Registration open: The Future as a Present Concern Online 2021 NUIG – IPS – BSP

Six exceptional keynotes & around 70 speakers. Registration open for the international conference 1–3 September 2021 + 9 days catch-up.  

Online international conference between the National University of Ireland Galway / Ollscoil Na Héireann Gaillimh, The Irish Philosophical Society / Cumann Fealsúnachta Na Héireann, and the British Society for Phenomenology.

This conference explores the question of the future from phenomenological and other philosophical perspectives. There will be papers on various aspects of this question, whether ontological, ethical, aesthetical, epistemological, and in relation to political theory, gender theory, critical race theory, ecology, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, and analytic philosophy.

Invited Speakers:

> Prof. Andrew Benjamin (Distinguished Professor of Architectural Theory at the University of Technology, Sydney; Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Thought at Monash University): “Future as Suspension”

> Prof. Rebecca Braun (Executive Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences & Celtic Studies, NUIG; Director of the Institute for Social Futures, Lancaster University 2017-2020): “Literary Futures: What Fiction can Tell Policy Makers”

> Prof. Shaun Gallagher (Lillian and Morrie Moss Professor of Philosophy, The University of Memphis; Professorial Fellow, SOLA, University of Wollongong): “The Future As Action”

> Fiona Hallinan (Artist, researcher, and co-founder of the Department of Ultimology; PhD student at LUCA School of Arts, KU Leuven, Ghent, Belgium): “On Ultimology, or the study of endings”

> Prof. Sara Heinämaa (Professor of Philosophy, Academy Professor 2017–2021, Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, Finland): “Phenomenology as Vocation: A Project Instituted by the Will for a Future”

> Dr Alessandro Salice (Lecturer in Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, University College Cork, Ireland): “Realist Phenomenology: A Plaidoyer”


So much human emotion, thought, and action is orientated to the future. Hopes and fears, plans and strategies, promises and interventions, derive their meaning from future intentions. However, as philosophers from Aristotle to Heidegger have pointed out, the future is that which is not yet. The future does not exist, tomorrow never comes. Therefore, the question arises as to how we should understand the future. Is the future simply non-being at the limits of the present? If so, does the present have any real connection with a putative future that does not yet exist? The founder of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl, in tackling such questions stressed the future as an aspect of the present. In his terms, each present consciousness is characterized by protention, in other words, the anticipation of a future not as actively planned or envisaged but as passively expected. The present is not an abstract moment but a flow of past and future intentional directions.

This conference seeks to contribute to understanding the future as a present concern both with respect to the underlying issues of temporal orientation and the pressing questions of today as we face into an increasingly uncertain future.

Conference format:

The conference will take place on a dedicated online conference platform with video, Zoom, and chat forums accessible only by registered participants. Invited speakers will be streamed live over Zoom and will include time for managed Q&As. Panel speaker presentations will be pre-recorded videos of 20 minutes with Q&As via a chat forum. The event will be scheduled according to a timetable over the three days of the conference; after that the conference platform will remain open for 9 days so everyone will be able to see everything they wish and rewatch and discuss presentations over an extended period. Check out the feedback for the 2020 online conference to see what participants thought of this setup.

Conference fees:

  • Free to members of the BSP and IPS.
  • Non-members of the IPS and BSP can become members by either joining the BSP or joining the IPS during the registration process.

Find out more:

The Future as a Present Concern Online 2021 NUIG – IPS – BSP