Call for Papers

Theme: The Value of (Not) Being Diverse
Subtitle: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Social Cohesion,
Diversity, Moral Pluralism and their Limits
Type: 2017 International Tübingen Symposium on Ethics
Institution: International Centre for Ethics (IZEW),
University of Tübingen
Location: Tübingen (Germany)
Date: 24.–26.7.2017
Deadline: 15.12.2016


“Social Cohesion”, “Diversity” and “Pluralism” have become normative 
central guiding principles in democratic societies. However, the 
practical implementation of how to define social cohesion, deal with 
diversity and act in pluralistic societies is rather contested.
Recently, especially in the light of the growing numbers of refugees, 
the meaning and value of diversity has been both passionately
confirmed and passionately contested: Proponents of diversity and
plurality of values argue that diversity and (moral) pluralism
represent common goods that have to be protected by and within
democratic societies, with the aim to strengthen social cohesion and
democracy. Opponents of diversity and the plurality of values often
argue that too much diversity and (moral) pluralism represent a
threat to social cohesion and ultimately endanger the integrity of

Global challenges of, among others, extreme socio-economic
inequalities, “failing states” and terrorism, as well as
environmental degradation and climate change are bringing forth
global migration; this increases the plurality of people and their
values in already diverse societies. These processes have an impact
of how social cohesion, diversity and moral pluralism are framed.
Among others, this poses challenges to the whole education system. On
a more basic level, the question remains how the concept of diversity
is shaped and justified with regard to the political and moral
sphere. Here, for example, the relation between cultural and
biological diversity is being negotiated and contested from several
standpoints, reaching from biology-based functionalisms to
(de)constructivist approaches. Both in cultural as well as in
biodiversity conservation discourses, not every kind of diversity is
cherished. But what are the reasons to distinguish “good diversity”
from “bad diversity?” Not least in the light of the alarming shifts
to non-democratic populism in Europe and the USA there is an urgent
need to re-debate diversity and moral pluralism: (How) Do they
promote social cohesion? Or (where) do they undermine it?

Following the spirit of the “Tübingen approach” of an 
application-oriented ethics, this conference aims to encourage a
broad interdisciplinary discussion on social cohesion, diversity and
moral pluralism in contemporary societies. It is open to both
theoretical as well as empirical approaches (including ethics, law,
politics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, environmental sciences
etc.). Conceptual and empirical contributions should help gaining
insights into possible limitations inherent in the concepts of
cultural diversity and moral pluralism and the specific
implementation of pluralism, its chances, limitations and challenges
in different contexts.

Abstract submission:

We are asking scholars from all disciplines interested in the
conference topic(s) to suggest themes. Please submit an abstract of
max. 400 words until December 15, 2016, to:


Dr. Cordula Brand
International Centre for Ethics
University of Tübingen
Wilhelmstr. 19
D-72074 Tübingen
Phone: +49 7071 29-77982
Email: ethics2...@izew.uni-tuebingen.de


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