CALL FOR PAPERS
Philosophy of Religion in a Pluralistic World
Charles University, Prague
28-31 August 2018
Few parts of the inhabited world are unaffected by religious diversity. This has often been regarded as a philosophically, sociologically, and politically challenging fact, rather than as something to be celebrated. Within the philosophy of religion, in particular, religious diversity has typically been regarded as standing in need of a theoretical explanation that will defuse the challenge it seems to present to prevailing belief systems. This conference invites exploration of philosophical responses to religious diversity, and investigation of the epistemological, metaphysical, and socio-political questions that it raises.
Sub-theme 1: Philosophical Responses to Religious Diversity
In the last several decades it has become common-place to regard inclusivism, exclusivism and pluralism as the main forms of response to religious diversity. Is it time to move beyond these familiar categories, or are they still theoretically useful today? Within the philosophy of religion, one widely influential form of religious pluralism – Hickean pluralism, which posits a single noumenal Reality lying behind all the world’s major religious traditions – has dominated the discussion since the 1990s. However, it faces serious philosophical problems and other forms of pluralist theory have been developed which seek to avoid these. How might religious pluralism, as a theoretical response to religious diversity, best be articulated? What is the relation between it, as a philosophical response, and other approaches to religious diversity?
Sub-theme 2: Epistemological Challenges of Religious Diversity
The fact that the world contains a number of diverse systems of religious belief and practice raises epistemological issues that fall centrally within the range of concerns covered by the philosophy of religion. What are the implications of religious diversity for the ways we might think about the truth, reasonableness, or justification of religious claims? To what extent ought religious diversity undermine confidence in all religious belief systems? Does persistent disagreement about core religious claims among adherents of different religious traditions suggest that none of them are justified in their beliefs? Does diversity fatally erode the view that any religious claims are true? To what extent, if any, does religious diversity undermine claims made on the basis of religious experience? Might the phenomenon of cognitive penetration feature in an explanation of religious diversity? Does reflection on religious diversity suggest that philosophical approaches that do not focus on traditional epistemological notions like ‘truth’ and ‘justification’ are more salient in the religious domain?
Sub-theme 3: The Metaphysics of Religious Diversity
Religious diversity challenges philosophers of religion, and scholars in cognate disciplines, to explore different conceptions of the divine. How might philosophy of religion have to change in response to this challenge? Do the diverse religions of the world exhibit any common features in their ways of conceiving the Ultimate? Does the diverse religious experience of humankind point to an underlying Reality beyond all particular religious conceptions, as John Hick has claimed? How might the various conceptions of the divine that are advanced by different religious traditions be related to such an underlying Reality? Does a religious pluralist need to posit such a Reality to make sense of the idea that all major world religions are equally capable of putting their adherents on the path to the religious goal, however that is conceived? Is the distinction between personal and impersonal conceptions of the Ultimate the most fundamental one, or might other categorical distinctions be equally important to consider, such as causal and acausal, transcendent and non-transcendent?
Sub-theme 4: The Socio-theoretic Implications of Religious Diversity
How should the facts of religious diversity in different parts of the world impact philosophical reflection on the relation of religion and politics, religion and law, religion and the state, and the relation of religious organisations to each other? How are understandings of concepts such as freedom of religion, secularisation, and religious neutrality, affected by the way we think about religious diversity? How might theological or religious ethics assimilate the facts of diversity? How might doctrinal perspectives on religious diversity be fruitfully combined with sociological ones? To what extent does reasonable pluralism (as advocated by Rawls and Habermas) still offer an adequate response to the current societal challenges of religious diversity?
Scott Appleby (University of Notre Dame)
Mikel Burley (University of Leeds)
Tomáš Halík (Charles University, Prague)
Victoria Harrison (University of Macau/traveling from Britain)
Roger Pouivet (Universite de Lorraine)
Alister E. McGrath (University of Oxford)
Marianne Moyaert (VU University Amsterdam)
Ivana Noble (Charles University, Prague)
Christian Polke (University of Goettingen)
Mikael Stenmark (University of Uppsala)
Philipp Stoellger (University of Heidelberg)
Call for Short Papers
Scholarly short papers (with a reading time of 20 minutes) are invited on the above topics connected to the conference theme. In order to submit your proposal, please, send the abstract (max. 15 lines) to email@example.com.
