Category Archives: Philosophy

Energies in the Arts Conference

At the outset of the 21st century any discussion of energy is inextricably linked to the politics of power and environmental catastrophe. The conference extends this understanding of energy to encompass a broader field in the arts. Art’s relationship with energy extends well beyond light and colour to the kinetic, sonic, electronic, metabolic, physical, physiological, neurological, solar and sensory. Scratch below the surface of global communications and you will find flashes and systems of energy.

The conference will be presented to overlap with the Energies: Haines & Hinterding exhibition.  Attendants willhave the possibility to meet international scholars and artists and experience their latest research and practice.


Keynote speakers include

Professor Linda Dalrymple Henderson, Department of Art and Art History, The University of Texas in Austin
Martin Howse, artist, Berlin
Professor Marcus Boon, Department of English, York University, Toronto
David Haines and Joyce Hinterding, artists, Lawson


Thu 13 & Fri 14 Aug, 10am – 5pm, MCA , Veolia Lecture Theatre
Sat 15 Aug, 10am – 4pm , UNSW Art & Design


more info

conference program

Philosophy of Design: An Exploration
Philosophy of Design: An Exploration

Call for chapters
Call for co-authors

Philosophical interest in design and design research is increasing in both philosophy and design research, offering the possibility of the emergence of the new scholarly field of philosophy of design. The first steps towards this possibility have been made by work by individual authors and with volumes containing reflective research on design. With thisnew edited volume we plan to make a further step by bringing together essays that survey philosophy of design either through research papers on specific topics or by explorations of issues this field could or should take up.

Given the past naturalistic and empirical turns in philosophy, outcomes and practices in design research can immediate inform philosophy of design, and philosophy heritage can strongly fertilize design practices and design research models. For facilitating this process, the volume is planned to also include essays co-authored by design researchers and philosophers.

All topics in the large range of design disciplines are welcome, e.g., topics in the applied arts, industrial design, engineering design and all new types of design practices (ecodesign, user-centered design, interaction design, UX design, service design, design thinking, social design…).


We therefore solicit:
• proposals for research papers on topics within philosophy of design
• candidates from design research and philosophy for co-authoring papers
Responses to the call for co-authoring will be used to create and propose matching pairs of design researchers and philosophers for co-authoring contributions to the volumes.

Topics for papers could be but are not restricted to:
• phenomenology of design: the use of hermeneutics in design processes and in design projects considered as lived experiences
• epistemology of design: the specificity of design research as compared to scientific research or considered as a new kind of scientific research
• ethics of design and responsible innovation
• design knowledge and ‘designerly ways of knowing’
• esthetics of/in design
• modelling and mapping design processes
• validation of design research

Important dates:
• June 2015, 1st: abstracts (500 words)
• December 2015, 1st: full papers (between 6000 and 12000 words)
• February 2016, 1st: decisions and feedback to authors
• March 2016, 1st: revised papers
• April 2016, 1st: submission to reviewers
• June 2016, 1st : reviewers feedback
• July 2016, 1st: final revised papers
• September 2016: release

Abstracts must be sent to:
• Pieter Vermaas, Delft University of Technology,
• Stéphane Vial, University of Nîmes / Sorbonne Paris 1 University,

Toward a Science of Consciousness 2015

Is the 21st annual international, interdisciplinary conference on the fundamental questions connected with conscious experience. It will be held in Helsinki  (June 9th – 13th, 2015)

Matteo Bultrini - EpifaniaGregory Bateson: ”The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think.”

Topical areas include neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, biology, quantum physics, meditation and altered states, machine consciousness, culture and experiential phenomenology. Cutting edge, controversial issues are emphasized.

Held annually since 1994, the TSC conference is organized by the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona in different locations


Trick or Truth: the Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics [ESSAY CONTEST]


DEADLINE March 4th!

