About Call for Abstracts Programme Informations for Participants Love and the Good

International philosophy conference organised by
the Department of Philosophy, University of Pardubice

24th – 26th September 2015
Pardubice Chateau, Czech Republic

“Love and the Good” is the second conference to be organised as part of the “Love and Friendship in Ancient and Contemporary Philosophy” project, funded by the Czech Science Foundation. The conference will focus on Platonic conceptions of love and will aim to bring three lines of inquiry into conversation: the scholarly study of Socrates and Plato, the reception of their ideas by later Christian philosophers such as Søren Kierkegaard and Simone Weil, and the contemporary inquiry into the platonic understanding of love conducted mainly in connection with the work of Iris Murdoch and Raimond Gaita.

Keynote speaker
Raimond Gaita (Melbourne Law School & Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne)

Speakers include
David Cockburn (University of Wales, Lampeter)
Christopher Cordner (University of Melbourne)
Troy Jollimore (California State University, Chico)
Nora Kreft (Humboldt University of Berlin)
Camilla Kronqvist (Åbo Akademi University)
John Lippitt (University of Hertfordshire)
Suzanne Obdrzalek (Claremont McKenna College)
C. D. C. Reeve (University of North Carolina)

Tomáš Hejduk (University of Pardubice)
Tony Milligan (University of Hertfordshire)
Kamila Pacovská (University of Pardubice)

Poster in pdf is available here.

last update: 20th September 2015; webmaster: Vojtěch Janů (januvojtech@gmail.com)

Call for Abstracts

For Plato and Socrates, love (eros) is a spiritual force that moves the lover towards the beautiful and through that towards the good and divine. As such, it is a way to a certain kind of knowledge, knowledge of the highest sort that transforms the soul of the lover. Nevertheless, such transformation and perfection is only possible if love is purified: if its focus passes from the beautiful body to the soul of the beloved and on towards the impersonal forms. Such an ascent is also not limited to the lover: by way of conversation, the lover inspires the beloved as well and opens for him the way of wisdom and virtue.

The ideal of pure love, conceived of as a constituent of virtue and the good life, on the one hand, and as a reflection of divine love, on the other, inspired the Christian conception of agapic love for one’s neighbour. In its most platonic version, this conception of love has found expression in two very different thinkers, Søren Kierkegaard and Simone Weil. Both placed love – understood as a way from one’s self towards the other – at the centre of their ethics and of their spiritual thinking.

Simone Weil’s conception of love as truthful and just attention to the reality of the other strongly influenced the writings of Iris Murdoch. Reviving Plato’s interest in erotic love and beauty, Iris Murdoch developed more fully love’s connection not only to ethics, but also to aesthetics. Love of this sort, as unselfed vision, not only orients us towards virtue (towards the Good), but also opens us to aesthetic experience and creativity (to the Beautiful). It is also in Murdoch that we see most clearly the platonic convergence of philosophy and literature.

Especially in her later writings, Weil started to emphasise that it is love that is the basic source of justice and morality. As such, it is due to all human beings, even the most unloveable ones – the vilest criminals and those who are most afflicted. That there is a common humanity to be thus recognised in every human being is the central point of Raimond Gaita’s ethical thought.

Possible topics, picking up on these themes, include but are not limited to the following:

Socrates’ love, dialogue and education
Plato’s conception of eros
Christian conceptions of love (Julian of Norwich, Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross)
Platonic aspects of Kierkegaard’s conception of love
Simone Weil: love as a ground of goodness and justice
Iris Murdoch and love as vision of reality
Platonic love
Loving the good, loving the bad
Love, virtue and goodness
Qualities and individuality
Love and one’s real self
Literature, art and the good
Love and education

Submission details:

To submit a proposal, please send an abstract of 300-500 words to t.milligan@herts.ac.uk by 31st March, 2015 (along with your name, academic affiliation and contact information). Notification of acceptance will be sent out by 30th April, 2015. In addition to full papers (45 minutes including discussion), a number of slots will be reserved for shorter postgraduate papers (30 minutes including discussion).

Information for Participants

Organisers: Tomáš Hejduk, Tony Milligan, Kamila Pacovská
Department of Philosophy, University of Pardubice
Inquiries: kamila.pacovska@upce.cz

The conference will take place in the Vojtěch of Pernštejn Chamber in Pardubice Chateau (1st floor).
Address: Zámek 1, 530 02 Pardubice, Czech Republic.

Conference Map
Contains the location of the conference venue, hotels and some recommended restaurants (vegetarian and other): link to the map

Attendance is free of charge. For registration and further information please e-mail Kamila Pacovská (kamila.pacovska@upce.cz).

Two hotels in the Old Town are pre-booked that are located close to the castle (conference venue). If you decide to stay in one of these, please contact the hotel with your name and dates and don’t forget to mention the conference.