Please, include information about your institutional affiliation and your academic qualifications (doctoral student, Ph.D., Professor, etc.)
Deadline for submissions is April 15th 2018
By the end of April 2018, you will receive notification about whether your paper has been included in the conference (if you need an earlier decision in order to be able to apply for funding, please state that clearly as you submit your abstract and submit the abstract as early as possible).
Inquiries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information about the conference, please, go to the conference webpage:
or to the ESPR website:
The Pantheism and Panentheism Project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, welcomes applications for summer stipends from scholars and writers who wish to spend the summer writing a paper for publication in a peer-reviewed academic journal, a reputable magazine (if they wish to write for a popular audience), or an edited collection to be published by a leading academic publisher. We offered £1000 each to 10 applicants in the summer of 2017 (see FUNDED PROJECTS for details on the output of the recipients) and we will offer 9 awards of £1000 in the summer of 2018. Co-authors are welcome to apply together but they will be awarded only one joint stipend of £1000. This is a non-residential grant that allows grant recipients to work on their project anywhere they wish.
The deadline is 15 April 2018.
For the application procedure please see the project website.
Submissions are invited for the Religious Studies Postgraduate Essay Prize, which is sponsored jointly by Cambridge University Press and the British Society for the Philosophy of Religion. The winning entry will be published in Religious Studies, and the winner awarded £300.
The Prize is an international prize, and open to all those who are registered for a postgraduate degree at the time of submission. The topic of the essay should be in the philosophy of religion and must be no longer than 8,000 words in length. The judges reserve the right not to award the Prize if no submission of sufficient merit is received. All entries will be considered for publication in Religious Studies.
Essays should be submitted via the journal’s electronic system. A special submission area will be established for entries to the Essay Prize. The author’s name and contact details should not be included on the paper, but submitted separately.
The closing date for entries is 31 December 2017.
Please see the project website for details.
The Pantheism and Panentheism Project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, welcomes applications for summer stipends from scholars and writers who wish to spend the summer writing a paper for publication in a peer-reviewed academic journal, a reputable magazine (if they wish to write for a popular audience), or an edited collection to be published by a leading academic publisher. We offer £1000 each to 10 applicants in the summer of 2017 and 9 awards of £1000 in the summer of 2018. Co-authors are welcome to apply together but they will be awarded only one joint stipend of £1000. This is a non-residential grant that allows grant recipients to work on their project anywhere they wish.
Applicants are required to submit the following items electronically:
- A curriculum vitae
- An project abstract of no more than 200 words
- A project proposal of 750-1500 words
Please email all of the above as a single PDF document by 15 April 2017 to email@example.com
The Pantheism and Panentheism Project focuses on the following three main problems. Applicants are required to address at least one of these problems directly or indirectly from a philosophical, historical, theological or scientific perspective. It is not required that applicants defend pantheism or panentheism. Applications from critics of these views are also welcome.
- The problem of personality: Pantheism and panentheism say that the cosmos is identical with, is constituted by, or is part of God. This appears to suggest that, contrary to the classical theistic view, God is not a person or a personal being. Critics claim that this is problematic because a concept of God that is non-personal does not seem to be adequate for theological discourse. Can pantheists and panentheists respond to this problem by developing a plausible account of personhood that makes the pantheistic or panentheistic God qualify as a person or a personal being?
- The problem of unity: Classical theists maintain the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, according to which God created the cosmos out of nothing. This doctrine entails that God is ontologically distinct from the cosmos. Classical theists face the following intractable question: How could God, who is understood by classical theists as an incorporeal, timeless, changeless being, create the cosmos, which consists of matter, time and space, out of nothing? Pantheists and panentheists avoid such a question by maintaining that the cosmos is not ontologically distinct from God. Yet it is not very clear how the cosmos, which includes an extremely large number of entities, can be considered a single, unified entity that can be described as divine. Can pantheists and panentheists coherently maintain that the cosmos is a unified whole?
