The Ethics of Travel

April 18, 2024 - April 19, 2024
Department of Philosophy, Tilburg University


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Tilburg University
Tilburg University

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Travelling for pleasure or personal enrichment is an important part in the lives of many people; and in rich societies, a top choice on what to do with leisure time. Holidays, getaways, tours, backpacking trips and other forms of leisure travel have morally significant effects: they can be enlightening, reinvigorating, and meaningful. In fact, traveling to specific places is the most commonly mentioned item on bucket lists. On the other hand, several factors surrounding the tourism industry and the activity of travel stem from or result in harm to others and to the environment: from pollution to economic exploitation, overtourism and the misrepresentation of cultural identities, travel can also be morally problematic. In recent years, travel has slowly regained attention from philosophers (Welten 2013, Scapp and Seitz 2018, Thomas 2020, Lopez-Cantero and Robb 2023, Xhingesse 2023), and there has been a handful of philosophical articles on the ethical and political implications of specific tourist activities (Rawlinson 2006, Whyte, Selinger & Outterson 2011, Scarbrough 2018) or the environmental concerns of flying (Timmer and van der Deijl forthcoming).

This conference and will launch the subfield of the ethics of travel, with a particular focus on leisure travel (as opposed to, for example, medical tourism, migratory travel, or business travel). After the conference, there will be a special issue in The Journal of Ethics to be published in 2025.

This page will be updated with the conference program by the end of February 2024.


Pilar Lopez-Cantero & Catherine M. Robb (2023). How to Know a City: The Epistemic Value of City Tours. Philosophy of the City Journal 1 (1): 31-41. 2023.

Mary C. Rawlinson (2006). Toward an Ethics of Place. International Studies in Philosophy 38 (2):141-158

Ron Scapp & Brian Seitz (2018). Philosophy, Travel, and Place: Being in Transit. Palgrave Macmillan.

Elizabeth Scarbrough (2018). Visiting the Ruins of Detroit: Exploitation or Cultural Tourism? Journal of Applied Philosophy 35 (3):549-566.

Dick Timmer & Willem van der Deijl (forthcoming) Why Fly? Prudential Value, Climate Change, and the Ethics of Long-distance Leisure Travel. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice: 1-19 .

Emily Thomas (2020). The Meaning of Travel. OUP.

Michel-Antoine Xhignesse (2023). In Defence of Tourists. Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics 60 (2):176-92.

Ruud Welten. (2013). Het ware leven is elders: filosofie van het toerisme. Boekencentrum.

Kyle Powys Whyte, Evan Selinger & Kevin Outterson (2011): Poverty tourism and the problem of consent, Journal of Global Ethics, 7:3, 337-348


Organisers and issue editors

Willem van der Deijl-Kloeg (Tilburg University)

Pilar Lopez-Cantero (Tilburg University)

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St. John’s College (Santa Fe, New Mexico)

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