International conference “Religion, acknowledgment and recognition”

Co-organized by the Academy of Finland Center of Excellence “Reason and Religious Recognition” (Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki) and JSPS Promotion of Joint International Research (Fostering Joint International Research [B]) “Political education for living with the other: a Japanese initiative in international dialogue on American practical philosophy”

Date: Monday September 30, 2019.

Venue: The Faculty Hall (Vuorikatu 3, 5th floor), University of Helsinki

9:30 Welcome Sami Pihlström and Naoko Saito

9:35 – 10:15
Risto Saarinen (University of Helsinki), “Center of Excellence, Reason and Religious Recognition”

Coffee break from 10:15-10:30

10:30 -12:00
Sami Pihlström (University of Helsinki), Religious Truth and Pluralism: Pragmatist Reflections on Acknowledging the Other
Naoko Saito (Kyoto University), Recognition and Acknowledgment in Honneth and Cavell

Sandra Laugier (Paris 1st University, Sorbonne), “The native of these bleak rocks”:
Religion, Film, and the Ordinary
Heikki J. Koskinen (University of Helsinki), Rationality as the Criterion of Adequacy for Respect-Recognition

Coffee break from 15:00-15:30

Panu-Matti Pöykkö (University of Helsinki), No need for an Absolute You: Recognition and the Trace of the Divine in Levinas
Anton Sevilla (Kyushu University), The Universality and Particularity of Religious Awakening: Mori Akira and Nishihira Tadashi

17:00 Closing remarks: Sami Pihlström and Naoko Saito

18:00 Dinner

I.I.P. En­tre­tiens 2019 Norm­ativ­ity

Helsinki, August 28 – 31, 2019

Organizers: I.I.P., Philosophical Society of Finland, University of Helsinki

Venue: Metsätalo, Unioninkatu 40, Helsinki Lecture halls 6 and 7 (3rd floor)


Wednesday, August 28

13.00 – Registration desk open (Metsätalo, 1st floor).
14.00 – 15.30 Comittee sessions for members only.
15.30 – 17.00 Opening addresses (Metsätalo, lecture hall 6, 3rd floor)

(Chair: Ilkka Niiniluoto, Helsinki):
Mircea Dumitru (Bucharest, President of the I.I.P.)
Pascal Engel (Paris, Secretary General of the I.I.P.)
Sami Pihlström (Helsinki, Chair of the Local Organizing Committee)

17.00 – 19.00 Informal get-together hosted by the University of Helsinki Philosophy Department (Metsätalo, 6th floor), with an opportunity to visit the von Wright – Wittgenstein Archives (tbc).

Thursday, August 29

Venue: Metsätalo, Unioninkatu 40, Lecture hall 6. 3rd floor.

9.30 – 11.00 Working session (Chair: Mircea Dumitru):
Martin Kusch (Vienna): Normativity, Causality, and Relativism – in the Study of Science
Wlodek Rabinowicz (Lund): Are Probabilities Values?

11.00 – 11.30 Coffee break

11.30 – 13.00 Working session (Chair: Pascal Engel):
Camilla Serck-Hanssen (Oslo): Kant – the Conceptual Engineer
Christoph Horn (Bonn): Moral Normativity: The Current Debate About Constitutivism

13.00 – 14.30 Lunch break

14.30 – 17.30 Comittee sessions and I.I.P. Board meeting for members only.
14.30 – 17.30 Those attendants not participating in the meetings are invited to join an informal excursion to the Jaakko Hintikka Collection at the Helsinki University Library and the University of Helsinki Museum in the University Main Building. The group leaves for the tour from the lobby of Metsätalo at 14.30.
18.00 – 20.00 Reception hosted by the University of Helsinki (N.B. NEW LOCATION: Porthania teacher’s lounge, Yliopistonkatu 4, 2nd floor, P219)

Friday, August 30

Venue: Metsätalo, Unioninkatu 40, Lecture room 6. 3rd floor.

