Workshop: Honour and Admiration After War and Conflict
Bergsmannen, Aula Magna, Stockholm University
30 – 31 January, 2019
Alfred Archer (Tilburg) & Benjamin Matheson (Stockholm)
André Grahle (LMU)
Joanna Burch-Brown (Bristol)
Zofia Stemplowska (Oxford)
We honour and admire friends, teachers, artists, sportspeople, and intellectuals for who they are as people and the acts they perform. We also honour and admire politicians and combatants for their conduct before and during war and conflict. We give them medals, build statues in their honour and even (in the case of Winston Churchill) put their faces on our banknotes.
But when is such admiration appropriate? Churchill, for instance, is widely admired for his leadership and actions during World War 2. And yet Churchill was guilty of atrocities. For example, in 1943 he denied the pleas of British officials in Bengal for direct supplies of food to the region whilst famine, caused by Britain’s imperialist policies, raged. Millions died as a result.
Indeed, many of those who continue to be honoured have committed atrocities. Cecil John Rhodes, whose wealth funds the Rhodes Scholarship, continues to have a statue at the Oriel College, Oxford, despite the fact that Rhodes was an English supremacist who contributed to the deaths of tens of millions of people as part of his colonist campaigns and policies in Africa. And many states in the United States of America continue to have statues of Confederate generals who fought to keep slavery legal.
This workshop aims to bring together those working on the ethics of war and peace, social and political philosophy, aesthetics, and the philosophy of emotions. Questions to be explored include, but are not limited to:
- Are there moral objections to admiring political leaders who commit immoral acts?
- Do morally bad actions necessarily undermine a person’s admirability?
- Must honouring express admiration?
- Do statues and other artefacts necessarily express admiration for those they depict?
- How should we represent controversial historical figures?
- Does damage to confederate and colonialist statues count as a justified form of political resistance?
- Should we admire refugees and other victims of political violence?
- What are the norms that govern expressions of the positive emotions?
- Does war commemoration necessarily express admiration for that war’s combatants?
Those interested in speaking should send anonymised abstracts of no more than 1000 words to firstname.lastname@example.org (with the heading “Submission for Honour and Admiration After War and Conflict”) by the 1st September 2018. Decisions will be made by 14th September 2018. We will provide accommodation in Stockholm for two nights and make a contribution to travel costs to Stockholm (up to £150/€170/1780SEK) for accepted speakers.
Organisers: Benjamin Matheson & Alfred Archer
This workshop is funded by the Society of Applied Philosophy, the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace, Tilburg Centre for Logic, Ethics, and Philosophy of Science (TiLPS) and the NWO.