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15th International Conference on Deontic Logic and Normative Systems (DEON 2020/21)

MCMP/LMU Munich, 21-24 July 2021

Idea & Motivation

The biennial DEON conferences are designed to promote interdisciplinary cooperation amongst scholars interested in linking the formal-logical study of normative concepts, normative language and normative systems with computer science, artificial intelligence, linguistics, philosophy, organization theory and law.
In addition to the general theme of the DEON conferences, DEON 2020/21 will encourage a special focus on the topic: Norms in Social Perspective.

Update: the DEON conference was originally scheduled for the Summer of 2020 but, due to COVID-19, it has been postponed to 21-24 July 2021. A first round of papers was already selected in 2020. An extra call for a small number of additional papers is distributed in 2021 (see Important Dates). The conference will be held online.


Keynote speakers

There have been fourteen previous DEON conferences: Amsterdam, December 1991; Oslo, January 1994; Sesimbra, January 1996; Bologna, January 1998; Toulouse, January 2000; London, May 2002; Madeira, May 2004; Utrecht, July 2006; Luxembourg, July 2008; Fiesole, July 2010; Bergen, July 2012; Ghent, July 2014; Bayreuth, July 2016; and Utrecht, July 2018.

Important Dates

Call for Papers

Submission Details

Co-located Event


Important Dates

• Abstract submission deadline: 21 February, 2021
• Paper submission deadline: 28 February, 2021
• Notification: 16 May, 2021
• Camera Ready: 30 May, 2021
• Conference: 21-24 July, 2021

Call for Papers

General Themes

We invite papers concerned with the following topics (non-exclusive list):

  • the logical study of normative reasoning, including formal systems of deontic logic, defeasible normative reasoning, logics of action, logics of time, and other related areas of logic
  • the formal analysis of normative concepts, normative systems (and their dynamics)
  • the formal specification of aspects of norm-governed multi-agent systems and autonomous agents, including (but not limited to) the representation of rights, authorization, delegation, power, responsibility and liability
  • the normative aspects of protocols for communication, negotiation and multi-agent decision making
  • the formal analysis of the semantics and pragmatics of deontic and normative expressions in natural language, including modals, imperatives, deontic verbs and adjectives, and discourse particles
  • advances in formal models of context and discourse structure that aim to explain the use of deontic expressions in natural language, and their significance for communication, action and social structures
  • the formal representation of legal knowledge
  • the formal specification of normative systems for the management of bureaucratic processes in public or private administration
  • applications of normative logic to the specification of database integrity constraints
  • game theoretic aspects of deontic reasoning
  • emergence of norms, including its logical and computational representation
  • deontic paradoxes and their philosophical and linguistic import
  • the connection between argumentation theory and normative reasoning, including the role of reasons and justifications

Special Focus: “Norms in Social Perspective”

While deontic logic is still often approached as the logic of objective, agent-independent notions of obligation, permission, and prohibition, there is a growing body of literature on the role of groups, social interaction, and networks in our norms and normative reasoning. The social perspective plays a role in our deontic reasoning in at least three different ways. First, it determines the way norms are adopted and updated. How individual and group agents relate to one another (e.g. via a social network or as part of an institution) is essential for the norms these agents endorse, and for the way their norms change. Second, social interaction is essential for the way normative language is used and interpreted: deontic terms can acquire meaning via social conventions, and we use deontic terms to communicate our ethical stances to one another, and to convince each other of the rationality of certain choices. Third, the social dimension is also essential in the way we evaluate norms: often, obligations cannot be properly explained in terms of a single normative code or one individual agent’s attitudes. Instead, one needs to refer to the preferences, goals, and norms of several agents, and to lift these to the group level in order to specify what ought to be done.

The conference is open to any contribution concerning deontic logic and normative systems. We however particularly welcome all contributions that relate to the special theme. Some examples of questions that can be addressed in connection with the theme are:

  • What is the logical structure of social obligations and permissions? How do they relate to individual obligations and permissions?
  • How should one interpret the various paradoxes of Standard Deontic Logic from the viewpoint of a social, interactive use of deontic terms?
  • What type of norms govern our interaction and in particular, communication? Can we study these norms using (variants of) existing deontic logics?
  • How are we to analyse the natural language forms that encode social relations, such as honorifics, address terms and allocative markers, in semantic and pragmatic theory?
  • How do social relations, whether grammatically encoded or not, affect the interpretation of deontic and other modal expressions in natural language?
  • How does norm change and norm update behave in the presence of networks?
  • How do different perspectives on the evaluation of norms in social terms (e.g. individual vs. social, “flat groups” vs. networks of agents, in terms of explicit agreements vs. in terms of a social choice function) cash out in terms of formal logics?
  • Can we suitably combine deontic logics and formal frameworks for reasoning about networks? What formal and philosophical hurdles should first be taken in order to merge these two lines of research?
  • Can deontic terms such as must, ought, may acquire their meaning via social conventions? Could such a meaning acquisition be captured via a combination of logical and game theoretic tools?
  • How do rights and duties of institutions relate to those of their members from a legal and political perspective? How can this relation be represented formally?top

Submission Details

We open an extra call for a small number of additional papers. With this extra call, we hope to attract authors who did not already contribute to last year's publication round.
Authors are invited to submit an original, previously unpublished, short research paper pertaining to any of the DEON topics.
The paper should be in English, anonymized, and should be no longer than 15 pages (including notes and appendix, but excluding bibliography). The paper must be formatted according to the LaTeX specification that can be downloaded here. The first page should contain an abstract of no more than ten lines.
The submission of the abstract must precede the submission of the paper. Authors should submit electronically using EasyChair.