9.30 – 11.00 Working session (Chair: Gabriel Sandu):
Timothy Williamson (Oxford): Non-Modal Norms
Maria Lasonen-Aarnio (Helsinki): Normative Guidance and Epistemic Filtering

11.00 – 11.30 Coffee break

11.30 – 13.00 Working session (Chair: Simo Knuuttila):
Sara Heinämaa (Jyväskylä): Prescriptions, Constitutive Norms, Ideal Principles: On the Ambiguity of the Term “Norm”
Olav Gjelsvik (Oslo): Normative Fundamentals: Reasons versus Oughts

13.00 – 14.30 Lunch break

14.30 – 15.15 Working session (Chair: Sami Pihlström):
Simo Knuuttila (Helsinki): The Historical Origins of Deontic Logic

15.15 – 15.30 Coffee break

15.30 – 17.00 Working session (Chair: Ilkka Niiniluoto):
Mircea Dumitru (Bucharest): On the Normativity of Logic
Sami Pihlström (Helsinki): On the Possibility of Normativity: a Holistic-Pragmatist Perspective

17.00 – 18.00 Comittee sessions for members only. (tba)

19.00 – 22.00 Conference dinner (Bryggeri, Sofiankatu 2, for members and speakers only.)

Saturday, August 31

Venue: Metsätalo, Unioninkatu 40, Lecture room 6, Helsinki, Finland

9.30 – 13.00 I.I.P. General Assembly (For members only.)

13.30 – 18.00 Boat excursion to Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, with lunch at Suomenlinna Brewery (self-financed, optional). Our group will board a ferry at 13.30 from Kauppatori harbour.

Helsinki Early Career Workshop 2019: Medieval and Early Modern Political Thought

Time: 6–7 June 2019

Venue: the Faculty Hall of the Faculty of Theology (Fabianinkatu 24, room 524, access from the inner courtyard of Vuorikatu 3).

Workshop is open to all. Participation requires pre-registeration. Papers will be circulated to all participants before the workshop. To register for the workshop, please contact
The conference is supported by the Reason and Religious Recognition, the Academy of Finland’s Centre of Excellence, Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki and the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki

Day 1: Thurday 6 June

12.30–13.20 Welcome: coffee, tea, fruits, snacks

13.20–13.40 Opening Words, Virpi Mäkinen (Vice Director, Reason and Religious Recognition, the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence)

Mikko Posti (University of Helsinki) “Henry of Ghent on Magnanimity in War”
Comment: Johan Olsthoorn (University of Amsterdam)

Alessandro Mulieri (University of Leuven) “Marsilius of Padua’s ‘Political’ Theory of Natural Law”
Comment: Virpi Mäkinen (University of Helsinki)

15.20–15.50 Break: coffee, tea, salad and sandwiches

Ritva Palmén (University of Helsinki) “Comparing Oneself to Others and Estimating Oneself in Thomas Aquinas’s Moral Philosophy”
Comment: Robin Douglass (University College London)

Jukka Ruokanen (University of Jyväskylä): “Origin of Social life in the Political Theory of Johannes Althusius”
Comment: Jani Marjanen (University of Helsinki)

17.20–17.30 Break

Mads Langballe Jenssen (Royal Holloway University of London): “Samuel Pufendorf on Ius Gentium”
Comment: Kari Saastamoinen (University of Helsinki)

18.30 Drinks

19.30 Conference Dinner

Day 2: Friday 7 June

9.30–10.00 Welcome: coffee and tea

Paul Sagar (Kings College London): “History, the Four Stages, and Commercial Society”
Comment: Koen Stapelbroek (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Aino Lahdenranta (University of Jyväskylä) “‘This is the Hinge of your System’ – Hume’s Critique of Smith Revisited”
Comment: Max Skjönsberg (University of St Andrews)

11.40–12.40 Lunch

Tim Stuart-Buttle (University of York): “A ‘Strong and Large Foundation Sociablenesse among men’: the Desire for Esteem in Archibald Campbell’s (1691-1756) Philosophical Theology”
Comment: Adriana Luna-Fabritius (University of Helsinki)

Soile Ylivuori (University of Helsinki): “Not Quite/Not White: Polite Masculinity, Race, and West-Indian Self-Fashioning in Alderman Beckford’s London”
Comment: Signy Gutnick Allen (London School of Economics)

14.20 Closing Remarks

Perspectives on Virtue: From Qumran to the Qur’an and Beyond

Time and place: Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Fabianinkatu 24A (Common Room, 3rd floor)
Organizing committee: Elisa Uusimäki, Anna-Liisa Rafael and Siiri Toiviainen Rø

