Summer school 2014 – Dilemmas and Dirty Hands

Invitation / Call for application OZSW Summer School 2014

The Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW) and the University of Amsterdam (UvA)  invite PhD students in philosophy to register for the summer school “Dilemmas and Dirty Hands: Ethical and Political Perspectives”.

Dates: 25-28 August 2014
Location: University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Deadline for application: 15 May 2014 (registration form)

About the topic

Many ethical and/or political problems do not seem to have easy solutions, and may leave us no way out that is entirely free of moral loss. Such situations are often seen as dilemmatic, or tragic, and even if we think that one of our options is preferable we may still have to get our hands ‘dirty’ and sacrifice what is of moral worth. In this summer school we will discuss whether there are genuine dilemmas, how agents should react to them, and whether they are particularly relevant in the domain of politics. These philosophical issues will be approached in a variety of ways – conceptual, normative etc. -, focusing on potential tensions between morality and politics as well as a number of real-world cases.

Objectives of the summer school

During this summer school participants will reflect on and discuss a number of dilemmatic problems, learn to analyze their structures and get to know a variety of theoretical approaches and positions. They will acquire a deepened understanding of the moral and political complexity of our world.


  • Stefan Gosepath, Free University Berlin,
  • Susan Mendus, University of York,
  • Ingrid Robeyns, Utrecht University,
  • Hans Bernhard Schmid, University of Vienna, hans.bernhard,
  • Stephen de Wijze, University of Manchester,
  • Lea Ypi, London School of Economics and Political Science,

The course is coordinated by Gijs van Donselaar, University of Amsterdam, in collaboration with Robin Celikates, Thomas Nys and Beate Roessler.

Preliminary program

  • Monday morning is reserved for arrival and welcome. On Monday afternoon there will be a lecture on and discussion of Capitalism and Dirty Hands (Robeyns).
  • On Tuesday morning the topics are Dirty Hands and the Moral Emotions (de Wijze) and Partisanship and Compromise (Ypi).
  • On Wednesday we turn to the question Must True Politics Pay Homage to Morality? (Gosepath) and the problem Democratic Dirty Hands (Mendus).
  • On Thursday morning the topic will be Beyond Bullshit: Plato’s Concept of the Nobel Lie (Schmid), and on Thursday afternoon there will be a panel discussion.
  • Monday to Wednesday evenings are reserved for tutorials and peer discussion, but there will also be social/cultural events.
  • Thursday evening is for departure and goodbye.

How to apply

Please fill out the registration form. It will ask for:

  •  your contact details (email address, telephone number and postal address)
  •  a brief description of your academic background (previous education, etc. with a max. of 300 words)
  • a brief description of your PhD project (max. 500 words)
  • a brief statement of motivation (max. 300 words)

You will also be asked to immediately pay for the course, through credit card, iDEAL or PayPal.

If your application is accepted, your contact information and the description of your research project will be included in the reader for the EPF Summer School.

In case of too many applications, the coordinator of the course will make a selection. In general, priority will be given to PhD students over research master students. If the number of PhD students applying exceeds the number of places available (20), a selection will be made on the basis of the relevance of the topic for the student’s dissertation.

You will be notified within three weeks after the deadline for application whether your application to the summer school has been accepted.

Deadline for application:15 May 2014.

The OZSW cancellation policy can be found on


The participants are expected to read all the assigned literature, to do assignments, to actively participate in the discussions.

Practical information / costs

Participants pay a contribution of 210 euro (this includes lunch and dinner during the summer school). Member of the OZSW pay a reduced price of 35 euro. All participants are expected to make their own travel arrangements. Participants are also expected to arrange their own accommodation in Amsterdam. Information on a number of affordable hotels in the vicinity of the summer school location will shortly be made available.

Organizers / more information

This course is coordinated by the Philosophy and Public Affairs capacity group at the University of Amsterdam. For further information related to the contents of this course, please contact the coordinator at the following e-mail address: For practical inquiries, please contact