The Role of Emotion in Religious Experience: Philosophical and Theological Approaches

July 24, 2014 - July 25, 2014
Department of Philosophy, University of Konstanz

Domschule/Kapitelsaal in the Münster Unserer Lieben Frau
Münsterplatz 1
Konstanz 78462

View the Call For Papers


  • The Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame
  • The John Templeton Foundation
  • Die Exzellenzinitiative der Universität Konstanz
  • The Young Scholars Fund at the University of Konstanz

Keynote speakers:

Diana Fritz Cates
University of Iowa
Graham Ward
Oxford University


Roderich Barth
Universität Giessen
University of Konstanz
Scott O'Leary
University of St. Mary

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2-day Workshop on “The Role of Emotion in Religious Experience: Philosophical and Theological Approaches”

University of Konstanz, July 24-25, 2014

Keynote Speakers: Graham Ward (Oxford), Diana Fritz Cates (Iowa)

Religious experience has been the topic of much debate in both philosophy and theology in recent years. What is religious experience, and what is its relationship to mystical or spiritual experience? Is there some common core to every religious experience, or do we have a plurality of phenomena that fall under this description? Is an experience religious because it is interpreted as such? Or are there certain core features independent of interpretation that constitute a religious experience? What is the relationship between religious belief and religious experience?

This workshop intends to investigate these and similar questions, but with a focus on the role(s) that emotions play in religious experience: Are there paradigmatic religious emotions, and if so what are they? How do they differ from non-religious emotions? What is the proper object of a religious emotion, and how does this figure into religious experience? Are there appropriateness conditions for religious emotions? Can a non-believer experience such emotions (and non-irrationally remain a non-believer)?

The workshop represents the culmination of an international online research group on the same topic, which has been funded by an Analytic Theology Cluster Group Grant from the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame and the John Templeton Foundation. Members of the group will present their individual research and discuss avenues for future research.

The workshop will be held on July 24-25 in the Domschule and the Kapitelsaal of the Konstanz cathedral to mark the 600th anniversary of the beginning of the Council of Constance (1414-1418). Further, we are reserving July 26 as a special recreational day for those interested in taking a boat ride on Lake Constance and doing some (easy) Bodensee hiking.

There is no registration fee for the event, but we ask those interested in attending to pre-register by sending an email to the above address by 15 July, 2014. The workshop language is English. Questions may be sent to

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July 13, 2014, 12:00am CET

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University of Konstanz
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#religious experience, #philosophy of emotion, #analytic theology

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