CFP: The Moral Psychology of Devotion

Submission deadline: January 25, 2024

Conference date(s):
May 9, 2024 - May 10, 2024

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, Boston University
Boston, United States

Topic areas


The Moral Psychology of Devotion

May 9-10, 2024

Boston University


Jeremy Ginges (London School of Economics, Psychology)

Joseph Henrich (Harvard, Biological Anthropology and Evolutionary Biology)

David Livingstone Smith (University of New England, Philosophy)

Sarah Paul (NYU Abu Dhabi, Philosophy)

Daryl Van Tongeren (Hope College, Psychology)

Monique Wonderly (UC San Diego, Philosophy)

plus approximately four talks selected on the basis of abstract submissions

Some goals, relationships, and projects require sustained, long-term, resilient commitment.  In order to achieve these goals or sustain these relationships and projects, we have to persevere in the face of obstacles, challenges, and setbacks.  When these commitments are especially robust and resilient, we sometimes describe people as devoted to their goals, relationships, or projects.  But what exactly is devotion?  When we describe a person as devoted to some goal, relationship, or project, what does this mean?  Does devotion differ from standard forms of commitment in its intensity, stability, resistance to compromise, epistemic status, or deliberative weight?

While philosophers and psychologists have examined commitments, resilience, grit, and other forms of long-term engagement with ends, devotion remains a relatively unexplored topic. This workshop aims to explore the moral psychology of devotion.  We are especially interested in talks that connect devotion to topics in philosophical psychology or that draw on psychological research on devotion and other forms of wholehearted commitment.  Talks might focus on questions including (but not limited to): How should we understand devotion?  Does devotion involve a form of grit?  Does it require a particular epistemic stance toward the objects of devotion?  Does it involve loyalty?  Which kinds of communities, activities, and relationships provide opportunities for manifesting devotion?  What are the different objects and forms of devotion?  Are some forms of devotion more stable than others?  Might devotion be a basic motivation in human beings?  If so, why?  What are the consequences of failing to satisfy this motivation?  What are the most natural targets for devotion?


Please submit a brief abstract (approximately 500 words, prepared for blind review) to [email protected].  In the body of your email, include your paper title, name, institutional affiliation, and contact information.  If you are interested in being a commentator, please indicate this in your email. 

Submissions are due by January 25, 2024.  We hope to issue acceptances by early/mid February. 

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