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human-diff 2015 : The Human Difference? –– 2015 IRC Summer Conference, Oxford University


When Jul 22, 2015 - Jul 25, 2015
Where Oxford, UK
Submission Deadline Apr 15, 2014
Categories    philosophy   religion   animal studies   science

Call For Papers


Is a human being little more than an animal, or little less than a god? Do human and non-human animals differ in degree or in kind? Humans often name themselves with Latin binomials—homo sapiens, economicus, scientificus, socialis, moralis, or liturgicus—are any or all of these terms compelling? Or are they inadequate to capture the complexity of our self-understanding in a post-Darwinian world? By what kind of processes or events did species differences arise? Is it sufficient to say that, courtesy of our distinctive biology, we have come in part to escape our biology? How does the question of species change our understanding of religion—in humans and other animals? Is the term ‘person’ just a label for a human being, or is it, too, troubled by the Darwinian revolution? Are the human capacity for moral choice and a bent towards ‘evil’ distinctive to our species? The 2015 Conference “The Human Difference?” will bring together experts from anthropology, biology, philosophy, psychology, and theology to present and debate the implications of recent research.


Alister McGrath (University of Oxford)
Anna Peterson (University of Florida)
Barbara King (College of William and Mary)
Barbara Smuts (University of Michigan)
Merlin Donald (Case Western Reserve University)
Nancy Howell (St Paul School of Theology)
Raymond Tallis (University of Manchester)


Short papers are invited on topics relevant to the conference themes, to be delivered in parallel sessions of 30 minutes duration (20 minutes for the paper, 10 minutes for discussion).

To submit, please send a title, a 200-word abstract, and institutional affiliation by email to the Ian Ramsey Centre administrator:

with the subject line “Human Difference conference abstract.”

Closing date for submission of abstracts is Tuesday 14th April, 2015.

Notification of accepted papers will be made by Thursday 23rd April 2015.

For any questions on paper submissions, please contact


All those wishing to attend the conference are invited to register as soon as possible via the University of Oxford online shop:

The basic registration fee (£120) includes lunch, tea and coffee for each day. Online registration also offers the following options to purchase accommodation and meals at St Anne's College:

(1) Book a room at St Anne’s College, Oxford, arriving Wed 22 July, departing Sun 26 July in the morning. This option includes the cost of all the dinners during the conference; or

(2) Purchase individual dinners only, without accommodation.


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