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2019 Tennessee Value and Agency "TVA" Conference

March 8-10, 2019

The Tennessee Value and Agency (TVA) conference has been running annually since 2012.  It has attracted some of the most active philosophers on topics revolving around value and agency and has featured as keynotes some of the most prominent philosophers of our time. This time we aim to attract faculty from a wide spectrum of social and political sciences and involve an equally diverse set of presenters. This coming year’s TVA aims to bring to campus prominent keynotes who are game-changers not only in their field, but also across disciplines.  The theme for TVA 2019 is “Obstacles to agency?”  
Confirmed invitees:

  • Chrisoula Andreou (Philosophy, Utah) 
  • Alan Fiske (Anthropology, UCLA) 
  • Alex Madva (Philosophy, Calpoly Pomona) 
  • Michael Olson (Psychology, UTK)  
  • Jiaying Zhao (Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, UBC)  

This year's theme is
Obstacles to Agency?

In ancient Greece, the philosopher Plato held that there are obstacles to free and rational agency, due in no small measure to pressures exerted on the human psyche from what later were referred to as biological drives and drives for social status. In subsequent eras, these obstacles came under the heading of “weakness of will”—a conception shared widely in popular and traditional culture.  In the contemporary context, the realities of addiction, social stresses, the forces of habit and culture, and the pressures associated with social position and group identity, together with psychological findings about cognitive biases, have come to dominate the landscape of obstacles to agency.  This workshop brings together researchers in overlapping areas of philosophy, cognitive and social psychology, and social sciences more broadly, to address questions about free agency, and the future of the very concept. Can the image of the human being under the microscope of contemporary science be reconciled with the “manifest image” of human beings as sources of their own behaviors (and held responsible accordingly)? 

Please send an abstract of up to 1500 words, plus a short abstract of 150 words, in one native pdf document without any author identifying information, to

Time line:   

  • Abstract submission deadline:  December 8, 2018
  • Notification of acceptance: January 15, 2019 
  • Deadline for reistration of attendance: February 15, 2019. Please register here.

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