Call for Papers
Subtitle: Local or Universal?
Type: 7th Annual Conference
Institution: Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, University of
Oriel College, University of Oxford
Location: Oxford (United Kingdom)
Issues regarding the cultural specificity or relativity of virtues
have been at the forefront of philosophical, political and
educational discussions of what constitutes ‘good character’ since
antiquity. Aristotelian virtue ethics allows for significant variance
in the make-up of virtuous agents according to developmental levels,
individual constitutions, social roles and societal conditions.
However, Aristotle also insisted upon the empirical claim that ‘in
our travels we can see how every human being is akin... to a human
being’ (Nicomachean Ethics, 1155a20–22), hence refusing truck with
any form of radical cultural relativism. Yet questions about the
relationship between virtue and education in virtue, on the one hand,
and the great diversity of local and national cultures and
sub-cultures, on the other, refuse to go away – and have indeed been
heightened with the recent rise of political nationalism and what
some people see as the demise of multiculturalism in the Western
The main aim of this conference is to explore questions about the
locality versus the universality of virtues from a number of
theoretical and practical perspectives. At the most practical
educational level, questions arise about the extent to which efforts
at character development need to be geared towards the specific ethos
of the individual school or individual class. Psychologists continue
to debate the nature of ‘independent’ versus ‘interdependent’
self-concepts and how those may call for different displays of
virtue. Philosophers are interested in epistemological and
ontological questions regarding moral relativity. Last but not least,
in the current political climate, questions about how well virtues
travel across geographical and cultural borders have become more
pressing than ever before.
The aim of the 2019 Jubilee Centre annual conference is to bring
together experts from a range of disciplines to explore those
questions and many more. Can theorists from philosophy, education,
sociology, theology, history and psychology learn from each other’s
work? How can insights from theory and practice be integrated?
We hereby send out an open call for presentations falling under the
broad theme of the conference. While our focus this time is on issues
of cultural variance in good character, we will also look favourably
upon proposals that explore other character-related issues from an
educational, social scientific, philosophical or practice-oriented
perspective. There will be parallel sessions devoted to general
topics in the area of character, virtue and character education. We
particularly welcome proposals from teachers and other practitioners.
We ask interested parties to send us an abstract of about 500 words
to firstname.lastname@example.org (marked ORIEL PROPOSAL in
the subject line) before July 1, 2018.
We will send out notifications of acceptance before the end of July.
The conference fee is £200 and covers full board at Oriel College (2
nights), including the formal conference dinner. Details of how to
pay the registration fee will be provided in due course.
Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues
University of Birmingham
12th Floor (West), Muirhead Tower
Birmingham, B15 2TT