Religion, Resistance, and the Self
975 S Myrtle Ave
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Philosophy of Religion unit of welcomes papers broadly focused on the theme of the relationship between religion and the human subject. Recent arguments in philosophy increasingly suggest that every conscious experience involves a “minimal” sense of self. Understanding selfhood and personal identity has been of main importance to religious traditions, both theologically and in concern for the actual human condition. What are the distinctions and similarities between the two approaches to the self? Is the self “self-given,” that is, reveals its nature by the simple fact of its presence, or is it constituted by cultural, social, historical intersubjectivity? We call for critical cross-examination of doxastic and evidence-based, philosophical and theological, religious and secularistic perspectives on the self.
The AARWR meeting theme “Religion and Resistance” also inspires us to ask: What are the dangers to the self, and what kinds of resistance(s) emancipate(s) the human spirit in the current discourse? Defining and describing religious perspectives on selfhood, we welcome both analytic and phenomenological (continental philosophical) inquiries into the status of the self, religious emancipation, violence, moral deliberation, self-transcendence, and the social practices of resistance, as conditions of possibility and necessity of the self’s homelike being in the world.
In light of these overarching interests, tentatively and dependent on the contents and number of submissions, we aim at putting together two panels. In the first panel, we would like to answer the questions of foundational ontology of the self, such as, but not limited to, what comprises the essence of selfhood? What philosophically identified parameters (e.g. self-luminosity, self-reflectivity, “what it’s like to have the self,” etc.) apply to religious understanding of the self, and vice versa? On what level, and how, can the self be “divided” or “split”, co-opted or healed? What is the role of intersubectivity and the world in self-revelation of the self? In the second panel, we would like to weave the foundational understandings of the self into examinations of its practices, with a particular emphasis on contrasting views concerning the place of resistance in interpersonal and social self-experience. The divergences of accounts of what the self consists of and how it relates to experience of a shared world foster dialogue between the various positions, identifications and clarifications of the points of disagreement, and assessing the relative plausibility of conflicting claims about the nature of the self. Considering the breadth of our central thesis, we also invite papers on the themes not specifically outlined in this call: if you think these contribute to understanding of the relationship between religion and the self, in context of resistance, please send your submission to Dane Sawyer (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Olga Louchakova-Schwartz (email@example.com).
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