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10-11 September 2012
Universidad de Navarra
Pamplona, Spain

This conference addresses the question of whether human action is intrinsically moral, and hence as well the question of whether and how a conception of the nature of action ought to be relevant for a theory of what is good or right to do. This issue comes up in contemporary discussions in many different forms: whether practical rationality can be understood in instrumental terms, whether instrumental rationality is normative, whether all intentional action is done under “the guise of the good,” etc. The aim of the conference is to address this question from a variety of perspectives, both historical (Aristotelian, Humean, Kantian and Hegelian approaches) and contemporary (Davidson, Anscombe, etc.). Also of interest for our subject are perspectives on action in the social sciences, which standardly approach action is instrumental (“rational choice”) and yet also theorize the social dimensions of human agency, like Hegel or even Aristotle. The conference aims to make a contribution to the study of human action, overcoming the abstractions and shortcomings that stem from a lack of dialogue between different traditions and academic disciplines.

Margaret Archer (EPFL/Warwick)
Ana Marta González (Navarra)
Terry Pinkard (Georgetown)
Sebastian Rödl (Basel)
Dieter Schönecker (Siegen)
Alejandro Vigo (Navarra)

Dates: Monday 10 – Tuesday 11 September 2012
Presentations: 6 papers with discussant and 2 or 4 contributed papers
Format: All the papers will be distributed in advance. Each of the 6 papers will be discussed in 1h. 45m: 10-15m. for a short presentation by the author, 25m. for the discussant and 1h. of discussion. (There will be 1h. 15m. for the contributed papers: 10m. presentation, 20m. for the discussant and 45m. of discussion).
Language: English

There is plan to publish the contributions in a volume. The idea is to produce a book that covers the relationship between action theory and morality from a (broadly) historical perspective.

José M. Torralba, Universidad de Navarra (jmtorralba (at)
Mark Alznauer, Northwestern University (malznauer (at)

* 2 or 4 papers will be selected.

* Presenters must be young faculty or postdocs (PhD received after 2006).

* Papers dealing with any of the topics of the conference are welcome, especially those that compare different schools of thought or approaches (philosophy/social theory). We particularly encourage the submission of papers on social theory. At least 1 (and probably 2) of the selected papers will be on this subject. We also encourage the submission of papers on Hume and his influence and/or Davidson.

* Accommodation and meal costs will be covered by the sponsors, and (subject to budget availability) also travel expenses.

* Paper review and selection procedure:
a) Before 9 March 2012: Please send a 2 page abstract (including bibliography) and a short cv to jmtorralba (at) or malznauer (at)

b) By 26 March 2012 those selected will be asked to submit (before 30 April 2012) a full paper prepared for blind review. All identifying information must be placed on a separate cover page. Accepted papers will be announced by 28 May 2012.

For more details, see


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