Vom 20.2.2019

Dear Speakers of the Free Will and Miracles Conference in Munich in August 2019,

It has come to our attention that the organisers of this conference have invited only male speakers. As we did with the speakers of the last all male conference the IAP organised in 2017, we would like to draw your attention to the harmful effects of conferences like this and to your responsibility as an invited speaker. (We do this after having written to the organizers and not having received an answer; the German message is included below).

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 has a history of setting up conferences with an all-male line-up, we call on you to carefully consider whether to use your position as a keynote to convince the organisers 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. Lisa Herzog
Dr. Insa Lawler
Johanna Müller
Deborah Mühlebach
Dr. Anna Welpinghus