CFP: Ethics & Society. On the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary of Anscombe's Birth (1919-2001)

Submission deadline: May 1, 2019

Conference date(s):
May 23, 2019 - May 25, 2019

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

DESP, University of Urbino
Urbino, Italy

Topic areas


Does life have a meaning? What is its dignity? How does one find happiness? Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe, the philosopher of Limerick, tried to answer these and many other questions during her life. A witty and insightful woman, wife of the philosopher and logic Peter Geach, mother of seven children, pupil of Ludwig Wittgenstein and discussant of C.S. Lewis, a sharp and brilliant mind, Anscombe wrote about ethics, bioethics, politics, religion, history of philosophy, philosophy of mind and much more. Her thought is original and is once again extremely topical because it aims at the real, she is lucid in her theses, she does not lose herself in empty theories, and she constantly wonders how a human being can reach his “flourishing”. The concept of “flourishing” prevails in many of her writings, as if it were her constant search. Affectionate to Aristotelian-Thomist thought that does not neglect the purpose of an action, Anscombe has become the promoter of the new philosophical strand of the Virtue Ethics and returns to speak to today’s multicultural, multi-religious and multiethnic society, but without neglecting in any way the tradition and history that made the thought of the West.


Main Speakers: 

John Haldane

Chair, Royal Institute of Philosophy; Member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life; Senior Fellow, Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Department of Philosophy, University of St Andrews, Scotland; J. Newton Rayzor Sr Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Baylor University, Texas, U.S.A.

Rocco Buttiglione

Professor of Philosophy and History of European Institutions, Pontifical Lateran University, Rome, Italy

James Hanink

President of the American Maritain Association, U.S.A.

Juan A. Mercado

Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy

Cyrille Michon

Université de Nantes, France

Giacomo Samek Lodovici

Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Milan, Italy

John Waters

Writer and journalist. Permanent Research Fellow at the Center for Ethics and Culture, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA. 


CFP. Candidates are invited to submit an abstract (max. tot 1500 words), including a brief bibliography and a personal biography (one paragraph) to:

within and not later May 1st,  2019In case of a positive evaluation the confirmation of acceptance will be communicated immidiately within 5 days from the date of receipt.

The conference is based on the topic of “Ethics and Society”. All the philosophy of Anscombe is strictly connected with life and the reality, in its social and ethical implications. We have thought to five hypothetical sessions, in order to deeply study the wide topic of the conference, considering different analysis present in her thought.

I. Session. History of Philosophy. G.E.M. Anscombe. Aristotle, Thomas, Hume and Wittgenstein. Anscombe had a deep knowledge of  great philosophers who made the history of the philosophy of the West. In her research, Wittgenstein’s pupil devoted a great deal of attention to Aristotelian-Thomist thought and to the study of Hume’s writings, the latter being decisive for her formation. Although she distanced herself from Wittgenstein’s thought, she did not cease to devote herself to it for the rest of her life. The aim of this session is to deepen the extent to which the thought of the great authors is present in that of Anscombe, how she distanced herself from it (there is no lack of pages full of criticism) and where instead she made it her own to the point of determining her own philosophy.

II. Session. On the Mystery of the Mind. G.E.M. Anscombe. Starting from Intention. In 1957 the first version of the essay Intention was published, considered one of the philosophical masterpieces of twentieth century philosophy. A difficult essay that is the basis of Anscombian philosophy. There are also critical essays on this work, many of which have only recently been published. The purpose of this session is to explore what Anscombe meant by “intention”, why this concept was so important to her in the development of a theory of action and philosophy of the mind, considering also ethical and social implications.

III. Session. On Ethics. G.E.M. Anscombe. Starting with the Modern Moral Philosophy. The Modern Moral Philosophy, published in 1958, soon became the Manifesto of the rebirth of a neo-Aristotelian type of ethics. In it Anscombe denounces the erroneousness of “consequentialism”, a term that according to Crisp’s opinion was introduced by Anscombe in this essay, and at the same time the need to recover a teleological order in the morals for which the subject is destined to a flourishing ever greater.

IV. Session. On Bio-Ethics and the Dignity of Life. G.E.M. Anscombe. Science and the Human: Boundaries and Development. There is no lack of essays that Anscombe dedicated to themes such as the dignity of human beings, the origin of life, abortion, contraception and euthanasia. These are issues that are the subject of extensive discussion today. Rebellious philosopher, outside the box, she never stopped speaking clearly without renouncing or denying her convictions. Her reflections on the Humanae vitae of Paul VI are interesting and of great importance in this regard.

V. Session. On Politics. G.E.M. Anscombe. Freedom and democracy. On May 2, 1956, the University of Oxford proposed that the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, be awarded an honorary degree. Anscombe’s “no” was marked and gave rise to what later became the famous essay entitled “Mr. Truman Degree”. Anscombe illustrated all the massacres of Truman comparing him to Genghis Khan, Nero and Hitler, after recalling the release of the two atomic bombs. Anscombe wonders about the meaning of war, evil and even human freedom. She then devoted more pages to politics, minorities and majorities, and the role of authority in the state.

NOTE: The payment of the “registration” is only for speakers.

Please kindly note that everyone who wants to attend the conference has NOT to be registered. The conference is open to everyone who wish to follow it.


Please find all information on the official website of the conference: 

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Custom tags:

#anscombe, #philosophy, #ethics, #society, #urbino