CFP: Reason and Agency

Submission deadline: January 11, 2016

Conference date(s):
May 5, 2016 - May 6, 2016

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Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto
Toronto, Canada

Topic areas



16th University of Toronto Graduate Conference

“Reason and Agency”

Keynote speakers: Kieran Setiya and Helen Steward

What role does agency play in human life? How does it relate to our capacity for reason? Such questions have reoccurred throughout the history of philosophy. Ancient debates centered on fate and freedom, and skeptical challenges to our rationality. Enlightenment philosophers defended the sovereignty of individual agents, while German Idealists positioned practical rationality at the centre of inquiry. More recently, Marxist and feminist philosophers have challenged traditional theories of reason and agency, placing greater emphasis on historical and sociological forces.

In order to further explore these issues, we have chosen Reason and Agency as the topic for the Graduate Conference at the University of Toronto. We have confirmed as our keynotes Kieran Setiya and Helen Steward. Setiya has published extensively on the nature of reasons and rationality, while Steward has published influential work on the philosophy of action and free will.

We conceive of the conference’s theme very broadly, and we welcome submissions from all areas in philosophy that relate to either or both of the conference’s main themes. Interdisciplinary submissions are particularly welcome. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • What are the sources of our reasons for action?
  • What is the relation between reasons and value?
  • What is the relation between reasons for actions and reasons for beliefs?
  • What is free will and does it extend beyond adult human beings?
  • What does our best account of events tell us about agency and responsibility?
  • How should we understand collective agency and collective rationality?
  • How are features of one's psychology relevant to reasons?
  • How can formal models of rationality contribute to an account of human decision-making?
  • How does feminist philosophy, disability studies, or philosophy of race inform our understanding of agency?
  • How does the work of some historical figure or tradition (Western or non-Western) engage with the issues surrounding reason and agency?

We are committed to having an accessible conference, and to that end we will arrange teleconferencing for speakers with accessibility issues that prevent them from attending in person; we will also reimburse childcare expenses.

Deadline for Submission: January 11

Please send submissions to [email protected] Submissions must be in PDF format and prepared for blind review. Papers should not exceed 3500 words, and should include an abstract not exceeding 300 words.

In your email, please include your name, paper title, and institutional affiliation. Only one submission per author. Limited travel stipends are available.

For more information, please contact us at [email protected].

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