Monthly Archives: February 2016

Emotion, fiction, and virtual worlds (7-15 July 2016)

This year the central topic of the summer school organized by the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences (SCAS) is “Emotion, fiction, and virtual worlds”.

A growing body of research is highlighting the potential power of new technologies such as virtual reality, robotics, videogames or human-computer interaction for health and learning purposes. Much of the current research, however, fails to bridge the gap between technology, virtual worlds and fundamental theoretical or empirical constructs such as emotions, immersion and reality, user engagement and related motivational aspects, as well as social interactions. ISSAS 2016 will address those gaps by discussing the role of emotions in fictional (e.g. novels) and virtual worlds (such as virtual reality worlds or videogames).

The scientific program for 2016 comprises plenary lectures from leading scholars in the field, discussions sessions and workshops aimed at theoretical integration and fostering new research ideas, group work in which the students design an interdisciplinary research project that will be presented and discussed on the last day.

The Open University’s Derek Matravers is one of these leading scholars. For more details, follow this link.


Hear Sophie Grace Chappell rescuing the beautiful on Australian radio

And you don’t even need to be in Australia to do so: Rescuing the beautiful. She talks with Joe Gelonesi on the question, ‘Would you do something simply because it is the beautiful thing to do?’

The original broadcast was on Feb 11 2016. Other programmes in ABC Radio National’s Philosopher’s Zone series can be found on their past programmes page.

The Protection of Cultural Artefacts in War (13-14 June 2016)

Derek Matravers (here at the Open University) and Helen Frowe (Director of the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace) are organizing a joint conference on this topic in Stockholm. Here is the call for papers and a link:

The Protection of Cultural Artefacts in War
Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace and the Open University
Langholmen Hotel, Stockholm, 13 – 14 June, 2016

The recent and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East – most notably in Syria and Iraq, but also elsewhere – have wreaked havoc on some of the world’s most important cultural sites and artefacts. This workshop aims to shed light on three central questions. First, why does cultural heritage matter? Second, how ought military forces to weigh the value of cultural sites and objects in their strategic deliberations? Third, is it permissible to use military force specifically to protect aspects of cultural heritage? In particular, is it permissible to defend these goods at the risk of endangering soldiers’ lives, and – given our limited resources – at the risk of failing to protect lives?

This workshop will bring together philosophers, archaeologists, and international lawyers in an attempt to answer these and other questions. It is the first of a series of events aimed at developing robust theoretical accounts of cultural heritage within the context of the ethics of war. Subsequent events will directly engage with NGOs, military practitioners, and policymakers. We invite the submission of papers of no more than 7000 words, suitable for delivery in no more than 45 minutes. Attendance at the conference is free, including meals, but please note that the authors of submitted papers are responsible for their own travel and accommodation. Papers should be submitted to no later than Friday the 8th of April. More information is available on SCEWP’s website here.

Sophie-Grace Chappell speaking at LSE, 27 Feb 2016

Ideals of Equality: Feminisms in the Twenty-First Century

11 – 12.30pm, Saturday 27 February 2016
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, London School of Economics


  • Sophie-Grace Chappell, Professor of Philosophy (The Open University)
  • Heidi Mirza, Professor of Race, Faith and Culture (Goldsmiths College, University of London)
  • Jacqueline Rose, Professor of Humanities (Birkbeck, University of London)
  • Zoe Williams, Writer and journalist

Chair, Danielle Sands, Lecturer in Comparative Literature and Culture (Royal Holloway) and Forum for European Philosophy Fellow

What is the future for feminism? How does feminism interact with concerns about other forms of oppression, such as those based on race and class? Is there one feminist movement or many? If there are many, how should they relate to one another? In this panel, our speakers will discuss these questions and ask what the future holds for feminist movements.

This event is part of LSE LITERARY FESTIVAL 2016: UTOPIAS. It is free to attend but does require a ticket. Details at LSE’s philosophy forum site.

Seminar: Dr Eileen John, 2 March 2016

Dr Eileen John (University of Warwick)
‘Divided by feeling’


We can be divided in feeling within ourselves—we often have ‘mixed feelings’—and divided from others who feel differently than we do about some issue or situation. The intrapersonal case is interesting because it does not seem that differences of belief could explain the mixed feelings. Perhaps disagreement in belief is also not always the best explanation for differences in feeling between people. I want in part to think about why and how we are able to take mixed feelings on board within our own lives, while divergence in feeling from others can create great ‘distance’ and, sometimes, a sense that we do not make sense to each other. Difference in feeling can make someone feel ‘farther away’, it seems, than sheer disagreement in belief. Is the intrapersonal case helpful in conceiving of how we are divided from others by feeling? Are we responsible for trying to lessen felt distance from others? I will approach these questions in part by considering how they are handled in J. M. Coetzee’s The Lives of Animals.

The seminar will be held at the Open University’s campus at Walton Hall, in Wilson A, Meeting Room 05, from 2pm – 4pm.

All welcome. Contact Carolyn Price ( for more information on these events and on the Reasons and Norms research group.