      In many ways, physics has developed hand-in-hand with mathematics. It seems almost impossible to imagine physics without a mathematical framework; at the same time, questions in physics have inspired so many discoveries in mathematics. But does physics simply wear mathematics like a costume, or is math a fundamental part of physical reality?
      Why does mathematics seem so “unreasonably” effective in fundamental physics, especially compared to math’s impact in other scientific disciplines? Or does it? How deeply does mathematics inform physics, and physics mathematics? What are the tensions between them — the subtleties, ambiguities, hidden assumptions, or even contradictions and paradoxes at the intersection of formal mathematics and the physics of the real world?
    This essay contest will probe the mysterious relationship between physics and mathematics.
    Examples of foundational questions addressed by on-topic entries might include:
    • Why does mathematics seem so “unreasonably” effective in fundamental physics? (Or does it?)
      • Is there a “pre-established harmony” between them, because the world is fundamentally mathematical?
      • Are we pushed to call certain theories or disciplines more fundamental because they are in some sense more mathematical?
      • Or, are we just lacking the right mathematics to treat other fields with similar power and rigor as physics?
      • What would it mean for something in the physical world to be NOT describable or model-able in terms of mathematics?
      • Why does physical reality obey one particular set of mathematical laws and not others (Or does it?)
    • How deeply does mathematics inform physics? How deeply does physics inform mathematics?
      • How does the structure and availability of existing mathematics shape the formulation of physical theories?
      • Why do we prefer mathematically simple theories to complex ones? What even defines simplicity? And is there an objective measure of complexity?
      • May we be missing interesting physical theories because we are committed to particular mathematical frameworks, or because suitable ones have not yet been developed?
      • To what extent can or should we extrapolate our mathematical equations of physics beyond the domains where we have tested them?
      • How much of mathematics has been constructed as if it had been due to physics motivations?
      • Should frameworks that are internally consistent and display mathematical elegance, but which lie beyond experimental reach, be regarded as physical theories or rather as branches of mathematics or philosophy?
      • Out of the countably infinitely many true statements that could be derived from a given set of sufficiently rich axioms, how have we arrived at what we know as mathematics? How much is evolutionary history? Our mental makeup? Utility? Beauty? Something else?
    • What are the tensions between physics and mathematics?
      • Are there hidden subtleties or overt controversies in how or why mathematics is used in physics (or other sciences)?
      • What is randomness, and what is the nature of probability?
        • What is the fundamental origin of stochasticity, and does that affect how we think of probability? Is it quantumness? Or indexical uncertainty of various types? Or lack of knowledge?
        • Is there true randomness, or is it only apparent? Are there hidden patterns in things that seem random to us now?
      • Do incompleteness theorems such as Goedel’s play a role in physical theory? What do they allow, forbid, or elucidate?
      • How should we think of infinity? Is it a useful mathematical concept that does not really apply to physical reality? Or could real physical systems be infinite?
      • Are there mathematical contradictions or paradoxes that tell us something about physical reality?

find out more on FQXi website..



Race and Aesthetics [call for papers]

A British Society of Aesthetics Connections Conference
May 19th and 20th, 2015 – Leeds, UK


Nearly 100 years ago, the two founding giants of the academic field that became philosophy of race—W.E.B. Du Bois and Alain Locke—debated the proper social and artistic conception of black aesthetics. Since then, there has been impressive growth in both philosophy of race and philosophical aesthetics. Unfortunately, the advances in each of these philosophical fields seemed to have gone unnoticed by the other (with a few exceptions). Our aim with this conference is to reunite philosophy of race and philosophical aesthetics. 

To return the spirit of Du Bois and Locke to contemporary discourse, we have invited philosophers who tackle philosophical problems related to race from diverse perspectives and philosophical aestheticians with demonstrated interest in race. We have chosen three intersections between race and aesthetics to focus on: psychology, politics, and methods.

Race, Psychology, and Aesthetics

Both philosophy of race and philosophical aesthetics are now increasingly connected to sciences of the mind. For example, aesthetic concerns have been central to a substantial literature on imagination, and racial concerns have been central to a substantial literature on implicit biases. Yet, there has been little dialogue between the fields regarding these psychological mechanisms. For this conference, we propose to explore questions such as:

  • Are there implicit racial biases that affect assessments of aesthetic virtues, such as creativity? What is the significance of such biases for philosophical assessments of aesthetic evaluation?
  • Are imagination, empathy, and engagement with artistic representations effective methods for reducing or eliminating structural racial inequalities?
  • Does racial oppression function via aesthetic psychological mechanisms, such as the mechanisms that underlie our judgments of taste and attractiveness?
  • How do artworks contribute to the experience of being racialized in contemporary society? For example, how might racist tropes in artistic representations—even when they are intended as subversive—contribute to the internalizations of stereotypes that are harmful to members of subordinated racial groups?

Race, Politics, and Aesthetics

Both philosophy of race and philosophical aesthetics are now increasingly intertwined with moral and political considerations, broadly construed. For example, one of the liveliest debates in philosophical aesthetics in the last few decades concerns the legitimacy of criticizing art on ethical grounds. For this conference, we propose to explore questions such as:

  • What explains the underrepresentation and ghettoization of non-whites in the art world? Are racialized art curations—such as an exhibit that explicitly focuses on black artists only—ethically or aesthetically justified?
  • Can art projects that aim to reclaim racist tropes by using those racist tropes—such as the controversial contemporary restaging of Norway’s 1914 human zoo exhibit—ever be justified on moral or aesthetic grounds?
  • It is commonly assumed that racialized aesthetic preferences, for people and for artifacts, are immune to moral criticism because they are “merely aesthetic”. How is this assumption problematized by recent debates in philosophy of race and philosophical aesthetics?

