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Amy Shuffelton, PES Executive Director: ashuffe@luc.edu

Just Comunity Committee

Ron Glass, UC Santa Cruz (rglass@ucsc.edu)

Doris Santoro, Bowdoin College (dsantoro@bowdoin.edu)

Troy Richardson, Cornell University (tar37@cornell.edu)

The Philosophy of Education Society is an international forum that promotes the philosophic treatment of educational practice, policy and research, advances the quality of teaching the philosophy of education, and cultivates fruitful relationships between and among philosophers, philosophers of education and educators.

76th Annual Meeting of the 

Philosophy of Education Society 

Call for Papers


The Program Committee invites papers to be submitted for presentation at the 76th Annual Meeting of the Philosophy of Education in Pittsburgh, March 5-9, 2020, at the William Penn Omni and for subsequent publication in the PES Yearbook, Philosophy of Education 2020.  The Committee also invites proposals for: (1) alternative sessions and (2) work-in-progress sessions designed to bring participants together to collaborate on developing ideas not yet ready for the paper submission process.  Papers and proposals that address the conference theme are specifically encouraged, but all submissions will be considered on an equal basis.


PES 2020 Theme: Philosophy of Education as a Bridge


The City of Bridges

Pittsburgh is the city of bridges, with 446 bridges over three rivers; it has more bridges than any other city in the world. These bridges represent the histories and aspirations of the city. The first bridges were constructed by European Settlers to link together properties across rivers and valleys. In the 1900s the building of bridges boomed when there was a large influx of workers into the city. This influx of workers with divergent backgrounds contributed to an array of different designs of bridges within the city: suspension, cantilever, arch. Almost all of the bridges were constructed with local steel. The bridges are named in honor of “founding fathers” like George Washington, as well as local and national heroes. The “three sisters” bridges are dedicated to Roberto Clemente, Andy Warhol, and Rachel Carson. One bridge honors Philip Murray, the labor movement luminary.

We see Pittsburgh as a time and place to reflect on bridges as a metaphor and practice within philosophy of education and other fields. This CFP builds various ways of contemplating the work of bridges as they impact the discursive and material work of education and philosophy. 


A Bridge Called My Back

Cherie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua first edited the book A Bridge Called My Back [i] in 1981, where they emphasized “the complex confluence of identities—race, class, gender, and sexuality—systemic to women of color oppression and liberation.” The book bridges experiences of race and gender among women of color. It is a bridge between cultures and races. Moreover, it bridges genres by bringing together poetry, essays, interviews, visual art, and critical prose.

Are there ways that philosophy of education can highlight the bridges and the lack of bridges, among identity groups, among nations, between experiences, between genres, and among and between cultures? This book also begs us to consider: who is expected to do the work to build, sustain, and bear the weight of bridges? Whose backs do we expect to call bridges? How can philosophy of education recognize the work of "bodies" as they are used (and misused) as the materiality of schooling? Furthermore, whose job is it to oversee and guard the bridges?


Buridan’s Bridge

“Imagine the following scenario: Socrates wants to cross a river and comes to a bridge guarded by Plato. The two speak as follows:

Plato: ‘Socrates, if in the first proposition which you utter, you speak the truth, I will permit you to cross. But surely, if you speak falsely, I shall throw you into the water.”

Socrates: "You will throw me into the water.’

Socrates’ response puts Plato in a difficult situation. He could not throw Socrates into the water, because if he did he would violate his promise to let Socrates cross the bridge if he speaks the truth. On the other hand, if Plato allows Socrates to cross the bridge it would mean that Socrates spoke untruth when he replied: ‘You are going to throw me into the water.’ In that case Socrates should have been thrown into the water. In other words, Socrates could be allowed to cross the bridge if and only if he could not be.” [ii]

Are there ways that philosophy of education can provoke us to consider the bridge between what is truth and what may become truth?


Bridge Principles

“The idea of bridge principle has been inaugurated as statements which precisely crystallize principles of mixed reasoning.” A bridge principle is “a statement that binds factualities to norms.” For example, one bridge principle might try to find a way through Hume’s conundrum of whether or not ‘what is’ creates the basis for ‘what ought to be’. “When regarding the question from the domain of combinations of logics, Hume’s law concerns the principles that govern combinations of deontic and alethic logics: in order to perform such a jump from ‘is’ to ‘ought’, one might appeal to an explicit “bridge principle”, which specifically connects ‘is’ and ‘ought’.” Thus, for instance, p→ ©p (where © denotes deontic “obligation”) is a simple bridge principle representing ‘is-ought’ “which, when explicitly postulated, should suffice to alleviate Hume’s objection.” [iii]

Are there bridge principles that might exist between competing claims within philosophy? Are there ways to bridge philosophic camps?


