CFP: Owning Our Emotions

Owning our emotions: Emotion, authenticity and the self

21st to 22nd September 2016
The Senate House, London

Keynote speakers include:

  • Professor Kristján Kristjánsson, University of Birmingham
  • Professor Denis McManus, University of Southampton
  • Professor Monika Betzler, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich
  • Dr Jonathan Webber, University of Cardiff
  • Professor Fabrice Teroni, University of Geneva

How do emotions relate to the self?  On one possible view, emotions stand outside the self: they reflect biological drives or cultural demands independent of – perhaps even inimical to – the subject’s own interests or values; when we act out of emotion, we are driven to act by psychological forces external to ourselves. But on another view, our emotional dispositions help to constitute who we are; words and deeds that come ‘from the heart’ are judged to have a special kind of worth, arising from their authenticity. In everyday contexts, people seem to think about emotion in both these ways, depending on the situation. But can these two views be reconciled? And if not, which view comes closer to the truth?

The purpose of this conference is to throw light on these questions, capitalising on the progress that has been made in the philosophy of emotion in recent years, as well as drawing on studies in the history of philosophy and on a range of philosophical traditions. In particular, the conference will address the following questions:

  • How do emotions, the personality and the self relate to each other? Is there an ‘emotional self’?
  • What do our emotional responses say about us, about our ‘character’?
  • What is it for an emotion to be authentic? Is emotional authenticity valuable in itself?
  • To what extent, and for what reasons, can people be held responsible for actions done out of emotion?
  • Are some actions better for having been done out of emotion?

We invite papers of around 5000 words, suitable for a 45 minute talk addressing one or more of the conference themes. Please send a full paper and an abstract of 200 words by email to in either MS Word or PDF format. Papers should be prepared for blind review. The author’s name, paper title, institutional affiliation, and contact details should be included either in the email or in a separate covering letter.

DEADLINE for submissions: 31st May 2016. We anticipate decisions by the end of June 2016.

Speakers will not be required to pay a registration fee and will be offered up to £100 toward travel expenses. Refreshments and lunches on both days, and dinner on the evening of the 21st will also be provided.

The conference is organized by the Philosophy Department of the Open University in conjunction with Department’s Reasons and Norms research group. It is partly funded by the Mind Association and supported by the Institute of Philosophy, who are providing the venue.

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