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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com
For further information about the conference, please, go to the conference webpage:
or to the ESPR website:
May 24-26, 2018 at the University of Notre Dame
Race, Gender, Ability, and Class:
Expanding Conversations in Analytic Theology
Guest Co-Organizer: Michelle Panchuk
Over the past several decades, scholars working in biblical, theological and religious studies have increasingly paid attention to the substantive ways that our experiences and understanding of God and God’s relation to the world are structured by our experiences and concepts of race, gender, ability, and class. These personal and social identities and the intersections between them (for better or worse) serve as a hermeneutical lens for our interpretations of God, self, one another and our religious texts and traditions. However, these topics have not received nearly the same level of attention from analytic theologians and philosophers of religion, and so a wide range of important issues remain ripe for analytic treatment. For example, what implications do the social concerns of liberation theology have for the kinds of questions with which analytic theologians and philosophers have more typically been concerned, and vice versa? How might our understanding that suffering and trauma are often inflicted by unjust social structures and religious communities inform our response to the problem of evil? To what extent does the historical use of a particular doctrine as a tool of oppression bear on its truth? How should analytic philosophical explications of doctrinal loci (e.g. creation, incarnation and the imago Dei) shape our understanding and theology of race, ability, gender, and class, and vice-versa? Do these identities circumscribe the kinds of religious experience or religious understanding that one is able or likely to have? The Logos 2018 Workshop will bring together analytic philosophers, scriptural scholars, and theologians/thealogians to discuss these and other aspects of the theological significance of personal and social identities.
To have your paper considered for presentation at Logos 2018, please submit an abstract of the paper or the paper itself no later than October 1, 2017. Other things being equal, preference will be given to those who submit full papers by the deadline. You will be notified by December 1, 2017 whether your paper has been provisionally accepted. Full acceptance will be conditional on submission of the full reading version of the paper by April 1, 2018. It is expected that papers presented at the Logos workshop will be works in progress that can benefit from the group discussion. Consequently, we ask that authors not submit papers that will be published before the conference has ended.
Please send Abstracts or Full Papers to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, please visit: http://philreligion.nd.edu/calendar/annual-logos-workshop/
This week’s Virtual Colloquium paper is “With or Without You: ‘Post-Metaphysical’ Religion and the Religious Imagination” by Amber Griffioen. Dr. Griffioen received her PhD from the University of Iowa in 2010 and is currently Margarete von Wrangell Research Fellow and Lecturer at the University of Konstanz, Germany. Her papers on self-deception, superstition, and religion have appeared in journals such as Religious Studies, American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, and European Journal for Philosophy of Religion.
With or Without You: “Post-Metaphysical” Religion and the Religious Imagination
This paper represents the (still very rough) skeleton of a paper, adapted from a recent conference talk at UNISA on The Resurgence of Metaphysics in Science, Philosophy, and Theology. I am currently working to expand my thoughts from this talk into a full-length article. The paper begins with a sort of overview of one of the gulfs that seems to separate analytic and continental philosophers of religion (at least in my experience), namely the insistence of the former on continuing to focus on religious epistemology and the metaphysics of classical theism and the resistance of the latter to engaging in any sort of metaphysical or “ontotheological” enterprise. I do not mean this introduction to cover the entire spectrum of analytic or continental philosophy of religion; I merely want to gesture at a point of contention that often arises when I (as a participant in the more analytic tradition) engage in dialogue with continental philosophers of religion. The paper itself is (ideally) supposed to use the instruments from my more analytic conceptual toolkit to suggest a way in which the analytic desire for a deeply “metaphysical” religion can be made commensurate with the continental demand that we go “beyond” metaphysics.
