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A workshop run by the Centre for Agency, Values, Ethics (CAVE) at Macquarie University and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD)

Date: 10 – 11 August 2017
Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, Australian Hearing Hub

Enquires: Robin Blumfield

All welcome, but please register on CCD website.

The ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD) Belief Formation Program, and the Macquarie University Research Centre for Agency, Values, and Ethics (CAVE), are hosting a two-day interdisciplinary workshop at Macquarie University, entitled “Conspiracy theories, delusions and other ‘troublesome’ beliefs” on the 10 & 11 August 2017. Our goal is to bring together researchers from different disciplines to consider a range of ‘sub-clinical’ but still problematic beliefs, the psychological processes which underlie those beliefs, and any similarities and dissimilarities with delusional thinking processes. These include conspiracy theorizing, anti-vaccination sentiments, extreme or radical political beliefs, climate change denial, belief in an intrinsically just world (and associated victim-blaming), and so on. Speakers include: cognitive scientists working on misinformation, delusions, and motivated beliefs; social psychologists working on conspiracy theories and related factors; philosophers working on evidence and social trust; and health informatics researchers interested in the effects of anti-vaccine beliefs.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Stephan Lewandowsky (Bristol University, UK; The University of Western Australia)
  • Karen Douglas (University of Kent, UK)
  • Neil Levy (Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Oxford University, UK; Macquarie University)
  • Mark Alfano (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands; Australian Catholic University)
  • Robert Brotherton (Barnard College, Columbia, USA; Goldsmiths, University of London, UK)
  • Jolanda Jetten (The University of Queensland)
  • Robyn Langdon (Macquarie University)
  • Adam Dunn (Macquarie University)
  • Peter Clutton (Macquarie University)
  • Mariia Kaliuzhna (Macquarie University)
  • Ben Tappin (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)


  • 10 August: “What counts as delusional belief” introduced by Max Coltheart and Colin Klein (Macquarie University)
  • 11 August: “Social networks, misinformation and distrust” introduced by Adam Dunn and Mark Alfano


A symposium run by the Centre for Agency, Values, Ethics (CAVE) at Macquarie University

Date: 17 August 2017
Time: 09:00 – 15:00
Venue: Unilever Amphitheatre 101, MGSM

The future of the category of race is uncertain.If there are no biological races, as scientists increasingly accept, what should we do with the concept? Should we revise it, defining race as a social category? Or should we reject race as an illusion: a failed scientific category that does not accurately describe human biological diversity, and which provides fodder for racists? If we endorse the former option, we may be able to keep using the term, putting ‘race’ in scare quotes to indicate that it does not refer to a biological kind. If we favour the latter option, we shouldn’t keep using the term ‘race’ as a descriptor, because race doesn’t exist. Those who argue that race does not exist, or that we should eliminate the category on normative grounds, face a dilemma. Racial classification has been used to justify some of the most heinous crimes of modernity, but it has also been embraced by groups that have been treated as inferior “races” as a way to assert and defend themselves collectively. A race-like category seems necessary for purposes of social justice. This symposium will explore issues surrounding ‘replacing race’. Should the category be replaced, and if so with what, and how?

All welcome, but please register for catering purposes by Monday 31 July, with Adam Hochman.

Draft Program:

09:00 – 09:15 : Arrival tea and coffee
09:15 – 09:20 : Opening remarks
09:20 – 10:10 : Alana Lentin (WSU), “Relationality and the Doing of Race”
10:10 – 10:40 : Morning tea
10:40 – 11:30 : Adam Hochman (MQ), “Racialisation: A Defence of the Concept”
11:30 – 12:20 : Albert Atkin (MQ), “Pragmatic Pluralism about Race, and Social Justice Conservationism”
12:20 – 13:20 : Lunch
13:20 – 14:35 : Keynote: Lionel McPherson (Tufts), “Socioancestral, not Racial, Identities”
14:35 – 14:40 : Closing remarks
14:40 – 15:00 : Afternoon tea