Beyond Free Will: Variety in Understanding of Choice, Luck, and Necessity

June 20, 2022 - June 23, 2022
Faculty of Philosophy, Vilnius University

Universiteto 9

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[We will make every effort to ensure that this conference goes ahead in-person.

However, it is entirely possible that for safety reasons and COVID-related policies we may have to move parts of the conference online. If this is the case, any successful applicants who are unable to attend the conference in person will be given a chance to present remotely (taking into account our technical capabilities and time-zone considerations).]

Contemporary Western discourse on freedom and choice – some of the most championed modern values – is usually anchored in the concept cluster of free will and autonomous choice. In turn, academic research on free will in philosophy (including experimental philosophy) and psychology is largely based on a limited conceptual framework with roots in particular debates in Christianity and European philosophy. This framework is currently challenged by multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches applied in the fields of area and Asian studies, comparative philosophy, and also empirical research in cross-cultural psychology, and anthropology.

In the present multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary conference, we invite scholars from philosophy, psychology, anthropology, Asian studies, religious studies and other related fields to discuss theoretical alternatives to the dominant framework that are sensitive to cultural differences and local contexts as well as empirical research - especially cross-cultural and cross-linguistic – on conceptualisations of free and constrained action and cultural practices in dealing with these constraints.

Suggested keywords: free will, determinism, fate, fortune, luck, choice, chance, karma, predestination and divine foreknowledge, supernatural agency, divination, astrology and prediction, luck rituals, teleology. 

We invite presentations that deal with these topics on any of the three levels:

A. Descriptions of practices and belief systems related to the given keywords, both historical and ethnographic.

B. Psychological and other empirical approaches to free and constrained action.

C. Broader theoretical reflections on cultural conceptualisations of freedom and constraints in philosophy, religious studies, and other disciplines.

For more information on organisers, the venue, and the questions offered to discuss, please visit our website:,
e-mail for inquiries: [email protected]

This conference is funded by the European Social Fund according to the activity ‘Improvement of researchers’ qualification by implementing world-class R&D projects’ of Measure No. 09.3.3-LMT-K-712. ‘Between choice and determinism: cultural variations in experiencing and conceptualizing free will, luck, destiny and randomness’ (DOTSUT-22 (09.3.3-LMT-K-712-01-0111)) 

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