Invitation to conference “Towards an Environmental Ethic of ‘Fittingness’” | 2-3 October 2020

Currently, we are faced with several crises. In addition to the Covid-19 crisis, among other things, drought, wildfires, diminishing supplies of clean water and shrinking biodiversity all bear down upon us. However, societies across the globe continue pushing the environment over its tipping point. Science has been unable to motivate sufficient change in human behavior required to address these crises; for instance, many people are already taking holiday plane flights, in spite of the risks associated with the spread of Covid-19.  What, then, are we to do? If neither the data, nor the devastating implications of our lifestyle for the environment do not change our minds, a different approach is needed.

If we consider instead what it might look like to seek the common good, a number of questions surface. Are we truly flourishing if we do so at the expense of our neighbors – both human and non-human? What sort of people do we need to be in order to foster the flourishing of our neighbors? One way of engaging these environmentally-related questions is through the aesthetic and moral notion of ‘fittingness.’

Most of us are intuitively familiar with this notion, for we make myriads of decisions informed by judgements of ‘fit’ on a daily basis. This notion can help us recognize how to connect ethical theorizing to personal and corporate practice and policy. For instance, the very idea of ‘fitting’ into a local context implies attention to one’s neighbors, and the willingness to self-limit – two elements critical to our right relatedness to both human and other-than-human members of the environment. Without such qualities, our attempts to seek their flourishing will fall short.

With few exceptions, the concept of ‘fittingness’ has received little attention from those involved with environmental ethics; much room remains for further exploration and explication. Thus, for this conference, paper presenters working from fields as diverse as theology, philosophy and literature will offer new insight into the concept of ‘fittingness’ and its connection to environmental ethics. We invite you to attend the conference and join in the conversation, for the sake of the common good.


The conference will take place online, on 2 and 3 October 2020. At both dates, two sessions of maximum 2 hours (3:00-5:00 pm and 7:00-9:00 pm) will be organized (Brussels time zone). A detailed schedule will be posted soon.

Attendance is free of charge. Please register following this link. After you have registered, the link for participation will be sent to you by email.

Keynote Speakers

PROF. DR. EMILY BRADY is Professor of Philosophy at the Texas A&M University (USA). Additionally, she holds the Susanne M. and Melbern G. Glasscock Director’s Chair in the Glasscock Center for Humanities Research. She has done extensive research in environmental philosophy, focusing particular attention on aesthetics and environmental ethics. Among her publications in this area are the books Aesthetics of the Natural Environment (Edinburgh University Press, 2003) and (with Isis Brook and Jonathan Prior) Between Nature and Culture: The Aesthetics of Modified Environments (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018).

PROF. DR. MICHAEL NORTHCOTT is emeritus Professor of Ethics at the University of Edinburgh and Professor of Religion and Ecology at the Indonesian Consortium of Religious Studies at Universitas Gadjah Mada Graduate School in Yogyakarta (Indonesia). He is also guest professor of Systematic Theology at the Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven (Belgium). His research, which focuses on environmental ethics, enjoys wide recognition. Among his many publications on the topic are the books The Environment and Christian Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 1996), A Political Theology of Climate Change (SPCK, 2014) and Place, Ecology and the Sacred: The Moral Geography of Sustainable Communities (Bloomsbury, 2015).

PROF. DR. JOHAN DE TAVERNIER is Professor of Theological Ethics, as well as Dean of the Faculty of Theology of the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium). Furthermore, he is Director of Ethics@Arenberg (Science, Engineering and Technology
Group, Catholic University of Leuven). Environmental ethics is one of his research foci; in particular, he specializes in food ethics and animal ethics. He published on Laudato Si’, the rights of future generations, animal welfare and food ethics and religion.



Written by

Comments are closed.