CFP: Giving an Account of Evil: 2017 Societas Ethica Annual Conference

Submission deadline: August 24, 2017

Conference date(s):
August 24, 2017 - August 27, 2017

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Conference Venue:

European Society for Research in Ethics, Societas Ethica
Vólos, Greece

Topic areas


Call for Papers

Giving an Account of Evil

Das Böse verantworten

Societas Ethica’s 54th Annual Conference

Volos, Greece, August 24-27, 2017

Philosophers and theologians have reflected upon the ‘problem of evil’ throughout history. Explanations of the very term and the origins of evil and the ways evil is expressed remain contested. This conference invites scholars of moral philosophy and theological ethics to address this complex theme both as an ethical category and in concrete contexts. 

More than seven decades after World War II ended, it is impossible to ethically address evil without engaging the shadow of the Shoah, which has radically changed the understanding of the scope of intentionally-inflicted harm and violence. Today, analyses of evil mostly depart from theological explanations and turn to the humanities. Concrete studies include multiple examinations of the phenomenology of violence, and the psychology and philosophy of trauma and its ethical implications. Furthermore, they include the examination of different faces of structural violence, the impact of colonialism on racism and the rise of neocolonialism, the re-emergence and attractiveness of nationalist and authoritarian views, and modern forms of slavery, organized crime and human trafficking.

At our meeting, we want to structural a balance between conceptual analyses from within the theological and philosophical traditions on the one hand, and historical and/or contemporary presentations, grappling with how we can – and indeed must – give an account of evil in today’s world.

As we meet in Greece, it is impossible to engage the theme of evil without also grappling with the issues of human migration, economic inequality, and evolving interpretations of our European histories. Whether and how we bring these histories into conversation with present events may well determine our understanding of – and ultimately, our responses to – the evil we encounter today.

We expect contributions from philosophy, theology, and applied ethics, but also from critical political theory, history, and related disciplines.

Through different parallel sessions, Societas Ethica will address the major moral questions regarding evil. These sessions will focus on:

  • Evil as an ethical category
  • Phenomenology of violence
  • Evil and the Shoah
  • Theology, metaphysics, and evil from different religious perspectives (Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Islam)
  • Religion and violence
  • Plural moral cultures and the question of evil
  • Ethics and structural violence
  • Trauma theories: psychology and philosophy
  • Interpretations of current politics trends: nationalism, authoritarianism, neofascism
  • Xenophobia, islamophobia, and antisemitism in Europe and beyond
  • The shadow of colonialism, slavery, and racism, and modern forms of forced labor, human trafficking, and racism in the economic global order
  • Migration, the refugee crisis, and the European Border policies
  • Open channel for Ph.D. students: presentation of dissertation projects

Paper proposals should contain no more than 800 words (excluding bibliography), and clearly present a moral question or argument addressing one of the aforementioned topics. The deadline is April 01, 2017. Papers can be presented either in English, German, or French.

Please send in the following two documents as Word attachments to Silas Morgan at [email protected], using the subject line “Societas Ethica 2017 Conference.”

Document 1: Your name, first name, email address, institutional address, the title of your abstract, the topic under which your paper proposal falls, and, if eligible, your application to participate in the Young Scholars’ Award competition (see information below).

Document 2: Your paper proposal including bibliography (max. 10 references), keywords and title with all identifying references removed. Please use Times New Roman 12 pt for body, references and keywords, and Ariel (bold) 16 pt for headline.

The abstract of the conference papers will be published in the conference proceedings. Selected papers (voluntary) will be published in a special issue of the journal De Ethica. A Journal of Philosophical, Theological and Applied Ethics.

Societas Ethica Young Scholars’ Award is awarded to the best presentation by a young scholar. Young scholars for the purpose of this competition are doctoral students and researchers who earned their degree less than two years ago and do not have a tenure-track academic position. For more information about Societas Ethica Young Scholars’ Award, please visit the website at

Societas Ethica – the European Society for Research in Ethics – has more than 270 members from approximately 35 countries. Led by the current president Dr. Hille Haker (Loyola University Chicago), Societas Ethica endeavors to stimulate contacts between scholars in different countries, surpassing political, ideological and religious curtains. We welcome papers from non-members and members. Members, please remember to renew your membership:

Prof. Dr. Hille Haker, President

Prof. Dr. Arne Manzeschke, Vice President

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#Evil, #Ethics, #Philosophy, #Theology, #Religion, #Politics, #