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Heritage in War conference (New Orleans, 18-19 March 2020)

Registration for the New Orleans Heritage in War conference is now open! Early bird registration is available until the 1st of February. After that the registration fee will increase by an additional £15.

Keynote speakers:

  • Laurie Rush (Cultural Resources Manager and Army Archaeologist stationed at Fort Drum)
  • Rob Hopkins (NYU, Philosophy)
  • Nancy Sherman (Georgetown, Philosophy)

The AHRC-funded Heritage in War Project, led by Helen Frowe and Derek Matravers, explores the moral value of cultural heritage and how we ought to incorporate this value into our accounts of the ethics of war, and how to deal with damage to heritage in the aftermath of conflict. The aim of this interdisciplinary conference is to bring together researchers and practitioners from a wide range of fields, including (but not limited to) philosophy, international law, heritage studies, archaeology, and the military, to explore issues connected to the protection of heritage in war and conflict.

For more information about the conference, including schedule, registration, and contact information, see


Alex Barber on Dishonesty

Alex Barber has just published an article in the Journal of Ethics in which he defines the notion of dishonesty, argues that it is a more useful notion than lying, and applies these findings to some real-world cases in law and political journalism.

The article is currently available through an OPEN ACCESS agreement. You can download it from the journal website:

Lying, Misleading, and Dishonesty

or go straight to the pdf.

Peter Cave’s new book on modern mythology

Peter Cave, one of our long-standing philosophy tutors, has just written a book of popular philosophy:

The Myths We Live By: Adventures in Free Speech and Other Liberal Adventures

Anyone who knows him through his teaching or his other books will know that it contains plenty to disagree with, and plenty of imaginative (in the best sense) arguments to make doing so tricky.

Heritage in War Project (call for participants)

3rd Call for Abstracts: Heritage in War

18th-19th of March 2020

Loyola University, New Orleans

This interdisciplinary conference aims to bring together researchers and practitioners from a wide range of fields, such as philosophy, international law, heritage studies, archaeology, and the military, to explore issues connected to the protection of heritage in war and conflict. Both normative and empirical papers are welcome.

Extended abstracts of no more than 1500 words, to form the basis of a thirty-minute presentation, should be submitted to no later than the 1st of September 2019.

More information about the conference can be found here:

A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Philosophy

John Shand, a long-standing OU Tutor and Associate Lecture, has edited A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Philosophy, which has just been published as part of the prestigious  (not to say incredibly useful) Blackwell’s Companions series.

Contents below. Follow the link to the publisher’s site for more information.

  • Introduction / John Shand
  1. Transcendental Idealism: Kant / John J. Callanan
  2. Theory of Science: Fichte, Schelling / Gabriel Gottlieb
  3. Absolute Idealism: Hegel / Sebastian Stein
  4. The World as Will and Representation: Schopenhauer / Mary S. Troxell
  5. Historicizing Naturalism: Mill, Comte / Christopher Macleod
  6. The Single Individual is Higher than the Universal: Kierkegaard / Karl Aho and C. Stephen Evans
  7. The Rise of Liberal Utilitarianism: Bentham, Mill / Piers Norris Turner
  8. Critique of Religion: Strauss, Feuerbach, Marx / Todd Gooch
  9. Historical Materialism: Marx / Jan Kandiyali
  10. Philosophy and Historical Meaning: Schleiermacher, Dilthey / Benjamin D. Crowe
  11. Late Utilitarian Moral Theory and Its Development: Sidgwick, Moore / Anthony Skelton
  12. American Pragmatism: From Peirce to James / Douglas McDermid
  13. The Value of Our Values: Nietzsche / Andrew Huddleston
  14. British Idealism: Green, Bradley, McTaggart / James Connolly and Giuseppina D’Oro
  15. Neo-Kantianism: Marburg, Southwest School / Evan Clarke
  16. The Origins of Phenomenology in Austro-German Philosophy: Brentano, Husserl / Guillaume Fréchette
  17. New Logic and the Seeds of Analytical Philosophy: Boole, Frege / Kevin C. Klement
  18. Time, Memory and Creativity: Bergson / Michael Kelly

Reminder: Cultural Heritage and the Ethics of War (Conference)

Early Bird registration is still available (until May 15th) for the first Heritage in War conference, which is on the theme of:

Cultural Heritage and the Ethics of War

The aim of the conference is to begin to develop a robust account of the status of heritage in war by exploring philosophical work on such matters as incommensurability and incomparability, the nature and status of cultural heritage, risk imposition, and the reconstruction and replacement of damaged or destroyed heritage.

  • Homerton College, University of Cambridge
  • 18th to 19th September, 2019
  • Keynote speakers: Simon Blackburn, Ruth Chang, Victor Tadros

For more information about the conference, including registration and the latest news on the wider project, visit the project website.

The philosophy in Frankenstein (talk in Belfast, March 28 2019)

Alex Barber gave a talk on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as part of the Belfast Imagine festival on March 28th. In it, he talked about the surprising presence within Mary Shelley’s famous and much-loved novel of her mother and father – the philosophers Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin.

Wollstonecraft, who was called ‘a hyena in petticoats’ and a ‘philosophizing serpent’ (and worse) by male critics, is best known today for her revolutionary manifesto, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy. She died ten days after giving birth to Mary Shelley but, as Alex explained in his talk, her ideas live on in the words of her daughter’s extraordinary novel.

Music and Philosophy conference, 11th-12th July 2019

The 7th biennial conference of the Music and Philosophy Study Group with take place in King’s College, London. The OU’s Derek Matravers is on the programme committee. The keynote speakers are:

Professor Jenefer Robinson (University of Cincinnati)
Professor Alexander García Düttmann (Universität der Künste, Berlin)
Professor Julian Johnson (Royal Holloway, University of London)

A full draft programme, and registration details, are available via the conference site.

Sophie Grace Chappell interview

3am magazine is a free-to-access site with a constant stream of excellent essays on culture, particularly written culture, including philosophy. It also has an interview with Sophie Grace Chappell  called Glory, beauty, epiphany, imagination: how to do moral philosophy. As well as finding out more about her many highly distinctive takes on philosophy…

‘The phenomenon that I call glory is, roughly speaking, what you get when someone scores a brilliant goal in front of a packed stadium. When I wrote “Glory as an ethical idea” it was because I was struck by the centrality of glory in this sense to our society. But though it is sociologically so central for us, it’s not even on the map for us philosophically.’

…you can learn how she ended up at the Open University and why she values it as an institution.