FINAL CALL FOR PROPOSALS – Advancing Public Philosophy

March 14-16, 2013, Emory Conference Center, Atlanta, GA
Hosted by the Public Philosophy Network

The Public Philosophy Network invites proposals for its second conference on Advancing Publicly Philosophy.  The conference will include a mix of workshops, panels, papers and informal sessions on various issues in public philosophy, including discussions of larger philosophical questions about how to engage in philosophical activity outside the academy and on concrete projects and political problems as well.   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, sustainability, climate change, environmental justice) with attention to public effects of this work; skills needed to engage in public work (such as how to do collaborative work or use social media);
  • practical matters and best practices in public philosophy (for example, tenure hurdles for publicly engaged work, outreach programs in prisons, sources, methods and strategies for attaining funding, etc.);
  • and/or reflections on how philosophy is transformed by turning outward; how does public engagement inform philosophical concepts and understanding or alter disciplinary boundaries?

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

Workshops. Proposals should include a workshop title and descriptions of the organizer(s)’ interest 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 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 are 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.). A second call will be issued later in the year inviting people to apply to participate in the workshop. (Workshop organizers should help publicize this second call.) We will limit each workshop to about 20 participants.  Those who are accepted in time will be listed on the program as discussants, though they will not be expected to make any formal presentation.

Papers. We are especially interested in papers that report on public philosophy projects or reflect on the practice of public philosophy.  Proposal should include the title and a brief description of the paper. Proposals for individual papers should be prepared for 30 minutes of presentation and discussion time. Accepted proposals will be grouped into sessions. Papers may be presented in any style, from reading whole or sections of papers to more conversation based to powerpoint slides and multimedia.   

Organized Panels.  We invite proposals for panels on any number of themes: Book sessions, philosophical issues in public philosophy, or policy problems and how philosophers have or may 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 of the topic to be addressed.

All meeting space will have Wi-Fi; a screen and projector will be available for those who need it.  Please submit proposals on topics like those described above (350-500 words) by August 1, 2012 via

A notification on accepted workshops, papers, and panels will be sent by September 1, 2012.

Please notify us if you require accommodation for disability.

Conference Steering Committee
Noelle McAfee, Emory University (chair)
Adam Briggle, University of North Texas
Robert Kirkman, Georgia Institute of Technology
Andrew Light, George Mason University & Center for American Progress
Sarah Clark Miller, University of Memphis & Pennsylvania State University
Kyle Powys Whyte, Michigan State University