Hotel U Zlatého anděla – all invited speakers will be staying there (no need to contact the hotel), but there are a few rooms left for other participants as well. Contacts here

Hotel 100 – a number of rooms are pre-booked for the participants of the conference

University hotel – cheaper option, further from the center (yet still in walking distance). Here is a map of the university campus where you find the student accomodation called "koleje" that functions as a hotel in summer: picture; link to the hotel's webpage (in Czech only, please contact the organisers for assistance)


1. From Prague airport to the Main station
From the Prague airport ("Vaclav Havel Airport"), it is best to take the bus called "Airport Express" that goes directly to Prague Main Train Station ("Hlavni nadrazi" in Czech, it is its final station). It is also a very cheap option. The journey takes 53 minutes and stops only at the airport terminals and at another train station (Masarykovo nadrazi). In normal day hours, it goes every 20 minutes at 18, 38, 58 in the morning and then every 30 minutes at 28,58. It is also possible (yet much more expensive) to take a taxi to Hlavni nadrazi (the yellow ones called "AAA" are a safe option). Alternatively, if there is enough time, it is possible to travel by the wonderful Czech public transport (bus 119 + underground A and C). You can check the connection at spojeni.dpp.cz. You just need to buy a 32,- Crown ticket and validate it in the bus.

2. Train from Prague to Pardubice
At the Main Train Station, you go to the most underground floor and buy a ticket to Pardubice (it costs around 130,- CZK and gets a bit cheaper if you travel in group, i. e. more than 1 person). Pardubice is on the main journey to the east (Moravia, Slovakia, Budapest or Wien), so the train goes every 20 minutes at 16, 39, 47. There are also private companies RegioJet and Leo Express that are very comfortable and cheap, but you have to buy a ticket and reservation at their cash desk (also on the ground floor). The trains don't go so often in the evening. You can check the connection at www.jizdnirady.cz. If you are traveling in busy hours or later in the evening, I would perhaps recommend buying first class if you want to have more comfort. Pardubice has just one big station for the quick trains and it is called Pardubice Main Station (Pardubice hlavní nádraží).

3. From Pardubice Main station to the Hotels
In Pardubice, you will probably want to take a taxi - they usually park just next to the train station on the right. If there is none, here is a phone number to taxi Simona: +420 800 600 636 or taxi Prima: +420 800 247 247 or +420 604 848 848. If you want to have more adventure, you can take a bus or trolleybus: numbers 6, 8,9, 12 go to the Old Town (stop Namesti republiky), numbers 3 and 10 go to the university (stop "Universita" for 10 and "Polabiny, Hradecka" for 3). It is necessary to buy a 15 Crown ticket (at the machine or at the tobacconist) and validate it in the bus.

General Information

We don't have Euro in the Czech Republic, so all the traditional institutions insist on paying in Czech Crowns. In most shops especially in Prague, you can usually pay in Euros as well. There are withdrawal machines and exchange offices at the airport and at both train stations.
Czech Republic is a relatively safe country, only please beware of pick-pockets and don't leave your belongings unattended, especially at the airport and at the stations in Prague.
Last, if you want to ask anyone, remember that older generation only learned Russian. Younger people should speak some English.

If you are spending some days in Prague, you might find useful the map I did for our Colloquia where you will find several nice restaurants and cafes: link to the map


Programme in pdf is available here.

Last updated: 19th September 2015

THURSDAY, 24th September

9:30–10:30C. D. C. Reeve (University of North Carolina): The Work of Love
10:45–11:45Nora Kreft (Humboldt University of Berlin): Plato on the Connection between Eros, Dialogue and Goodness
12:00–12:45David Hayes (Bard College Berlin): Plato’s Symposium and the Comedy of Remarriage
14:30–15:15Tomáš Hejduk (University of Pardubice): Socrates and Theognis: Two Very Different Loves
15:30–16:30John Lippitt (University of Hert-fordshire/Deakin University): Love’s Forgiveness: Kierkegaardian Reflections
17:00–17:45Kate Larson (Södertörn College University): “Those who do not love each other are not separated” – the Concept of Detachment in Simone Weil’s Philosophy
18:00–18:45Ondřej Beran (Czech Academy of Sciences): Detachment, Attachment, Possession. Simone Weil Read by Rush Rhees

FRIDAY, 25th September

9:30–11:00Raimond Gaita (University of Melbourne): Love, Goodness and ‘the Good’
11:15–12:15Christopher Cordner (University of Melbourne): Tenderness, Love and the Body
14:00–15:00Guided tour of the Castle
15:00–15:45Kamila Pacovská (University of Pardubice): Remorse and Self-Love
16:00–16:45David Cockburn (University of Wales, Lampeter): Deirdre’s Smile (discussion)
17:15–18:00Camilla Kronqvist (Abo Akademi University): Speak to Us of Love (discussion)

SATURDAY, 26th September

9:30–10:30Troy Jollimore (California State University, Chico): How to Love for Reasons without Being Unreasonably Reasonable
10:45–11:30Gary Foster (Wilfred Laurier University): The Priority of the Good over Right in Love: Challenging Velleman’s Kantian Notion of Love with Platonic Eros
11:45–12:30Tony Milligan (University of Hertfordshire): Love and the Acceptance of Imperfection
14:00–14:30Tour of the Castle Tower

Postgraduate Session I
14:30–15:00Giulia Bonasio (Columbia University): The Psychology of the kalon: Plato on Love and Beauty
15:00–15:30Silvia Panizza (University of East Anglia): Romantic Love as Love of the World

Postgraduate Session II
15:45–16:15Luca Zanetti (University of Bologna): Compassion and Moral Change
16:15–16:45Felix Timmermann (University of Zurich): Love and Reality. What Kind of Moral Realism for Iris Murdoch?
17:15–18:00Edward Harcourt (Keble College, Oxford): The Last and Secret Name of All the Virtues?