University of Bucharest, 5 and 6 November 2021

Call for papers

“Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought.”

2021 marks the centennial of John Rawls’s birth and the 50th anniversary of A Theory of Justice’s publication. Rawls’s role in reviving substantial normative interrogations in political philosophy has long been acclaimed by moral and political philosophers, as well as by economists, political scientists, and legal theorists. Even while Rawls himself was rather reluctant to engage directly with ongoing critique of, or answers to, current events, much of the scholarship that he has inspired has massively extended his conceptual distinctions and insights, lines of argument, justificatory structures, and vocabulary, to cover increasing domains in the humanities and social sciences. Our conference explores the legacy of John Rawls and the various ways in which his philosophical thought can be used to understand the transformative political events and crises of the contemporary world that have brought a renewed set of interrogations and have changed the social and political landscape.

Keynote speakers
: Katrina Forrester (Harvard University), Rex Martin (University of Kansas), Bruce Haddock (Cardiff University), and Peri Roberts (Cardiff University).

We welcome all paper contributions addressing Rawls’ philosophical legacy, but are especially interested in the following range of topics:

  • Political philosophy:
    • Ideal vs. non-ideal theory (civil disobedience, structural injustice, racial and gender injustice);
    • Critiques of and alternatives to contractualism;
    • Normative ethics and normative political theory;
    • Methodology of normative reasoning in political philosophy (e.g., models of public reason and justification, thought experiments and political critique);
    • Democratic theory;
    • Pluralism and democratic institutions.
  • Social philosophy:
    • Debates about the constitutive elements of practices and institutions of justice (e.g, subject-matter of justice, types of distributive goods; individualism vs. holism);
    • Luck, equality of opportunity and social justice;
    • Social practices and social critique; new social movements: feminism, anti-racism and post-colonial studies, multiculturalism, environment;
    • Conceptual and normative analyses of the state, institutions, and rules and rule-following;
    • Critique of the capitalist Welfare State, Property-Owning-Democracy, Basic Income, Stakeholder Society, Pre-distribution versus redistribution.
  • Legal philosophy:
    • Natural law vs. legal positivism;
    • Constitutionalism and rule of law;
    • Global and international justice;
    • The genealogy of rights.
  • Moral philosophy:
    • Applied ethics and ethical theory;
    • Methodology of moral reasoning (e.g. reflective equilibrium, division of normative labor, burdens of judgment);
    • Meta-ethics, constructivism, intuitionism;
    • Moral psychology (e.g. the linguistic analogy, virtues of moral insight);
    • History of ethics and moral thought. Kant, Mill, Sidgwick.

The abstracts should be no longer than 500 words (including 4 to 5 keywords from the list of topics above) and should be sent to the following address: Please indicate your institutional affiliation alongside the abstract.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the conference will be held online.

Important dates
Abstract submission: June 15, 2021.
Notifications: August 15, 2021.
Conference: November 5 and 6, 2021.

Global Justice Seminar, November 6, 2021: A roundtable on how to achieve fairness in the global COVID-19 vaccine distribution conducted by Thomas Pogge (Yale University).

Publishing opportunities
We intend to publish one special issue in Public Reason, and another one in the Annals of the University of Bucharest, Philosophy series. Depending on the papers, maybe also one special issue in Ethical Theory and Moral Practice.

The Scientific Committee members are Onora O’Neill (University of Cambridge), Catherine Audard (London School of Economics), Ovidiu Caraiani (University Politechnica of Bucharest), Adrian Miroiu (The National University of Political Studies and Public Administration), Adrian Paul Iliescu (University of Bucharest), Romulus Brâncoveanu (University of Bucharest), Eugen Huzum (Romanian Academy, Iasi Branch).

Convenors: Dorina Pătrunsu (University of Bucharest), Camil Pârvu (University of Bucharest), Andrei Poama (Leiden University), Nicolae Dobrei (The National University of Political Studies and Public Administration), Emilian Mihailov (University of Bucharest), Constantin Vică (University of Bucharest), and Radu Uszkai (The Bucharest University of Economic Studies).