EPLab • International Conference

The Status of Academic Freedom

EPLab International Conference in Political Theory

Academic freedom is the idea that scholars should be free to pursue knowledge without interference from censorious agents. Those who defend academic freedom uphold the liberty for academic actors to communicate ideas or facts, even when those ideas are inconvenient or potentially offensive. For the proponents of this liberty, the academic mission of knowledge production can only succeed under freedom of inquiry. In liberal societies, one may take scholarly freedom for granted. Yet, in the last decades, several voices came to fore denouncing not only systematic violations on academic freedom but also a lack of true scholastic pluralism. Threats to academic freedom also come from outside the universities. Academics working on bioethical topics like abortion or genetic engineering many times suffer (death) threats from dogmatic religious groups or individuals.

This conference assesses the status of academic freedom in contemporary times. Namely, it engages in a philosophical discussion about whether there are limits to the liberty of western scholars and whether there is any legitimacy to curtail this liberty.

Keynote Speakers
Jeff McMahan (University of Oxford)

Viriato Soromenho-Marques (University of Lisbon)
Organizing Committee
Filipe Nobre Faria, Andre Santos Campos (Ifilnova, Nova University of Lisbon)
Jeff McMahan (Oxford University)
Contemporary Threats to Academic Freedom
Monika Stachowiak-Kudła (Warsaw University of Technology)
Academic Freedom in Collision of Principles on the Example of Selected European Countries
Chrys Margaritidis (Central European University)
Walking the Line: Academic Freedom and the case against the Principle of Institutional Neutrality
Lunch Break
David Benatar (University of Cape Town)
How to Destroy a University
Alberto de Lucas Vicente (Universidad de Navarra)
The Debate on Academic Freedom in the Press. The Finnis Case
Ricardo Lopes (Science Journalist)
The Value of Free Speech in Science Communication
Filipe Nobre Faria (Nova University of Lisbon)
The Academy: Institutional Function and the Possibility of Freedom
Viriato Soromenho-Marques (University of Lisbon)
Academic Freedom in the Age of Global Environmental Crisis