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Event: Workshop: Social Functions 1: The Metaphysics of Social Functions

Event date February 03, 2017 - February 03, 2017
Submission deadline January 03, 2017
Registration deadline January 15, 2017
Location Essen, Germany
Host(s) The Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI)
Event website/information For further information, write to or

CfP/Workshop Announcement/Call for Registration:
Social Functions 1: The Metaphysics of Social Functions

Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities
Organizers: Research Network Social Function (funded by the German Research Foundation).
Local Organizers: Miguel Hoeltje and Raphael van Riel

Early social theorists invoked social functions to explain the occurrence and persistence of virtually every social trait, and our “folk-sociology” appears to be functionalist in spirit as well. After all, we seem ready to accept that universities, states, schools, religious institutions and a number of habits serve social functions, some intended, some unintended. Universal functionalism in the social sciences has come under attack. Today, functionalist research programs have vanished from the scene, with few exceptions in evolutionary sociology and anthropology, notwithstanding the fact that a number of objects obviously do fulfil social functions. The nature of these functions is not well understood. As the first of a series of workshops on various aspects of social functions and functional explanation in the social sciences, the workshop addresses questions about the metaphysics of social functions.

Confirmed Speakers:
Brian Epstein (Tufts)
Hans Bernhard Schmid (Wien)
Miguel Hoeltje/Raphael van Riel (Duisburg-Essen)

Call for Abstracts:
We accept submissions of short abstracts (500 to 700 words) on any topics related to the metaphysics of social functions (see above). Talks will be about 30-40 minutes, plus 30-40 minutes for discussion. Please send abstracts to:

Deadline: January 3rd, 2017.
Notification of Acceptance: January 7th, 2017.
We are glad to be able to cover travel expenses for accepted papers (hotel/train/flight) up to € 300,-.

Call for Registration:
Everybody is welcome to attend the workshop, and attendance is free of charge. As space is limited and the institution (KWI) requires us to provide a list of participants in advance, we should like to ask you to express your interest in attending the workshop, no later than January 15th. Please send an email to:

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