Description of the workshop:
This workshop explores perspectives on virtue and virtuous living in early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. As the reference to Qumran and Qur’an in the title suggests, we are interested in cultural and conceptual translation, i.e., the ways in which virtue is discussed by authors who wrote in languages other than Greek and Latin, thus lacking the linguistic categories of aretē and virtus. In addition, we explore late ancient sources with an aim to understand whether hope is constructed as a virtue in them if we do not read these accounts in the framework of medieval and modern conceptions of hope. By highlighting these translation processes not only as receptive of, but also as contributing to, virtue discourses that took place in the eastern Mediterranean region in (late) antiquity, the workshop serves to illustrate the cultural and intellectual pluriformity of the time under scrutiny. In so doing, it aims at shaking the standard way of analysing the roots of western virtue ethics within the realm of ancient Greek philosophy and its Latin reception.

The workshop is organized as part of Elisa Uusimäki’s project ‘Conceptions of Virtue in Early Judaism’, funded by the University of Helsinki Research Funds, in cooperation with the Academy of Finland CoE ‘Reason and Religious Recognition’, led by Risto Saarinen.


9.15 Welcome

Session 1: Translating Virtue

9.30-11 Keynote 1: Sophia Vasalou (Birmingham), Between Scripture and Philosophy: Approaches to the Virtues in the Islamic World
10.15 Response by Ritva Palmén
10.25 Discussion
11-11.30 Coffee break
11.30-12 Elisa Uusimäki, In Search of Virtue: Ancestral Inheritance in the Testament of Qahat
12-12.30 Andrew Crislip, Disgust as a Virtue in Late Antique Egypt: Moral Purity and the Ascetic Good Life
12.30-14 Lunch at Sunn (for the speakers)

Session 2: Hope and Despair, Virtue and Action?

14-15.30 Keynote 2: Ville Vuolanto (Tampere), Hope as a Virtue, Emotion and Life Strategy? Studying Hope in Late Roman World
14.45 Response by Elina Pyy
14.55 Response by Risto Saarinen
15.05 Discussion
15.30-16 Coffee break
16.00-16.30 Siiri Toiviainen Rø, Joy Before Joy, Gladness Before Gladness: Hope as a Positive Anticipatory Emotion in Philo of Alexandria and Gregory of Nyssa
16.30-17.00 Anna-Liisa Rafael, Competence in the Highest Virtue: The Mother of Seven Sons in Lamentations Rabbah
17 Light dinner at HCAS (for registered participants)

Registration by 30.4.2019 via

Contact information: for inquiries, please email or

Workshop on Late Ancient Feminist Exegesis? The Life of Saint Helia

Wednesday, May 15, 2–4 pm at the Faculty Hall, Vuorikatu 3, 5th floor
Please preregister here by Wednesday, May 8

The Life of Saint Helia is a little-known late ancient Latin work that narrates 1) the dawning of a young girl’s ascetic inclinations, 2) her resistance to her mother’s insistence that she marry, and 3) her resulting trial before a judge in dialogue format, dominated by debates between Helia and her mother and Helia and the judge, regarding the relative merits of virginity and marriage. In this workshop, we will discuss the text, especially the ways in which biblical texts are used in its argumentation. The event is organized by the research project Lived Scriptures in Late Antiquity.

To prepare for the workshop, please read through (the English translation) of the Life of Helia (available in V. Burrus & M. Conti, eds. The Life of Saint Helia: Critical Edition, Translation, Introduction, and Commentary. Oxford University Press, 2013). All preregistered participants are provided with a copy of the text.

For further inquiries, please contact Outi Lehtipuu

Seminar On Recognition of the Non-human

Thursday, May 16, 12–4 pm at Room 204 at Kielikeskus (Fabianinkatu 26, 2nd floor)
For catering purposes, please preregister here by Monday, May 13

The seminar is organized by the CoE, Reason and Religious Recognition, and includes:
Ancient Christian Ecopoetics – a keynote by Virginia Burrus
 Responses: Dr. Miira Tuominen & Dr. Panu Pihkala
 General discussion

Coffee break

Exploring Geocriticism: Saint Hilarion’s Orchard – an introduction & discussion
The aim will be to consider how the literary method of “geocriticism” might open up new readings of late ancient Christian texts, and how they might be made more ecologically relevant. In preparation, please read Eric Prieto’s essay, “Geocriticism Meets Ecocriticism: Bertrand Westphal and Environmental Thinking”

