The Radical Enlightenment: The Big Picture and its Details

16-17 May 2013 – Brussels

The international conference ‘The Radical Enlightenment: The Big Picture and its Details’ seeks to bring together state-of-the-art research on the so-called ‘Radical Enlightenment’, which refers to a distinct yet multi-faceted line of thought within the Enlightenment movement that puts great emphasis on – inter alia – political reform and activism, personal freedom, social equality, and critique of religion. The objectives of this conference are: to push forward our historical and philosophical understanding of the ‘Radical Enlightenment’, to identify important figures (materialists, atheists, freethinkers, Spinozists, pantheists, freemasons, philosophes, etc.) within the Radical Enlightenment and to unravel their significance and influence, to understand the origins and spread of the Radical Enlightenment and the reactions against it (with attention to correspondence networks and communities, manuscripts, pamphlets, clandestine literature, etc.), and to reflect on the impact of the Radical Enlightenment on contemporary thinking. We welcome general historical and philosophical contributions and detailed case-studies of both well-known and lesser known figures.

‘The Radical Enlightenment: The Big Picture and its Details’ is organized by the Centre for Ethics and Humanism and the Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science, which are both part of the Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences at the Free University of Brussels (Vrije Universiteit Brussel). The conference is made possible by funding from the Research Foundation – Flanders (Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek – Vlaanderen) and VisitBrussels.

Invited speakers
We are proud to announce the following invited speakers:

Jonathan I. Israel (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton)
Beth Lord (Department of Philosophy, University of Aberdeen)
Eric Schliesser (Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences, Ghent University)
Winfried Schröder (Institut für Philosophie, Philipps-Universität Marburg)
Wiep van Bunge (Faculty of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Else Walravens (Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences, Free University of Brussels)

Call for papers
We welcome contributed papers that fall within the scope of the conference. Abstracts consisting of 500 words should be sent as a .doc or .docx file to A separate sheet containing the author’s affiliation should be included. 30 minutes are allotted to contributed papers (including Q&A). The deadline for submission is 31 March 2013. Notification of acceptance will be given by 5 April 2013. A selection of the presented papers will be published afterwards.

University Foundation, Egmontstraat 11, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium

The conference fee is 150 EURO (this includes the conference dinner). Authors whose paper has been accepted will receive further information with regards to registration and accommodation via e-mail.