Bridging Symbols, Words, Thoughts and Practices

“Undecidability”, says Wittgenstein (PR §174) [iv] “presupposes… that the bridge cannot be made with symbols”, when, in fact, “[a] connection between symbols which exists but cannot be represented by symbolic transformations is a thought that cannot be thought”, for “[i]f the connection is there,… it must be possible to see it”. Alluding to algorithmic decidability, Wittgenstein stresses (PR §174) that “[w]e can assert anything which can be checked in practice”, because “it’s a question of the possibility of checking” (italics added).

Does the philosopher of education have an obligation to bridge symbols, words, thoughts and practices? At what point does the process of ‘checking practices’ cease to be philosophy, or is thoughtful consideration of practice always philosophical in nature?


The Gathering Bridge

Heidegger [v] writes: “what is a built thing? A bridge may serve as an example for our reflections. The bridge swings over the stream ‘with case and power.’ It does not just connect banks that are already there. The banks emerge as banks only as the bridge crosses the stream. The bridge designedly causes them to lie across from each other. One side is set off against the other by the bridge. Nor do the banks stretch along the stream as indifferent border strips of the dry land. With the banks, the bridge brings to the stream the one and the other expanse of the landscape lying behind them. It brings stream and bank and land into each other's neighborhood. The bridge gathers the earth as landscape around the stream….The bridge gathers to itself in its own way earth and sky, divinities and mortals.” 

In what ways might philosophy of education consider philosophies of materialities and metaphysics? In what ways does philosophy of education grapple with the real world, the economic world, the spiritual world, and the world of connection to the more than human?


A Musical Bridge disrupts the tempo of a song, and bridges between one musical motif to the next. Is philosophy of education still disruptive?


Bridge Over Troubled Water [vi]

Are there ways that we can use philosophy of education to be a bridge over troubled waters? Are there ways in philosophy of education that we are the troubled waters? Are there ways that philosophy of education crosses the chasms that need to be crossed in our societies? Are there ways that philosophy of education can become the resting place that is needed before we cross the bridge; is it the resting place that allows us to build bridges?


Burning Bridges [vii]

Do we have a moral obligation to avoid burning bridges? Are there times when it is appropriate, or even ethically necessary, to burn bridges? Do the bridges that we burn come back to haunt us in the end?



The Program Committee will review only submissions made in accordance with the instructions below. Papers reviewed and accepted by the Program Committee, and invited responses to them, will be published online in the society’s annual yearbook, Philosophy of Education 2020. Past issues can be viewed here: http://ojs.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/pes. Thanks in advance to this year’s Program Committee members: A.G. Rud; Christina Cammarano; Michael Katz; Canute Thompson; Leann Holland; Shaireen Rasheed; Shilpi Sinha; James Stillwaggon; Sheron Fraser-Burgess; Seamus Mulryan; Kanako Ide; Susan Verducci; Ashley Taylor; Adam Greteman; Guoping Zhao; Josh Corngold; Clarence Joldersma; Megan Laverty; Dini Metro-Roland; Samantha Deane; and Audrey Thompson


Deadline: Papers and proposals must be submitted electronically to PES2020submissions@gmail.com no later than November 1, 2019 (submission instructions appear below).

Paper Submissions - Papers may not exceed 4,500 words, including footnotes, and must be written in proper PES form (see the Style Guide). The 4,500-word limit will be strictly enforced. Papers that modestly exceed the 4,500-word limit will be subject to editing. Papers that exceed this limit excessively will be subject to rejection without review or to not being published in the PES yearbook.

Multiple reviewers will review papers blindly. Final decisions on manuscripts rest with the Program Chair. Criteria for review include quality of argument, links to philosophical and philosophy of education literature and to education policy and practice, quality of expression, and significance of the contribution. Please make sure that references to your name, institutional affiliation, or work (e.g., “As I have argued on many occasions…”) are omitted from the paper, including the notes. Your identifying information will not be available to reviewers.

