CfP: Enlightenment and Freedom of Speech, Kraków, May 20-22, 2017


International Colloquium at Institute of Philosophy, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, 20-22.5.2017

Keynote speakers:
Prof. Ian Carter (University of Pavia)
Prof. Ulrich Lehner (Marquette University)

We would like to remind you of the call for abstracts for our forthcoming colloquium, dedicated to studying the idea that we should have a freedom to voice and otherwise express our thoughts, its origins, problems, critiques and justifications, from the angle of the history of philosophy, history of ideas, and contemporary political philosophy. The abstracts should be of maximum 500 words and relate to any of the following, or connected topics:

  • The concept of and arguments for (and against) the freedom of speech formulated by the early modern and Enlightenment thinkers, and their philosophical origins (re-discovery of the Stoics and Epicureans, Reformation, Cartesianism, Spinozism etc.) and historical context (e.g. religious persecutions, censorship and the adoption of constitutions in the USA, Poland and France). The distinction, and congruence, between freedom of speech and ‘freedom of the pen’.
  • The relationship of freedom of speech and secular state. In particular: is freedom of speech even compatible with secularism? Could unregulated freedom of speech hinder the realisation of the secular state by allowing people to express opinions that are based on their ‘particular’ religious world-views instead of purely ‘universal’ rationality? What are the justifications for this Enlightenment distinction?
  • The above questions are related to the question about the limits for the freedom of speech. Is the state ever entitled to limit people’s freedom to express ideas, for example, in order to prevent the manipulation of people’s opinions and emotions, or so-called hate-speech? If so, what are the minimum universal (or perhaps context-specific) rational standards that we can demand from public expression?

    If you are interested in presenting at the colloquium, we encourage you to submit your abstract (preferably in .doc, .docx or .pdf format), with a short note including information about your contact details and academic affiliation, by 31st January 2017, to one of the organisers:
    Dr. Anna Tomaszewska (
    Dr. Hasse Hämäläinen (

    The submitted abstracts will undergo a peer review and applicants will be informed whether their abstract has been accepted a month after the submission deadline. Each invited participant will have 30 minutes for presentation and 15 minutes for discussion.

    If you would like to participate in the colloquium without presenting a paper, please send your expression of interest by 1st March 2017.


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