Biennial Conference

2018 Conference: Applied Neo-Pragmatism

Friday, September 21st - Saturday, September 22nd
Williamsburg Lodge, Allegheny A/B Rooms

Program Here



We typically think of talk of morality, of psychological states, and of objects as true or false. But what makes them true or false? Philosophy has shown that this ordinary way of thinking sometimes leads to commitments to odd properties and to other problems as well. An approach called "pragmatism" has tried to solve these problems by equating truth and usefulness. According to pragmatism, we consider statements true when they are useful for us. However, pragmatism has had troubles of its own. 

"Neo-pragmatism" is a recent attempt to demystify truth and related notions such as representation and fact.  One part of the program involves avoiding reliance on any robust notion of truth altogether, and substituting another explanation of our talk about truth.  Another part of the program appeals to usefulness in order to explain how moral talk, psychological talk, everyday object talk, and so on, emerged.

Our two-day conference will feature both the theoretical and applied aspects of neo-pragmatism. The emphasis is on how the neo-pragmatist program solves problems in such arenas as morality and psychology and allows us to think of these areas as factual.

For more information about the speakers, follow the links below::

Simon Blackburn
Emeritus Professor, University of Cambridge, and Research Professor, UNC/Chapel Hill
Mazviita Chirimuuta
Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh
Jamie Dreier
Professor, Brown University
Philip Pettit
L.S. Rockefeller University Professor of Human Values, Princeton University, and
Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Australian National University
Huw Price
Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge
John Roberts
Professor, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Amie Thomasson
Professor, Dartmouth
Jose Zalabardo
Professor, University College London

The conference organizer is Joshua Gert. E-mail: [[jngert]]

The Department of Philosophy is grateful to Teresa Thompson ('67) and Michael Foradas ('78)
for their generous support.

Past Conferences

Epistemology and Cognition (2016)

The Authority of Tradition (2014)

Responsibility & Relationships: 50 Years of Strawson's 'Freedom and Resentment' (2012)

Study of the Human Self (2008)

The Future of Democracy (2006)