CFP: Humane Philosophy and Human Nature

Submission deadline: July 3, 2015

Conference date(s):
September 24, 2015 - September 26, 2015

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw
Warsaw, Poland

Topic areas


Humane Philosophy and Human Nature – call for papers

24th - 26th September 2015 Institute of Philosophy University of Warsaw Conference Call for Papers

This call for papers is directed to graduate students and researchers in philosophy and aims for submissions connected to, or developing the conference theme.  

It is often supposed that a sound understanding of human nature is a necessary condition for success in much of our theoretical and practical reasoning. Philosophers have been enduringly concerned with determining distinctive features of human nature, construing this in terms of reason, language or some other faculty. Its fundamental moral character has also been deeply controversial:Christianity has tended to understand postlapsarian humankind as essentially sinful, whilst in the Buddhist tradition humans have been seen as essentially compassionate.  On the other hand varius anthropological traditions have interpreted the moral chrachter of humanity as fundamentally relative.  

In the twentieth century, many philosophers have put pressure upon traditional construals of human nature. In the existentialist tradition, the very idea has been challenged, accused of substituting an essence where there is really a free choice. Other commentators have disputed the gulf traditionally supposed to exist between the nature of humans and that of animals, drawing out close parallels in the evolutionary functions of animal behaviours with those of many spheres of human life. We have also witnessed the development of transhumanist and post-humanist movements, aspiring to radically alter our natures in years to come.

Further questions surround which discipline the study of human nature belongs to. Ought we to favour physical sciences such as biology and neurology, social sciences like anthropology and economics, or humanities such as history, theology and philosophy? Does the idea of human nature pose a challenge to philosophical naturalism, and if it does, can we hope for an adequate account of it by some other means?

The Humane Philosophy Project in collaboration with the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Warsaw, the Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion, and the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion invites papers addressing these and other questions concerning the notion of human nature and its place in our moral and theoretical understanding of the world.

Subjects on which authors may wish to focus include, but are not limited to:

- What is distinctive about human nature?
- Is human nature distinctive?
- Is there such a thing as human nature?
- What can be said about the moral nature of humans as such?
- The ethics of transhumanism
- The proper approach to the study of human nature

-Human relatedness

-The moral relationships between the state / polis and individual(s)
- The limits of compassion and its proximate enemies, e.g. sentimentality, condescension
-The origins of compassion

 We invite abstracts of up to 500 words, to be submitted in MS Word or Pdf format at:   

Abstracts should be received by July 3rd 2014 and acceptance notifications will be sent out by Jly 31st. Abstracts should be prepared for blind review. The cover page should include your name, your institutional affiliation, the title of the paper, and your email address. A separate page for submissions, where you will be able to follow the status of your application will be available soon. Should you want to submit early please email your your abstract and cover page to Agata Lukomska: [email protected]

Selected papers will have a 20 minute presentation followed by a 10 minute question session. A post conference publication containing selected short papers is being considered.

The conference fee for successful applicants will be 350PLN. The best student and young academics submissions will  be exempt from the conference fee. Please note that no financial support can be provided for travel expenses and accommodation. 

For further details please refer to the conference page (link above)

This conference is organised by the Humane Philosophy Project. The Humane Philosophy Project is an international initiative based at the Universities of Oxford and Warsaw which aims to provide a home and a platform for the best contemporary examples of humane philosophy. For more information please visit 

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