2017

Kant and Sidgwick

It is our pleasure to invite you to the 10th edition of the St Andrews Kant Reading Party. The event will take place between the 24th and the 27th of July 2017, at the Burn House in Edzell (http://theburn.goodenough.ac.uk/). The title of this year’s edition is ‘Kant and Sidgwick’, and the main goal will be to investigate the philosophical relations between Kant’s ethics and the utilitarian philosophy of Henry Sidgwick, with a special focus on the nature of morality and the good.

About this year’s Kant Reading Party

It is commonly argued that Kantian ethics and Utilitarianism (whose most rigorous formulation is arguably to be found in the work of Henry Sidgwick) are incompatible and even opposed to each other. However, it has also been argued that the two views are actually quite similar, both in form and in upshot, and some philosophers have gone as far as to claim (i) that they are largely compatible and/or (ii) that by combining the two an even stronger ethical system could be developed. The debate over the relation between Kantian ethics and utilitarian philosophy is still alive and well, waiting for new insights and new creative contributions. 

This year there will be up to six discussion sessions (all texts will be made available), as well as up to four paper sessions (see CFA below).

Participation Fees

Staff members: £150; Students: £75

The fee covers accommodation and full board at the Burn House, as well as transportation from St Andrews to the Burn House and back.

Invited speakers will be waived the entire participation fee (see CFA below).

If you would like to attend but child care duties make it difficult, please get in contact with Lucas Sierra Vélez (lsv2@st-andrews.ac.uk). We will do our best to meet your requests, and we hope to be able to provide financial support.

Registration

Since the number of places is limited, the registration process is divided in two steps: 1) Informal registration: send an e-mail including name, affiliation, and a brief expression of interest to Lucas Sierra Vélez (lsv2@st-andrews.ac.uk) by the 25th of June. 2) Payment: selected participants will be given instructions on how to make the online fee payment.

Call for abstracts

Postgraduate students are invited to send anonymised abstracts of no longer than 750 words, as well as a separate cover sheet including name, position, institutional affiliation, and e-mail address to Kristina Kersa (kk203@st-andrews.ac.uk) by the 25th of June. Abstracts will be selected by blind review, and applicants will be notified by the 30th of June.

Papers should be suitable for a presentation of 40 minutes, and should attempt to clarify the relations between Kant’s ethics and Sidgwick’s Utilitarianism, or at least between Kantian ethics and Utilitarianism more generally. Preference will be given to papers addressing topics from the following list:

The nature of action, practical reason and morality; The nature of human agency and human motivation; The relation between maxims/motives/intentions and consequences; The Kantian idea of ‘practical love’ and its relation to utilitarian benevolence; The moral standing of non-human animals; The axiological, practical and moral significance of happiness; The nature of happiness; The meaning and varieties of ‘hedonism’; The Kantian highest good and its relation to the idea of a maximally happy world; The idea of ‘deserving happiness’; The dualism of practical reason (morality vs egoism); The question of the ultimate/supreme good; The meaning of the term ‘good’ and the varieties of goodness; The notions of intrinsic value and unconditional value; The concepts of ‘dignity’ and ‘respect’; The distinction between ‘harming someone’ and ‘wronging someone’; Ideal theory vs non-ideal theory; Self-regarding and other-regarding duties.

For any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Lucas Sierra Vélez (lsv2@st-andrews.ac.uk).

With best wishes,

The organisers: Lucas Sierra Vélez, Stefano Lo Re, Professor Jens Timmermann.

The Kant Reading Party is made possible by the support of the British Society for the History of Philosophy, the Centre for Academic, Professional and Organisational Development at the University of St Andrews, the Department of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews, the International Society for Utilitarian Studies, the Mind Association, he Scots Philosophical Association, and the UK Kant Society.