Narrativity: Interpretation, Embodiment and Responsibility

October 19, 2012 - October 21, 2012
Department of Philosophy, Erasmus University of Rotterdam

International School for Philosophy
Dodeweg 8
Leusden 3832RD

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  • Ruhr-Universität Bochum


Maureen Sie
Erasmus University of Rotterdam

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Narrativity: Interpretation, Embodiment and Responsibility

3rd Workshop in the series Moral Agency, Deliberative Awareness, and Conscious Control

& Special Issue of Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

Erasmus University of Rotterdam, the Netherlands & Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany.

Special slots reserved for PhD's and junior researchers!

Friday - Sunday 19-21 October 2012

Location: International School for Philosophy, Leusden, The Netherlands (within easy reach of airport Schiphol, Amsterdam)

The reasons we provide to understand, explain, and justify ourselves can be seen as attempts to interpret our behavior in broader narratives (our own, that of the audience and/or the narratives figuring in our society). These narratives create coherence in our behavior, and greatly enhance our capacity for interpersonal understanding. However, findings in the behavioral, cognitive and neurosciences raise questions about the extent to which the reasons we give and the overarching narratives they are part of correspond with the actual influences on and causes of our behavior. These findings seem to indicate that our attempts to account for the origins of our actions should primarily be seen as rational reconstructions. This raises issues about the relation of narratives to our identity and actions. How do our attempts to fit our behavior into acceptable narratives influence who we are and what we do? What can we learn from the behavioral, cognitive and neurosciences about the embodiment and function of narratives? Can narratives obstruct a clear view on ourselves? If so, can we identify criteria to assess the adequacy or correctness of narratives and our attempts to fit our behavior into a narrative? This workshop invites papers that explore the relevance of narratives and reasons as intermediates between ourselves and society, with an eye on (i) the implications for philosophical accounts of our practices of responsibility, and (ii) the empirical findings with regard to the role of narrativity and interpretation in our everyday interactions.

Suitable topics include:

·      The relevance of narratives to understanding human action and responsibility

·      Self-narrative, social interaction (including inter-group interaction) and embodiment

·      Conditions of adequacy for narratives (especially self-narratives) in relation to our practices of responsibility

·      The relation between self-understanding and action

·      Conditions of adequacy of interpretation (e.g., how can we distinguish between an adequate reconstruction of one's reasons and confabulation?)

·      How to understand the empirical findings with regard to the role of narrativity and interpretation in our everyday interactions.

There will be 4 slots of 40 minutes for junior researchers (20 minutes talk, 20 minutes discussion), and 7 or 8 slots for the other invited participants (45 minutes talks and 45 minutes discussion).

A selection of the papers presented on the workshop will be eligible for publication in a special issue of Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences (

Please indicate whether you want your paper considered for publication in this issue.

More information:

If you're interested, please send us an extended abstract (about 1,500 words) of your intended paper and a short (!) bio (related to your research) or list of publications, before May 2012. Notification of acceptance will be based on the abstracts and can be expected in June. The paper itself is expected three weeks before the start of the workshop, that is, before October 1st. Preferably your paper should not yet be submitted for publication at the time of the workshop.


Closing date: May 1st 2012

Notification of acceptance: June 2012

Deadline Draft Papers: End of September 2012

Send your PDF's or plain text to: [email protected] (subject heading: narrativity-submission or narrativity-inquiry)

practical information

The workshop will start with a lunch on Friday (around 12.00), and end after the lunch on Sunday (around 14.00).

Invited speakers will be expected to pay 220 euro for accommodation and meals (includes: two breakfasts, three lunches, two conference dinners, and two nights in a single room). All-inclusive participation to the workshop for non-speakers will be 520 euro; participation without dinner and accommodation, but including lunch: 250 euro. Reduction of 40% (150 euro) available for unwaged (PhD) students under the age of 30.

Like our 2011 workshop, this workshop will be held at conference centre 'International School for Philosophy' (Leusden/Amersfoort), which is beautifully located in the woods nearby Utrecht & Amsterdam, the Netherlands ( It is easy to reach by public transportation.

Organizing committee

Maureen Sie, Nicole van Voorst Vader, Arno Wouters (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Leon de Bruin (in collaboration with the research group of Albert Newen, Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

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October 1, 2012, 8:00am CET

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