Past events

Emotions: Rationality, morality and social understanding 
An interdisciplinary conference at the University of Tartu
7-9 September 2017 
Tartu, Estonia

Emotions are complex mental states that have important behavioural, experiential, cognitive and social aspects. This interdisciplinary conference focuses upon the nature of emotions, the relationship of emotions to morality and to social understanding.

The first set of questions concerns the nature of emotions. What are emotions and what kind of structure do they have? In what sense can we speak of the rationality of emotions?

The second set of questions concerns the moral and political role of emotions. What role do emotions play in moral motivation, moral judgment and moral development? Should we seek to cultivate or otherwise regulate our emotions? What is the role of emotions in moral disagreements? What kind of emotions should or should not have an important place in a civil society?

The third topic of the conference is the social nature of emotions. How are emotions related to empathy, sympathy, compassion and solidarity, and what role do they play in social interaction? Does recognizing the emotions of others presume that we must have had a similar emotional experience ourselves? What does it mean to share an emotion?

The fourth theme of the conference concerns the expression of emotions. How is the experience of an emotion related to its expression? What can we learn about emotions from literature and arts? How are emotions expressed in social media?

Invited speakers:

Mary Carman, Thumos - The Genevan Research Group on Emotions, Values and Norms, Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences (CISA), University of Geneva
Gregory Currie, Department of Philosophy, University of York
Kristján Kristjánsson, Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues School of Education, University of Birmingham
Peter McCormick, The Royal Society of Canada, L’Institut international de philosophie
Carolyn Price, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The Open University
Mikko Salmela, Department of Political and Economic Studies/Social and Moral Philosophy, University of Helsinki

Submission of abstracts: deadline 30th June 2017

Please send an abstract (maximum 300 words) to by 30th of June 2017

Please include your name, academic affiliation and contact information separately.

Notification of acceptance will be given by 10th of July 2017.

In addition to full papers (45 minutes including discussion), a number of slots will be reserved for shorter postgraduate papers (20-30 minutes). We encourage all postgraduate students to submit abstracts.

Selected papers will be considered for inclusion in a special issue of a peer-review philosophy journal Studia Philosophica Estonica,

Organizers: Margit Sutrop, Bruno Mölder, Vivian Bohl, Heidy Meriste, Triin Paaver

Conference language: English

Attendance is free of charge



Organizing institutions:

Department of Philosophy at the University of Tartu
Centre for Ethics at the University of Tartu
Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies (CEES)
Central and Eastern European Ethical Network (CEEEN)

This event is supported by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research (IUT20-5), and by the (European Union) European Regional Development Fund (Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies).


Workshop on Value Judgment
University of Tartu
29 November 2016
Jakobi 2-336

On the 29th of November there will be a small workshop on value judgment, partly connected with Francesco Orsi's research grant on "The Unity of Normative Discourse (2013-16)". Everyone is welcome to attend, including and especially students at any level. 

10:30 Wlodek Rabinowicz (Lund University) 
"Aggregation of Value Judgments Differs from Aggregation of Preferences"

This talk will focus on the contrast between aggregation of individual preference rankings to a collective preference ranking and aggregation of individual value judgments to a collective value judgment. The targeted case is one in which value judgments also have the form of rankings. Despite of this formal similarity, the kind of aggregation procedure that works fine for judgments - minimization of distance from individual inputs - turns out to be inappropriate for preferences. Whatever measure of distance is chosen, distance-based procedures violate the strong Pareto condition. Which seems alright as value judgment aggregation goes, but would not be acceptable for preference aggregation, on the most natural interpretation of the latter task. Distance-based aggregation of value judgments might also be approached from the epistemic perspective: questions might be raised about its advantages as a truth-tracker. From this perspective, what matters is not only the probability of the output being true, but also the expected verisimilitude of the output, i.e. its expected distance from truth.

12:00 lunch break

13:00 Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen (Lund University) 
"On Conditionalism--On the Verge of a New Metaethical Theory"

This presentation explores a novel metaethical theory according to which value judgements express a certain kind of cognitive conditional attitude, viz., a belief that something is the case on condition that something else is the case. The aim is to reach a better understanding of this view. To this end, this work highlights some challenges that lie ahead. Certainly the most pressing one is to reach an understanding of the nature of these cognitive attitudes. It is suggested that the distinction between “dormant attitude” and “occurrent attitude” help us better understand these conditional beliefs.

14:30 end

For any further info, please write to Francesco Orsi at

Workshop is organised by the Department of Philosophy, University of Tartu and supported by the Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies (European Union, European Regional Development Fund), research project IUT20-5 (Estonian Ministry of Education and Research) and by the Estonian Research Council grant PUT243.