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AAR Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA
November 23-26, 2019

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Global-Critical Philosophy of Religion Seminar
Theme: Global-Critical Philosophy of Religion: Multi-Entry Teaching Manual
Timothy D. Knepper, Drake University, Presiding
Saturday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Hilton Bayfront-206 (Second Level)

This session showcases contributions to a volume of collected essays that will serve as a teaching manual for courses in philosophy of religion that embrace a global-critical approach. The sixteen chapters of this volume will collectively explore sixteen diverse approaches to global-critical philosophy of religion. Each chapter will introduce a philosophical system, contextualize it in a specific religious tradition, outline how philosophy of religion would be envisioned from this standpoint, and assess other approaches from this standpoint.

Gereon Kopf, Luther College
Practices, Transformation, and Language Games: Religion without an Essence

This paper introduces a non-essentialist paradigm of envisioning philosophy of religion as rooted in the Zen Buddhist tradition.

Jin Y Park, American University
Derrida, Zen Buddhism, and the Act of Religion

“When you see the Buddha, kill the Buddha. When you see a Patriarch, kill the patriarch.” The 9th century Chinese Chan Master Linji is famously recorded to have declared this in his Recorded Sayings of Linji. A challenge to the status quo and reifying mode of thinking is at the core of Buddhism, and in theory, Chan is the highpoint of that side of Buddhism (the history of Chan/Sŏn/Zen Buddhism tells us a different story.) Derrida’s approach to religion has received the name “a religion without religion.” Derrida deconstructs the metaphysics that functions as the foundation of religious doctrines. Without a metaphysical foundation, and with Chan challenge to any form of reification, where would religion anchor itself? Through a comparative study of Derrida and Zen Buddhism, this paper considers some of main issues in the philosophy of religion, including the meaning of a prayer, salvation, and religion itself.

Oludamini Ogunnaike, College of William and Mary
Knots in the Real: An Akbari "Philosophy of Religion"

This paper introduces the humanist (insani) paradigm of envisioning philosophy and religion as rooted in the Akbari tradition. A Contribution to the manual 'A Multi-Entry Approach to Philosophy of Religion'

Leah Kalmanson, Drake University
Philosophizing "Religion" through Qi-Cosmology

This paper introduces the non-dualistic paradigm of envisioning philosophy of religion as rooted in qi-cosmology.

Marie-Helene Gorisse, Ghent University
Proper Acts, Knowledge, and Categories in Jainism: Reshaping Traditional Distinctions

This paper introduces the renunciate paradigm of envisioning philosophy of religion as rooted in Jainism. Jainism is a non-theistic tradition worshiping liberated omniscient beings. I will first argue that its core belief is that everyone can clear her innately all-knowing Self from obstacles to knowledge and that the acquisition of higher epistemic abilities is ensured by a moral behavior consisting in renunciation from passions and the corresponding destruction of karman – a subtle type of matter that expresses the consequences of our acts and acts like a filter distorting knowledge. Second, I will indicate how in Jainism, the behaviour required of human beings is implied in the very accounts of the world’s structure. Third, I will establish that departing from the characterisation of correct action can bring about a meaningful categorization, from which the distinction between philosophy and religious traditions, or theistic and non-theistic ones, loses its traditional relevance.

Unregistered Participant
Relationalism (Lakota)

This paper introduces the relational paradigm of envisioning philosophy or religion as rooted in the Lakota tradition.

Unregistered Participant
Rethinking Conventional Approaches in Philosophy of Religion: Classification, Comparison, Appropriation

The presentation will work through three conventions by which philosophers of religion - both the so-called "analytic" and "continental" traditions - have approached their practices and their data. Critical theory will be presented as a way to understand how the politics of the sub-field is structured through scholarly powers of classification, comparison and appropriation. While presentation does not offer an escape from or bypass around politics and power in scholarly work, since immunity from these complications has historically formed the appeal of claims to transcendental or analytical refinement. Options for "critical philosophy of religion" will include practices of reevaluating histories of ideas in the sub-field in light of advances made by applications of critical theory to other areas of religious studies.

Nikky Singh, Colby College
Sikh Scripture and Sacred Synesthesia

This paper introduces the synesthetic paradigm of envisioning philosophy or religion as rooted in the Sikh tradition. Both the academy and the community have focused on Sikh theological message and ethical teachings. A synesthetic approach to Sikh devotional practice and ideals has been utterly glossed over. Cosmic melodies, sounds of nature, musical instruments, and biological rhythms of the body reverberate across the 1430 pages of Sikh scripture. In love for the transcendent Divine, seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling fuse powerfully together into a “sacred synesthesia” (syn/union + aisthesis/sensation). In fact we can even hear the First Guru define it:
Eyes are getting drunk on Yours
Ears realize Your awareness
Tongue tastes Your elixir
Steeping in You, passionate crimson
Your fragrance seeps deep inside
Who can assess its price!
(Guru Granth Sahib:1091)
My paper explores the sensuous quintet, “the five birds of the body.” Fully embodied, the sensory experience is an ontological and epistemological realization of the universal Divine.

Nathan Eric Dickman, Young Harris College
Symbolic Language (Tillichian Approach)

This paper introduces the symbolic language paradigm of envisioning philosophy and religion as rooted in the tradition of Tillich's philosophical theology.

Peter Nekola, Luther College
"Religions," "Philosophies," and the Problem of Mapping

"This paper introduces the geographical paradigm of envisioning philosophy of religion as rooted in the modern cartographic tradition"

Business Meeting:
Gereon Kopf, Luther College
Timothy D. Knepper, Drake University