Call: The Unnatural World: Investigating Meaning and Modernity

Call for Papers

The Unnatural World:
Investigating Meaning and Modernity
7th December 2018
Department of Philosophy, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Ireland

Keynote speaker: Prof. Tanja Staehler (University of Sussex)

Submission deadline: 21st September 2018

Philosophy is continuously establishing the significance of the lifeworld, that is, the everyday, ordinary world of meaning in which we live. Given the atrocities of the 20th century, along with the rise of extensive technical apparatuses, and even the threat of ecological collapse, this task has never been so crucial. It seems that we are living an increasingly unnatural way of life where traditional structures of meaning are continuously undermined, leaving one to either buttress old values with new structures, find new meaning altogether, or simply live a nihilistic life.

This conference aims to explore challenges to establishing stable structures of meaning and values in today’s world, a world in which the overabundance of technology, for example, is alienating people from what it really means to live in a natural world. What challenges does this pose to philosophy? Perhaps our current condition leaves us on the verge of new practices and/or domains of knowledge, inviting us to think through what it means to be unnatural, or simply what it means to employ non-naturalistic techniques and methodologies. It is unclear to what extent this development has led to progress on the question of what a purposeful human life is with all its ethical, normative or axiological challenges. Does technology emancipate the human being from a natural world or traditional order, or does it constrain and deform meaning and value? Perhaps the natural world is an obsolete concept and the future lies in the unnatural.

We welcome submissions on any of the following topics:

  • Technology and violence,
  • The body and cybernetics,
  • The ethics of big data processing,
  • Technology and ecological collapse,
  • Alienation of man from nature,
  • History of philosophical treatment of nature,
  • Phenomenology of the lifeworld and the naturalistic/theoretical attitude,
  • Intergenerational ethics,
  • Political philosophy,
  • Epistemology,
  • Post-humanism,
  • Cybernetics and (intersectional) feminism.

We invite submissions suitable for a 30 mins presentation, with an additional 15 mins discussion time.

The deadline for submissions is 21st September 2018.

Submissions should contain two files and should be sent to

  1. An abstract of no more than 500 words. The abstract should include the title of the presentation and should be anonymized for blind review.
  2. A file with the presentation title, author’s name, institutional affiliation, and e-mail address.

Notifications of acceptance will be sent out three weeks after the closing date of the call.

Please send submissions and direct all queries to

Organizers: Aoife Mcinerney, Brian Leavy, Tijmen Lansdaal, Lorenzo Girardi.

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