PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
Boston, MA
November 18-21, 2017

2017 Annual Meeting Program (PDF)

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Preliminary 2017 Annual Meeting Program (MS Word)

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Online Program Book

Global-Critical Philosophy of Religion Seminar
Theme: Religious Philosophies of the Self
Timothy D. Knepper, Drake University, Presiding
Saturday - 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Westin Copley Place-America Center (Fourth Level)

In envisioning a new approach to philosophy of religion, we have chosen the journey metaphor. Central to this metaphor is the exploration of multiple philosophies of the self. The papers of this panel interrogate three different approaches/traditions towards a philosophy of selfhood.

Oludamini Ogunnaike, College of William and Mary
Two Islamic Global Philosophies of Religion: Suhrawardi and Shushtari

The overwhelming majority of work produced in the field of the philosophy of religion has been conducted in and through the categories of modern Western philosophy. Furthermore, when non-Western or ancient Western traditions have been addressed by the field, they are predominantly treated as “data” that are theorized through the categories of the contemporary Western academy. Even when the arguments of these non-Western traditions are considered on their own terms, they still tend to be filtered through contemporary, Western categories and ideas such as “mystical,” “rational,” “philosophical,” “religious,” and even “religion” itself—categories which are often incongruous with and even incompatible with the traditions they are meant to describe.

Part of the problem may be that we view the enterprise of philosophy of religion, especially the global critical variety, to be something new and unique to the contemporary academy, making it difficult if not impossible to compare and contrast our current methodologies, meta-theories, and assumptions with those of other approaches to “the philosophy of religion” from other intellectual traditions and cultures. In this paper, I propose to present two such approaches to the global philosophy of religion from the Islamic philosophical tradition. I hope the study of these examples will help clarify, provincialize, and ultimately improve our current academic efforts through comparison and contrast.

Agnieszka Rostalska, Ghent University
Nyāya Theory of Knowledge Generating Processes: A Comparative Study of Nyāya and A. Goldman

The aim of this paper is to analyse Nyāya theory of knowledge generating processes (pramāṇa) and to show what relevance it might have to Goldman’s reliable process theory of knowing. For this purpose, I am going to focus on the case of knowledge based on testimony as analysed causally.
The knowledge sources (pramāṇas) are mechanisms which are the causal factors for the resulting knowledge episodes. Given specific causal conditions, if the process is functioning or has no defeating condition, the knowledge is acquired. Nyāya philosophers emphasise the role of a speaker, who is a trustworthy person and possesses: competence, intention to communicate, sincerity and physical capacities to convey information. These characteristics are the causal conditions for utterances or inscriptions, which generate a true cognition in the hearer.
Some comparative philosophers stress the resemblance of pramāṇa theory to reliabilism. My secondary goal is to show what kind of reliability is involved.

Kiseong Shin, Drew University
The Understanding of Self as a Psychosomatic Complex and Relational Nexus

This paper is derived from my new book, The Concept of Self in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity and Its Implication for Interfaith Relations. In this paper, I deal with the Christian understanding of human “self.” The concept of self and what it denotes is ambiguous in Christian theology. Traditionally, it is believed that individual self is a permanent substance called ‘soul’ or ‘spirit.’ However, biblical portrait of self is not dualistic.

I would probe the key terms such as nephesh and basar in the OT and psyche and soma in the NT to articulate the meaning of ‘self’ in Christianity. I would also examine the Greek philosophy that has greatly influenced Christian theology as well as contemporary challenges that go beyond the dualistic understanding of self and emphasize its relationality. Human self is understood primarily in terms of relationships, as a psycho–somatic complex internally, which relates with others externally.

Business Meeting:
Gereon Kopf, Luther College
Comparative Studies in Religion Unit
Theme: Ineffability: An Exercise in Comparative Philosophy of Religion
Timothy D. Knepper, Drake University, Presiding
Monday - 4:00 PM-6:00 PM
Hilton Boston Back Bay-Westminster (Second Level)

A roundtable of scholars of comparative religion, religious philosophy, and comparative philosophy of religion critically assess the first volume of The Comparison Project: Ineffability: An Exercise in Comparative Philosophy of Religion. Housed at Drake University (Des Moines, Iowa), The Comparison Project is a public program in comparative philosophy of religion that features a biennial lecture and dialogue series. Ineffability: An Exercise in Comparative Philosophy of Religion contains the specialist and comparativist essays from TCP’s 2013–15 programming cycle: “Religion Beyond Words.” During these two years, the topic of ineffability was explored in thirteen content lectures, two comparative lectures, and several special events. Of the thirteen content lectures, nine focused on ineffability in religious texts and traditions, while the other four examined ineffability in the arts and literature.

Purushottama Bilimoria, Graduate Theological Union; University of California, Berkeley
Jin Y Park, American University
Laura Weed, College of Saint Rose
Bin You, Minzu University