Third International Conference on Philosophy and Meaning in Life - online!

University of Birmingham
Tuesday 21 July (00:01) - Thursday 23 July 2020 (23:59)

If you need to contact the conference organisers please email

Our Third International Conference on Philosophy and Meaning in Life took place online 21-23 July 2020


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.

Keynote lectures 

  • Lisa Bortolotti (Professor of Philosophy, University of Birmingham), 'Mental Health, Rationality and the Meaning of Life: The Case of Delusions'
  • Masahiro Morioka (Professor of Philosophy and Ethics, Waseda University), 'What Is Birth Affirmation?: The Meaning of Saying ‘Yes’ to Having Been Born'

Presentations were delivered through a combination of live (using Zoom) and pre-recorded talks (via YouTube). Delegates also used our shared conference social space (using Slack) to interact with one another and the speakers, to comment on and discuss presentations and areas of common academic interest. FAQ's on how to participate and engage in the conference were provided below!

Conference Frequently Asked Questions

We appreciate the experience of an online event will be new to many of you so please see below for our online conference 'frequently asked questions' (FAQ's) and further information including how to register.


  • Zoom – the online platform for delivery of live presentations
  • Slack – our online community board and shared social space for delegates to post and reply to comments, direct message each other and also for general announcements and information about the conference
  • Conference website – this webpage, which houses general information including registration, keynotes and the dates and times of the programme content. Accessible to all.
  • Programme website – hosts the programme content including links to live and pre-recorded presentations, and the link to our Slack page. Accessible only to those registered for the conference.

How do I access the links to live talks and pre-recorded presentations?

  • There will be a specific programme website where you will access both live and recorded presentations. This is where you will find the link to our shared community board to post comment and message delegates. 
  • The programme website will be accessible only to registered delegates, and we will share the webpage address with you closer to the event itself.

 Where are the events hosted?

  • The live presentations will be hosted through Zoom with links posted on our programme website. 
  • The pre-recorded presentations will be made available on the day they are listed in the programme, again on our programme website.

 Where can I find the time and date for each event?

  • You can find this information on both our conference and programme websites, which will show the time and date for each live event. Please note only the programme website will have the links to follow to participate in the events.

I am delivering a presentation at the conference - where can I find further information?

  • For those of you delivering presentations we are or will shortly be in touch with further information and guidance about both pre-recorded and live presentations.

Delegates will be sent more information and guidance on how to participate in the conference through Zoom and Slack after they have registered. This includes Q & A, and how to make the most of Slack to communicate with your fellow attendees!

Organising institutions

  • The Birmingham Centre for Philosophy of Religion, University of Birmingham
  • The Waseda Institute of Life and Death Studies, Waseda University



Previous conferences