The middle part of the paper draws on some other work I’ve done (published in German) on demarcating the realism/anti-realism debate and the cognitivism/non-cognitivism debate, which are sometimes run together in what I think are unhelpful ways. On the assumption a) that many continental philosophers of religion are anti-realists about the God of classical theism and b) that many analytic philosophers of religion want to hold on to some cognitivist understanding of religious language, I move on to talk about the promise that fictionalism might hold for the development of a “post-metaphysical” theological semantics. At the same time, I think fictionalism is limited in at least two ways: a) it generally assumes a kind of anti-realism about the objects of discourse, and b) it usually represents an instrumentalist approach to the arena of discourse in question. I thus think the development of an alternative semantics is warranted—one which is cognitivist, expressivist, and non-error theoretic, and which moves us past the somewhat stagnant realist/antirealist debates. It also allows that religion, like sports or music, may be an autotelic (not mere instrumental) enterprise, one engaged in for its own sake. This is a view I am calling “religious imaginativism”. It claims that the cognitive attitudes expressed by religious language are not, strictly speaking, beliefs but rather imaginings, combined with the more volitional attitude of acceptance. I argue that religious concepts require the implementation of the imagination, such that believers, agnostics, and non-believers alike must employ the imagination to get these concepts off the ground in the first place. The view is thus supposed to allow that—even if antirealism about God turns out to be true—it might still be legitimate to employ the term ‘God’ and to engage in “metaphysical” debate about the appropriate way to talk about God and God’s nature from within the imaginativist framework. At the same time, so long as we’re operating within a particular religious “model”, religious realists and religious antirealists who care about the model itself should be able to successfully communicate about God. That is, religiously committed believers, agnostics, and even atheists can successfully employ religious language without necessarily talking past each other.
I am treating this online colloquium like I would a live colloquium presentation. The text is thus still quite short and not fully fleshed-out. It is intended more to elicit questions, discussion, and constructive suggestions (for further reading, directions to take this in, ways to address objections, etc.). I haven’t laid out the entire view here. In fact, I’m still working the kinks out of it. I also have not inserted references to the relevant literature yet, so what you see are really my developing thoughts on a complex issue. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it, and I look forward to your comments!
The complete paper is available here. Comments welcome below!
This is the seventeenth installment of a series of interviews I am conducting with academic philosophers about their religious practices. In this series of interviews, I ask philosophers about their religious practices and the influence on their philosophical work. Follow the links for parts. Follow the links for parts 1, 2,3,4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16. The contributors are in various stages of their career, tenured and untenured. Interviews were conducted through e-mail and responses are not edited.
Can you tell me something about your current academic position and work?
I’m a Muslim trainee-philosopher born in Iran. I studied BSc in Business and Economics and MA in Islamic and Western philosophy at the University of Tehran and Shahid Beheshti University, Iran. I spent my doctoral journey in moral philosophy at the University of Reading and Oxford under the supervision of Prof. Stratton-Lake, Prof. Hooker and Dr. Rini. My thesis was on “Mind, Epistemology and Neuroethics: A Defence of Epistemological Intuitionism”. Currently, I’m doing research on “Ethics of Migration” and “Compassion in Islamic and Christian Theology” for the department of Theological Ethics and Christian Social Ethics at Universität Luzern. I’m also an associate researcher and adjunct lecture on “Metaphor and Cognition” and “Neuroethics” at Institute for Cognitive Science Studies.
The areas that I’m working on are mostly normative ethics, applied ethics, moral epistemology (esp. intuitionism), moral psychology, neuroethics, metaphor, philosophy of religion, Islamic mysticism and philosophy of Persian music. In 2015, I established “School of Rumi” as an online charity institute for teaching ethics, mysticism and religion. In 2014, my book, Metaphor and Science, has been published in Persian. I have also published a Persian translation of James Brown’s The Laboratory of the Mind. My recent publications in English are, among others, “Success of Public Knowledge Management in the Light of Rossian Ethics” (2013), “Medical Ethics in Qiṣāṣ Punishment” (2015), “Ontological Nominalism and Analytic Philosophy” (2015) and “Playing with the “Playing God”” (forthcoming).