"Theory Amidst Crisis: Political Philosophy for Strained, Breaking and Broken Institutions"

Home | Kontakt | English
"Theory Amidst Crisis: Political Philosophy for Strained, Breaking and Broken Institutions"
Home Events und Aktivitäten"Theory Amidst Crisis: Political Philosophy for Strained, Breaking and Broken Institutions"

13. – 14. Februar 2020

"Theory Amidst Crisis: Political Philosophy for Strained, Breaking and Broken Institutions"

Postdoctoral Conference

Conference Discription

This conference aims to direct our thinking not toward grand theorizing about principles. Rather, we begin by considering dire problems – crises threatening good order and just relations – where old institutions falter and even break under the strain of new circumstance. We ask whether existing ideas are up to the urgent tasks these crises represent, and what new ideas we must pursue to better grapple with the pressing challenges they pose. Specifically, panels address issues such as the subtle and not so subtle interference with democratic politics facilitated by social media; the dynamics of privatization, corporate ownership, and the threat of authoritarianism; and unprecedented flows of migrants seeking refuge from violence and climate change.


Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften, Am Wingertsberg 4, 61348 Bad Homburg v.d. Höhe


Thursday, 13.th February

14.00 Registration

14.20 Welcome by Rainer Forst and Stefan Gosepath

14.30-17.30 Electoral Crises: Ethics and Political Manipulation (chair: Marcus Haggröt)

Much liberal-democratic thought has concerned itself primarily -- even exclusively -- with coercive interference in citizens' lives. But political actors do things -- they engage in influential speech, they offer incentives, they mislead other actors, they disrupt the expected functioning of decision-making mechanisms etc. -- that fall short of coercion, yet nonetheless call for normative evaluation and public justification, precisely because they serve to purposively alter citizens' beliefs, intentions, and behavior. What we need are concepts and principles for describing influence that is neither persuasion nor coercion, but nonetheless implicates the use and abuse of political power. To that end, this panel looks to develop and leverage conceptual, ethical, and political work on manipulation and related ideas.  (Panelists: Gregory Whitfield, Anne Barnhill, & Massimo Renzo)

17.30-18.30 Drink Reception at FKH

19.00 Dinner at FKH


Friday, 14.th February 2020

10.00-13.00 Crises of Ownership: The Political of the Private(chair: Dimitrios Efthymiou)

Political philosophy today shows a welcome, renewed interest in economic problems. Theorists who share this interest are keen to deepen our understanding of the irreducibly political character of economic questions. A central problem for scholarly work at the intersection between political philosophy and economic theory is how transformations of corporate ownership and activity expand the politics of the private. The second panel approaches this problem by asking three questions: How should we respond to the corporate appropriation of private data? What is the link between resurging authoritarianism and privatization? Should corporate agents be subject to similar standards of legitimacy as public officials? (Panelists: Maurits de Jongh, Lisa Herzog, & Waheed Hussain)

13.00-14.30 Lunch

14.30-17.30 Border Crises: Migration and Refuge (chair: Ilaria Cozzaglio)

According to a common, but possibly overly simplistic view, our world is governed by an international order of states who (should) take responsibility for their citizens’ basic needs and rights on their territory. Refugees are individuals who have been failed - by their states and, often, by the international community as well. Migration is their response to this problem, but it frequently brings up new threats and moral questions and dilemmas: Do foreign states have special duties towards refugees only at their borders or also towards refugees who are still far away? May they select which refugees to admit and which criteria may they apply? Does mobility create new injustices among refugees and do restrictions to mobility create new challenges for political authority? Which duties apply to foreign states and which duties, if any, apply to the refugees themselves on their journey and thereafter? (Panelists: Susanne Mantel, Andreas Niederberger, & Alex Sager)

17.30 Concluding Remarks by Organizers and Drink Reception at FKH


The conference is free and open to all by prior registration. To register, please let us know which days and meals you would liket to participate and submit your name and contact information to Tobias Albrecht at to.albrecht@em.uni-frankfurt.de no later than February 5, 2020

Eva Erman (Stockholm University)

“Global Political Legitimacy beyond Justice and Democracy?”

Comment: Thomas Christiano (University of Arizona)