For further inquiries, please contact Outi Lehtipuu

Gender and Religious Identity: A Workshop with Daniel Boyarin

Time and place: Monday, 27 May 2019 at HCAS
Organizers: Kaisa Kaakinen, Ilkka Lindstedt, Elisa Uusimäki

8.45-9.00: Welcome

9.00-12.00: Gender session

9.00: Martti Nissinen, HY: The Agency of the Female Prophets of the Hebrew Bible: Independent or Instrumental? Prophetic or Political?
9.30: Saana Svärd, HY: Studying Gender in the Ancient Near East
10.00: Outi Lehtipuu, HY: “No Male and Female”: Gender and the Rhetoric of Recognition in Early Christianity

10.30-11.00 Coffee break

11.00: Susanna Asikainen, HY: Investigating Emphasized Femininities in the Rewritten Biblical Narratives
11.30: Katharina Keim, Lund: Women and Gender in Pirqei deRabbi Eliezer

12.00-13.00: Lunch break

13.00-15.30: Religious identity session

13.00: Antti Vanhoja & Nina Nikki, HY: Paulinism and Anti-Paulinism: Cultural Evolutionary Perspectives
13.30: Pekka Lindqvist, ÅA: Confrontations and Exegesis in Early Judaism

14.00-14.30: Coffee break

14.30: Maijastina Kahlos, HY: Pagans, Heretics, or Sorcerers? Labels and Identities in Local Religion in the Fifth Century CE
15.00: Riikka Tuori, HY: Karaite Identity in Early Modern Europe

17.00: Daniel Boyarin’s keynote lecture “What is the Jews?”

In this lecture, I will contend that the binary opposition: The Jews is a religion/The Jews is a nation is based on a false dichotomy. It is further flawed by the assumption that nation is tantamount to nation-state such that only the option “religion” constitutes an oppositional position vis-a-vis a Jewish nation state. I will discuss scholarship that proves definitively that many–if not most–early Zionist political thought did not involve the building of a state. The bulk of the lecture will outline the idea of a Diaspora Nation as the once and (possible) future for the continued existence of the Jews.

The Nature of Forgiveness in Philosophical Theology: Prof. Jonathan Rutledge in Brown Bag, Fri 15 March at 12

Prof. Rutledge’s paper is titled “The Nature of Forgiveness in Philosophical Theology”.
Comments: Doc. Aku Visala
Venue: Faculty of Theology, Faculty Hall 524
“Although Christian theologians often debate the appropriate conditions for offering forgiveness to wrongdoers, whether at the individual level or the socio-political one, their focus rarely turns to an in-depth analysis concerning the question of what forgiveness is. However, particular accounts of the nature of forgiveness matter to determining when it would be appropriate to offer forgiveness to one’s wrongdoers. Thus, it is unfortunate that the question of forgiveness’ nature has not been given significant attention in theology. When we turn to the philosophical literature on the nature of forgiveness, we find that much of it proceeds on the assumption that questions in theology are independent of, or irrelevant to, questions of forgiveness’ nature. There are two prominent accounts of the nature of forgiveness in this literature: the foreswearing resentment model and the foregoing punishment model. It is the goal of this paper (i) to assess these popular models of forgiveness by the application of theological constraints on the adequacy of any definition of forgiveness and (ii) to defend an alternative functional definition of forgiveness, that satisfies the theological and philosophical data.”


Dec 18, 2018 at 3–5 pm
Venue: Think Corner, Lounge (Yliopistonkatu 4, 2nd floor)

The CoE in Reason and Religious Recognition supported by the Finnish Institute of France is organizing a roundtable on political extremism and radicalization. The theme is illustrated by the case of the so-called “gilets jaunes” (yellow vests) protest movement. The main themes concerning radicalization are among all, economic conditions, migration and mutual recognition in contemporary societies.


Thomas Bouvatier, Researcher (radicalization, counter-radicalization), Centre d’études des radicalisations et de leurs traitements, Université Paris VII; psychoanalyst

Tarja Mankkinen, Head of Development in the Police Department, Finnish Ministry of the Interior

Johanna Sumiala, Associate Professor (media and communicator), Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki (SA project: Hybrid Terrorizing)

Teemu Tammikko, Senior Research Fellow (terrorism, counter-terrorism, political and extreme violence), Finnish Institute of International Affairs


Nicolas Faucher, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Centre of Excellence, Reason and Religious Recognitions, Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki (more information: