Call for papers


International Conference on Global Ethics of Compromise
School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS), Paris
March 7 – 8, 2019

The present conference wishes to expand the understanding of the controversial concept of compromise in its transnational dimension, in order to test the relevance of a cultural and global approach to compromise. It will be held in EHESS, on March 7-8, 2019.

The main questions addressed will be: What are the normative assumptions and solutions proposed to develop morally right or wrong compromise typologies? Can we develop a universal ethics of compromise or does compromise vary depending on the socio-cultural history of a country? To what extent is culture relevant in shaping types and norms of compromise?

This symposium  will examine theoretical issues and practices associated with compromise, by adopting a global perspective. To do so, it will seek to bring together the contributions of European, American and Asian researchers.

The official language of communication is English. Each communication will last 20 minutes. Lunch will be taken charge of, but participants are expected to ask their home institutions for the reimbursement of accommodation and transport costs.

Deadline for Abstracts: November 15, 2018
Abstracts must be sent to and must include: a title, a summary of 500 words, an indication of the area in which the proposal fits.
Deadline for full papers: January 30, 2019.

Abstracts may be developed around the following three areas:
1. Compromise standards
Compromise is a polemical conceptual object, sometimes praised, sometimes disputed. Avishai Margalit (2010) explains these contradictory attitudes by a confusion between a “rotten” compromise, and a “necessary” compromise to achieve social peace. Similarly, Richard Bellamy (1998) insists on the distinction between a weak compromise, or “shallow compromise”, and a “deep” compromise. A number of political theorists and philosophers have also paid attention to the attractive normative features of this decision-making process (Hampshire, 2001; Arnsperger, Picavet, 2004).
In the face of a serious moral disagreement or  conflictual situation, is there such thing as a principled compromise (May, 2005) to settle moral and political dilemma? Is compromise a virtue, or is it a pragmatic need, the only possible solution to exit violence?
Under what circumstances and to what degree is it justifiable to resort to compromise -in other words, are there degrees of compromise, from accommodation to sacrifice of fundamental principles?
Contributions in Area 1 can include, but are not limited to, the following topics: 1) compromise definition and epistemology 2) compromise typology and its relationship with other forms of negotiations 3) compromise legitimacy as a mean to exit violence.

2.  Cultures of Compromise: Asian & Multicultural approaches
This part will combine an empirical with a theoretical analysis to understand if it is possible for philosophers to distinguish a prevalent attitude towards compromise. Can we consider compromise as a cultural process and test the relevance of cultural uniqueness in decision-making?
Contributions in Area 2 would necessarily have to fit in one of the following topics:
–  The first topic will concern the various spaces of compromise production, either in the works of Japanese and Taiwanese philosophers, or through socio-economic phenomena specific to Japan and Taiwan, in order to better grasp the relevance of a reciprocal causality between the practice of compromise and a given culture.
– The second panel will question the relationship between multiculturalism and compromise: a liberal-pluralist perspective tends to value compromise for its ability to create a more inclusive, multicultural common culture, seen as an accommodating way to find common grounds on opposing opinions. But are minorities or States willing to compromise in negotiations, when arrangements are not necessarily respected or enforced?

3.  Global Governance and Compromise
In this third area, contributors would propose frameworks of thought in order to take into account both a “local” aspect of compromise alongside compromise, defined in terms of “global ethics and justice” (Widdows 2012). While contemporary political philosophers have focused on justice within the State, new questions arise about responsibilities and principles to guide international action (Pogge, 2002).
Can compromise be a fair way to deal with global governance on issues such as humanitarian intervention, immigration or environment?
Topics can include, but are not limited to, analysis of compromise through global environmental/ economic justice, military intervention, and proposals of new theoretical models to think an ethics of compromise at an international and global level.
The objectives of the symposium are to constitute an international network of researchers working on the concept of compromise from a historical, philosophical, sociological point of view; to highlight the contributions of Asian researchers on this issue; to explore a global and transnational dimension of compromise.

Scientific Committee:
Emmanuel PICAVET (Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, NoSoPhi)
Christian THUDEROZ (Insa, Lyon)
Michel DALISSIER (University of Kanazawa)


For further information:
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