Conference on 'Fact/Value Distinction'

15 December 2014

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Dr Lubomira Radoilska from the Department of Philosophy and Dr Kelli Rudolph from the Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies  are organising a conference entitled 'The Fact/Value Distinction: Contemporary and Classical Perspectives', supported by the Mind Association, the Aristotelian Society, the Analysis Trust, the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, the Kent Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (KIASH), and the Centre for Reasoning at the University of Kent.

The distinction between facts and values has animated significant debates about the nature and scope of inquiry in contemporary analytic philosophy and more widely in the social, natural, and medical sciences. In particular, the fact-value distinction clarifies the ultimate ambitions of a theory by asking whether it is an explanatory or a normative project. At the same time, however, we must also address the extent to which explanatory and normative objectives should be conceived as mutually exclusive, as the initial question implies or, alternatively, as intimately and helpfully intertwined. Classical approaches to the scope and nature of inquiry, although closely related to the concerns addressed in contemporary philosophy, conceive the relationship between facts and values in a distinctive way, thus, providing a fresh perspective on contemporary debates.

By employing complementary systematic and historical approaches to this central yet elusive issue, the conference will offer a new framework for constructive dialogue and fruitful exploration of the fact-value distinction across disciplinary boundaries, bringing together experts from philosophy of mind, ethics, metaphysics, aesthetics, legal and political philosophy, and the history of philosophy. In so doing, the event will aim to stimulate critical discussion of and further inquiry into philosophical methodology and, in particular, the possible interactions between explanatory and normative aspects of theoretical reasoning.

Invited speakers:

The conference will take place over two days from 16-17 January 2015 at the University of Kent Canterbury campus with graduate bursaries available to cover 50% of the conference fees. Full details of the conference programme and how to register are available at:



Philosophy, School of European Culture and Languages, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

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Last Updated: 24/01/2014