- The problem of evil: Classical theists face the problem of evil because they maintain that the cosmos, which includes apparently pointless pain and suffering, was created by an all-powerful and all-good God. One of the main virtues of pantheism and panentheism is that they do not face this problem. Since they do not postulate the existence of an all-powerful and all-good God the problem of evil for classical theists cannot be directed at them. However, pantheism and panentheism do face a variation on the same problem: How could the cosmos be identical with or be part of God if it contains apparently gratuitous pain and suffering?
The selection criteria are (i) the quality of the abstract, (ii) relevance to the project topics and (iii) the applicant’s publication track record.
On behalf of Godehard Brüntrup and Ludwig Jaskolla:
Building on the great success of the “Analytic Theology Project” the Munich School of Philosophy is proud to continue the cooperation with the John Templeton Foundation in the field of philosophy of religion. Head of the Munich centre of the international and interdisciplinary research network investigating “The Concept of God” is Prof. Dr. Godehard Brüntrup.
In the context of this project, one Post-Doc/Habiliation Fellowship in Munich is announced for the duration of three years, starting February 1st 2016.
Further information concerning the fellowship and application is provided on https://www.hfph.de/hochschule/lehrende/prof-dr-godehard-bruentrup-sj/stellenausschreibung.
Building on the outstanding success of Theology in REF 2014, we are now intending to appoint a major international scholar in this key strategic area.
Philosophical Theology is one of two principal strategic directions for the growth of Theology and Religion at Birmingham, and enjoys excellence in research together with strong recruitment. The Chair will play a key role in promoting and expanding Philosophical Theology in the Department of Theology and Religion and in further developing close relations with the Department of Philosophy. We welcome specialities in any area of Philosophical Theology
Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr David Cheetham (D.Cheetham@bham.ac.uk).
To download the full details and submit an electronic application online visit www.hr.bham.ac.uk/jobs . Alternatively, information can be obtained from 0121 415 9000.
These posts are advertised as part of the Birmingham Fellowship scheme. They are permanent academic posts for outstanding junior academics, which start with five years of protected time for high-quality research.
Philosophical Theology (Job Ref: 36482)
The School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion seeks to appoint an Enhanced Early Career Lecturer in any area of Philosophical Theology. The School is home to a lively research community which is strongly committed to delivering the highest quality of research. We are well placed to achieve our goal of being one of the best research institutions in Theology, Religion and Philosophy in the English-speaking world. In the REF2014 national research audit, both the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Theology and Religion ranked second in the UK. The Department of Theology and Religion has many areas of specialization, including those represented by the Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies, the Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion, and the John Hicks Centre for the Philosophy of Religion. The Department’s vision is to develop its engagement with Philosophical Theology over the next five years, building a strong cohort of scholars engaged in world-leading research. The appointed Lecturer will play a key role in delivering this vision, building on and enhancing connections across the two departments in the School and beyond. They will have a growing reputation in the field and be able to demonstrate a strong research track record, including high quality publications and the ability to attract external funding.
‘God Over All’
March 16-20, 2015
Hosted by the John Hick Centre for Philosophy of Religion. Our theme for 2015 is ‘God Over All’ , and will consist of a series of lectures given by Professor William Lane Craig (PhD University of Birmingham 1977).
The traditional concept of God, rooted in the biblical and patristic witness, is that God exist uniquely a se. That is to say, God is the only self-existent being, the sole ultimate reality, and all else that exists has been created by God. The most important challenge to this doctrine issues from Platonism, the view that there exist necessary, eternal, uncreated abstract objects. The main argument for Platonism is the so-called Indispensability Argument, which holds that our use of first-order logical quantifiers and singular terms in sentences we take to be true commits us ontologically to the reality of such objects. Theists might attempt to escape this challenge by adopting anti-Platonic forms of realism about such objects. But an arguably better course is to challenge the devices of ontological commitment which underlie the Indispensability Argument. When called upon to speak about such objects in a metaphysically heavy sense, the theist should regard such objects no more than useful fictions.
