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“What is Liberalism?” 7th annual Graduate Philosophy Club Conference

The 7th annual “What is…?” Conference
sponsored by the
University of Oregon
Department of Philosophy
on Saturday, May 25th, 2013
from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
in the Knight Library Browsing Room

The 7th annual Graduate Philosophy Club Conference at the University of Oregon will take up the question “What is Liberalism?” and submissions (due on Friday 19 April 2013) were solicited from all interested University of Oregon philosophy undergraduate and graduate students.

Topic description: The word “liberalism” is often bandied about by philosophers of many stripes—mainstream political theorists, post/de-colonial theorists, latino/a philosophers, feminists, queer theorists, philosophers of law and politics, moral philosophers, etc.—but the meaning of the term hardly seems to transcend disciplinary or even intra-disciplinary boundaries. Hence, despite the volumes written on liberalism, there seems to be little to no agreement about what it actually “is”. Some questions that may need to be answered in order to form a coherent, stable picture of liberalism include: what, if any, are the central tenets of liberalism? Is liberalism a purely political project, or does it have a normative thrust, as well? Does liberalism too easily elide its metaphysics? Does our failure to give a coherent definition of liberalism call into question the strident critiques of it from the far left and the far right? Can liberalism be a liberatory philosophy?

As in past years, we will have two undergraduate, two graduate, and two faculty presentations. And, as usual, coffee and lunch will be provided for all those in attendance at the conference itself.

This year’s speakers have been confirmed:

Kelsey Elliot (undergraduate, political science major);
Sean Hart (undergraduate, philosophy major);
Fulden Ibrahimhakkioglu (graduate, philosophy);
Alan Reynolds (graduate, philosophy);
Colin Koopman (faculty, philosophy);
Rocio Zambrana (faculty, philosophy).

Please direct any questions or concerns to this year’s conference organizers: David Craig (, Lauren Eichler (, Shannon Hayes (, or Cara Bates (

What is Liberalism CFP