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Sisters in Arms - Reinventing the Bond Between Philosophy and Theology after the 'Empirical Turn'

CONFERENCE IN CELEBRATION OF THE 80TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY
When Jan 09, 2019 11:00 AM to
Jan 11, 2019 02:00 PM
Where Møller Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge
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Please note that registration at the Møller Centre is possible on Wednesday 9th January from 11.00 am onwards. Please note that lunch on Wednesday is included in the programme.

Conference Programme

Keynote Panels and Speakers

Conference Website

Organising Institutions: IJP&T / VON HÜGEL INSTITUTE, CAMBRIDGE / INSTITUT FUER HERMENEUTIK, UNIVERSITÄT BONN

Organising Committee: W. VAN HERCK, P. SCHAAFSMA, L. SCHUMACHER, T. SCRUTTON, C. RICHTER, M. SAROT, G. VANHEESWIJCK, J. GELDHOF, G.-J. VAN DER HEIDEN, PH. MCCOSKER


Although fundamental research is still in high esteem, it is clear that all academic disciplines meet the challenge of the so-called empirical turn. This implies that research should deal with real-life problems and be relevant to society at large. An empirical basis or component of the research should guarantee this relevance.

On another level, it seems that philosophy and theology have received more competition from other humanities than ever before. While some decades ago civil society looked at philosophers and theologians for moral guidance, nowadays disciplines like psychology, sociology and evolutionary studies have taken over this role to a certain extend. These disciplines collect empirical data to arrive at descriptions of the present situation. These are subsequently often used to answer topical questions, whether this was originally intended by the research or not. In this last step the descriptive research often takes on a normative weight.

Given this climate, what is the specific strength of fundamental or speculative reflection like it has been developed traditionally in philosophy and theology? Is it in danger of becoming obsolete? Is it still meaningful to aim for a bond between philosophy and theology as strengthening both disciplines? Or should one rather aspire an empirical turn, as slogans like ‘lived theology’ or ‘lived philosophy’ seem to indicate?

These questions are all the more urgent insofar as religion is concerned. The comeback of religion and metaphysics in philosophy of the last decades has led to reflection with a highly speculative appearance. In the meantime, theology is under severe attack from religious studies approach for its abstract or dogmatic character. The call for a theological turn to ‘lived religion’ is widespread. Are the times of an obvious bond between philosophy and theology past? What do the disciplines have to offer each other, as critical sparring partners in times in which their academic position is all but self-evident, as is religion itself? Is the divide between analytical and continental varieties of both disciplines symptomatic for the trend mentioned before or is there a chance for mutual reinforcement? Can theology and philosophy perhaps reinvent their coalition as one of ‘sisters in arms’, that is, of aiming for unfashionable approaches of academically neglected questions?

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