CFP: Existential Philosophy for Times of Change and Crisis: Freedom, Responsibility and Equality

Submission deadline: May 15, 2021

Conference date(s):
August 26, 2021 - August 27, 2021

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

ESC Clermont
Clermont-Ferrand, France

Topic areas


Following up on our 2020 conference on Existential Philosophy for Times of Change and Crisis, this second edition seeks to re-examine the applicability of existential philosophy, broadly understood, for dealing with the drastic changes to our lives brought about by the pandemic and ensuing social and economic difficulties.

As ‘pandemic fatigue’ has settled in, bringing about waves of social contestation and exacerbating the divisions within our societies, but also among them, questions about our responsibility toward others, the meaningfulness of our lives, and the types of sacrifices we are willing to make become increasingly pressing.

At the heart of these questions reside fundamental tensions between individual freedom and selfhood and notions of moral and social responsibility, between the personal and subjective dimensions of human experience and the collective, social realities of our lived condition, and between internal and external perspectives on what makes human life worthy and what constitutes a good life. Twentieth-century thinkers struggled intensely with these issues, and the aim of this conference is to bring together international scholars to discuss these existential, ethical, and meta-ethical challenges of our times, examining what philosophical resources can we draw upon to help us better think through our current situation. 

Is it possible to lead a good life when others are oppressed? Do we have a moral obligation to resist oppression, and if so what counts as oppression? Should our understanding of human existence and our moral duties focus on internal change or outward social change? How can we articulate the link between these demands? What do they entail for our understanding of human equality? What is the ground for that equality, supposing it needs any ground? Or maybe it does not? To be more precise, does equality rely on some universal internal qualities of the human being or is it an upshot of our social forms of life?

We are especially looking for contributions engaging with current issues from the perspectives of influential thinkers in existential philosophy and phenomenology, such as Albert Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Karl Jaspers, Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger and Ludwig Wittgenstein, and their nineteenth-century predecessors (Kierkegaard, Nietzsche…). 




This conference will be held entirely online using Microsoft Teams. 

To propose a talk:

Scholars interested in presenting should send a 300 word abstract by 15 May 2021 to [email protected] and [email protected]. Notification of acceptance by 20 June 2021. Conference programme to follow. Presentations should be 25 minutes, followed by 25 minutes discussion time. (NB: for those outside of Europe, please note your time zone also on your proposal; we will attempt to accommodate the schedule for those situated outside of the CET time zone.)

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