Ideals and Reality in Social Ethics 2014

April 9, 2014 - April 11, 2014
Social Ethics Research Group, University of South Wales

Kegie Building
Caerleon Campus
Caerleon NP18 3QT
United Kingdom


Ingrid Robeyns
Erasmus University of Rotterdam
Stuart White
Oxford University


Gideon Calder
University of South Wales

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Theorists are expert at theorising. Should they also be expert at negotiating the challenges of practice? Should practitioners and policymakers listen to them? Or should these two realms be kept at a distance?

A sequel to two successful events of the same name held in 2012 and 2013, this conference will explore relations between normative theorising and critique, and the 'real worlds' of social and political practice. We welcome both papers which address the nature and practical relevance of political, social and moral theory, and papers applying
such theory to issues of current social concern. At previous conferences, topics of panels have included ideal vs non-ideal theory, 'ethics-first' vs 'politics-first' political philosophy, how to apply concepts from ethical and political theory in the context of government policy consultations, equality, parenting, climate change, multiculturalism, democracy, EU citizenship, lay normativity, environmental human rights, health inequalities, human nature, education, professional ethics (and its teaching), the ethics of care, solidarity, war and terrorism, bioethics, basic income policies, academics as activists, collective harms and the politics of recognition.

Again, the conference aims to attract academics, activists, practitioners and others with an interest in the relationship between ideals and the concrete demands and possibilities of social life. Key themes and questions will include:

- (how) do theoretical insights actually enhance practice?
- ideal vs. non-ideal theory
- the relationship between political ideas and the reality of political practice
- the relationship between ethical codes and actual practice, e.g. in professional contexts are notions of 'reality' and ‘practice’ always inherently contested?
- the relationship between descriptive and normative approaches to the study of politics and society
- the relationship between theory and activism

As well as individual paper proposals, we welcome proposals of themed panels of 3 papers, and will be happy to consult on the development of ideas in this regard.

Deadline for proposals of papers (300 words) and panels (including a brief description and any paper proposals already solicited): 18 January  2014. Please send submissions to Gideon Calder at the email address below, with 'IRSE SUBMISSION' in the subject line.

Registration will open in February 2013, with a non-residential fee expected to be £100, plus optional conference dinner.  Deadline for registration is 31 March.

Subsidised places will be available for postgraduate students and those without institutional financial support.

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March 31, 2014, 6:00pm BST

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