CFP: Opinion, Belief and Knowledge: Realism and Idealism

Submission deadline: August 15, 2018

Conference date(s):
September 18, 2018 - September 23, 2018

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Conference Venue:

University of Freiburg
Bozen, Italy

Topic areas


Workshop’s theme

Our propositional claims about the surrounding world can roughly and heuristically be divided into three different types of expression: expressing an opinion, a belief and knowledge. The idea of subject and object are vital with respect to all three types of expressions, for we may assert that our claims qualified as opinion, belief or knowledge essentially dependent on whether and to what extend reasons for the truth of the statement can be given either 1) with regard to our conceptual understanding or 2) with reference to an objective state of affairs. The aforementioned theoretical assertion gives rise, of course, to a controversial dispute that points to an age-old philosophical debate between idealism and realism. With reference to both philosophical positions one may ask whether propositional truth is primarily guaranteed by conceptual thinking or by objective instances alone. In contrast to an extreme point of view, which highlights one extreme and neglects the other, it seems more judicious to pursue a moderate approach of mediation, since truth claims are uttered by the subject in relation to an objective state of affairs, hence encompass both extremes. The question, however, of how exactly the idealistic aspect of truth, pronounced by the subject, can be assimilated with its realistic aspect, pronounced by the object, and of how internalism equals externalism (and vice versa) is highly complex and motivates our urge for closer examination. Hence, the main focus of the workshop is to examine the relationship between opinion, belief and knowledge with regard to idealism and realism. The workshop will give advanced philosophers (PhD-students and more advanced scholars) the opportunity to present and to elaborate their ideas within the aforementioned area of interest. Despite the fact that the investigation is philosophically based we equitably accept applications from scholars with a different academic background (e.g. cognitive sciences, psychology, mathematics, theology).

Program, application criteria & dates

To successfully complete the workshop each participant should be prepared to present a paper. There will also be general discussion panels that will allow the group to reflect the workshop’s theme in greater depth. Each participant’s presentation should not be more than 60 minutes (approx. 20 minutes presentation and 40 minutes discussion). Abstracts (of no more than 500 words) are to be sent to [email protected] Submission deadline: August 15 2018. Notifications of acceptance will be sent shortly after.

The workshop will be held in English and German. The workshop will be held from September 18th to September 23rd 2018 at the Buchnerhof in the South Tyrolean mountains with financial assistance from the Elisabeth and Helmut Uhl Foundation, which promotes the arts and sciences. (For further information see: Accommodation and meal costs are fully covered. Travel expenses will generally be subsidized with a bursary of 70–80 € per person. The solitude of the Etschtal and the exceptional architecture of the Buchnerhof will surely foster an atmosphere of intellectual exchange and discussion.  To take full benefit of the surroundings, participants will have enough spare time to unwind and engage.

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