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Philosophy and Public Affairs

Colloquium organized by Daniel Loick and Thomas Nys. If not noted otherwise: Wednesdays, 4-6 pm, Department of Philosophy, Faculteitskamer, Oude Turfmarkt 147.

A common characteristic of many contemporary social problems is the uncertainty about the extent to which these problems are public affairs, and thus where, by whom and how they have to be dealt with in a liberal democracy. This is particularly pressing in questions about religious diversity and fundamentalism, gender, sexuality, and reproductive work, biotechnology and modern medicine, to name but a few examples.  In spite of their obvious differences in content, problems in areas such as these jointly call for serious reconsideration of political, moral and ethical concepts. The principles of liberalism and democracy, distinctions like the ones between the private and the public, fact and value, science and politics, and between individual morality and the normative neutrality of liberal democracies have to be interpreted against the background of these new societal problems. To deal with public concerns, established institutions and practices need to be re-evaluated fundamentally. These include the sovereignty of the nation state, the autonomous individual as the basic unit in normative theory, the view that democratic politics is the execution of aggregated individual preferences, and the politics of forms of life.  

With this series of seminars with prominent moral and political philosophers from both inside and outside the Netherlands, we want to shed light on different aspects of the broad problematic, from both more theoretically oriented as well as more concretely social and political perspectives. 

Contact: Daniel Loick ( and Thomas Nys (

Schedule for the PPA Colloquium meetings October-December 2021, fortnightly, on Wednesday afternoons 16-18 hrs and with drinks afterwards. These will be hybrid meetings which will take place part live in the Faculty Room and part on zoom at: (this is a permanent link, it will accessible on Wednesdays from 15.30-18.00 on every occurrence of the colloquium).

We will distribute a work in progress chapter or article to be discussed about one week before the meetings.


13 October: 

Gerrit Schaafsma -- Resisting Injustice: Civil Disobedience and Climate Change
Commentator: Francisco Garcia-Gibson
Moderator: Jasmijn Leeuwenkamp

27 October:  

Cécile Laborde – White and secular privilege
Commentators: Christoph Baumgartner and Sophie Lauwers (Lauwers on Zoom).
Moderator: Yolande Jansen

10 November: 

Jasmijn Leeuwenkamp: Will human rights save the ‘anthropos’ from anthropocentrism? Climate change and the overrepresentation of Man.
Commentator: Laura Burgers
Moderator: Gerrit Schaafsma

24 November: 

Mari Mikkola: Dissident Theorizing: Tracing Nonideal Philosophical Methodology (first two chapters).
Commentator: Jana Cattien
Moderator: Daniel Loick

I am currently working on a monograph that undertakes to develop a nonideal methodology informed by socially engaged philosophical outlooks – most notably, by feminist and anti-racist insights – in analytic philosophy. Feminist philosophers and philosophers of race often claim to be methodologically committed to nonideal theory: that an examination of normative concepts like justice should start by attending to actual oppressive social relations, instead of aiming to articulate an unachievable ideal of a perfectly just society. Although not all nonideal investigations are feminist and anti-racist, the latter are frequently pitted against more ‘mainstream’ ones that overlook real-world complexities generated by gender, race, ability, class, and sexuality (among others). Since non-standard philosophical contributions are marginalized and even subject to outright derision, nonideal theorists sometimes see themselves as dissidents or ‘outlaws’ relative to more traditional investigations in challenging established philosophical assumptions and conceptions. Prior work attests to the value of feminist and anti-racist interventions in analytic philosophy. My book aims to do something deeper and more thoroughgoing: to investigate and demonstrate the transformative potential of dissident nonideal insights when thinking about the methodology of analytical philosophy.

8 December: 

Hao Wang: Algorithmic colonization of the public sphere
Commentator: Marijn Sax
Moderator: Gerrit Schaafsma

 22 December: 

Francesca Raimundi: Title TBA
Commentator: Daniel Loick 
Moderator: Yolande Jansen