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Platonism and Neoplatonism Unit

Call for Proposals

Nature, the Environment and the Platonic Tradition

The Platonic tradition has, throughout history, offered a radically alternative understanding of the relationship between humans and nature, and between humans and non-human animals. This panel invites papers that explore historical and contemporary instances of the Platonic conceptualisation of nature. We encourage contributions that explore the contemporary application of this tradition for the task of reconceptualising our collective understanding of nature. Exploration of the relationship between Platonic realism across multiple religious traditions is encouraged, as well as constructive proposals for inter-religious ecologies. Papers may draw upon sources from antiquity to the present, ranging from the philosophical and theological to the poetic and artistic.


One and Many in the Platonic Tradition

The question of the ‘one and many’ is an issue that encompasses different traditions, East and West, and spans multiple timeframes. Throughout time, it has offered a means to constructively explore issues of unity and diversity, identity and difference, and immanence and transcendence. Equally, it has offered a means to account for pluralism while countering the challenge of relativism. We encourage contributions that explore the emergence and development of this and cognate issues that explore its historical development from Presocratic thought to the present day, and constructively, for instance, in relation to current themes as examined in the Unit’s recent publication, Christian Platonism (eds. Alexander J.B. Hampton, John Peter Kenney, Cambridge 2021),


Panpsychism: The Soul of Nature

Co-sponsored with Mysticism, Esotericism and Gnosticism in Antiquity (SBL)

In conjunction with SBL Mysticism, Esotericism, and Gnosticism in Antiquity Section

Panpsychism describes the idea of a world soul or anima mundi, that permeates all being. It plays an important role in the antique religions of the ancient near east, and a perennial role in the human imagination. As a way of thinking about the relationship between the divine and creation, panpsychism, has offered an alternative to mechanistic worldviews, and the reduction of the rule of God to the role of artificer. As such, it has both invigorated and challenged the monotheist traditions. It holds out possibilities for broad interreligious and intercultural dialogue amongst world religions and indigenous traditions. Finally, it is increasingly the subject of renewed attention in the context of the environmental crisis. Papers addressing all aspects of the concept of panpsychism, from the historical to the constructive in relation to any tradition or multiple traditions are welcome.

Statement of Purpose

This unit is committed to the ongoing study of Platonic traditions in connection with the history and philosophy of religions, from antiquity to the present. We are supported in this effort by the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies. Several of our panelists have published their papers in the Society’s Journal of Neoplatonic Studies as well as in other refereed journals in classics, religious studies, theology, and philosophy. Three books of collected papers have appeared in the past two years.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs and steering committee members at all times