CFA: The 5th Biennial Dorothy Edgington Lectures: Catherine Elgin Graduate Workshop

Submission deadline: January 31, 2020

Conference date(s):
April 24, 2020 - April 25, 2020

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, Birkbeck College, University of London
London, United Kingdom


Birkbeck College, London is delighted to announce that the 2020 Edgington Lectures will be delivered by Professor Catherine Z. Elgin (Harvard University) on the 24th and 25th April 2020. In conjunction with the lectures, Professor Elgin will be running a graduate workshop.

Call for abstracts 

Graduate Workshop

We invite graduate students and recent graduates (less than 1 year since completing study) to submit abstracts addressing any aspect of Professor Elgin's work, including but not limited to:

  • Epistemic Normativity
  • Epistemic Autonomy
  • Epistemic Interdependence
  • Epistemic Virtues
  • Knowledge and Understanding

Submission Instructions

Abstracts should be no more than 500 words. Papers should ultimately be no longer than 3,000 words (including footnotes, excluding bibliography), suitable for a 30 minute presentation. Abstracts should be prepared for blind review. Please do not include any identifying information in the body of the essay. Please include the following information in the email: paper title, author name, institutional affiliation, and student status. Abstracts should be saved in .pdf or .doc format. Send all submissions to:

Birkbeck College is a participating member of the BPA/SWIP Good Practice Scheme, and steps will be taken to ensure gender balance among workshop participants. To this end, we particularly encourage submissions from women and other underrepresented groups in philosophy.

We aim to provide childcare or funding for childcare for workshop participants. Please let us know in your application email if you expect that you will require childcare. We also aim to provide student bursaries, please indicate in your application if you are seeking financial support for the cost of travel and/or accommodation. 

The deadline for submissions is Friday 31st January 2020 at 5pm GMT.

The Edgington Lectures and Workshop 2020 are generously supported by the Analysis Trust and the Aristotelian Society.

About the Lectures: 

Professor Elgin’s lectures are titled The Realm of Epistemic Ends:

Epistemic agents are ineluctably interdependent. We are nodes in epistemic networks, supporting and supported by others. Via testimony we convey and glean information. We teach and learn from others – not just facts but also techniques, strategies, standards, and skills that are vital to our understanding of the world. Each of us relies on methods and devices that she could never have invented, validated, or calibrated on her own. If epistemic autonomy requires complete independence, it is a chimera. But if autonomy is a matter of self-government, our situation is different. The autonomous agent, Kant maintains, makes the rules that bind her. She does so not in isolation, but as a legislating member of a realm of ends – that is, as one among many who jointly ratify those rules. Building on the account of epistemic normativity I presented in True Enough, I will argue that epistemic communities are quasi-Kantian communities of epistemic ends. Members of such communities are autonomous epistemic agents who collectively certify epistemic norms by justifying those norms to one another. I will show that the constraints on a realm of ends insure that this does not make knowledge or understanding relativistic or subjective. Epistemic autonomy and epistemic interdependence are mutually supportive.

Attendance at the lectures is free and open to all, but we kindly ask that you register in advance. Details concerning registration etc will be available at nearer the date. Further details about Professor Elgin’s work can be found at

The Edgington Lectures are public lectures held by the Department of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. Previous Edgington Lectures were given by Katherine Hawley (2018), Kit Fine (2016), Rae Langton (2014) and Jonathan McDowell (2012).

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