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Original scientific paper

The Online Alternative: Sustainability, Justice, and Conferencing in Philosophy

Rose Trappes ; Bielefeld University
Daniel Cohnitz ; Utrecht University
Viorel Pâslaru ; University of Dayton
T. J. Perkins ; University of Utah
Ali Teymoori ; Helmut Schmidt University

Full text: english pdf 310 Kb

page 145-171

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Supplements: Trappes et al. 2020_supplementary material.pdf


The recent global pandemic has led to a shift to online conferences in philosophy. In this paper we argue that online conferences, more than a temporary replacement, should be considered a sustainable alternative to in-person conferences well into the future. We present three arguments for more online conferences, including their reduced impact on the environment, their enhanced accessibility for groups that are minorities in philosophy, and their lower financial burdens, especially important given likely future reductions in university budgets. We also present results from two surveys of participants who attended one large and three small online philosophy conferences this year. We show that participants were in general very satisfied with presentations and discussions at the conferences, and that they reported greater accessibility. This indicates that online conferences can serve as a good alternative to in-person conferences. We also find that networking was less satisfactory in online conferences, indicating a point for improvement and further research. In general, we conclude that philosophers should continue to organize online conferences after the pandemic. We also provide some advice for those wishing to organize online conferences.


Online conferences, accessibility, carbon footprint, carbon offsetting, inclusivity, minorities in philosophy

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