FINAL CFP: Colloquium on ‘Contrasts and contests about philosophy’ at the PSSA Conference 2015

The colloquium on ‘contrasts and contests about philosophy’ will form part of the annual conference of Philosophical Society of Southern Africa (PSSA), Monday 12 – Wednesday 14 January 2015. The colloquium will be run as a special parallel session throughout the conference. There is no additional registration fee for attending this colloquium. It forms part of the PSSA 2015 conference and will be held at the same venue. Find the tab for PSSA 2015 on the NMMU webpage ( Please check for updates.

Participants are invited to submit multi- and interdisciplinary contributions on questions in and about philosophy. Submissions should focus preferably but not exclusively on Africa. Submissions on the following topics are particularly welcome:

  • What is the character and meaning of philosophies dominated by the Western epistemological paradigm in South Africa? (Notably, the label ‘non-Western’ is objectionable to the extent that it positions other philosophies as parodies of Western philosophy. The fact that this has been so historically, and continues in contemporary South Africa underscores the ethical and political objection to the use of ‘non-Western’.)
  • The concept of ‘dialogue’ is one of the controversial topics in the unfolding discussions in and about philosophy. Is dialogue possible between diverse philosophical traditions (e.g. Indian, African, Chinese and Western)?
  • Is there such a thing as ‘the Western epistemological paradigm’?
  • Is there an African philosophical paradigm?
  • Why and how do ‘deconstructive’ and ‘reconstructive’ challenges arise in African


  • The significance of hermeneutics in the philosophy of liberation with special focus on Africa.
  • What is the relationship between philosophy and the culture from which it emanates?
  • Intellectual decolonisation as a liberation issue in any of the following disciplines:

    philosophy, religion, theology, psychology, mathematics, medicine, science, economics,

    politics, environmental ethics, ethics and business ethics.

  • Is it important, within the larger society, that philosophy in South Africa or Africa shake off

    the Western paradigm? Why or why not?

  • A critique of “the underside” in intellectual decolonisation as an issue in liberation.

    Abstracts of no more than 200 words should reach the conference organisers by 31 October 2014. Please note that the number of presentation slots is limited and that early submission is advisable.

    Confirmation of papers accepted for the conference will take place by 15 November 2014. If you require this information at an earlier date, please indicate this to the conference organisers.

    The conference organisers are Andrea Hurst and Karen Du Plessis, email:

    Papers presented at the colloquium may be submitted for publication in a special issue of the South African Journal of Philosophy (SAJP). To be considered for inclusion, full papers must be prepared for anonymous review and submitted to the SAJP online at where they will be directed to the Guest Editor, Prof Mogobe Ramose. When you are asked to select a

section/category please select the option ‘special edition’. For more detail please consult the SAJP Call for papers, available on the NMMU Philosophy webpage (


CFP: 9th Annual Conference of the Postgraduate Philosophy Association of Southern Africa (PPA)


DATE:             19th & 20th July 2014

PLACE:           Innovation Centre, UKZN 

The annual conference of the Postgraduate Philosophy Association will this year be hosted by the University of Kwazulu Natal.  Postgraduate students in all areas of Philosophy are invited to submit abstracts.  Please distribute this CFP as widely as possible.


Format of Conference:

Sessions will be 45 minutes long – please allow roughly 30 minutes for presentation and 15 minutes for discussion.

Chairs for each session will be appointed.



Please email abstracts of no more than 300 words to

Abstracts should be submitted by 19 May 2014.

Notification of acceptance will be sent by 6 June 2014.


Venue & Accommodation:

The conference will be held at the Innovation Centre, UKZN.

A list of accommodation venues is attached.  Please contact the conference organisers at should you have any questions.


Conference Fee:

There will be a conference fee of R250.

The conference dinner will be held on Saturday and will be at your own cost.

We are excited to host the conference and look forward to reading all the interesting abstracts.  Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions.

Warm regards,

Elmarie Venter, Greg Swer, Carin Robinson.

Conference organisers 2014

CFP: Science and Society in Africa

3—4 Sept 2014, Stellenbosch


Please e-mail abstracts to:

Africa faces the challenge of improving the critical understanding of science among non-scientists while respecting and responding to the fact that the history of science has been dominated by Europe and the USA.  Scientists in Africa must also grapple with colonial legacies of the use of a continent as a laboratory and a field-site. At the same time, Africa presents a challenge to science studies disciplines (e.g. philosophy, anthropology, communications) as they have evolved in Europe and the United States. At present there is a perceived gap between two positions: epistemic relativism which situates science as merely one socially constructed way of knowing among others of equal validity and realism, which accords it greater status as a universally true body of knowledge.  Both have been critiqued: realism has been cast as ignoring the influence of social factors on science and relativism has been pronounced to be impractical.

Closing this gap is politically and socially critical for development on the continent, as well as of global intellectual importance. Societies and science in Africa need to come to terms with each other, both as a set of social institutions and as knowledge-producers.

