Metaethics in Society: The Public Importance of Non-Normative Ethical Philosophy

March 15, 2022 - March 16, 2022
Department of Philosophy, University of Nottingham

University of Nottingham
Nottingham NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

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  • Royal Institute of Philosophy


Harvard University
Nottingham University


University of Sheffield
Nottingham University
Nottingham University
Nottingham University

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To understand moral philosophy fully, it is sometimes useful to take a step back from normative questions about right or wrong actions, or good or bad persons or outcomes. Metaethics asks questions about these kinds of questions, or about the psychological nature of our moral judgements, the meanings of moral terms, and so on. Normative moral philosophy is, rightly, widely seen as being of importance to the general public. However, many metaethical topics are typically treated as if they are only important within the seminar room. This conference will explore whether, how, and why, metaethical topics should have a broader reach than they currently do, in other academic contexts or in society in general, including schools, media, etc. Perhaps, especially as experimental philosophy is burgeoning, and there are efforts to learn about metaethical intuitions from the public, we should aim for more dialogue with non-philosophers about such topics.

Therefore, the aim of the conference is to enrich philosophical ethical discussion by considering the potential for greater dialogue between philosophers working in metaethics and wider society. This may involve questions about, for example, philosophical outreach, inter-disciplinary research, or the investigation of core, ordinary intuitions about the nature of right and wrong.

This conference invites submissions on any aspect of the importance of metaethics to wider society or of public engagement with metaethics. We understand ‘metaethics’ broadly, and we allow for liberal interpretations of this theme. Topics could include, but are not limited to:

·       Moral Knowledge

·       Moral Psychology

·       Moral Testimony

·       Moral Perception

·       Moral Responsibility

·       Moral Emotions

·       Emotions and Moral Value

·       Moral Progress

·       Self-Improvement

We welcome submissions from postgraduate students at any stage in their studies, or those who have completed a PhD within two years of the conference date. We welcome submissions from all philosophical traditions.

Please send abstracts of not more than 500 words (not including references), prepared for anonymous review, to [email protected] by the 30th November.

Please include ‘submission’ in the email title, and include the following information in either the body of the email or in a separate cover note:

  • Author name
  • Academic affiliation (if applicable)
  • Title of paper
  • Academic status (e.g. Masters student/Doctoral student/Recently completed PhD/Early Career Researcher).

We are particularly keen to encourage applications from philosophers with backgrounds which are under-represented in academic philosophy. If you believe that you are from an under-represented background, then you are very welcome to include this information in your email or cover note.

The conference will adhere to the recommendations of the BPA/SWIP Good Practice Scheme.

We are committed to ensuring our conference is accessible to all, and we will offer the option to present online to anyone who requests it. For those who attend in person, we will ensure that there is a quiet space for anyone who requires it, and we are very happy to discuss further support. If you would like to discuss any accessibility requirements, or if you have any other questions, then please contact [email protected].

For the latest information on the conference please see our website ( or follow us on Twitter at @MetaethicsNotts.

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March 14, 2022, 9:00am BST

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