Vom 25.8.2017

Dear Speakers of the Causality, Free Will, Divine Action-Conference in Vienna,

It has come to our attention that the organizers of this conference have invited only male speakers–fifteen in total–, and that despite ongoing critique, they have refused to diversify their line-up. As the Societies for Women in Philosophy Germany and Austria we would like to draw your attention to the harmful effects of conferences like this one and to your responsibility as an invited speaker.

There are well-documented patterns of exclusion and marginalization of women in academic philosophy. The situation is deeply alarming in English-speaking academic philosophy, and seemingly even worse in German-speaking philosophy departments. One non-trivial way in which the status quo replicates and reinforces itself is through conferences that have only male, invited keynote-speakers. Keynote speakers are visible examples of recognized leaders in the field. Among the functions of keynote speakers is to confer prestige on events and topics, and to provide a model for younger philosophers of how philosophy is to be practiced as a profession. Events with all-male keynotes help to perpetuate the stereotyping of philosophy as male and contribute to making women’s achievements in philosophy less visible.

In light of these considerations and in light of the fact that the IAP (Internationale Akademie für Philosophie im Fürstentum Liechtenstein), who is the organizer of this particular conference, has actively ignored critiques to change the line-up, we call on you to carefully consider whether to use your position as a keynote to convince the organizers to revise the conference line-up or to revoke your participation at this conference if changes are not forthcoming. The aim of this call is to make inclusiveness an integral part of conference planning and to make academic philosophy more gender just.

Yours sincerely,

the executive committee of SWIP Germany,
Birgit Benzing
Dr. Christine Bratu
Prof. Dr. Katja Crone
Hilkje Hänel
Prof. Dr. Mari Mikkola
Johanna Müller
Dr. Anna Welpinghus

and for the executive committee of SWIP Austria,
Dr. Brigitte Buchhammer
Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Menschl

For more information about the Society of Women in Philosophy Austria, see http://swip-austria.eu/.