Department of Philosophy

The Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology | Lund University

Social Complexes: Parts and Wholes. Perspectives from Metaphysics, Ethics and Philosophy of Action.

During the last few decades, philosophers have taken an increasing interest in the nature and ethics of social and institutional entities, such as groups and formal organizations. However, attempts to merge findings from the different philosophical sub-disciplines ­ in particular mereology, social ontology, ethics and the metaphysics of agency ­ are still largely absent.

The purpose of this conference is to bring together leading philosophers from the various sub-disciplines to encourage and initiate such cross-disciplinary research and collaboration. Topics that might be fruitfully addressed include: What is the mode of existence of social and institutional entities, and how are they related to the material aspects of reality? Are traditional mereological concepts and theories applicable to them? Can social groups and organizations be agents in their own right? Are notions of collective responsibility or specific rights and obligations of collectives sensible? To what extent does the metaphysics of social and institutional entities bear on their
ethics, and vice versa?

At the Department of Philosophy, Kungshuset, room 203, 11-12 October 2013. MAP

Friday 11 Oct

9:00-9:20 Coffee

9:20-9:30 Introduction

9:30-10:30 Peter Simons (University of Dublin): Social Glue

10:30-10:50 Coffee  

10:50-11:50 Johan Brännmark (Malmö University): Future Generations as Rightholders

11:50-13:15 Lunch

13:15-14:15 Deborah Perron Tollefsen (University of Memphis): How Groups Testify

14:15-14:30 Break

14:30-15:30 Julie Zahle (University of Copenhagen): Methodological Holism and Emergence

15:30-16:00 Coffee

16:00-17:00 Anders Strand (University of Oslo): Structural Control


Saturday 12 Oct

9:20 Coffee

9:30-10:30 Gunnar Björnsson (Umeå University): Resolutions of Responsibility

10:30-10:50 Coffee  

10:50-11:50 Andras Szigeti
(University of Tromsø): Collectivism about Moral Responsibility and Two Conceptions of Group Control

11:50-13:15 Lunch

13:15-14:15 Don Baxter
(University of Connecticut): Social Complexes, Aspects, and Many-One Identity

14:15-14:30 Break

14:30-15:30 Marion Godman
(University of Cambridge / Helsinki University): Social Groups without Collective Agency

15:30-16:00 Coffee

16:00-17:00 Johanna Seibt
(Aarhus University): Collective Action and Collective Responsibility: a Process-Ontological Typology




The conference is organized by the Metaphysics & Collectivity group with generous support from Erik & Gurli Hultengren's Foundation for Philosophy.