CFP: Duties to Oneself: Moral, Social and Political Dimensions

Submission deadline: June 13, 2022

Conference date(s):
September 7, 2022 - September 9, 2022

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Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, University of Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom

Topic areas



MANCEPT Workshops 2022: “Duties to Oneself: Moral, Social and Political Dimensions”

Recent years have seen a resurgence of philosophical interest in duties to oneself. However, much of the recent literature has centered on fairly abstract moral considerations: whether the notion of a duty to oneself is coherent, whether we have such duties at all, how they differ from mere prudential imperatives, etc. In contrast, relatively little attention has been paid to the significance of duties to oneself for the social and political domain. Duties to ourselves could shape what states and societies owe their members, as well as shaping what members owe to the state and to one another. This workshop would convene scholars to investigate these largely unexplored relationships between self-regarding duties and the social and political domains.  

Workshop contributions may address the following concerns (among others): 

  • Some argue that duties to oneself arise out of practical identities the agent occupies. If practical identities are often socially constructed social roles, how do vested political interests in these constructions affect the duties one has to oneself? Could (say) a woman whose practical identity incorporates misogynistic norms have a self-regarding duty to alter that identity? Or might that identity be a source/ground of self-regarding duties? 

  • One popular candidate for a duty to oneself is the duty to pursue self-knowledge. What is the social or political import of such a duty? For instance, do we have duties to ourselves to know our sexual orientations or our racial or ethnic backgrounds? Do racists or misogynists have duties to learn that they are racist or misogynist? 

  • How are self-directed duties and civic virtue connected, if at all? Can commonly recognized civic responsibilities – to vote, pay taxes, resist one’s own oppression or that of others – be justified by reference to duties to ourselves? 

  • To what extent are political concepts applicable to our relationship to ourselves? Is it possible for us to treat ourselves unequally or unjustly, for instance?

  • How might duties to oneself affect others’ authority over us? If (say) there are duties to ourselves to preserve or maintain our bodies, does this impact what health-care professionals may permissibly do to extend our lives or improve our health? May the state use coercion or compulsion so as to ensure we fulfill our self-regarding duties? Is the state required to shoulder the costs of our fulfilling any of our self-directed duties (e.g. duties to develop our talents)? 

Our workshop will consist of up to fifteen talks. Please send anonymized abstracts (up to 500 words) and a title page, including e-mail address and institutional affiliation, by 13 June 2022 to Janis Schaab ([email protected]) and Pablo Hubacher Haerle ([email protected]). On the title page, demographic details (e.g., self-identifications of membership of any marginalised group) can be included voluntarily, based on whether those submitting feel comfortable disclosing this information. In exceptional circumstances, we may accommodate online participation. However, other things being equal, we strongly prefer in-person presentations. We especially encourage applications by women and members of other underrepresented groups.

As part of the MANCEPT Conference, there are the following attendance fees: 

Online attendance / In Person

Academics: £ 45.00 / £ 230.00

Postgraduate Students: £ 20.00 / £ 135.00

Non-speaker: £ 15.00 / Dinner: £ 30

A limited number of fee waiver bursaries will be available from MANCEPT. These can be applied for upon successful application to the conference. More information will be released in due course.

Confirmed Invited Speakers:

·   Monika Betzler (LMU Munich)*

·   Michael Cholbi (University of Edinburgh)

·   Pablo Hubacher Haerle (University of Cambridge)

·   Yuliya Kanygina (University of Gothenburg)*

·   Daniel Muñoz (UNC Chapel Hill)*

·   Janis Schaab (University of Groningen)

·   Ashwini Vasanthakumar (Queen's Law School Ontario)*

(* Talk most likely delivered online)

For more information on the MANCEPT Workshops, click below.  

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