The Center for Ethics, Politics and Society (CEPS) – formerly the Political Theory Group – of the University of Minho, is pleased to announce the III Braga Colloquium in the History of Moral and Political Philosophy, an international annual conference to be held every year in January at the University of Minho in Braga, Portugal. The purpose of this conference series is to promote the study of the tradition of political and moral philosophy and its legacy in shaping our institutions, culture and beliefs. But it will focus on how this tradition can contribute to tackling the challenges our societies are facing today. Every year the conference will have a specific theme, which will be chosen by taking into consideration the current global political situation.
In line with the spirit behind this new series of conferences, the third edition of the Braga Colloquium in the History of Moral and Political Philosophy will be dedicated to explore the ideas of “radicalism” and “compromise”.
Politics has frequently been defined as the art of the possible or the art of compromise. More dramatically, it has been depicted as the realm of Faustian deals and tragic choices. Max Weber famously wrote that the political call demands endurance in the face of disappointment. It is the realm of frustration and sacrifices, of fragile equilibriums between fiat justitia and raison d’état.
Sometimes the existence of political structures of accountability relaxes the dependence on character, reputation, and honor among conflicting parties. Reasonable civic duties suffice to deflate social conflicts and to compensate offended actors. Lacking these institutions, integrity becomes non-negotiable for social trust.
On occasion, however, a social order of tolerance would not emerge without sacrificing the moral integrity of former heroes that we now consider dogmatic integrists. Conversely, this institutional order of tolerance also allows the political space for the reconstruction of identity claims for recognition that derive their radical strength from their intrinsic aversion to political settlement.
From a historical point of view, our political languages and attitudes towards compromise, negotiation, bargaining, and agreement have changed in a myriad of contexts and traditions. As so did our conceptions of what seemed once worth sacrificing or defending.
The aim of this Colloquium is to bring to the fore philosophical treatments from various philosophical traditions of these aspects of political activity, and to do so from an historical perspective that might help us shed light on the shape of things as they are now.
The Colloquium welcomes original explorations of political conflicts that illuminate these dimensions of conceptual change in radicalism and compromise from different traditions and perspectives.
Political Theory Group
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