally-situated individuals. The paper indicates that morally justifiable hatred is highly asymmetric with respect to social power. It provides a perspicuous explanation of the not-uncommon suspicion that while ‘bottom-up’ hatred can be morally justifiable in a wide variety of cases—given our all-too-knowledgeable familiarity with the character and characteristics of the dominant group—'top-down’ hatred reveals only the white supremacist’s glaring defects of character and intellect, and a generally culpable commitment to ignorance.

The session will consist of one chair, two papers, two commentators, and a Q&A for each paper, with the following time constraints:

1) Paper Presentation (40-45 mins)

2) Commentary (15-20 mins)

3) Q&A (25-30 mins)

The session will be an in-person session (no remote participation will be allowed), and will be conducted in adherence to theAPA guidelines for paper colloquium. Final papers will be provided to commentators at least six weeks prior to the session, and replies from authors will be provided at least three weeks prior to the session. The2024 Pacific APAwill take place in Portland, Oregon. Please follow the given link for additional information. 

Please note that no participant can appear on the APA’s main program more than once. So, please do not apply if you are already scheduled for a main program session. Those scheduled for an affiliated-group session participants may still apply. 

All participants must also register for the 2024 Pacific APA. Furthermore, both commentators (although not the chair) would be able to apply fortravel assistance from the APA (refer to “Travel Assistance” under “Meetings,” at the bottom of the list). Participants should also check with their institution for potential funding opportunities, including their department and student government organizations.

We encourage all qualified commentators and chairs to sign-up, but note that priority will be given to early career scholars who are still on the job market, graduate students who will be entering the job market in 2024, and established scholars who are interested in mentoring or networking with fellow scholars on the topic of hate (in this order). Regardless of your current position, we invite anyone who will be able to participate and are interested in doing so to apply. 

If you have any questions, please contact Cecilea Mun at cecileamun[at]

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