Ultimate Reality / Divinity as the Ground: Exploring the Structure of Reality across Eastern and Western Traditions

July 15, 2024 - July 16, 2024
Department of Philosophy, University of Birmingham

United Kingdom


  • UKRI


University of Notre Dame
CUNY Graduate Center
London School of Theology
University of Manchester


University of Birmingham

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In recent analytic scholarship, a significant portion of the research concerning 'because'-statements has revolved around discussions about metaphysical grounding. Theories of grounding, primarily delving into relations of metaphysical dependence, offer valuable insights into conceptualizing Ultimate Reality / Divinity. Rather than viewing the Divine / Ultimately Real as an individual being alongside, and as the cause of other beings, Ground-of-being theories propose understanding it as the foundation on which every being metaphysically depends. The notion of ground, along with its associated metaphysical explanatory aspect, has long been an integral component of cosmological reasoning in East and West. Although the idea of Divinity / Ultimate Reality as the ground is present in Mystical threads of Abrahamic traditions, it finds substantial sway in Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, and Zoroastrianism. Entire schools of thought and practices have emerged from disputes surrounding the fundamental structure of reality in these traditions: The ground of beings has been conceived as necessary or contingent, foundational or infinite, definite or indefinite, effable or ineffable, and consistent or inconsistent. Thus, Ground-of-being models of reality can significantly contribute to fostering mutual discussions within the scopes of both Metaphysics and analytic Philosophy of Religion.

Consequently, we aim to gather scholars in Metaphysics and Philosophy of Religion to promote a fruitful dialogue regarding the structure of reality among Eastern and Western traditions. We enthusiastically welcome interdisciplinary approaches and encourage engaging in discussions that extend beyond the traditional boundaries of philosophical inquiry. The invited speakers are as follows:

·       Graham Priest - CUNY Graduate Centre (Buddhism)

·       Daniel Nolan - University of Notre Dame (Zoroastrianism)

·       Jessica Frazier - University of Oxford (Hinduism)

·       Mohammad Saleh Zarepour - University of Manchester (Islam)

·       Joshua Sijuwade - London School of Theology (Christianity)

·       Zishan Khawaja - University of Liverpool (Buddhism)

Four additional slots are reserved for submitted papers to apply the recent developments of the Grounding theories to analyze the structure of reality in Eastern or Western traditions. We invite abstracts of up to 500 words. Papers should be suitable for a 30-minute presentation (followed by 15 minutes of discussion). We hope to have some funds for supporting postgraduate students. If you are interested in presenting, please send your abstract to Mohsen Moghri ([email protected]) by Monday, April 1.

We plan to begin the workshop around lunchtime on July 15 to allow time for people to travel to Birmingham. The conference is in person and open to all, but please contact the organizer for registration and further information.

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April 1, 2024, 9:00am BST

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Iranian Institute of Philosophy (IRIP)
Canterbury Christ Church University

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