Moralism: The Boundaries of Moral Thinking

  • Location: University of Essex, Colchester Campus
  • Date: 20-21 June 2016

We often criticize a certain kind of moral thinking as moralistic. This charge may be directed at those who disapprove of a funny but inappropriate joke, a loving but morally troubling act, a beautiful but disturbing work of art, a morally dubious political decision, or a religious perception that goes against ordinary moral conscience. But what do we mean when we accuse someone of being “moralistic”?

Though a familiar ethical experience, moralism has received relatively little philosophical attention. This conference will investigate the concept of moralism and its role in moral thinking. Moralism is a notion we appeal to when we need to reflect on the role of morality in the texture of our lives, and to assess its boundaries. For this reason, reflecting on the concept of moralism can contribute in a decisive way to understanding the nature of ethics.

Confirmed speakers

  • Alfred Archer (Tilburg)
  • Matt Bennett (University of Essex)
  • Anna Bergqvist (Manchester Metropolitan University)
  • Sophie-Grace Chappell (The Open University)
  • Piergiorgio Donatelli (Sapienza Universita di Roma)
  • Matteo Falomi (University of Essex)
  • Edward Harcourt (University of Oxford)
  • Timo Juetten (University of Essex)
  • Sarin Marchetti (University of Milan)
  • Stephen Mulhall (University of Oxford)
  • Tom O'Shea (University of York)
  • Silvia Panizza (University of East Anglia)
  • Edward Skidelsky (University of Exeter)
  • Maria Silvia Vaccarezza (University of Genoa)


  • Attendance is free but registration is required. Please register here

More information is available at the conference website:

Location and accessibility

All sessions take place in room EBS.2.1, Colchester campus (unless otherwise stated)

MA courses

MA courses

Our MA courses offer in-depth study of a range of specialisms including critical theory, phenomenology and classical German philosophy, and are an excellent preparation for PhD study.

PhD study

Postgraduate research study

By undertaking PhD study at Essex, you will become a member of an exciting and active research community, and benefit from the expert supervision of our internationally recognised staff.

AHRC funding

PhD student in library

Apply for a PhD studentship for your doctoral study funded by the Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Essex Autonomy Project

Essex Autonomy Project

The Essex Autonomy Project aims to clarify the idea of self-determination as a guide for policy makers and frontline professionals dealing with the complexities of vulnerable individuals and their capacity to make decisions for themselves.