CFP: Simone de Beauvoir as a Moral Philosopher

Submission deadline: December 10, 2023

Conference date(s):
June 28, 2024 - June 29, 2024

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Institute für Philosophie, Freie Universität Berlin
Berlin, Germany

Topic areas


The philosophical value of Beauvoir’s work has in recent decades begun to attract wider recognition. Papers about her work are now published in major journals, and philosophers of very different backgrounds and methods do philosophy with and from her work. Many scholars convincingly argue that her ideas are useful for analyzing our contemporary world. Yet, to many scholars and to the general public, she is primarily seen as a feminist writer, a political philosopher, or a phenomenologist. Literary studies have successfully emphasized the moral dimension of her work, focusing largely on her novels. However, we are convinced that many aspects of Beauvoir’s moral philosophy need to be (re)discovered, e.g., in moral psychology, metaethics, normative ethics. For this conference, we invite philosophers as well as political theorists, sociologists, and literary scholars, historians, linguists, anthropologists, and so on,

to contribute to a study of Beauvoir’s moral philosophy and ethical writing in general. 

Contributions on The Second Sex are of course most welcome, but we are also hoping to discuss her moral essays (Pyrrhus and CineasThe Ethics of Ambiguity, etc.) as well as her travel diaries, her study of old age, her novels and memoirs. 

Some possible topics include: 

-       Normativity in Beauvoir’s work 

-       Existentialist ethics

-       Metaethics in Beauvoir

-       The articulation of moral and political normativity in Beauvoir

-       Morality and Violence

-       Beauvoir’s analysis of authenticity, of bad faith

-       Ambivalence and ambiguity

Language: The conference will be trilingual in the sense that we are open to have half a day of parallel sessions in English, French, and German, to encourage scholars of German speaking countries and from French and Francophone countries to apply. However, the plenary sessions will be in English (possibly with handouts translated in French and German to increase accessibility). 

Abstract guidelines: 

- Speakers will have 20 minutes for the presentation and 10 minutes for discussion. 

- Please send your abstract of no more than 350 words and a short cv that includes your contact details and institutional affiliation, if any, to [email protected] by December 10th 2023. 

- Save your abstract and cv as Word files, naming them as follows: beauvoir2024yourfamilyname and beauvoir2024CVyourfamilyname. 

- In the subject line of your email, write: beauvoir2024submission. 

- Decisions will be communicated by the end of January 2024.

Conference fee: Participants are encouraged to pay membership dues to the Beauvoir Society There will not be a conference fee and we are hoping to get enough funding to cover meals for speakers. Attendees are responsible for arranging their own accommodation and travel.

Travel fund: Liliane Lazar Travel Fund provides support for financially challenged members of the Beauvoir Society whose papers have been accepted for presentation at the conference. And we are hoping to get enough funding to fund a few travel bursaries.  

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