Can existentialism act as an antidote to the ongoing political and epistemic crisis, often discussed in terms of “a post-truth era”? The 28th International Conference of the Simone de Beauvoir Society invites you to rediscover the legacy of existentialism, and, in particular, that of Simone de Beauvoir, from the angle of truth, untruth and post-truth. Post-truth, often defined in terms of an overreliance on intuitive thinking, the rise of populist politics, information wars, the adoption of “alternative facts” and the formation of “alternative realities”, intersects the existentialist themes of authenticity, bad faith and situation in an interesting manner. Could such concepts help to clarify the problems specific to our time – social media bubbles, discrediting of scientific knowledge, troll factories, hate speech and dissemination of conspiracy theories?
Many of Beauvoir’s texts (e.g., The Ethics of Ambiguity, “Existentialism and Popular Wisdom” and “The Woman Destroyed”) discuss the question of bad faith and the different modes in which individuals attempt to flee their freedom. But what do present-day issues such as information wars and novel AI-related possibilities of creating falsifications either by design or by accident (Deepfake, Chat GPT, Historical Figures) look like from a Beauvoirian perspective? How do we know when we are in bad faith or duped? What is the role of situation in the construction of knowledge? How do we ultimately understand “truth”, “untruth” and “post-truth” in philosophy, literature, history, political science and other fields? How exactly do existentialist concepts lend themselves to understanding our predicament? Should we think through and beyond these concepts, to create better ones to make sense of our time?
We invite abstracts that bring Beauvoir’s thinking to bear on the question of “post-truth”, or vice versa. Papers that bring Beauvoir into conversation with other philosophers (both within and outside the traditional canon), authors or other cultural figures are most welcome, as are author presentations on recent Beauvoir-related books. Some possible topics include (but are not limited to):
City Centre Campus of the University of Helsinki (Finland).
The main language of the conference is English, but abstract submissions and presentations are welcome also in French.
Sara Heinämaa (Finland), Kathleen Lennon (UK) and Tove Pettersen (Norway).
Membership is not a prerequisite for an abstract submission, but to present in the conference you must be a member of the Society. If you have not yet paid your membership dues for 2023, you may do so at https://beauvoir.weebly.com/membership-and-donations.html. There will also be a conference fee to cover catering during the conference; conference dinner and possible sightseeing tours will be optional. Attendees are responsible for arranging their own accommodation (see information below).
Liliane Lazar Travel Fund provides support for financially challenged members whose papers have been accepted for presentation at the conference.
The conference invites new books by the Society members to be presented in a book exhibition. The books need not deal with Beauvoir; rather the idea is to make the members’ work overall more visible for the others and stimulate discussion between authors and prospective readers. You can propose your book for the book exhibition when registrating for the conference. Participants are expected to bring their own copies of the exhibited books.
There are plenty of hotels near the campus area. The prices of the hotels listed below range from €99 to €150 per night (subject to change), whereas hostel dormitory prices can be as low as €34 per night. The hotels listed below are located in the immediate vicinity of the university, whereas the hostels are at a walking distance of about 30 minutes.