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CONF – Extreme Beliefs and Responsibility [Vrije U. Amsterdam & online]

29 June 2023

Workshop: ‘Extreme Beliefs and Responsibility’ 29-30 June


The Extreme Beliefs team invites you for the Interdisciplinary Workshop Extreme Beliefs and Responsibility, to be held at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (The Netherlands) on the 29th and 30th of June 2023.

Invited Keynote Speakers:
Ian James Kidd (Philosophy, University of Nottingham)
Janja Lalich (Sociology)
Ken Levy (Law, Lousiana State University)
Paulina Sliwa (Philosophy, University of Vienna)

Cautionary note: The workshop will be held physically, but also digitally for those who can only attend online. To register for this event (for both physical and online attendance), please fill in this form.

Physical attendance:
Regular attendees: 200 euros.
PhD students: 100 euros.
Students: Free (joining for dinner: 50 euros).
The fee for regular attendees and PhD students includes the workshop dinner on Thursday night.

Digital attendance:
For free. Registration will be needed, though.

Workshop theme:
This workshop explores the relation between extreme beliefs and extreme behavior on the one hand and responsibility on the other. The first part concerns the issue of who is responsible. For instance, should we target the individual, the community, or none, i.e., are structural factors to blame? The second part concerns what kind of responsibility is at issue. For instance, how do legal, moral, and epistemic responsibility relate to each other with respect to extreme beliefs? The third part concerns when responsibility attributions are appropriate and when not. What are excusing or exculpating conditions of individual or group responsibility for extreme belief?

It is the third in a series of interdisciplinary workshops of the extreme beliefs project, in which we study extreme belief and behavior as found in fanaticism, fundamentalism, extremism, conspiracy theorizing, and terrorism. Key to the project is the idea that we ought to take extreme believers and actors seriously, meaning that (i) those actors are to be understood as relatively normal, healthy, reason-responsive human beings, yet with problematic ideas and possibly harmful behavior, and that (ii) their reasons, beliefs, narratives, and religiosity are to be understood as crucial to understanding and explaining these phenomena. The project brings philosophical tools, concepts, arguments, and other resources to a so far largely empirical debate. Two previous workshops were devoted to conceptually mapping the terrain, and explanations of extreme belief behavior. Two future workshops will be devoted to extreme beliefs and subjectivity and resilience towards extreme beliefs.

The two-day workshop will be plenary with sessions consisting of 4 keynote lectures with responses, 6 lectures and 6 lightning talks.

Naomi Kloosterboer, Nora Kinderman, Chris Ranalli, Rik Peels and Anna Haase. The extreme beliefs project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program (Grant Agreement No. 851613).


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081 HV Netherlands
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