2009 Annual Conference ‘Ethics for the 21st Century’

July 2-4, 2009

University of Edinburgh – Department of Politics and IR, ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum


The last two decades have seen profound social and economic changes in all areas of our lives. To name but a few: borders have become both more open and more closed. We have witnessed unprecedented levels of technological development: from new medical technologies such as genetic engineering and cloning, to communication technologies such as the internet and new modes of warfare. Environmental degradation and climate change are now seen as pressing issues by most.

On the one hand, we have gained considerable freedoms and opportunities (to shape our children, to access information, to use the internet as a tool for democratic governance, to travel, to exchange information, etc.). On the other hand, we are increasingly vulnerable to breaches of privacy and autonomy (such as identify theft), to denials of our freedoms (through, e.g., anti-terrorist legislation), to growing inequalities and distrust within heterogeneous societies, and to extreme forms of violence.

ALSP 2009 aims to examine the ethical implications of those changes. It welcomes panels and papers across the disciplines of philosophy, politics, law and social policy, which explicitly discuss the complex relation between philosophical and practical analysis in relation to those concerns.

It welcomes submissions on the following themes:

– Climate change: justice and climate change, ecological debt, future generations

and climate change

–  Genetic engineering, genetic testing, cloning, abortion and wrongful life,

property rights in genetic material, xenotransplantation

– War: new wars v. old wars, new forms of warfare, wars over natural resources,

mercenarism, terrorism, torture, the ethics of peacekeeping

– Electronic technologies: privacy and the internet, surveillance technologies,

democracy and the internet, data security

– Migration and citizenship: border controls, refugee quotas, religious toleration

in an age of terror

– Concepts and conceptions of rights, freedom and justice in the face of those


– Business ethics in a globalised world

Confirmed keynote speakers

Professor Jeff McMahan, Rutgers University. Professor McMahan is one of the most innovative and thought-provoking philosophers of his generation. His work in the fields of bioethics (particularly abortion and genetics) and war has yielded seminal books and articles (see esp. his Ethics of Killing – Problems at the Margins of Life, Oxford University Press, 2002, and his numerous articles in Ethics, Utilitas, Law and Philosophy.)

Professor Jonathan Wolff, University College London. Member of the Nuffield Council for Bioethics. Professor Wolff’s work is located at the crossroad of philosophy and public policy. His recent book Disadvantage (co-authored with A. De-Shalit, OUP 2007) is already an influential contribution to the philosophical literature on social justice.

Submission of Paper/Panel Proposals:

Submission of Papers: Please upload a title and abstract (c.300 words), as well as contact details, by February 1st, 2009, at

Submission of panels: we encourage submission of panels with up to three papers discussing a related topic. Panel conveners should upload a short outline of the panel theme, a list of participants and titles & short abstracts of the papers by February 1st, 2009.

Paper givers will be expected to talk for no more than 20mns, followed by discussion. Selective contributions will be considered for subsequent publication in the conference proceedings.

Important Dates:

· Deadline for proposal submission: 1 February 2009

· Notification of paper/panel acceptance: 1 March 2009

· Registration: to open on 1 March 2009 and to close on 1 May 2009

Conference Organisation:

The academic convenor of the conference is Professor Cécile Fabre, department of Politics and IR, University of Edinburgh.

For more information on registration, venue, etc. see the conference website at

Email inquiries should be sent to

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