San Raffaele School of Philosophy 2023 - SRSP

San Raffaele School of Philosophy 2023 - SRSP

Call for papers

The Coming of Age. Personal Identity, Well-Being, and Justice in an Ageing Society

San Raffaele School of Philosophy 2023

October 4th–6th, 2023

Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan

Faculty of Philosophy

Palazzo Arese-Borromeo – Cesano Maderno

Call for papers

Accepted papers will be published in a Special Issue of Phenomenology and Mind.

Population ageing is a central phenomenon of our contemporary age. As a trend that concerns the whole world, individuals have increasing chances to reach old age due to improvements in survival, and the share of older people over the total population grows because of reductions in fertility. Not surprisingly, this trend is triggering several transformative processes concerning societies, welfare states, markets, medical practices, and political agendas.

Ageing is not always equal to healthy ageing, so that many medical, social, and political issues arise in relation to ageing pathologies and the elderly’s specific vulnerabilities. Nonetheless, old age should not necessarily be considered as a time of mental and physical decline, which would only imply an increasing socioeconomic and health dependence. Indeed, a new way of looking at the elderly, their life, and their possible social role can and should constitute an opportunity for innovative trends in promoting inclusive well-being and in building more prosperous, just and sustainable societies.

On this background, ageing appears as a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon that, due to its existential, ethical, social, and political dimensions, also offers a fruitful field for philosophical investigation.

For instance, the phenomenon of ageing societies requires new directions of research both on the peculiar existential aspects of the elderly’s lives and on the intergenerational relations that characterize the different types of social unities of our lifeworld. In this regard, a phenomenologically oriented ontology of the old person, which investigates the multifaceted ways in which one’s sense of oneself as an embodied person can change in aging, appears crucial. Correspondently, in the perspective of social ontology, interpersonal relations, as well as forms of we-agency and collective intentionality, should be reconsidered, taking aging and intergenerational issues into account, in order to outline an ontological, social, and normative model addressing age-based discrimination and inequality at the level of law, justice and health care. 

When it comes to the elderly, moreover, a redefinition of the criteria for well-being and social solidarity seems to be necessary, considering that the specific vulnerabilities of the elderly change the perceived value of several capabilities, with respect to younger populations. Such a redefinition can be of inspiration for public policies aimed to provide sufficient levels of quality of life for the entire elderly population. Nonetheless, the social and economic differences among the elderly often create disparities of treatment for analogous diseases or conditions. These disparities constitute forms of inequality that must be corrected, so that issues of intra-generational justice, besides inter-generational ones, arise and require investigation.

Philosophically, it is also crucial to focus on the various specific vulnerabilities that ageing presents, from the likelihood of social isolation to ageism, to the vulnerabilities connected to health issues. In such a context, an investigation on the duty to care, be it grounded on empathy and solidarity or on justice, appears crucial.

The San Raffaele School of Philosophy 2023 seeks to investigate these and related issues by hosting lectures by invited scholars and contributions by PhD students, post-docs, and experienced researchers selected by a double-blind peer review process.

Accepted papers will be published in a special issue of the journal Phenomenology and Mind (indexed in Scopus and The Philosopher’s Index, among others).

A (non-exhaustive) list of possible topics to explore is:

  • old age, embodiment and personal identity;
  • intergenerational relations, social unities and collective intentionality;
  • vulnerabilities in the old age;
  • well-being and quality of life of the elderly;
  • intergenerational and intragenerational justice;
  • care, solidarity, justice, and the elderly;
  • communication in healthcare and intergenerational empathy;
  • social cohesion and social reproduction;
  • transgenerational societies.

Submissions must be prepared for double-blind review. Manuscripts – in .doc format – should not contain any identifying information and they cannot exceed 4000 words (references included). Manuscripts must be written in English. Moreover, they must contain:

  • an abstract of no more than 150 words;
  • 4/5 keywords.

For stylistic details, see:

Submissions should be sent via the Phenomenology and Mind website by May 31st, 2023.

Authors should register here and then log in to submit their papers. Please, make sure to submit your paper to the section “The Coming of Age”. 

For further information, please contact Alessandro Volpe ( and/or Maria Russo (

The School is organized within the “Ageing well in an ageing society” (Age-It) Research Project (Spokes 7 and 10) (code: PE00000015) funded by the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MUR) and the European Union within the NextGenerationEU program.

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