Thursday, December 03, 2009

Truth Matters Conference

This summer, the Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto, is hosting a conference entitled "Truth Matters." The conference, which is co-sponsored by Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Michigan), Drodt College (Sioux Center, Iowa), and Vrije Universiteit (Amsterdam), will run from August 18-20 2010. It appears as though it will act as a platform for the discussion of a new interdisciplinary philosphical model of truth proposed by the organisers.

Here's some more details and the call for papers:

"We live in an age of skepticism about the idea of truth. Contemporary skeptics question the nature and value of truth and the concomitant virtue of truthfulness. Skepticism about truth is not restricted to popular culture. It occurs within the academic world, where deflationists have argued that the idea of truth is not a substantive notion and some poststructuralists have portrayed it as primarily the scene of struggles for power.

"Such skepticism is surprising, for truth and truthfulness have been central to Western civilization and the academic enterprise. Historically, the idea of truth has helped organize Western intellectual culture since ancient times. It is a central theme in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the three monotheistic religions that have shaped Western society. Conceptually, the idea of truth sets a stage for fundamental debates about the point and worth of academic work: debates between realists and anti-realists in philosophy, theology, and the natural sciences, for example, or between relativists and anti-relativists in the humanities and social sciences. Societally, the idea of truth provides a normative background for ethics, law, and public discourse: we expect friends and colleagues to be truthful; we ask witnesses in courts of law to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth"; and we get upset when journalists deliberately fabricate their reports.

"Given both contemporary skepticism and the centrality of truth, we believe it is time to reconceptualize truth and to reclaim truthfulness for the academic enterprise. The conference organizers have undertaken an interdisciplinary philosophical effort to develop a new model of truth. Now we wish to expand the scope of our work by engaging with discussion partners from other schools and from across the disciplines. The Truth Matters conference will be an occasion for international dialogue and debate."

The call for papers suggests these relevant topics for proposals:

  • artistic and narrative truth
  • power, truth, and ideology
  • realism, anti-realism, and truth
  • relativism, anti-relativism, and truth
  • religious truth
  • teaching and learning for truth
  • truth in ethics
  • truthfulness in public life
The call for papers invites submissions in English of 700-word proposals or papers not exceeding 3,500 words, but submissions must be formatted for blind review (separate sheet of paper for name, contact details and 2-4 key words).

The conference organisers welcome interdisciplinary approaches, and papers from graduate students. There are going to be one or two "merit-based graduate essay awards" of $250 Canadian., so don't forget to identify yourself as a student to be considered for the money!

Submission deadline: March 1, 2010.
Submission via email to:

Here's a video interview with Lambert Zuidervaart about the conference:

No comments: