Call for Proposals

Royal Institute of Philosophy Public Philosophy Day


The Royal Institute of Philosophy is offering £5,500 grants for UK philosophy departments to organise a whole day “Festival of Philosophy” aimed primarily at the general public, in the academic year 2021/2022.


Applications should explain the theme, structure, size and location of the proposed day and how they believe they will be able to attract a public audience. The Royal Institute is open to innovative suggestions.


Applicants should consider these questions in their proposals:


•       What will be the mix of event formats? Some talks are acceptable but there should be a mix, with, for example, debates, 'in conversation' sessions, and panel discussions.

•       Where will the day be held? Ideally the venue would be a community partner with a public profile, such as an arts space, public library, theatre, cinema, museum, comedy club or music venue. Hosting an event on campus is not ruled out, but you will have to make a case as to why you believe you can attract people to it.

•       How many people are you hoping to attract?

•       Will you charge? We encourage charging tickets, as completely free events tend to result in a lot of no-shows. But fees should be low and there must be an option for self-certifying free places for people unable to pay.

•       Will you fully programme the event, issue a call for proposals, or a mixture of the two? It is our assumption that such an event requires more programming than a traditional conference, but we are open to other proposals. 

•       Who has agreed in principle to take part? Applications with a strong list of such speakers will be at an advantage.


This new initiative replaces the annual academic conference. There is still a requirement to produce a volume from the conference. Five hundred Pounds of the grant is for the editor of this book, usually the conference organiser. Invited participants should be told of the requirement to write a paper based on their contribution, but for the most part they will not be reading their papers. The papers should be academically rigorous but non-technical and aimed at the intelligent general reader. There should be around 12-15 contributions and the total extent 70,000–100,000 words.


We're aware that the coronavirus is likely to affect how and even whether these events go ahead, and proposals should include the organiser's best view of contingency plans (online events, live streaming or other kinds of remote engagement are possible), as well as the relevant cancellation policies associated with booking spaces and making travel arrangements. We entirely understand that all this might just be good guessing.


This call has now closed.  We'll post details of the next Public Philosophy Day here when we have them.


Departmental Conference 2020

Meaning in Life and the Knowledge of Death

University of Liverpool


This event will take place online, 13 - 15 July. See the conference homepage for more information.


This conference will explore the relation between our mortality (and the knowledge thereof) and our experience of meaningfulness (and meaninglessness), with particular focus on the question whether death undercuts meaning in life, as some life extensionists proclaim, or whether, on the contrary, meaning depends on our mortality. 


The conference aims to increase our understanding of a) what meaning in life is: how it is to be understood, what its constituents are, and how it can be properly distinguished from other features that are commonly thought to be required for a good life, such as happiness, b) in what way, if any, mortality can be said to be detrimental to a life’s meaningfulness and what follows from this for the desirability of radical life extension and other (limit-removing) alterations of the present human condition, and c) in what way, if any, death and mortality can be said to be requisites or at least constituents of a meaningful life.


For a list of speakers, registration, and the call for papers, see the conference homepage

Past and Forthcoming Conferences

1986 Belfast: Moral Philosophy

1987 York: Philosophy and Medical Welfare

1989 Glasgow: Explanation

1990 Lampeter: Human Beings

1991 Liverpool: Philosophy, Religion, and the Spiritual Life

1992 Birmingham: Philosophical Issues in Cognitive Science

1993 Cardiff: Philosophy and the Natural Environment

1994 Bradford: Philosophy and Technology

1995 Ulster: Philosophy and Pluralism

1996 Reading: Thought and Language

1997 St Andrews: Philosophy and Public Affairs

1999 Edinburgh: Naturalism, Evolution and Mind

2000 LSE: Time, Reality and Experience

2001 Manchester: Philosophy and the Emotions

2002 Oxford: Agency and Action

2003 Durham: The Philosophy of Need

2004 Cambridge: Preferences and Well-Being

2005 Hertfordshire: Narrative and Understanding Persons

2006 Leeds: Developments in Contemporary Metaphysics

2007 UCL: Kant and the Philosophy of Science Today

2008 Liverpool: Philosophy as Therapeia

2009 Edinburgh: The Metaphysics of Consciousness

2010 Oxford Brookes: Human Nature

2011 University of the West of England: Human Experience and Nature

2012 Universities of Leeds and Nottingham: Aesthetics and Science

2013 University of Glasgow: Philosophy and Museums

2014 University College Dublin: Supererogation

2015 Heythrop College: Religious Epistemology

2016 University of Exeter: Moral Enhancement

2017 University of Sheffield: Harms and Wrongs in Epistemic Practice

2018 UCL: Expressivisms, Knowledge and Truth

2019 Trinity College Dublin: Irish Philosophy in the Age of Berkeley

2020 University of Liverpool: Meaning in Life and the Knowledge of Death