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The annual conference series on Philosophy and Meaning in Life was launched at Hokkaido University in Japan in 2018. This third conference was organised by the Birmingham Centre for Philosophy of Religion, the College of Arts and Law Events team with support from the Waseda University Institute of Life and Death Studies.

 Due to the COVID 19 crisis, the decision was taken to move the conference online for July 2020. It was successfully delivered across 3 half days, with a number of pre-recorded as well as live presentations.

We had over 230 delegates register from over 30 different countries (in 13 different time zones) in the UK, Europe, the Americas, Australia, South East Asia and Africa., and a programme of over 50 live or recorded papers presented. 

Professor Yujin Nagasawa, the conference academic lead, said “Meaning in life is one of the oldest and most profound philosophical problems, and is arguably more important than ever in this global crisis. As far as I know, this was the largest conference ever held on this theme." 

The conference was well received and has gathered positive feedback from attendees: ‘Honestly, the most enjoyable conference platform ever. What a joy to experience. I hope many more academic conferences will be hosted this way. It makes it more accessible and is better for the environment. Double thumbs up!’

A selection of papers from the conference are to be published in a special issue of the Journal of Philosophy of Life, which will be freely available online next year. The two conference keynote lectures are available to be viewed below, delivered by our own Professor Lisa Bortolotti and Professor Masahiro Morioka from Waseda University.

Professor Nagasawa has also recently been awarded a 2.15 million pound grant from the John Templeton Foundation, for a Global Philosophy of Religion research project, beginning October 2020. Meaning in Life is to be one of the core topics. There will be three related academic conferences running from 2021-23, two of which hosted by the University of Birmingham.