CFP: Complexity in the Humanities and Sciences

Submission deadline: January 15, 2019

Conference date(s):
March 29, 2019 - March 30, 2019

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Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, University of Memphis
Memphis, United States

Topic areas


Keynote Speakers

Dorothea Olkowski, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Luis H. Favela, University of Central Florida


Complex systems are nonlinear systems characterized by a multiplicity of interacting components that give rise to higher-order, emergent phenomena. The local behavior of small-scale components gives rise to a global behavior pattern, which in turn affects and restricts the local. From galaxies to ant colonies—even to human societies—the science of complexity offers a new and computationally powerful lens for understanding the deep structures of nature, human societies, and human minds.

What characterizes complex systems? Why does complexity recur in different orders of scale, from the galactic to the microscopic? What is emergence and what qualifies as emergence? Are humans, human societies, and human minds complex systems? What kind of ethical or political consequences might that have?

The Philosophy Graduate Student Association invites abstract submissions on the theme of the conference. We invite submissions from graduate students in philosophy of all traditions and from philosophically-informed graduate students in the sciences and mathematics. We especially encourage submissions from underrepresented groups in philosophy. Suggested topics include:

-       Enactivism, Embodied Cognition, and Complex Systems

-       Epistemology and Unpredictable Equations

-       Complexity, Emergence, and Reducibility

-       Self-Organizing Systems

-       The History of Emergentist Thought and Systems-Thinking

-       Complexity and Process Metaphysics

-       Poststructuralist, Phenomenological, and Other Continental Approaches to Complexity

-       Constraint Parameters and Emergent Phenomena

-       Complexity, Ecology, and the Anthropocene

-       Big Data, Machine Learning, and Epistemology

-       Complexity across the Sciences or in the Special Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Sociology, etc.)

-       Complexity in Literature and the Arts

-       The Ethics and Politics of Human Systems as Complex Systems

Submission requirements

Papers should be 3000 words or 20 minutes presentation time. Abstracts of no more than 750 words exclusive of keywords and footnotes should be submitted to by January 15, 2019. Submissions must be in either pdf, docx, or doc format. 

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