Each submitted paper will be carefully peer-reviewed by a panel of PC members based on originality, significance, technical soundness, and clarity of exposition and relevance for the conference. For each accepted paper, at least one author is required to register for the conference and should plan to present the paper.

We strongly encourage women and other members of under-represented groups in academia to submit.



The proceedings will be published with College Publications. The first part of the proceedings of DEON 2020/21 is accessible online at

Submissions made in response to the extra call in 2021, if accepted, will be added to the proceedings of DEON 2020/21.

Revised versions of selected papers from the conference will subsequently be published in a special issue of the Journal of Logic and Computation (Oxford University Press).


Co-located Event

DEON 2020/21 will be co-located with the Summer School on Mathematical Philosophy for Female Students, to be held in Munich on 18-23 July 2021.


We are happy to announce that there will be no registration fees for DEON 2020/21.

DEON 2020/21 is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, GermanResearch Foundation) [446508593], which is gratefully acknowledged.

Gefördert durch die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) – [446508593]

Participants interested in receiving hardcopies of the proceedings will be asked to provide an individual contribution, as those costs cannot be covered by the DFG.



Chairs of the Program Committee

Fenrong Liu, Tsinghua University

Alessandra Marra, MCMP/LMU Munich

Paul Portner, Georgetown University

Frederik Van De Putte, University of Rotterdam and Ghent University

Local Organizing Committee

Alessandra Marra, MCMP/LMU Munich (chair of the local organizing committee)

Norbert Gratzl, MCMP/LMU Munich

Hannes Leitgeb, MCMP/LMU Munich


Program Committee DEON 2020/21
Thomas Ågotnes (University of Bergen)
Maria Aloni (University of Amsterdam)
Christoph Benzmüller (Freie Universität Berlin)
Jan Broersen (Utrecht University)
Mark Brown (Syracuse University)
Ilaria Canavotto (University of Amsterdam)
Fabrizio Cariani (University of Maryland, College Park)
Jose Carmo (University of Madeira)
Ivano Ciardelli (MCMP/LMU Munich)
Roberto Ciuni (University of Padova)
Cleo Condoravdi (Stanford University)
Robert Demolombe (ONERA)
Huimin Dong (Zhejiang University)
Hein Duijf (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Federico Faroldi (Ghent University)
Stephen Finlay (University of Southern California)
Guido Governatori (CSIRO)
Davide Grossi (University of Groningen)
Andreas Herzig (CNRS, IRIT, Univ. Toulouse)
John Horty (University of Maryland)
Magdalena Kaufmann (University of Connecticut)
Piotr Kulicki (John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin)
Beishui Liao (Zhejiang University)
Juliano Maranhao (University of São Paulo)
Réka Markovich (University of Luxembourg)
Joke Meheus (Ghent University)
John-Jules Meyer (Utrecht University)
Robert Mullins (Queensland University)
Gabriella Pigozzi (Université Paris-Dauphine)
Martin Rechenauer (MCMP/LMU Munich)
Antonino Rotolo (University of Bologna)
Olivier Roy (Universität Bayreuth)
Chenwei Shi (Tsinghua University)
Audun Stolpe (Norwegian Defence Research Establishment FFI)
Christian Strasser (Ruhr-University Bochum)
Allard Tamminga (University of Groningen)
Paolo Turrini (University of Warwick)
Peter Vranas (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Malte Willer (University of Chicago)
Tomoyuki Yamada (Hokkaido University)
Leon van der Torre (University of Luxembourg)

DEON Steering Committee
Jan Broersen (Utrecht University) - Chair
John Horty (University of Maryland) - Vice Chair
Christoph Benzmüller (Freie Universität Berlin)
Cleo Condoravdi (Stanford University)
Melissa Fusco (Columbia University)
Beishui Liao (Zhejiang University)
Juliano Maranho (University of São Paulo)
Alessandra Marra (MCMP/LMU Munich)
Paul McNamara (University of New Hampshire)
Joke Meheus (Ghent University)
Gabriella Pigozzi (Université Paris-Dauphine)
Paul Portner (Georgetown University)
Antonino Rotolo (University of Bologna)
Olivier Roy (Universität Bayreuth)
Leon van der Torre (University of Luxembourg)
Malte Willer (University of Chicago)