ICNAP IX: Phenomenology and Mindfulness

May 25, 2017 - May 28, 2017
Ramapo College

505 Ramapo Valley Rd
Mahwah 07430
United States

View the Call For Papers


  • Krame Center for Contemplative Studies and Mindful Living at Ramapo College of New Jersey

Keynote speakers:

Michel Bitbol
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Shaun Gallagher
University of Memphis
Richard Kearney
Boston College


James Morley
Ramapo College

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In Phenomenology of Perception Merleau-Ponty writes: “Phenomenology is accessible only through a phenomenological method.” Yet the phenomenological method is not a procedure for explaining things, but rather a way of describing how phenomena present themselves to us in our experiences of them. Focusing on “the things themselves” in their manners of givenness to us, it requires a disciplined approach that redefines our direct, immediate “inalienable presence” to or “primitive contact” with the things and persons of the world in which we live. The enhanced presence of the world to us in the phenomenological sense is achieved through a specific procedure that Husserl refers to as the “epoché” — a methodological move that many commentators cite as one of his crucial contributions to philosophical thinking. The “epoché” involves a methodical suspension, or placing in brackets, of all our presuppositions about everything. Its aim is to enable us to see others, the world and ourselves from a perspective that is characterized by a heightened attentiveness to genuine being and evident truth.

While we credit Husserl as the originator of the rich tradition that has emanated from this methodological approach, and while we acknowledge the important contributions of other major figures, for example, Heidegger, to the question of what thinking in the mindful sense seeks to be, we also recognize that alternative traditions of mindfulness have in certain respects anticipated the phenomenological movement across culture, history, and geography. Asian Yogic and Buddhist traditions in particular have employed methodological procedures that are similar to the phenomenological method. Some European contemplative traditions have also maintained meditation practices that are analogous to those of phenomenology. Current culture exhibits an earnest interest in the health benefits of mindfulness practices, which span a wide range of origins and influences. Indeed, current developments highlight the timeliness of a lively interdisciplinary conversation aimed at exploring the promising relationships between dimensions of traditional phenomenology and aspects of the new fields of contemplative studies and professional applications of mindfulness. Collegial collaboration and constructive critique have the potential to yield renewal and enlightenment for representatives of mindfulness practices and phenomenological procedures.

We are an interdisciplinary organization that supports phenomenological inquiry from all possible fields. While particular disciplines such as Philosophy and Religious Studies may be clearly pertinent to the topic “Mindfulness and Phenomenology”, many other disciplines can also make significant contributions to it. Therefore we strongly encourage phenomenologically-minded scholars, researchers and professionals from a wide range of fields to participate in this conference. We especially invite submissions from those who are new to phenomenology or who may be interested in learning more about it. We also feel that many professionals who practice or research some form of meditation or mindfulness — but who may have only limited familiarity with classical academic phenomenology — may be able to contribute in their own special way to our discussion. Thus we also have a special interest in comparative research on mindfulness and meditation in phenomenological and alternative methodologies.Our organization is interdisciplinary and phenomenological, so we aim to organize a conference that generates an inclusive and rigorous dialogue on the many paths to mindfulness. We equally welcome established scholars and new students to share their experiences and explorations of topics from a phenomenological perspective. 

Possible topical focuses for paper, panel and poster proposals:

Contemporary: relationships between phenomenology and contemporary mindfulness-based clinical practices, e.g., Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, etc.

Contemplative: relationships between phenomenology and South and East Asian mindfulness traditions, e.g., classical yoga, Taoism, Jainism and Tantrism; between phenomenology and Buddhist mindfulness traditions and practices; between phenomenology and European as well as indigenous contemplative traditions; etc.

Religious: the phenomenology of religious experience in mindfulness or spiritual practices; the relationships between the sacred and the secular in phenomenological procedures and mindfulness or spiritual practices; between phenomenological methodology and Christian, Jewish and Islamic contemplative traditions; etc.

Scientific: qualitative empirical phenomenological research on the experience of mindfulness or meditation; the relationships between the phenomenological method and various experimental or natural scientific methods for studying mindfulness and meditation; etc.

Systematic: approaches to embodiment, space, time and relations with others, e.g., in phenomenological procedures and mindfulness practices.

Historical: potential relationships between the thought of figures of the phenomenological movement, e.g., Brentano, Husserl and Heidegger, and that of figures of the contemporary mindfulness movement, e.g., Goenka and Kabat-Zinn.

Prospective: new meditative or mindfulness procedures that could contribute to phenomenological methodology.

This list is suggestive but not exhaustive. 

**Please note: there will be a memorial session honoring the legacy of Lester Embree. Papers/panels/workshops that engage with Lester Embree's work are especially welcome.

Please send submissions as email attachments to George Heffernan, Program Committee Chair: George.heffernan@Merrimack.edu. Please also put ICNAP VII SUBMISSION in the subject line, and format submissions in Word.doc or Docx (not PDF) to facilitate anonymous review. The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2017. Notifications of acceptances will be sent by April 1, 2017.

For more information, see the complete CFP at: http://icnap.org/meetings/icnap-17-cfp-sept-22-2016.pdf

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