CFP: Eleventh Annual Conference, Felician Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs

Speaking of events I’m organizing, here’s one worth keeping in mind: the Eleventh Annual Conference of the Felician Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs, taking place on Saturday (9 am – 6 pm), April 22 on the Rutherford campus of Felician University (227 Montross Ave., Rutherford, New Jersey, 07070). Here’s the official CFP itself:

The Institute invites submissions on any topic in moral or political philosophy, broadly construed, not exceeding 25 minutes’ presentation time (approximately 3000 words). Please send submissions in format suitable for blind review to felicianethicsconference at gmail dot com by February 1, 2017. Acceptances will be announced by March 1, 2017.

Here’s last year’s program. Here’s 2015. You can look at the rest, going back to 2007, by going to the Institute’s web page, clicking the “Spring Conference” tab, and scrolling down a bit. 

Our plenary speaker this year will be Michele M. Moody-Adams, Joseph Straus Professor of Political Philosophy and Legal Theory at Columbia University. Her talk is rather timely:

Taking Expression Seriously: Liberty, Equality, and Expressive Harm

The paper will discuss some implications and challenges of the claim (accepted by theorists as varied as Elizabeth Anderson, Richard Pildes, Jeremy Waldron,  Catharine Mackinnon and  Charles Lawrence) that (a) expression can sometimes be the cause of direct, ‘non-material’ harm to persons and their interests and (b) the seriousness of some kinds of expressive harm make it reasonable to consider content-based restrictions on free expression and academic freedom.

Apart from being the greatest philosophy conference of all time, taking place in a plum location seven miles west of Midtown Manhattan–in Felician’s state of the art (or pseudo-feudal-era) facilities in the famed “Borough of Trees“–the Felician conference is an opportunity to hobnob with some of the smartest, most deeply brow-furrowed philosophers you’ll ever encounter and to meet some of the people behind the scenes at Policy of Truth. (Let’s try that again: “…and to meet some of the people behind the scenes at Policy of Truth!!!!!!”).

Naturally, I run the damn thing (so you’ll see me), and Michael Young is sure to show up. Last year, David Potts gave a paper, as did Derek Bowman, and in years past, very-occasional-blogger Carrie-Ann Biondi has been a graceful presence (and supplemented our continental breakfast with non-lethal food options). And yes, you’re allowed to discuss Jonathan Haidt at my conference. We have a very liberal free speech policy: even Haidt speech is permissible. (So far, no one has submitted a paper on Zizek, but my hope is to do a session that pairs a paper on Zizek with one on Haidt.)

Rutherford has some pretty good restaurant options, so we tend to pack a restaurant after the show, monopolize a big table, and talk philosophy until well after dessert. Last year, a bunch of us ended up doing breakfast, too. Just a veritable love fest fueled by diner food, bad coffee, and alcohol.

The local airport is Newark (EWR). The local train station is Newark’s Penn, unless you decide to go to New York’s Penn, and take New Jersey Transit to Secaucus, New Jersey (five minutes from campus). Both Newark and New York are served by Amtrak. The preferred hotel is La Quinta of Clifton, New Jersey.

Hope to see some of you there. Please circulate this CFP widely. I’ll be circulating some more  “academically serious” versions in the usual places over the next few weeks.

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