News and events Tilburg University

Reasons, Rationality, and Culture Workshop

Date: Time: 09:00 Location: Tilburg University

The purpose of this conference is to (re)consider and assess the role of reasons and reasoning processes in morality, politics, and science considering recent developments in the study of reasoning and discuss the implications for these domains. Central

Central to these developments is the idea that reasoning is not a mechanism that enables individuals to steer their thinking towards a rational outcome. Instead, reasoning is an inherently social activity evolved to convince others and justify ourselves, which subsequently affects cultural phenomena.

A social and cultural approach to reasoning raises interesting questions, such as:

  • What exactly and how important is the role of reasons in cognition and communication?
  • What effect do reasons exert in the domains of morality, politics and science? Do reasons make these human endeavours rational?
  • Are norms and values based on reasoning or do reasons merely provide post hoc justifications of these norms and values?
  • How does reasoning relate to our intuitions and the cultural environment?
  • How can we relate macro-level cultural phenomena to the micro-scale cognitive and communicative processes?
  • What factors influence the formation and distribution of reasons?
  • Can widely shared reasons amount to rationality? Or do social accounts of reasoning undermine rationality?
  • What is the meaning of rationality?
  • What are the conditions (if any) under which arguments and justifications result in rationality?
  • How and to what extent are new approaches to reasoning in line with former philosophical approaches of reason and rationality?
  • What is the impact of reasons on people’s thinking and behaviour?
  • How can we make people more rational (if this is at all possible)?
  • What are the implications for education?
  • By addressing these and related questions we intend to explore the implications of new developments on human reasoning in areas such as philosophy of science, moral philosophy, cognitive science, anthropology, and political science and shed light on the age-old philosophical question of human (ir)rationality.

We invite scholars and scientists from various disciplines including philosophy, psychology, anthropology, political science, and other relevant disciplines to submit an abstract (300-500 words) by 1 April 2021 by e-mail to Stefaan Blancke ( By 1 May at the latest we will notify the authors of our decision. Authors of accepted abstracts (max. 20) will be invited to submit a draft by 1 September. Each of the participants will then review at least one paper and present their comments following the presentation at the meeting. The aim is to publish the contributions to the workshop either as a special issue in an internationally acknowledged philosophy journal or an edited volume published by a highly acclaimed international publisher.

We plan to hold a live meeting at Tilburg University. However, if need be, we will switch to an online format.

If you have any questions, please contact Stefaan Blancke (

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