Call for abstracts
The Extreme Beliefs team invites submission of contributed abstracts for the Interdisciplinary Workshop Extreme Belief and Responsibility, to be held at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (The Netherlands) on the 29th and 30th of June 2023. We particularly encourage scholars working on underrepresented perspectives, such as the global south and underrepresented groups in academia, to submit an abstract. More information about the workshop can be found on this website soon.
Invited Keynote Speakers:
Ian James Kidd (Philosophy, University of Nottingham)
Janja Lalich (Sociology)
Ken Levy (Law, Lousiana State University)
Paulina Sliwa (Philosophy, University of Vienna)
This workshop explores the relation between extreme beliefs and extreme behavior on the one hand and responsibility on the other. The first part concerns the issue of who is responsible. For instance, should we target the individual, the community, or none, i.e., are structural factors to blame? The second part concerns what kind of responsibility is at issue. For instance, how do legal, moral, and epistemic responsibility relate to each other with respect to extreme beliefs? The third part concerns when responsibility attributions are appropriate and when not. What are excusing or exculpating conditions of individual or group responsibility for extreme belief?
It is the third in a series of interdisciplinary workshops of the extreme beliefs project, in which we study extreme belief and behavior as found in fanaticism, fundamentalism, extremism, conspiracy theorizing, and terrorism. Key to the project is the idea that we ought to take extreme believers and actors seriously, meaning that (i) those actors are to be understood as relatively normal, healthy, reason-responsive human beings, yet with problematic ideas and possibly harmful behavior, and that (ii) their reasons, beliefs, narratives, and religiosity are to be understood as crucial to understanding and explaining these phenomena. The project brings philosophical tools, concepts, arguments, and other resources to a so far largely empirical debate. Two previous workshops were devoted to conceptually mapping the terrain, and explanations of extreme belief behavior. Two future workshops will be devoted to extreme beliefs and subjectivity and resilience towards extreme beliefs.
– Brainwashing, indoctrination, gaslighting, or other forms of mind manipulation
– The role of epistemic and moral agency, or virtues and vices in forming or maintaining extreme beliefs
– Group dynamics, for instance, in cults or online extremist groups
– Relations between legal, moral, and epistemic responsibility with respect to extreme beliefs
– Historical or cultural differences in responsibility assessments
– Excuses for extreme beliefs
– Influence of cognitive and affective capacities
– Influence of intellectual self-trust, self-esteem, and self-respect
– The role of (group)ignorance in forming and maintaining extreme beliefs
– Do circumstantial factors, such as being in an epistemic bubble or echo chamber, or living in a society dealing with fake news, propaganda, censorship, polarization, suppression, war, etcetera, excuse?
– Relation to specific instances of extreme beliefs, such as conspiracy theorizing or fundamentalism
The two-day workshop will be plenary with sessions consisting of keynote lectures with responses and, depending on submitted abstracts, interdisciplinary duo-sessions. The focus will be on the face-to-face meetings, but there will be room for online presentations if needed.
We welcome submissions of 500-word abstracts, to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org 15 January 2023 the latest. Notifications of acceptance will be given in February. Those who submitted an abstract might also be invited as respondents. We encourage submissions from researchers from the global south and underrepresented groups in academia.
Book series on extreme beliefs:
Together with an international and interdisciplinary group of experts on kinds of extreme beliefs, we will publish an OUP book series on extreme beliefs. The aim of the series is to crystallize an approach to extreme beliefs in which the perspective of the extreme believer is crucial in understanding, explaining, and mitigating extreme beliefs. One volume, edited by Naomi Kloosterboer, Chris Ranalli, and Rik Peels, will be dedicated to the theme of the responsibility workshop. Presentations at the workshop may be considered for inclusion in the volume. For more on the volume and the book series, see here.
Naomi Kloosterboer, Nora Kinderman, Chris Ranalli, Rik Peels & Anna Haase. The extreme beliefs project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program (Grant Agreement No. 851613).