Special topics in forthcoming issues: Ethics and Uncertainty

Call for papers:

Diametros – An Online Journal of Philosophy

welcomes contributions for a special issue on



as well as an



Deadline for submissions: 15 February 2017

The expected date of publication of the special issue: September or December 2017

The author of the best submission will receive 6000 PLN (the equivalent of about: 1350 EURO / 1500 USD / 1100 GBP; before tax)

Guest editor: Tomasz Żuradzki



The aim of this special issue is to encourage philosophers to rethink the current paradigm in ethics by redirecting discussions about ethical questions to problems involving uncertainty. Normative theorizing in ethics is very often conducted today without even mentioning uncertainty. Sven Ove Hansson (2003) has accurately described this current state of affairs with the slogan: “Ethics still lives in a Newtonian world”. In the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Probability we can read that “mainstream moral philosophy has not been much concerned with probability” (McCarthy 2016). This special predilection for certainty in ethics is surprising since most decisions or evaluations are made both by individuals and policy-makers through the fog of uncertainty, ignorance, indeterminacy or – at least – risk. Therefore, the main task of this special issue and international essay prize competition is to stimulate work on ethical evaluations or the decisions undertaken under different kinds of uncertainty when an individual or a policy maker does not have access to or knowledge about (for example): the relevant facts, the consequences of decisions, the identity of people involved, other people’s preferences or decisions, the individuation of actions, the ontological and moral status of some beings, the relevant normative doctrines etc. Essays in metaethics, normative ethics and the history of ethics are especially welcome, as well as the applications of the proposed approach within practical ethics (in particular: bioethics, environmental ethics, the ethics of war, the ethics of technology). Submission of papers from other philosophical disciplines (e.g. epistemology, philosophy of science) or social sciences (jurisprudence, psychology, economics) are also welcome as far as they deal substantially with ethical issues. The author of the best submission will receive an award of 6000 PLN (the equivalent of about: 1350 EURO / 1500 USD / 1100 GBP; before tax). Topics include but are not limited to:

- the possibilities and limits of using decision theory tools in ethics;

- the psychology of decision-making under uncertainty and ethics;

- objective, subjective, epistemic accounts of ethical “ought”;

- uncertainty and normative theories in general ethics (e.g. utilitarianism, deontological theories, contractualism, rights-based theories) or the ethics of distribution (e.g. egalitarianism, prioritarianism etc.);

- normative or moral uncertainty;

- the role of uncertainty in argumentation about specific issues in practical ethics (e.g. clinical ethics, scientific research, technology assessment, environment, war etc.).


Formal requirements

Authors interested in contributing to the special issue are kindly requested to submit their proposals for double-blind peer review through the online platform of the journal: http://www.diametros.iphils.uj.edu.pl. Submitted essays should: * be in English; * present original research; * be between 7,000 and 10,000 words (inclusive of notes and bibliography); * have not been published previously and * fulfill other criteria of submission for the journal Diametros. In assessing essays, priority will be given to originality, clarity of expression and their potential for advancing discussion. Submissions are invited from researchers at every stage in their career (including postgraduate students enrolled on PhD programmes). The author of the winning essay will be asked to clearly state in the paper that it is financed from the National Science Centre in Poland.

In special circumstances (e.g. some previous commitments of an author) it is possible to submit a paper only for the international essay prize competition, without submitting it to the special issue of Diametros. In this case, the author should contact the organizers as soon as possible and her or his paper should fulfill all of the formal requirements mentioned above, except that it may be published elsewhere after the announcement of the results of the competition (the first half of 2017). If you want to submit your paper only for the essay competition (but not for the special isssue) you should send it directly to: ethicsanduncertainty@gmail.com

It is also possible to submit a paper only for the special issue, without submitting it to the international essay prize competition (e.g. when an author must include in the paper an acknowledgment of other funding).

All inquiries about this special issue and the international prize competitions should be sent to: ethicsanduncertainty@gmail.com.