CFP: Vicious, Antisocial, Sinful in Medieval Moral and Political Philosophy

Submission deadline: April 14, 2022

Conference date(s):
April 3, 2023 - April 4, 2023

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Conference Venue:

Univeristy of Jyväskylä
Jyväskylä, Finland

Topic areas


Call for Papers

Workshop ‘Vicious, Antisocial, Sinful’ (VAS)

University of Jyväskylä

The medieval stream of VAS is pleased to invite papers for its workshop on vice, sin, and anti-sociality in late medieval moral and political thought (13th-15th centuries), to be held at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. The workshop will take place in early 2023 (provisionally 3-4 April, 2023, TBC). Papers presented at the workshop will be considered for publication in the VAS’s anthology. Nine scholars have so far confirmed their participation, and we are able to offer up to four places for papers selected from the call. 

Vicious, Antisocial and Sinful (VAS) is an Academy of Finland-funded project that explores the social and political dimension of vice, and its theological counterpart sin, in medieval and early modern philosophy (here to read more: The project examines how the relationship between human wickedness and social life has been understood, with a particular focus on charting the (dis)continuities between the medieval and early modern periods, and with an eye towards reflecting on relationships between historical views and contemporary philosophy.  

Scholarly discussions of late medieval moral thought have traditionally focused on the good and the virtuous, and relatively little has been said about its opposite - the vicious and the sinful - especially in a social and political context. Medieval moral theology understands human nature as fundamentally corrupted and sinful after the Fall, which is in turn complicated by the social and political considerations of the Aristotelian and Ciceronian traditions. Human wickedness can be detrimental not only to one’s own salvation, but also to the wider society as a whole. Yet, the idea of the ‘political animal’ may seem to be at odds with both the tenets of monasticism and the notion that the human society is a consequence of the Original Sin. The human disposition for sociability does not necessarily lead to the good and virtuous, but does the lack of such social disposition result in the vicious and sinful?

The workshop seeks to add to our understanding of relationships between ideas of vice, sin, and the human capacity for social life in the late medieval period, in order to illuminate how sociability and anti-sociability were conceptualised in moral and political thought from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century. 

We are particularly interested in (but not limited to) contributions that consider one or more of the following themes: 

- conceptions of vice in late medieval moral philosophy and psychology;

- the relationship and distinction between the concepts of vice and sin;

- the understanding of vice and sin in relation to human sociability; 

- conceptions of the ‘antisocial’ in late medieval thought; 

- the interplay between theological premises and philosophical discussions of sociability; 

- the connections between the moral, the legal, and the theological;

- the continuities and changes between scholastic and early humanist moral thought.

Please send an abstract of 300-500 words and a short biography to Niklas Hintsa at [email protected] by 14 April 2022. 

Co-authored papers are welcome, but please do not propose a panel. Abstracts will be blind reviewed, and selected proposals will be notified soon after the deadline. 

For questions, please contact the organisers:

Juhana Toivanen (Jyväskylä) [email protected]

Ziang Chen (Jyväskylä) [email protected]

Confirmed participants:

Marta Celati (Warwick)

Iacopo Costa (CNRS, Paris)

Bonnie Kent (UC Irvine)

Maria Morras (UPF Barcelona)

Alexander Stöpfgeshoff (Stockholm)

Simona Vucu (Toronto)

Irene Zavattero (Trento)

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