CFP: The Political Theology of American liberalism: New perspectives on Philosophy of History and Religion.

Submission deadline: June 10, 2019

Conference date(s):
October 7, 2019 - October 9, 2019

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Conference Venue:

Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile.
Valparaíso, Chile

Topic areas


Call for Abstracts

The Political Theology of American liberalism: New perspectives on Philosophy of History and Religion.

Submission deadline: June 10, 2019

Conference date:
October 7, 2019 – October 9, 2019

Conference Venue:

Universidad de Valparaíso 
Valparaíso, Chile

Topic areas

Philosophy of Religion

Political Philosophy

Philosophy of History


The subject of American civil religion has been an important object of recent research. At present, there are several works that cover specific aspects, with a lot of detail, about the thought of related authors, philosophers, historians, pastors, and religious movements in the new world, since the time of the colonists, as well as their connection with their European background. However, the task does not seem to be exhausted in an overall vision, which would give a full sense of the phenomenon within the larger framework of a theory, or philosophy of history. A contribution in this direction could begin looking at the work of some of the great theorists of history, like Hegel, Voegelin, or others.

According to Hegel, the Christian principle that founds the sense of self-conscious freedom in the subject is catalyzed by the Reformation, which leads to the modern liberal state as its political and social expression. In more recent times, James Doull has argued that this Hegelian conception of the State as the realization of freedom does not have its most reliable example in Europe, but in America: in Canada and the United States. Could we affirm then—following Hegel´s philosophy— that the fulfillment of the reformed spirit, in relation to the State, is not achieved in Europe, but only in the new world, and is consequently a process that is still in development? If so, is the solution that Hegel saw in the figure of the European State—as the authentic fulfillment of Western civilization—only the origin of the problem of order in America?  

The aim of the conference is to research for new understandings of the philosophy of history and religion, to update the approach of Hegel—or others— applied to the American Protestant societies. After Hegel, Voegelin elaborated a theory that contains deep intuitions, which could be articulated in a form which is complementary to Hegel’s perspective. Voegelin´s basic hypothesis is that the political ethos of a society is determined by the way its members experience the transcendent realm, or divinity. From this point, a series of questions can be articulated.

How are the terms of the theological disputes introduced by the reform movement during its first phase in Europe updated in the United States? What is the peculiar experience of the divine—or the transcendent— that takes place in America? In what way is the freedom of the self-conscious subject carried out in this phase? Is there any sense of historical continuity of the Reformation process itself, from its European to American stage, in relation to the formation of a Political Corpus, like the State? Or is it rather that the experience of the transcendent in America has created a completely new political ethos?

Other questions may also point to methodological problems. According to R.G. Collingwood, history is fundamentally history of thought. Must we reconsider then Hegel´s philosophy of history from the prism of his history of philosophy? Has the development of philosophy in America something to tell us, about the philosophy of American history?

Invited Speaker

Lawrence Bruce-Robertson (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Grenfell Campus, Canadá)

The conference will be held at Universidad de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile. Please prepare an abstract of 250-430 words and 4 keywords for blind review, and send a separate file with full name, institutional affiliation, contact info, and a short bio (150 words), to:

Deadline: June 10, 2019
Official languages: English and Spanish.

Please direct any other questions regarding the conference to:

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