Public Philosophy Network

Encouraging and Supporting Publicly Engaged Philosophical Research and Practices

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS   10th International Conference and 30th Anniversary of the International Development Ethics Association   Development Ethics Contributions for a Socially Sustainable Future   San …



10th International Conference and 30th Anniversary of the

International Development Ethics Association


Development Ethics Contributions for a Socially Sustainable Future


San José, Costa Rica, July 21-24*, 2014

Organized by The International Development Ethics Association (IDEA) with Vicerrectoría de Investigación, Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas (UCR), Escuela de Filosofía(UCR) and Maestría en Desarrollo Sostenible (UCR).

Development ethics considers the ethical and value questions posed by development theory, planning and practice. The mission of this interdisciplinary field is to identify the value conflicts posed by development and to evaluate alternatives according to normative parameters. IDEA’s mission for the past 30 years has been to maintain an international, intercultural, and interdisciplinary dialogue that brings together intellectuals, grassroots organizations, and decision-making groups with the purpose of understanding and promoting well-grounded ethics and their application in different “development” situations and alternatives.

There is widespread agreement on the need for changing development patterns towards sustainable and equitable models. But there are no overarching approaches that draw sufficient support from large sectors of societies across the world. Indeed, traditional development (i.e. quantitative economic expansion) is happening to a considerable extent, and successfully so – especially in many parts of Latin America, Africa and Asia. But such development is part of the problem in so far as it is typically neither equitable nor sustainable. At times of global financial and economic crisis and after the Rio+20 debate, centered around concepts such as the green economy, green growth, smart agriculture, smart cities, sustainable development goals etc., the requirement is to conceptualize and operationalize the ideas of progress and sustainability in ways that are truly compatible, but that also have an ethical dimension.

Development Ethics is thus a fundamental area of work required in order to achieve the goals of socially and environmentally sustainable development. In 1984 the University of Costa Rica, UCR, served as host of the first international conference on development ethics, jointly organized by Dr. David A. Crocker and Dr. Luis Camacho. The topic of the conference was Ethics and Third World Development. One major consequence of the event was the creation of the International Development Ethics Association (IDEA). Both the conference and the foundation of IDEA were major events in the scientific study of the ethical implications of development programs and policies implemented around the globe. The fact that those two events took place in Costa Rica is not arbitrary. On the contrary, thirty years ago Costa Rica was already being studied as an exemplary case of high human development achieved despite low income, through the deployment of strong and effective social institutions. At the time, however, the particular conception of development that Costa Rica had achieved by the late 1970s was a special case, and the category of human development, and its measure, was not yet clearly conceived. The international debate of which the 1984 conference formed a part contributed to the conceptualization and operationalization of human development thinking and it highlight the need to monitor the ethical design and implementation of development policies.


The goals of the 10th IDEA conference and 30th Anniversary of its foundation are in line with the history of IDEA and its vision of development ethics and ethical development.  The conference aims to

  • revisit the fundamental importance of development ethics in light of the current demands for new development models that recognize that progress must be both socially and environmentally sustainable; and to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of IDEA to the field of development ethics in the past 30 years.
  • analyze the political, economic and social changes needed to create analytical and policy frameworks for designing, implementing and monitoring ethically sustainable development policies within a global structure still dominated by models of political economy.
  • bridge the philosophical analysis of development with its implications for practice, in particular, concerning individuals, non-human beings, and societies in our era of dominant scientific and technological approaches to problem-solving, learning and monitoring progress and results.
  • create a space for the analysis of both the current theoretical advances in the field of development ethics, and specific case studies of good and bad practices in the design and implementation of ethically guided sustainable development planning.
  • critically analyze and reflect upon the relationship between academics and practitioners within development ethics and explore the role of IDEA in moving this forward.
  • Pay particular attention to the specific challenges of Latin America and the Caribbean with special focus on the host country, Costa Rica such as agricultural sustainability and food sovereignty.  



  • Rethinking the concept of development: Lessons and limits of development ethics
  • Global Inequality and sustainability: Are these the main problems of development?
  • Global accountability
  • Varieties of Capitalism: what are the lessons and what varieties may lead to socially and environmentally sustainable futures?
  • Ethically driven transitions to resilient cities and communities: Lessons from the bottom up
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Development as Freedom, gender equity, capacity building and deployment: defining features of humanism in the 21st Century?
  • Development ethics in Latin America
  • The Ideas of Denis Goulet in the context of current development trends and challenges
  • Who drives development? Considering how and by whom development is motivated, identified, prioritized, implemented, measured and funded
  • The role of human rights in shaping development priorities and programs
  • Agricultural sustainability, food justice and food sovereignty
  • As well as any other theoretical and practical topics within the field of Development Ethics

Papers should examine these issues from diverse theoretical and conceptual perspectives including philosophical argument, empirical analysis, examinations of policy, and action strategies.  The conference will engage scholars and practitioners from around the world and from a wide variety of disciplines and activities (including philosophy and other humanities, social sciences, policy studies, development, social work, NGOs, local and global agencies and organizations, government officials and policy makers).  IDEA particularly welcomes submissions from scholars and practitioners from countries in the global south countries.


The conference will include the presence of world-class leaders in the fields of human development, justice and equality and the design, implementation and monitoring of ethically sustainable development policies. Academic reflection will be complemented with dialogue and lessons from practitioners and civil society and government representatives. Conference plenary speakers will participate in mixed plenary panels. Concurrent panels will include development ethics, political economy of development, and presentations of case studies (in relation to the above topics). A one-day workshop retreat to discuss the ways forward for IDEA and to visit some communities in the countryside is planned (this is organized by the Maestría en Desarrollo Sostenible, UCR, Sede de Occidente).The official languages of the conference will be English and Spanish, with simultaneous translation in Spanish, limited to the participation of approximately 70 people.


Alejandra Boni, Associate Professor, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia “University and human development / University for global transformations”

David A. Crocker. Senior Research Scholar and Director of the School of Public Policy’s Ph.D. Program University of Maryland. "Democracy, Development Ethics and Global Justice: Theory and Practice" 

Luis Camacho, Professor Emeritus, Universidad de Costa Rica. "First David A. Crocker Lecture: The Ethics of Development”

Adela Cortina, Professor of Moral Philosophy; University of Valencia. “Applied Ethics and Democracy: New Challenges”

Jay Drydyk, Department of Philosophy, Carleton University, Canada, Nigel Dowel, Honorary Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen, and Des Gasper, Dean of Studies at The Institute of Social Studies in the Hague, The Netherlands:  A panel on “Development Ethics: Past Reflections, Current Happenings, Future Directions”

Asuncion Lera St. Clair: President of IDEA; Research Director-CICERO, Oslo Norway: “The four tasks of development ethics in times of a changing climate” (Presidential Address)

Paul B. Thompson, W.K.Kellogg Chair in Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics, Michigan State University, “Sustainability, Food Security and Ethical Development”

Other plenary speakers to be confirmed.


Submission of Abstracts.  Proposals in English or Spanish should be submitted no later than April 1, 2014 by email to and should include:

  1. An abstract of 500 words
  2. Name, affiliation, and contact information on a separate page
  3. A biography of under 100 words (for the conference program)

For further information and conference updates see:

*An optional field trip is planned for July 24

Views: 52


You need to be a member of Public Philosophy Network to add comments!

Join Public Philosophy Network

© 2019   Created by Sharon M. Meagher.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service