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Between Formal and Informal Methods in Philosophy

The last decade had shown that philosophers became more aware of the importance of finding an adequate methodology of philosophy. This is partly reflected in the growing number of works, which aim taking into consideration the tension between what seems to be excluding alternatives approaches towards this problem. Thus, there are debates over adequacy, limits, and applications of formal and informal methods, naturalism and anti-naturalism, experimental and armchair philosophy. Importantly, this resulted not merely in vivid metaphilosophical debates over competitive approaches towards methods of philosophy, but also in the development of new approaches towards particular ‘old’ philosophical questions. Hence, one notices a growing number of formal analyses of the key philosophical notions of truth, belief, existence, imagination, or modality, as well as a growing number of experimental researches. Others argue that blindly applied formal methods can result in oversimplifying the subject of philosophical investigation and that the application of experimental methods in philosophy results in changing the ‘love of wisdom’ into the ‘love of surveys.’ Finally, others put into question the very idea that there is only one correct method of doing philosophy.

In virtue of the variety of possible approaches towards the question of philosophical methods, we would like to discuss this question during a workshop. We invite submissions for a 40-minute presentation (this includes a time for a discussion) linked to the question of methods of philosophy. Examples of relevant themes include (but are not limited to):

  • conceptual engineering,
  • formal/informal methods in philosophy,
  • naturalism/anti-naturalism in philosophy,
  • experimental/armchair philosophy,
  • the paradox of analysis,
  • inference to the best explanation,
  • methods of particular philosophical disciplines.

Keynote Speakers:
Sven Ove Hansson (Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm)
Hannes Leitgeb (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
Stephen Neale (The City University of New York)
Leszek Wroński (Jagiellonian University)

Submission details:
The submission deadline: 29/02/2020
Notification of acceptance: 01/04/2020

Submissions should contain two files and should be sent to []:

(1) An abstract of no more than 750 words. The abstract should include the title of the presentation, bibliography and be suitable for a blind review.
(2) A file with the title of the paper, author’s name, affiliation, and e-mail address.

Since we would like to put a stress on the workshop character of this meeting, after the selection of accepted papers, each speaker will be kindly asked to send a more advanced version (up to 3 000 words) of her presentation till the 15th of May. These will be sent to other participants, which will allow them to know papers in more detail. Furthermore, this will open an opportunity for extending the schedule by commentaries. Thus, accepted participants might be asked to prepare a short comment on another paper. The final decision on including a round of commentaries will be made after the selection of accepted papers.

The participation in the workshop is free but the registration is required (in order to register as a non-presenting participant, one is kindly asked to send an e-mail to: by the 01/06/2020).

Maciej Sendłak (Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw)
Paweł Grabarczyk (Institute of Philosophy, University of Łódź & IT Copenhagen)
Tadeusz Ciecierski (Institute of philosophy, University of Warsaw)

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