We welcome 300 word abstracts dealing with the following themes, or others relevant to the overall theme of the workshop:-

  • The proper integration of scientific knowledge in societies ruled by democratic and democratising states.
  • Science as one of many ways to understand race and human nature in post-colonial African contexts.
  • Biotechnology, nanotechnology and ‘blue sky science’ in African societies
  • ‘From bench to cell phone’: the challenges of ensuring public access to research and translating science into technology and institutional practices in a digital era.
  • The socio-economic and political challenges facing early career scientists in Africa
  • African coherence in science: the role of regional philanthropy and collaborations in agenda setting and contextual solutions

Participants will be invited to attend the conference to offer presentations based on full 5 000 word papers which should be based on these abstracts. (Drafts of these papers will be circulated to participants in advance and will need to be ready by 1 August 2014.)

This  workshop is being jointly organised by the South African Young Academy of Science, the Philosophy Department of University of Johannesburg, the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Stellenbosch University and the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences at University of Cape Town.

The conference organizers are: Professor Alex Broadbent at the University of Johannesburg; Dr. Mandisa Mbali at Stellenbosch University and Dr. Tolullah Oni at the University of Cape Town.

The meeting will take place at Stellenbosch University.  Some travel funding will be available for post-graduate students and early career scholars.

Call for Abstracts: Social Equality, Aug 2014, Cape Town

Social Equality 

Cape Town, 15-17 August 2014 

The Philosophy Department at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, is hosting a three-day conference on Social Equality. The conference will take place on 15-17 August 2014.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Prof Miranda Fricker, University of Sheffield

Prof Charles W. Mills, Northwestern University

Prof Jonathan Wolff, University College London

Many contemporary societies are strikingly unequal, and quickly becoming more so. In a country like South Africa, much social inequality is a visible part of daily life. But there are forms of inequality and disadvantage which, though no less problematic, are not immediately obvious to the casual observer. It would be naive to think philosophy on its own could do anything to alleviate inequality. But it does have a role to play. Philosophy can articulate the various different forms of social inequality. By arguing for a particular conception of justice or the good life, it can show what is wrong with some or all of these forms of inequality. In addition, political philosophy can demarcate the steps a government may legitimately take to address inequality and disadvantage. The philosophical debate about equality has become increasingly nuanced, concrete and empirically informed in recent years. We hope this conference will enable its continuation in a place where the need for an understanding of, and a strategy to address, inequality is particularly urgent.

We invite abstracts of no more than 200 words on topics including:

  • What’s so good about equality? Theorists disagree about whether equality per se should be a political goal. Of those who think it should, some think equality has intrinsic value, while others think its value lies in what it enables or what it expresses. Is equality itself a valuable moral ideal? Or is it merely a proxy for values such as respect and sufficiency?
  • What is equality? Political philosophers have increasingly seen the limitations of arguing for equality of wealth or primary social goods alone. Does reconceiving the fabric of egalitarian justice in terms of capabilities, recognition, social relationships or central human functionings provide a fuller picture of the just society?
  • Equality and muliculturalism. How can theorists of justice cope with the fact that conceptions of the human good may vary considerably across society-members? What is an adequate way of measuring levels of inequality in a multicultural society?
  • How should equality be achieved? Assuming societies should aim for equality, can philosophy tell us anything about the best ways to achieve it? What are the limits on permissible government intervention to achieve equality? Is affirmative action in recruitment and admissions justified to advance a currently disadvantaged group?

Researchers (including postgraduate students) who would like to present a paper are kindly requested to send an abstract of no more than 200 words by e-mail to by midnight (GMT) on Tuesday 18th February 2014.

(Conference participants will be asked to pay a small registration fee to cover costs.)


Information about keynote speakers

Miranda Fricker is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield. Her work spans epistemology, moral & social philosophy, and feminism. She is author of Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing (OUP), which was the subject of a special issue of the journal Social Epistemology. She co-edited The Cambridge Companion to Feminism in Philosophy (CUP) with Jennifer Hornsby. Recently she has published work on group testimony and moral relativism.

Charles W. Mills is John Evans Professor of Moral & Intellectual Philosophy at Northwestern University, Illinois. His books The Racial Contract (Cornell) and Blackness Visible (Cornell) are classics of the philosophy of race. He collaborated with Carole Pateman on Contract and Domination (Polity). His latest book is Radical Theory, Caribbean Reality: Race, Class and Social Domination (University of the West Indies).

 Jonathan Wolff is Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Humanities and Professor of Philosophy at University College London. His books include Why Read Marx Today? (OUP), An Introduction to Political Philosophy (OUP), Ethics and Public Policy (Routledge), Disadvantage (OUP) (co-authored with Avner de-Shalit), and The Human Right to Health (Norton). He has served on committees advising the U.K. government on drugs, gambling, railway safety and homicide.