CFA: Legitimacy Beyond the State

Submission deadline: October 16, 2023

Conference date(s):
February 27, 2024 - February 28, 2024

Go to the conference's page

This event is available both online and in-person

Conference Venue:

The Australian National University
Canberra, Australia

Topic areas


Purpose and Scope
The Legitimacy Beyond the State Workshop aims to advance philosophical research on legitimacy as a normative (as opposed to merely sociological) concept. Philosophers have traditionally applied the concept of legitimacy exclusively to political states, often with special attention to the close relation between states and coercive power. But non-profit organizations, international corporations, interest groups, and other social institutions also wield great power of various kinds over many people. It is worth exploring whether social arrangements like these can be legitimate as well.

This theme raises various questions submissions for the workshop can address, including:

  • Does the concept of legitimacy in fact apply beyond the state, or is thinking it does a category mistake?
  • Are non-state arrangements legitimate or illegitimate only insofar as their functions or powers are similar to those of states?
  • How is non-state legitimacy related to other normative concepts, such as rights, power, coercion, consent, etc.?
  • What function should the concept of non-state legitimacy have for us in our daily lives? For instance, does non-state legitimacy bear a significant relation to obedience, resistance, and various forms of activism?
  • If multiple, possibly conflicting institutions can be legitimate, how does their legitimacy depend on each other?

The submission of philosophical research addressing these or any other questions relevant to the workshop is welcome.

Invited Speakers and Organizers
Invited speakers confirmed for this event include:
Luise K. Müller (Freie Universität Berlin)
Nate Adams (University of Virginia)
Stephanie Collins (Monash University)

Organizers for this event include:
Sean Donahue (Australian National University)
Garrett Cullity (Australian National University)

Time and Place of Workshop
This workshop will be held on the 27th and 28th of February 2024, at the Australian National University, Acton Campus.

While we will consider requests for online presentations, we would like to encourage in-person attendance. We expect to be able to offer some financial support to in-person speakers. Funding conditions will be announced at the time of acceptance.

Instructions and Requirements for Application
Applicants are requested to submit two items: an informational email and a (blinded) abstract attached as a PDF to this email.

Abstracts should be from 500 to 1000 words in length on a topic relevant to the theme and suitable for a 20-30 minute presentation.

In the informational email, please state:
1. Your name
2. Your institutional affiliation
3. Whether you wish to present online or in-person. If in-person, please also state:
4. Whether you wish to be considered for a travel reimbursement.
5. Your city of departure and arrival.
6. Any other information you feel is relevant to the consideration of your application.

Please send informational emails with attached abstracts to: [email protected]

Deadlines and Important Application Dates
a. Abstracts must be submitted before Monday October 16th, 2023, AEST.
b. Acceptance of abstracts will be announced on Monday October 23rd, 2023, AEST.
c. Applicants requesting funds are kindly asked to respond to decisions in a timely manner to coordinate dispersal.

Questions and Assistance
Please contact Sean Donahue ([email protected], or [email protected]) with any questions about this workshop or for assistance with application.  

Supporting material

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