CFP: The Utility and Futility of Philosophy

Submission deadline: July 1, 2018

Conference date(s):
October 5, 2018 - October 6, 2018

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

School of Humanities, , Tallinn University
Tallinn, Estonia


The Utility and Futility of Philosophy

October 5-6, 2018

School of Humanities, Tallinn University

Please send an abstract in Estonian or in English (from 200 to 300 words) in a separate anonymous document attached to your e-mail  for blind review toefak2018@tlu.eeby the 1st of July 2018 (included). Presentations are expected to last 20 minutes + 10 minutes for discussion. Notifications of acceptance will be announced by the 1st of August 2018.


The great ambition of philosophy is to explore the so-called great questions: What is truth? What is happiness? What is good? Plato believed that utopia becomes possible only once philosophers become kings or kings begin to philosophize. Marx added that the task of philosophy is to change the world.

However, if one surveys the history of philosophy from the scientific revolution to the present day, then it seems that Bertrand Russell was right: previously philosophical subjects have gradually turned into separate sciences. Physics, logic, economics, psychology, semantics - these are just a few examples of sciences that have successfully separated from and even surpassed philosophy in both their accomplishments as well as their societal impact. In the 20th and 21st centuries, our daily lives are shaped by scientific discoveries and technological solutions, rather than philosophical ideas. Answers to the "big questions" are also increasingly sought from science. What is the place of philosophy in this brave new world?

Especially welcome are presentations that tackle some of the following issues:

  • The utility of philosophy:
    • Does philosophy have to be useful or practical?
    • What does the utility of philosophy consist in?
    • What is the relationship between philosophy and science?
    • What, if any, wider social role has philosophy had and still has?
  • The futility of philosophy:
    • Can (or must) philosophy be futile?
    • Should philosophy raise questions or provide answers?
    • What is the future of philosophy?
  • Uses of philosophy:
    • Uses of philosophical disciplines (metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, etc.) outside of philosophy.
    • Collaboration between philosophical disciplines and science.
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