March 8-10, 2019

Université de Lausanne

“Tolerance, Sociability and Solidarity in Scottish Philosophy.”

CFP: Tolerance, Sociability and Solidarity in Scottish Philosophy – 8-10 March 2019

We are happy to announce that the 2019 spring conference of the Institute for the Study of Scottish Philosophy (formerly Center for the Study of Scottish Philosophy CSSP, Princeton) will take place on 8-10 March 2019 in Lausanne!

Societies are kept together by different kinds of glue. Self-interested factors such as the fear of leaving society, and the awareness of various benefits of living with others may play their roles. Yet there are also other factors, such as forms of natural sociability, benevolence and sympathy, solidarity with other members of society, and tolerance with respect to different opinions and values. Sometimes religion is considered helpful for keeping societies together, sometimes it is presented as the very cause of division.

The nature, potential and limits of tolerance, sociability, solidarity and the role of religion were discussed by many philosophers in the Scottish tradition, and in particular in the Scottish Enlightenment. We invite paper proposals that explore the roles of these notions in Scottish philosophy in the first conference of the new Institute for the Study of Scottish Philosophy (ISSP), to be held in Lausanne (Switzerland) on 8-10 March 2019.

Proposals of not more than 400 words should be sent by email attachment to by November 1, 2018. Decisions will be notified by November 30, 2018.

Funding for Graduate Students

We are also pleased to announce the Gordon Graham Prize in Scottish Philosophy. The winner of this prize will receive financial support including registration, travel, and lodging to attend the 2019 ISSP conference in Lausanne Switzerland. The winner’s paper will also be published in the Journal of Scottish Philosophy. The runner-up will be invited to the conference and published in the Journal of Scottish Philosophy. Please submit complete papers of not more than 5,000 words by November 1st, 2018 to

Further information, including travel information may be found on the University of Lausanne site.

Previous Events:

March 2018: The Scottish Tradition: Explaining its Rise, Understanding its Legacy.

Program Organizers

James A. Harris (University of St Andrews) and Remy Debes (University of Memphis)

Plenary Speakers
  • Rebecca Copenhaver (Lewis and Clark)
  • Jennifer Keefe (University of Wisconsin, Parkside)
  • Silvia Sebastiani (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales)

Opinions differ as to the period of time over which a Scottish philosophical tradition can be identified. Some find signs of it as early as Duns Scotus (1266?-1308) and as late as John Macmurray (1891-1976). Others regard the period of the Scottish Enlightenment as key, locating the tradition’s origins in Francis Hutcheson (1694-1746), its culmination in Sir William Hamilton (1788-1856), and seeing its demise with the rise of the Scottish Idealists led by Edward Caird (1835-1908). Whichever period we focus on, however, its rise and its significance provide further occasions for debate and disagreement. Is the Scottish tradition distinctive in terms of topics and/or philosophical doctrines? Or can it be subsumed without significant loss within the broader category of British moral philosophy? Does it have special strengths in its choice of philosophical method, or is it merely a version of empiricism? Is Hume a key player or an outsider? Is Reid’s ‘common sense’ at the core of it all, or merely one phase in its history? Are the Scottish Idealists to be included or excluded from the tradition? Is there continuing value in identifying a ‘Scottish philosophical tradition’, or is it an ex post facto invention born of nostalgia?

May 2017: Hume’s Dialogues: a Symposium

David Hume’s Dialogues concerning Natural Religion were not published until after his death, probably because of the controversy they were expected to cause. Since their publication there have been deep and wide ranging changes in philosophy, but the Dialogues have retained their ability to generate intense philosophical debate. They remain, arguably, the single most important work ever to be published in the philosophy of religion. The third and final event in the CSSP’s 2016-17 program will be a symposium on the Dialogues.

March 2017: Science in the Scottish Enlightenment

The philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment was marked by a distinctive ambition – to extend the observational methods of science to the study of the human as well as the physical world. The pursuit of this ambition led to many innovative studies of mind and metaphysics, as well as morality, aesthetics and politics. It also led to an investigation of the methods themselves, and the conception of ‘science’ that underlay them. This conference aims to explore many of these important topics, both philosophically and historically.

Future Events

  • 2020 – Princeton, New Jersey: In collaboration with the Eighteenth Century Scottish Studies Society.
  • 2021 – Tokyo, Japan: In collaboration with the International Christian University and the ISSP Asian Network.
  • 2022 – St Andrews, Scotland: In collaboration with the University of St Andrews.