Imprisioned Rationality and Philosophy in Prison

September 20, 2024 - September 21, 2024
Vilnius University, University of Warsaw


This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

View the Call For Papers

Topic areas

Talks at this conference

Add a talk


The conference is held in solidarity with the philosopher Uladzimir Mackievič, who was innocently imprisoned in the prison of the Belarusian dictator A. Lukashenka.

Mackievič together with a sociologist Tatsiana Vadalazhskaya created the "Flying University" (Лятучы ўніверсітэт) – the last independent university in Belarus, which was focused on the development of critical thinking and its practical implementation. The Flying University (Polish: Uniwersytet Latający, less often translated as "Floating University") – is a system of underground university in times of repressions. The leader and organiser of Flying university and flying education in Minsk was Uladzimir Mackievič.

The conference is organized by the Vilnius University Institute of Philosophy and the Faculty of Philosophy of University of Warsaw.

Vilnius, September 20-21, 2024


What does it mean to imprison rationality and its representatives: philosophy and philosophers? What is the purpose of imprisoning rationality? Is it a specific form of animism, when the punishment of a person is aimed at controlling or even eliminating the whole way of thinking, method, style? Is it the fear of facing a new, alternative public opinion? Or is it the idea that rationality is a poison that can infect people, and therefore all related texts and precedents of thought must be destroyed? After all, prison is a protective form of control, different from torture and extermination. Is it still the horror of seeing a possible transcendence, a future? Perhaps one, being anxious of other forms of reality, should limit oneself to the banal evil that stands at the gates of the future. That is why one-dimensional societies do not respond to the imprisonment of philosophers for public rationality.

From time to time, various political regimes want to punish a certain way of thinking and speaking, to imprison rationality. And since rationality itself is an intangible, philosophers are imprisoned or led to the scaffold. We can classify the methods of persecution of philosophy in various ways: exile (the Russian philosophical ship exiled by Lenin or the entire school of Critical Theory forced to leave Nazi Germany); declaration of insanity (Russia once again distinguished itself by declaring the philosopher Pyotr Chaadayev insane for criticizing tsarism); imprisonment (Tomas Campanella and Antonio Gramsci in Italy; Lev Karsavin, Golosovker Yakov, Aleksei Losev, Vosylij Sezeman in Soviet Russia); and finally, philosophers were led to the scaffolds, executed – with the most notable example of Socrates. But there were many others (e.g., Giordano Bruno or Pavel Florensky). Even the briefest history of persecution of rationalities and philosophers shows that one of the strongest traditions of elimination, in different ways but with the same intensity, of free critical thinking one can find in Soviet Union. Today's Belarusian Lukashenko regime is a heir to the Soviet repressive traditions, including the persecution of intellectuals and scholars for their analysis of socio-political processes and practical implementation of their ideas, as in the case of the philosopher Uladzimir Mackievič.

Main topics of discussion:

  • The philosophical history of imprisoned philosophy: A comparative analysis
  • Why the political authorities are afraid of philosophy?
  • What is the mission of philosophy as a particular practice of free thinking?
  • Practical philosophy and social revolution: rationality and rebellion.
  • Philosopher as a political prisoner: inside and outside views
  • How is the political solidarity of philosophers possible?

One of the main goals of the conference is to prepare and sign an international petition of world philosophers demanding immediate liberation of Uladzimir Mackievič and allowing him to leave Belarus.

The call for papers is open until August the 5th 2024.

Potential participants are required to send abstracts (should not exceed 450 words) and an academic CV.
Conference email and further information: [email protected]

Conference Chairman:
Jonas Dagys (Dean of Faculty of Philosophy at Vilnius University)

Members of the organising board:
Przemysław Bursztyka (Editor-in-Chief of Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture; Warsaw University).
Tatiana Shchyttsova, (European Humanities University, Vilnius; Adviser on Education and Science to the Belaruasian president-elect Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya)
Andrei Yahorau (Speaker of Coordination Council of Belarus)
Gintautas Mažeikis, (Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas)
Marcin Rychter (University of Warsaw)
Jan Molina (Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture)
Responsible administrator of the conference: Laurynas Peluritis (Vilnius University)

For our freedom and yours!

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)




Who is attending?

No one has said they will attend yet.

Will you attend this event?

Let us know so we can notify you of any change of plan.