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Human Development &
Capability Association

Agency, Well-Being and Justice

Politics of Wonder: Difference and Dignity in Nature and Society (University of Exeter, UK)

The University of Exeter’s Centre for Political Thought and Egenis: The Centre for the Study of Life Sciences are pleased to announce an interdisciplinary half-day workshop on Thurs 12th September 2019, University of Exeter, UK


In her work on the ethics of non-human species, Martha Nussbaum has argued that an attitude of wonder should play a central role in our dealings with the world of living nature. For Nussbaum, wonder at a being’s particular form of life enables us to recognize it as a subject of dignity, worthy of respect and consideration in various ways.

This workshop will explore applications of this idea to human socio-political relations. If wonder at the diversity of life in general can open up our perception of the scope of dignity and respect, can wonder in the context of human difference enhance respect between people? What are the implications for our understanding of political judgment, the conditions of democratic politics, or positive trans-cultural relations? More fundamentally, what should we understand by ‘wonder’, and what roles can it be expected to play in the context of the political?

The workshop will consist of a series of papers addressing these issues, from scholars working in political thought, environmental ethics, philosophy of biology, and related areas. Participants from all disciplines are very welcome. Attendance is free, but space is limited – please contact Jack Griffiths ( to register, or for more information.

Confirmed speakers

Prof. Jeremy Bendik-Keymer (Case Western Reserve University, Ohio, USA)

Prof. Amy Linch (Pennsylvania State University, USA)

Dr. Urszula Lisowska (University of Wrocław, Poland)

Prof. Christopher Gill (University of Exeter, UK)

Dr. Jack Griffiths (University of Exeter, UK)


Thursday 12th September: 14:00-18:30. Followed by drinks and dinner. There will also be a concluding session on Friday morning (10:00-12:00) for the speakers and any interested participants.

Location: Byrne House, Streatham Campus, University of Exeter.


Workshop sponsored by

The Centre for Political Thought:

Egenis: The Centre for the Study of Life Sciences:

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