CFP: Moral Progress: Concept, Measurement, and Application

Submission deadline: November 1, 2014

Conference date(s):
June 23, 2015 - June 25, 2015

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Conference Venue:

VU University Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Topic areas


Academic Conference at VU University, Amsterdam, 23-25 June 2015

Moral Progress: Concept, Measurement, and Application

sponsored by the journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, (Springer)

Conference theme

Many philosophers and other scholars believe that, in spite of all the natural and moral evil that occurs every day and everywhere, there is moral progress. Is this belief just an assumption or a postulate, or is it also ‘evidence-based’? Most believers in moral progress think that moral progress in some domains might go together with moral stagnation, or even regress, in other domains. And moral progress might occur in some parts of the world, but not in others. Regardless of whether moral progress is overall or partial, global or local, the question arises how we can determine that it really takes place? How do we establish that a subsequent state is morally better than a preceding one? The most exciting question is, of course, how we can establish whether or not there is overall moral progress.

We invite abstracts (maximum of 750 words) on one of the following subjects

1.       Conceptual and epistemic issues

-          what is moral progress

-          progress on what level (e.g., beliefs, behaviour, motivation)

-          moral progress and moral truth


2.       Causes and correlates of moral progress 

-          moral progress and well-ordered societies: the role of politics and law

-          moral progress and material progress: the role of economy

-          contribution of technology to moral progress: the value of control and surveillance of behaviour;  prospects for ‘moral enhancement’

3.       Value-theoretical and methodological issues

-          criteria for moral progress

-          are gains and losses incommensurable?

-          moral progress and perspective-dependence of judgements

4.       Historical, anthropological, and empirical views on moral progress history of the belief in moral progress

-          moral progress and historical & cultural diversity

-          case studies: moral progress or moral decline in specific periods and places

Abstracts should be sent before NOVEMBER 1, 2014 to the chairman of the organising committee: prof.dr. Bert Musschenga, e-mail: You will receive a notification of acceptance before December 1, 2014.

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