Race, Philosophical (Self-)Conceptions, and Aesthetics

The traditional conception of philosophy is one that privileges the Western canon, dominated by white males, and marks certain areas of inquiry as “core”. This traditional approach has not only marginalized women and people of color, but also fields such as philosophy of race and philosophical aesthetics. For this conference, we propose to explore questions such as:

  • Are fields such as philosophy of race and philosophical aesthetics marginalized due to the traditional self-conception of philosophy?
  • How can the modes and topics of inquiry in philosophy of race and philosophical aesthetics together inform alternative conceptions of philosophy that allow for the flourishing of diverse intellectual projects?
  • Are there links between demographic diversity and cognitive diversity? How can philosophical studies of race and aesthetics clue us to the contours of such links, if they exist?


Alia Al-Saji (McGill University)
Nathaniel Adam Tobias C̶o̶l̶e̶m̶a̶n̶ (University College London)
Kristie Dotson (Michigan State University)
A.W. Eaton (University of Illinois – Chicago)
Sherri Irvin (University of Oklahoma)
Ron Mallon (Washington University in St Louis)
Charles W. Mills (Northwestern University)
Jennifer Saul (University of Sheffield)
Paul C. Taylor (Pennsylvania State University)

find out more…

Conference on Perception and the Arts [call for papers]

CFP: Conference on Perception and the Arts, Institute of Philosophy, London, September 16-17, 2015 (BSA Connections Conference)

Call for papers

The conceptual apparatus of philosophy of perception has been used in as diverse corners of aesthetics and philosophy of art as debates about depiction, aesthetic experiences, character engagement, our engagement with fictions, our engagement with narratives, aesthetic properties, metaphors, and so on. The aim of the conference is to provide a general framework for these ways in which philosophy of perception and aesthetics can be fruitfully combined, but, it is important to emphasize, a framework where not only aesthetics is enriched by philosophy of perception but philosophy of perception can also learn from aesthetics, making the interaction between the two sub-disciplines genuinely bidirectional. The conference is supported by a BSA Connections Conference Grant.

Confirmed speakers:

Ophelia Deroy (University of London)
Anya Farennikova (University of Bristol)
Heather Logue (University of Leeds)
Mohan Matthen (University of Toronto)
Matthew Nudds (University of Warwick)
Elisabeth Schellekens (University of Durham and University of Uppsala)
Barry Smith (University of London)
Lambert Wiesing (University of Halle)

find out more…

“Rethinking Foundations of Physics” [workshop] · 28 March -4 April 15 · Austria


Traditional conferences and subject-specific workshops offer little room for in-depth discussions about the foundations of physics in an open, creative, and speculative way. This workshop offers a platform for young scientists to engage in such discussions.

The major part of the workshop will consist of discussion sessions in small groups, aiming at new approaches and ways of thinking about specific topics in fundamental physics. The discussion sessions will be led by the talks of some of the participants (there will be not more than three talks per day). The topics of discussions will be selected based on the expertise and interests of all participants and, similarly to the topics of talks, will be centered around some of the following questions:

  •  What are the mathematical, conceptual, and experimental paradigms underlying modern formulations of QM, GR, and QFT?
  • Can they be relaxed or changed? And how?
  • Which mathematics and principles could be relevant for new foundations?
  • Are there promising nonstandard experimental possibilities?

find out more…

“Pictures & Proofs” [call for papers] · Columbia, South Carolina · 19-21 March 2015

  • What are the roles of pictures and diagrams in mathematical proofs, in formal reasoning, and in epistemic justification more broadly?
  • Can pictures by themselves serve as rigorous argumentation insofar as they can be persuasive and even convey a sense of demonstrative certainty?
Marquand Syllogistic Variantions
from Allan Marquand, “A Machine for Producing Syllogistic Variations” —In  C. S. Peirce (ed.),Studies in Logic by Members of the John Hopkins University, 12–15. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1883.

For the most part, these questions have been discussed separately. We want to bring them together and take them in new directions. These are philosophical questions that are addressed by many different disciplines: STS, history of science, mathematics, engineering, media studies, and the visual arts. They draw attention to technologies of picturing, the contexts of practice in which proofs and procedures of formal reasoning are employed, and problems and methods of teaching and communication.

We invite submissions on any aspect of the relation between pictures and proofs, and especially in these three thematic areas:

  1. The role of pictures in logical or mathematical reasoning: What is the role of diagrams as objects of reasoning or as parts of the language of reasoning?
  2. Compelling imagery and the power of visual evidence: Do pictures afford evidence and certainty such that they can serve as proofs?
  3. Handling proofs and putting them to work: How have mechanical models, graphic procedures, visual and haptic manipulation contributed to mathematical reasoning in a wide variety of disciplines and applications?

Find out more….