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Three CFPs

Here are three Calls for Papers (CFPs) that might be of interest to the IOS readership.

(1) The first is a CFP from the journal Topoi for a special issue on the role of presuppositions in philosophy, linguistics, and psychology. I’ve slightly edited the version of the CFP recently posted at the Philosop list-serve:

The primary purpose of this special issue of Topoi is to provide an updated survey of the different competing perspectives on the theme of presuppositions in philosophy of language and linguistics. A further aim of the collection is to encourage contributions in the area of experimental pragmatics. Topics include but are not limited to the following:

– Presuppositions and context
– Presupposition triggers
– Informative presupposition
– Presupposition accommodation
– The presupposition projection problem
– Presuppositions in Dynamic Semantics
– The presupposition/implicature distinction
– Presuppositions and attitudes

Contributions should be original and not submitted elsewhere. Papers will be submitted to blind peer-reviewing.


WORD LIMITS: up to 60.000 characters, spaces and references included

Here’s a link to the submission procedure.

The topic might at first look too linguistic to be very Objectivist-friendly, but I think that’s a mistake. Just think of possible topics inspired by Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology: A rigorous discussion of tacit knowledge might fit the bill. So might a discussion of axiomatic knowledge that paid close attention to the role that axioms play in language. So would any discussion of the relationship between perceptual content and conceptual-level judgment. Topics in ethics or moral epistemology might work as well: the last item on their list suggests that a discussion of prejudicial moral judgment is a possibility. And that’s just off the top of my head. There’s a lot of potential there.

(2) As I’ve mentioned before, I run an ethics conference each spring at Felician (Felician Ethics Conference, or FEC); FEC 2014 will take place on Felician’s Rutherford, New Jersey campus on Saturday, April 26. The official CFP hasn’t gone out yet, but it’ll go out sometime this summer, and it takes the same form every year: we’re looking for papers by February 1, 2014 of about 3,000 words’ length, on any topic in ethics. We’re flexible on the 3,000 word limit, but your paper should be presentable within about 20 or at most 25 minutes. Send finished papers (not abstracts) to

A situation of contempt? In which direction?

A situation of contempt? In which direction?

This year’s plenary speaker is Macalester Bell of Columbia University; I don’t know her exact topic yet, but I’m guessing she’ll have something to say about her recently published book, Hard Feelings: The Moral Psychology of Contempt. Whether or not she talks about the book, Hard Feelings is (or ought to be) of interest to Objectivists in part because of connections between Objectivist moral psychology and Bell’s treatment of the subject, but also more specifically because Objectivists are so intimately familiar with the phenomenon of contempt, given its sheer ubiquity within the Objectivist movement. (I mean that literally; I’m not being sarcastic.) In fact, part of the reason for my interest in Bell’s work (though not the only one) was long reflection on the attitudes of contempt that I encountered among Objectivists: I’m finding the book helpful in understanding that phenomenon, and similar phenomena as well. I recommend it.

Though FEC is looking for papers on any subject in ethics, paper submissions usually follow the plenary speaker, so I’m predicting that we’ll get a fair number of papers on general topics in moral psychology as well as racism, sexism, etc. Frankly, I think the time is ripe for someone to write a paper on Ayn Rand’s conception of envy. It’d be interesting to see such a paper on the program. (Incidentally, papers are peer-reviewed, so while I get a say, I’m not the last word on what gets put on the conference program.)

(3) Reason Papers is looking for papers for a symposium in late 2014 on the ethics of emergencies. Here’s how we put it on the Reason Papers website (the original idea was actually Carrie-Ann’s):

Call for Papers

Fall 2014 Symposium: The Epistemology, Ethics, and Politics of Emergencies

The Editors of Reason Papers are soliciting submissions of manuscripts for a special symposium on emergencies (due by March 1, 2014). Send submissions to Inquiries welcome.

Submissions may grapple with any of a wide variety of issues related to emergencies (not an exhaustive list): How is “emergency” to be defined? How do we know when we enter/exit an emergency? How should moral and legal norms be formulated so as to take stock of emergencies–if they should? Are moral norms defeasible in the face of emergencies, or specially contextualized so as to preserve their indefeasibility? Who has special authority for decision-making in an emergency? How best to guard against abuses of power or corruptions of norms in emergency situations?

We’re looking for submissions across the broadest spectrum of relevant disciplines–philosophy, political science, legal studies, history, sociology, anthropology, medicine, criminology/police studies, strategic/military studies, etc.

The Objectivist-relevant potential of this topic should be obvious. In fact, the blurb above sounds as though parts of it were specifically written with Ayn Rand’s “The Ethics of Emergencies” in mind. (Actually, I have inside information that it was.)

The interest of “emergencies” is hardly confined to Rand’s treatment of it, of course. An interesting fact: an ordinary Google search on the phrase “ethics of emergencies” yields hits disproportionately related to Ayn Rand’s essay, but a Google Scholar search on the same string yields two initial hits with “Ayn Rand” in the title, followed by a plethora of links completely unrelated to Objectivism. Does that tell you something?

emergencyA few random examples of recent or semi-recent scholarship on emergencies: As a graduate student, the first time I remember seeing the word “emergency” in the title of a paper was Harvey Mansfield’s “Human Rights in Emergencies,” published in Critical Review (1993). But I mean that as an autobiographical report, not a bibliographical one: I just put the word “emergencies” into the Philosopher’s Index and one of the earliest hits one gets is Larry Wright’s “Emergency Behavior,” Inquiry, vol. 17 (1974). I’m sure a more rigorous search would yield earlier items. The “starving man under laissez-faire” problem recently discussed at BHL was a staple issue in the literature as early as the 1980s (and probably much earlier), generated by such critics as James Sterba of Notre Dame. The 1990s saw the beginnings of the now-gigantic literature on the use-of-torture-on-terrorists-in-emergency situations, responding in part to decisions by the Israeli Supreme Court on that topic (on which, see David Kretzmer’s The Occupation of Justice). (The issue also came up in the British literature on dealing with the Irish Republican Army.) Ashgate (the publisher) has just come out with a four-volume set on “emergency ethics.” Naomi Zack recently published a book on Ethics for Disaster. Some people think that the climate change is an emergency. And the wars of the last decade have given renewed interest to the “epistemology, ethics, and politics” of emergencies, continuing the discussion of that topic begun in earnest in the Israeli literature. Among the most controversial discussions (to say the very least) is the revival, at the journal Telos, of interest in the theorist Carl Schmitt, and his totalitarian-friendly conception of the so-called “state of emergency.”

So there’s the potential for some good work to be done here. I hope some readers of this blog will write some of it.



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