CFP: Justice and Legitimate Expectations

Submission deadline: January 31, 2016

Conference date(s):
June 29, 2016 - July 1, 2016

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, University of Graz
Graz, Austria

Topic areas


Confirmed participants: Adriana Placani (University of Graz), Alexander Brown (University of East Anglia), Arthur Applbaum (Harvard University), David Miller (University of Oxford), Margaret Moore (Queen’s University), Martin O’Neill (University of York), Matthew Matravers (University of York), Rahul Kumar (Queen’s University), Stefan Arnold (University of Graz), Tim Waligore (Pace University), Wilfried Hinsch (University of Cologne)

Submission Deadline: 31 January, 2016

Expectations are a pervasive feature of our lives. We generate expectations in other people by the ways we act and the things we say, and they are generated in us by others in the same ways. Intuitively, some of these expectations are legitimate and some are not. For example, while a person that was given a promise has a legitimate expectation for this promise to be kept (and is otherwise owed compensation, an apology or at least an explanation), a thief’s expectation not to get caught seems to lack such normative significance. Furthermore, and of particular interest in this workshop, the state generates expectations in its citizens, and some of these are profoundly important (for example that there will not be revolutionary and immediate changes in the tax system, or in state funding for various activities). Again, it is an open question which of these expectations should be considered legitimate, and why, and it is also an open question how the state ought to act with respect to legitimate expectations.

We invite contributions that address issues surrounding the legitimacy and normative significance of expectations. Questions that could be addressed include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • How can we systematically distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate expectations?
  • What is the connection between the justice of an expectation and its legitimacy? For instance, do criteria of justice determine which expectations are legitimate or do we use some other standard?
  • Do legitimate expectations constrain justice in some way, for example, in what justice demands, or in how we transition to an ideally just situation?
  • Must we allow for some unjust expectations being legitimate; and if yes, under which circumstances? For example, how does the obtaining of (particular) non-ideal conditions affect the legitimacy of expectations?
  • What does disagreement about (particular issues of) justice imply for the legitimacy of (particular) expectations?
  • What is the normative relevance of harm caused by the frustration of (particular) legitimate expectations?

Please send abstracts of a maximum of 500 words to Please include the title of the workshop in the subject line of your email. Abstracts should be received by 31 January, 2016, and should be in either PDF or MS Word formats. Acceptance notifications will be sent out by 1 March, 2016. We plan to pre-circulate papers, so the papers must be received by 31 May, 2015. A special issue of the journal Moral Philosophy and Politics ( is planned for early 2017 on the basis of the papers presented at the workshop. The papers will be put through the process of blind peer-review. Please note that, assuming the paper successfully goes through that process, submission of papers for the workshop constitutes agreement to participate in this special issue.

Unfortunately, we cannot commit to providing financial support for travel expenses and accommodation. We are applying for funding that may change this situation, and accepted speakers will be kept informed about the status of these applications.

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