Alternative Presentation Submissions: Proposals may not exceed 1,000 words, including references. If the session being proposed involves multiple presenters, please specify the contribution of each presenter.

Authors who wish to write on the theme of building bridges (specifically: the hard work of building bridges in hyper-political times), will be considered for a special issue of Educational Theory. Papers will be drawn from those submitted by conference authors, and selected authors will be asked to further develop and lengthen their papers for publication in the special issue. Anyone who submits on the theme (for concurrent, general, and alternative sessions) will be considered for this opportunity. You DO NOT have to submit a paper on the theme in order to be considered for acceptance for general or concurrent sessions at the conference. In fact, no ‘extra points’ will be awarded for submitting a paper on the theme when it comes to being considered for acceptance at the conference. However, in order to be considered for the special issue, your paper does need to connect centrally to the theme. 


Alternative presentation proposals:

Alternative Sessions - Examples include roundtables, author meets critics panels, performances, interviews, and panel conversations on issues. Criteria for review include originality and clarity of motivating question or idea, potential interaction with session attendees, and relevance/importance to educational philosophy and educational policy and practice. Alternative sessions may be scheduled concurrently with paper sessions or in separate time slots.

Work-in-Progress Sessions - These sessions will group scholars with work-in-progress in an informal collaborative setting. Proposals should detail the question or claim being investigated, relevant sources/resources, likely direction, and mode(s) of analysis. Criteria for review include clarity and significance of the question/claim, suitability of sources/resources, suitability of mode(s) of analysis, and potential for thinking anew about issues in the field of educational philosophy. 

New for this conference: we would like to encourage the submission of longer-length papers (between 6000-7000 words) for consideration for ‘Conversations in the Field’ alternative session(s). For these special alternative sessions, papers will be selected, posted online, and read beforehand by attendees at the session. These papers will not be read aloud. The goal will be to have conversations around the papers that can only be generated by the audience reading the papers before attendance at the session. Additionally, highly-regarded interlocutors (we are hoping to get past presidents of PES), will guide the interactions and conversations around the selected papers during the session. 


Submission Process: Submit papers or proposals as a Word attachment to PES2020submissions@gmail.com by November 1, 2019.  In the body of your e-mail, please provide the following contact information:

• Name

• Institutional affiliation 

• Email address

• Phone number

• Mailing address

Submissions will be accepted beginning October 15, 2019. An email confirmation that your submission has been received will be sent within two business days. Note: If you do not receive an email confirmation within two business days of your submission, please contact heather.greenhalgh-spencer@ttu.edu


Respondents and Chairs:

Members of PES who are interested in serving as session chairs or respondents are invited to contact the Program Chair, Heather Greenhalgh-Spencer, at heather.greenhalgh-spencer@ttu.edu. Please specify your areas of expertise and provide your full contact information (mailing address, email address, and phone number). For questions concerning the program, please contact Heather Greenhalgh-Spencer, at heather.greenhalgh-spencer@ttu.edu . We look forward to receiving your submissions.

A note on A/V:

Due to prohibitive costs, technology is not available to use during conference sessions.


[i] Moraga, Cherríe, and Gloria Anzaldúa, eds. This bridge called my back: Writings by radical women of color. Suny Press, 2015.


[ii] Buridan, John, Sophismata [Paris, c. 1496], translated as Sophisms on Meaning and Truth by Scott, Theodore Kermit (New York: Appleton-Cen-tury-Crofts, 1966), p. 219. An alternative translation of Buridan's Chapter VIII, including Sophism 17, is found in Hughes, G. E., John Buridan on Self-Reference: Chapter Eight of Buridan's ‘Sophismata’, Translated with an Introduction, and a Philosophical Commentary (Cambridge University Press, 1982), pp. 74–75; commentary, pp. 157–162.


[iii] All quotes from Carnielli, Walter, and Marcelo E. Coniglio. Bridge principles and combined reasoning. State University of Campinas Press, 2007. 


[iv] All quotes from Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophical remarks. University of Chicago Press, 1980.


[v] Heidegger, Martin. "Building dwelling thinking." Poetry, language, thought 154 (1971).


[vi] Simon and Garfunkel, lyrcis here: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/simongarfunkel/bridgeovertroubledwater.html


[vii] Tracy Chapman, lyrics here: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tracychapman/bridges.html