Coronavirus update

Important information:
All on-campus visits and events are cancelled or postponed until 1 June. Virtual events will be running as normal unless otherwise stated.  For the latest updates visit our coronavirus information page. Please note that some of our on campus events may be replaced by virtual events - please check with the event organiser listed against each event.

The Third International Conference on Philosophy and Meaning in Life

University of Birmingham
Arts and Law, Lectures Talks and Workshops, Research
Wednesday 17th (00:01) - Friday 19th June 2020 (23:59)
Download the date to your calendar (.ics file)

If you need to contact the conference organisers please email

A photo of Chancellors court at the University of Birmingham

Keynote lectures

  • Lisa Bortolotti (Professor of Philosophy, University of Birmingham), 'Mental Health, Rationality and the Meaning of Life: The Case of Delusions'
  • John Cottingham (Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Reading), 'Meaning and Transcendence'
  • Thaddeus Metz (Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, University of Johannesburg), 'Meaning as a Value in Bioethics and Medicine'

Organising institutions



Meaning in life is one of the most fundamental philosophical problems, discussed for centuries. Is there any meaning in life? If so, how can we find it? Can life be meaningful if death is the ultimate end of our existence? How is meaning related to well-being and happiness? What are the moral implications of philosophical debates on meaning in life? Can life be objectively meaningful, or can it only be subjectively meaningful? Is there any link between religious faith and meaning? What do we mean by ‘meaning’ in the first place?

The aim of the conference is to address these fundamental questions from a wide range of philosophical perspectives. Potential topics could include, but not be limited to: philosophical approaches to meaning in/of life; the relationship between death and meaning; anti-natalism and nihilism; procreation; spiritual, religious and psychological implications of meaning; metaphysical and epistemological issues concerning meaning; meaning in applied ethics, bioethics and environmental ethics; meaning in religious and philosophical traditions around the world; implications of meaning for health.

Call for papers

We have closed the call for papers. Applicants will be notified of the result via email by the middle of February.

Publication: Speakers are encouraged to submit their papers for publication in a special issue of the Journal of Philosophy of Life published in 2021.


If you are speaking at the conference we will be in touch with you directly via email to provide you with a password to enable you to register for your reserved place here.  

If you are not speaking at the conference please register your attendance at the conference here


We have reserved a limited number of rooms for our delegates at the Edgbaston Park Hotel on campus. These rooms can be booked and paid for separately after registration, following the instructions provided in the confirmation email (including a booking code). Note that there are only a limited number of available rooms, hence delegates are advised to book early.

We do have another hotel located directly on campus Lucas House Hotel

There are many other off-campus accommodation venues that would be suitable, especially in the city centre. You can easily commute to the university from the centre, by train (from New Street station), by bus, or by taxi/Uber.

You will find a list of alternative accommodation venues on this page.

Venue and travel

The venue for conference will be confirmed closer to the event. We will indicate location once known on the University of Birmingham campus map. General travel information can be found on this page.

If you have any specific accessibility requirements or any further queries, please contact us at

Food and drink

The conference registration fee includes refreshments, lunch, and a drinks reception at our Barber Institute of Fine Arts, but no other evening meals. As part of registration, you have the opportunity to book and pay for attendance at our formal conference dinner on the Thursday evening. We have many catering options on campus during working hours, or you may wish to look at some suggested local restaurants here


If you need to contact the conference organisers please email

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