Understanding Value VII took place at the University of Sheffield, 18 – 20 July 2018. The days all comprised of parallel sessions running both in the morning and the afternoon. All speakers at these sessions were postgraduate speakers or early career speakers. The four keynote sessions were not parallel. We had around 60 attendees to the conference, and the parallel session talks often enjoyed crowds of 15-20 people in the audience.
We are very happy with the high quality presentations by both postgraduate speakers and early career speakers, forwarding the debates in philosophy pertaining to value. Discussions after the talks were very stimulating and for the most part, everyone who wanted had the time to ask a question. Questions that we did not have time for were often discussed during lunch instead. Many talks also concerned new ideas, such as PhD students presenting an idea for a chapter in their thesis, and they were met with thought-provoking questions and interesting takes on their ideas.
The environment felt very friendly and relaxed, and questions were asked in a polite and curious manner, rather than aggressive. Speaking to attendees during the conference, many said that they had been to Understanding Value before, and that they were looking forward to coming back next year because of the nice atmosphere at the conference. As organisers, we are of course very happy to hear that.
There were also a few non-philosophers at the conference who found it equally stimulating and not as daunting as they had first thought it would be to go to a philosophy conference. Again, we are very happy with this result since we aimed to advertise the conference also to sociology, anthropology and history departments.
The four keynote talks were all of excellent quality, as were the longer discussions that followed. Discussions (both keynote and parallel sessions) were all chaired by a conference organiser or a volunteer who received instructions about how to chair beforehand.
On the whole, it was a very successful conference with stimulating philosophical discussion. We were also pleased to have 40% of the speakers being female, and 3 out of 4 keynote speakers being female.