CFP: The Ethics of Travel

Submission deadline: February 2, 2024

Conference date(s):
April 18, 2024 - April 19, 2024

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, Tilburg University
Tilburg, Netherlands

Topic areas



The Ethics of Travel – Call For Abstracts

Conference and special issue

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 itself can also be morally problematic. In recent years, travel has slowly regained attention from philosophers (Welten 2013, Scapp and Seitz 2018, Thomas 2020), 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 special issue 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). The following non-exhaustive list illustrates the type of themes that we expect to cover:

  • Are there ethically better or worse reasons to travel?
  • Can we justify the environmental harm that tourism travel causes, and what responsibilities do individuals have in this?
  • Can offsetting make polluting leisure travel acceptable?
  • Is leisure travel a luxury good?
  • What are the harms of over-tourism, and do these harms constitute wrongs?
  • Is it ethically permissible to restrict free movement to avoid the harms of over-tourism?
  • Are anti-tourist attitudes and social movements morally problematic?
  • How should we morally evaluate specific leisure travel activities like slum tourism or participation in staged representations of a local culture?
  • How should we morally evaluate travelling to specific destinations like disputed territories, or areas that are at environmental risk?
  • What role does travel have in the good life?
  • What are the moral/epistemic virtues/vices of the good/bad travelers? What are the moral/epistemic responsibilities and duties of travelers?
  • How should race, gender, sexuality or economic class be discussed within the ethics of travel?
  • Can leisure travel be decoupled from economic and cultural imperialism?
  • What is the relation between the ethics of travel and aesthetic value/aesthetic obligations?

We will organize a conference on these and other related topics on April 2024, together with a special issue in The Journal of Ethics that will be published in 2025. These two are linked, and we expect those who participate in the conference to submit their paper to our special issue, although submission does not guarantee publication.

The conference will be held in person at Tilburg University (The Netherlands), with the possibility of having a hybrid option if some of the selected candidates express at the abstract submission stage that they would be unable to travel due to budgetary, environmental, or care reasons.


  • Abstract submission (max 800 words, including notes but not including references). 19th January 2nd February 2024 (new deadline). Please send your abstract in pdf document to [email protected], and include in the body of your email your full name, affiliation, whether you commit to travel physically to the conference, and any other information that you consider relevant at this stage (like member of unrepresented groups, affiliation at a global South university, or early career status).
  • Notification of acceptance: 19th February 2024.
  • Conference dates: 18th-19th April 2024.
  • Full paper submission deadline: 19th October 2024. After the conference, we ask participants to submit their finished papers (8,000-10,000 words) to The Journal of Ethics for peer review. The conference organizers will be the editors of the special issue.
  • Publication special issue: 2025.


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.

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

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


Organisers and issue editors

Willem van der Deijl-Kloeg (Tilburg University)

Pilar Lopez-Cantero (Tilburg University)

Supporting material

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