3rd Annual CEPPA Graduate Conference
February 15-16, 2021
Online Event

February 15


10:15-10:30 Welcome and introductory remarks

10:30-11:30 Alexander Velichkov (Lund) “The Natural Emotional Roots of Free Will Skepticism and Compatibilism” (Comments: Theron Pummer)

Abstract: I propose a sentimentalist way of framing the free will problem, according to which both skepticism and compatibilism about free will are founded on separate and conflicting moral intuitions. Building on Jonathan Haidt’s Moral Foundations theory, I suggest that each side identifies a different kind of fairness that fulfils distinct evolutionary functions. Strawsonian compatibilists correctly identify the fittingness conditions of “fairness as proportionality”, while skeptics base their arguments on intuitions of “fairness as social equality”. Because both intuitions carry moral weight, neither can be ignored; the two must be balanced against each other.

11:30-12:00 Coffee Break

12:00-13:00 Adrian Kreutz (Oxford) “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Political Normativity” (Comments: Simon Hope)

Abstract: Where do our normative claims about politics come from? From what sort of premises do they follow? Most post-Rawlsian Anglo- American political philosophers maintain that most normative political judgments are derived from or reducible to moral normativity. Over the last decade a realist challenge to that orthodoxy has emerged (Jubb 2017, Rossi and Sleat 2014). In different ways, realists reject the centrality of moral normativity to political philosophy, and defend forms of autonomous political normativity instead. In a recent paper, Jonathan Leader Maynard and Alex Worsnip try to put the realist challenge to rest. They discuss five realist arguments for a distinctively political normativity, and contend that all five arguments are “unconvincing and fail to establish a sense in which political normativity is genuinely separate from morality” (2018: 764). They take this to indicate that normative political theory has “ineliminable roots in morality” (ibid.: 787). In this paper we resist that conclusion in two ways. First, we show that Leader Maynard and Worsnip’s argument does not succeed. Yet we don’t argue that moralism is false and realism true, but only that realism cannot be reduced to moralism, and is a plausible method alongside moralism.

13:00-14:00 Lunch Break

14:00-15:00 Sarah C. DiMaggio (Vanderbilt) “Is ‘Greenhouse Gaslighting’ Really Gaslighting?” (Comments: Fay Niker)

Abstract: The term “gaslighting” has gained significant popularity in recent years, often used by media sources who claim that politicians and public figures are “gaslighting” their audiences. The term has become particularly popular in relation to the rhetoric surrounding climate-change related issues, with many accusing politicians such as United States President Donald Trump and Republican politicians of “greenhouse gaslighting” the public. This paper analyses some of the difficulties of thinking of “greenhouse gaslighting” by examining the original use and subsequent adaptations of the phrase “gaslighting.” Beginning with two ways the term has been taken up more recently in academic discourse, specifically Abramson’s account of gaslighting and Beerbohm and Davis’s account of political gaslighting, I then examine instances of the use of the term “gaslighting” in media and news sources to describe lying and manipulation that occurs in the discussion of climate and environment-related issues. I argue that while “greenhouse gaslighting” might potentially be understood as a kind of manipulative gaslighting or political gaslighting, ultimately the term does not pick out phenomena with specific moral harms that are not already captured by “lying” or “manipulation” and that perhaps the term “gaslighting” should be reserved for different situations.

15:00-15:30 Break

15:30-17:00 Keynote: Fabienne Peter (Warwick) “Epistemic norms of political deliberation”

Abstract: Legitimate political decision-making is underpinned by well-ordered political deliberation, including by the decision-makers themselves, their advisory bodies, and the public at large. But what constitutes well-ordered political deliberation? The short answer to this question is that it’s political deliberation that is governed by relevant norms.  In my talk, I first discuss different types of norms that might govern well-ordered political deliberation. I then focus on one particular type of norms: epistemic norms. My aim is to shed light on how the validity of contributions to political deliberation depends, inter alia, on the epistemic status of the claims made.

17:00-18:00 End of day meetup (Breakout Rooms)


February 16


13:00-14:00 Taylor Chun Hong LAU (The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) “Why Rawlsian Account of Civil Disobedience Fails to Accommodate Global Injustice” (Comments: Ben Sachs)

Abstract: Civil disobedience has been characterized as an informal guardian of the constitutional principles of a domestic democratic society. Seldom it is related to issues at the international or global level. This short article attempts to articulate the moral limits of the orthodox liberal account of civil disobedience against global injustice. The kind of global injustice I address includes structural inequalities and social dispossession with roots in global interconnections. The liberal justice-based civil disobedience operating within the parameters of constitutional democracy, I argue, is unable to accommodate more complex cases of global injustice. As represented in John Rawls’s account, the right to civil disobedience is internally constructed in three senses: 1) civil disobedience is narrowly understood as a response to democratic-deficits, where the nature of injustice involved refers to the government failure to deliver a just constitutional order that determines positive duties and rights; 2) the status of protesters is confined to citizens in a nearly just society; and 3) the aim of disobedience ultimately points to the overall stability of society.

14:00-14:30 Coffee Break

14:30- 15:30 Khang That Vinh Ton (UC Davis) “Valuing Disability in Itself: A Constitutive Account” (Comments: Emilia Wilson)

Abstract: In her book, ​The Minority Body​, Elizabeth Barnes takes disability-positive testimonies as evidence for the claim that it makes sense to value disability ​in itself​, or ​for its own sake (Barnes 2016). The appeal to these disability-positive testimonies raises the question: Does it really make sense for someone to value disability in itself? My goal is to defend the view that it ​does make sense to value disability, or being disabled, ​in itself​. I begin in the first section by sketching a general account of what it means to value something. In particular, I shall adopt Sam Scheffler’s account of valuing as a working model to explain the sense in which a person can value disability. While the Schefflerian model captures some important facets of what it means to value disability, it is not sufficiently robust to capture the stronger claim that one can value disability in itself. In attempting to argue for this stronger claim, I articulate my own account, one that I shall call Constitutive Valuing​. Roughly, the guiding idea is that there are experiences, projects, and personal commitments that are constitutive of one’s identity; and it would make sense for one to value such things in themselves.

15:30-16:00 Coffee Break

16:00-17:30 Keynote: Cecile Fabre (Oxford) “Doxastic Wrongs and True Beliefs”

Abstract: According to the doxastic wrongs thesis, entertaining certain beliefs about others can be morally wrongful. Beliefs which take the form of stereotypes based on race and gender (or sexual orientation, disability, etc.) and which turn to be false are prime candidates for the charge of doxastic wronging: it is no coincidence that most of the cases discussed in the literature involve false beliefs.  Now suppose that the beliefs, albeit negatively valanced, are true. My aim, in this paper, is to show that the thesis of doxastic wrongs does not turn on the truth or falsehood of beliefs. (Nor, in fact, does it turn on the valence, as negative or positive, of beliefs.) First, I provide a brief account of doxastic wrongs in general. Next, I reject a recent argument to the effect that one cannot wrong someone by holding true beliefs about them. I then show that some extant accounts of the wrongfulness of false beliefs can apply to true beliefs.

17:30 End of conference meetup (Breakout rooms)


The conference will be held online, over Microsoft Teams. To receive a link to the talks, please email Colin McLean (cam62@st-andrews.ac.uk) or Rasa Davidavičiūtė (rd88@st-andrews.ac.uk)