Freedom and Autonomy

May 9, 2015
University of Essex

United Kingdom

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'Freedom and Autonomy'
18th International Graduate Conference in Philosophy

    Location: University of Essex
    Dates: 9 May 2015

Keynote speakers

    Dr Katerina Deligiorgi, University of Sussex
    Professor Wayne Martin, University of Essex

The question of human freedom is one of the great problems in philosophy
since Kant. The issue is crystalised in the Third Antinomy, which resonated
so much in the work of his successors: how can we conceive of an agent that
is at once wholly determined (from the perspective of natural science) yet
also (practically) free? Have attempts to overcome this problematic been so
many dead ends, or should the matter have long ago been settled on one side
or the other (or perhaps under the banner of Strawson's compatibilism)? And
what is the greater significance of the debate? Can one, for instance, have
autonomy without freedom? How should we think of ourselves as being guided
(or even limited) by the world - or our instincts - in our actions and

These are the sorts of questions that our graduate conference at Essex will
be exploring this year. We're interested in answering them both with
reference to the history of philosophy as well as in relation to
contemporary debates (for instance, Essex has recently been home to the
AHRC-funded Essex Autonomy Project, which was in large part focused on the
application of philosophical debates about autonomy to medical ethics). In
particular, we're interested in 'freedom' not just in a metaphysical sense
but in a practical one too.

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