- Lecture 1 (Monday 16 March, 2015): Divine Aseity
- Lecture 2 (Tuesday 17 March, 2015): The Challenge of Platonism
- Lecture 3 (Wednesday 18 March 2015): Anti-Platonic Realism
- Lecture 4 (Thursday 19 March, 2015): Making Ontological Commitments
- Lecture 5 (Friday 20 March, 2015): Just Pretend
New Models of Religious Understanding
The Centre for Philosophy of Religion at Heythrop College is hosting a research project on “New Models of Religious Understanding”.
As part of this project there will be a series of seminars on the research topic. The seminars for this term are below:
Dr Fiona Ellis
Title: Religious Understanding and Naturalism
Dr Douglas Hedley
Prof Keith Ward
Title: Is there such a thing as Religious Understanding?
Dr Kyle Scott
Title: Religious Knowledge versus Religious Understanding
Prof John Cottingham
Title: Transcending Science: humane models of religious understanding
All of the seminars will be held at 4.30pm, in the Brinkman Room, Heythrop College, Kensington Square, London W8 5HN.
For further information please contact Kyle Scott (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Submissions are invited for The Paradise Project Essay Proposal Contest. Authors of winning essay proposals will have expenses paid to present full drafts of their essays at a Project Conference on April 24-25, 2015 in Newport News, VA, and final drafts of their essays will be included in a book manuscript that will be submitted for publication to a world-class press in early fall 2015. A cash prize of $1500 will also be given to the author of each winning proposal. It is the intention of the Project co-organizers, Dr. Ryan Byerly (Regent University) and Dr. Eric Silverman (Christopher Newport University), to offer at least four awards.
The aim of the Paradise Project is to produce an edited collection of essays in analytic philosophy of religion that address philosophical questions about heaven arising across a wide variety of sub-disciplines within philosophy including epistemology, ethics, social and political philosophy, and metaphysics. Confirmed contributors to the Project thus far include:
Submissions for the contest are welcome from philosophers at any career stage. To submit a proposal, send either a 3-5 page (excluding references) detailed abstract of the paper you intend to write, or a draft of a full paper of no more than 10,000 words, to email@example.com. Submissions should be suitable for blind review, and must be sent by December 15th, 2014.
Some sample questions which essay writers may wish to address are as follows:
Epistemology: Will human persons in paradise be infallible? Will they be omniscient? Will they continue to inquire? Will they exercise perfect epistemic autonomy, or will they still trust the testimony of others? Will they exercise intellectual virtues? If so, which ones? How should the beatific vision be construed epistemically? Is it rational to hope for eternal life?
Ethics: Are there some moral virtues that cannot be exercised in paradise—virtues such as perseverance, generosity, contrition, or forgivingness? How does the answer to the foregoing question affect the value of life in paradise? Is eternal life in paradise good and/or meaningful? If so, what makes it good and/or meaningful?
Social and Political Philosophy: What kinds of relationships—e.g., marriage—will continue in paradise? What kinds of political structures will be in place? Will there be a “natural” world; and, if so, what will be the relationship of human beings to this “natural” world? How will resources be distributed? What, if anything, do our answers to these questions tell us about how social and political institutions should be shaped now?
Metaphysics: Is human life in paradise embodied? Is it an embodiment in bodies that are numerically identical to human bodies in earthly life? Will human persons in paradise have free will? Will they maintain personal identity across time? Will they be temporal entities at all? Will human persons retain distinct identities in paradise?
Philosophy of Language: Will the inhabitants of paradise all use the same language? Is doing so necessary for them to achieve maximum mutual understanding? Will humans employ propositional representations at all?
Metaphilosophy: To what extent can reflecting on utopian ideals guide our philosophical reflection about paradise? Should thinking about utopia inform our thinking about paradise in the same way that, according to advocates of perfect being theology, thinking about perfection should inform our thinking about theology proper?
These questions are only representative. Essay proposals addressing other important philosophical questions about life in paradise are also encouraged.
The Paradise Project is funded by a grant from the Immortality Project at University of California, Riverside. The Immortality Project is funded by the John Templeton Foundation.