Public Philosophy Network

Encouraging and Supporting Publicly Engaged Philosophical Research and Practices

CFP 2015 Conference




Call for Proposals300pixels.jpg

 The call for proposals is now closed, but this document explains the type of sessions that were held at the conference.  We still seek volunteers to moderate sessions and we have room in workshops--the deadline to register and be listed in the program is May 20, 2015.

Advancing Public Philosophy

June 11-13, 2015

University of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA


The Public Philosophy Network ( invites proposals for its third conference on Advancing Public Philosophy. The conference will include a mix of workshops, panels, papers, and informal sessions on various issues in public philosophy. We invite proposals that cover topics related to understanding and advancing public philosophy, including the following:

  • philosophical work that engages various publics through research or social action projects;

  • philosophical work on substantive policy issues (for example, climate change, gay marriage, housing policy, fiscal policy, welfare, public health, among many others);

  • skills needed to engage in public work (such as how to do collaborative work or use social media);

  • practical or institutional matters and promising practices in public philosophy (for example, tenure hurdles for publicly engaged work, outreach programs in prisons, funding, etc.);

  • reflections on how philosophy is transformed by turning outward: How does public engagement inform philosophical concepts and understanding? How do we define, evaluate, and measure excellence in public philosophy?

Preference will be given to proposals which: are participatory or experiential in some way; focus on discussion and analysis of fruitful projects that invite practical and philosophical reflections; avoid criticism of traditional philosophy or defensiveness about public philosophy; and/or attend to skills, issues, or mentoring in public philosophy, especially kinds which can be transferred across topics/areas. For more information about preferred proposals, see our 2013 conference program ( (.pdf).

Proposals should specify the format: workshop, organized panel, or paper.

Workshops (3 hour sessions). Proposals should include a workshop title and descriptions of the organizer(s)’ interests and experience with the subject matter and how the topic is of concern to philosophy or public life. Proposals should also include an overview of how the three-hour workshop will proceed, highlighting how it will be participatory and experiential, and indicating any non-academic participants you might invite. We anticipate that workshops will take different formats, depending on the issues being addressed and the number and type of participants. The goals of these sessions can include 1) to foster partnerships and projects, whether new or ongoing, and, where appropriate, to spark substantive dialogue between philosophers and “practitioners” (public policy makers, government officials, grassroots activists, nonprofit leaders, etc.) or 2) to focus on how to do certain kinds of work in public philosophy. A second call will be issued later in the year inviting people to apply to participate in the workshops. Workshop organizers should help publicize this second call. We will limit each workshop to about 20 participants.  Workshop participants chosen after the second call will be listed on the program as discussants, though they will not be expected to make any formal presentation.

Organized Panels (90 minute sessions)
.  We invite proposals for panels on any number of themes: Book sessions, skill building, philosophical issues in public philosophy, or policy problems and how philosophers can engage them. These sessions could include a traditional set of three papers followed by discussion or more informal brief panelist remarks followed by interactive discussion among panelists and the audience. Proposals should include names and affiliations of proposed panelists, the proposed format, and an abstract on the topic to be addressed.

Papers (to be grouped into 90 minute panels). We are especially interested in papers that report on public philosophy projects or reflect on the practice of public philosophy. Proposals should include the title and a brief description of the paper. Papers will be circulated to participants in advance of the sessions to encourage more discussion and more informal dialogue. Presenters should plan for no more than 20 minutes of presentation time and at least 10 minutes of discussion (30 minutes total per presenter). Accepted proposals will be grouped into sessions.

All meeting space will have Wi-Fi; a screen and projector will be available upon request. Only one formal submission per person is permitted. Proposals should be 350-500 words in length, follow the guidelines above, and be submitted online: by November 15, 2014.

A notification of decisions regarding workshops, papers, and panels will be sent out by December 12th, 2014.

Pre-Conference Sessions Available

Additionally, we have 6 rooms available for pre-conference sessions for affinity groups and interested partners on Thursday, June 11th from 9 am to 5pm. If you would like to propose a pre-conference session for one of these rooms, please send a paragraph description to Rooms are available for morning, afternoon, or both.  We are accepting submissions on a rolling basis. People proposing or participating in pre-conference sessions are permitted to submit to the conference as well.

If you have any disability-related needs, contact the University of San Francisco’s office of Student Disability Services:

Program Committee
Eric Thomas Weber, University of Mississippi (chair)
Adam Briggle, University of North Texas
Chris Long, Pennsylvania State University
Frank McMillan, Metro Industrial Areas Foundation
Elizabeth Minnich, Association of American Colleges and Universities; Queens University
Paul Thompson, Michigan State University

Conference Committee (In addition to the above)
Noëlle McAfee, Emory University (chair)
Ron Sundstrom, University of San Francisco (Local host)
Lynne Tirrell, University of Massachusetts, Boston (Liaison to the APA)
Kyle Powys Whyte, Michigan State University (Media Director)

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