The Possibility of Progress

April 5, 2024 - April 6, 2024
Department of Philosophy, Fordham University

441 E Fordham Rd
New York 10458
United States

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


Fordham University
CUNY Graduate Center


Fordham University
Fordham University

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Conference Theme: The Possibility of Progress

2024 Fordham University Philosophy Graduate Student Conference

April 5 & 6, 2024

Hosted by the Fordham Philosophical Society

Keynotes: Dr. Serene J. Khader (CUNY), Dr. Michael Baur (Fordham)

Beginning in 18th Century Europe, the idea of progress emerged as a central theme in philosophy, finding its clearest expression in thinkers like Kant, Hegel and Marx. However, a growing skepticism towards the notion of progress emerged in 20th Century thought, intensified particularly by the critical insights of philosophers such as Adorno, Lyotard and Derrida. In more recent studies, some decolonial philosophers have problematized or rejected the idea of progress, whereas other philosophers associated with the Frankfurt school (Habermas, Honneth, Forst) have defended it.

This conference will provide a platform to examine, debate, and reevaluate the concept of progress along with its meaning, its challenges, and its potential for shaping a more promising future against our contemporary backdrop of global challenges. We invite graduate students in philosophy to submit abstracts that explore the “Possibility of Progress” through the aforementioned frameworks and any other relevant discourse. We welcome your participation and look forward to your contributions.

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Progress and Freedom

  • Progress in Human Rights and Social Justice

  • Progress and Political Struggle

  • The Role of Language in Shaping Power and Progress

  • Notions of Moral Progress

  • Progress and Happiness

  • Progress as an Imperative

  • The Dark Side of Progress and Its Unintended Consequences

  •  Critiques from Postcolonial and Decolonial Perspectives

  • Progress in Feminist Theory

  • The Future of Progress

  • Pre-modern Notions of Progress

  • Teleological Versus Non-teleological Progress

  • Historicism and Progress

  • Progress in Religious Thought

  • Progress and Enlightenment Thought

  • Progress in the History of Philosophy

  • Theories in Scientific Progress

  • The Pursuit of Progress and the Search for Meaning 

Other work broadly related to “The Possibility of Progress” is also welcome.

Please submit a 300-500 word abstract prepared for blind review to [email protected] in PDF format. In the body of the email, please include:



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Submissions are due by January 12, 2024. After anonymous review, applicants will be notified by January 30, 2024. Presentations will be limited to 20 minutes followed by a 10 minute Q&A.

The conference will take place in person on April 5 & 6, 2024 on Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus located at 441 East Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458.

For questions, please contact the conference organizers at [email protected]

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