2015 Humane Philosophy Project Conference: Humane Philosophy and Human Nature

September 24, 2015 - September 26, 2015
Philosophy of Culture Department, Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw, Poland, Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw, Poland

Sala im. J. Brudzinskiego
Krakowskie Przedmiescie 26/28
Warsaw 00-927


  • Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion, Oxford
  • Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion, Oxford
  • Fundacja Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego


Agata Bielik-Robson
Nottingham University
Alojzy Nowak
University of Warsaw
Robert Pilat
Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University, Warsaw
Andrew Pinsent
Oxford University
Marcin Poreba
University of Warsaw
Zofia Rosi?ska
Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw, Poland
Line Ryberg-Ingerslev
Aarhus University
Anthony Steinbock
Southern Illinois University
Kenneth Stikkers
Southern Illinois University
Jerry Valberg
University College London
Jos de Mul
Erasmus University of Rotterdam


Przemys?aw Bursztyka
Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw, Poland
Samuel Hughes
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford
Agata Lukomska
Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw, Poland
Jonathan Price
Leiden University
Warsaw University
Ralph Weir
University of Oxford

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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 will present three days of talks exploring these and other issues connected with the question of human nature. Aditionally on two days, apart from the keynote presentations there will be two parallel short papers sessions where the best papers submitted in reply to the CFP for this conference will be presented. All talks will be in English. 

There is no fee for participation for University of Warsaw students who register for the conference and workshop following teh event for course credit, the conference however is open to the public for a fee of 60PLN. As places are limited registration through the registration website is required for attendance. please register at: http://www.humanephilosophy.pl/  

Those not registered will not be able to participate in the event.

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 www.humanephilosophy.com 

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September 22, 2015, 7:00pm CET

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