Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Association for Continental Philosophy of Religion

I thought I'd post a few things about the ACPR, the Association for Continental Philosophy of Religion that was launched at its inaugural conference, "Towards a Philosophy of Life," at the end of June 2009 (see my blog post here for some reflections on this event). The ACPR has a website (here) and facebook group (here). Here's some blurb:

The Association seeks to promote renewed critical thinking on religion, drawing upon the continental tradition of philosophy. This tradition draws much of its impetus from Kant's transcendental project of exploring what makes knowledge and faith possible. Kant inspired reflection upon the active, constructive role played by the subject of knowledge as well as the creative transgression of the limits of reason in articulating religious ideas.

Subsequent to Kant, the continental tradition encompasses such figures as Hegel, Schelling, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Weil, de Beauvoir, Sartre, Derrida, Levinas, Irigaray, Deleuze, Agamben, Kristeva, Zizek, Ricoeur, Henry, Le Doeuff and Badiou. Despite the radical differences between these thinkers, key issues emerge about the attempt of philosophy to think its 'other', acknowledging the role played by history, culture and embodiment in our being in the world.

Reflecting on the wake of Nietzsche's proclamation of the'death of God’', continental philosophy of religion seeks creative ways of articulating the nature of faith, without presupposing any confessional stance. Which God has died? What future is there for the divine and the religious? What new possibilities are there for thinking philosophy's others in the light of 'postmodernism' and its after effects?

The Association is based at Liverpool Hope University in the UK. Its facilitators are Hope's lecturers in philosophy, Dr Patrice Haynes and Dr Steven Shakespeare, together with our colleague Dr Charlie Blake of the Media department. The Association is supported by a board of advisors, consisting of internationally recognised scholars in the field (incl. Jack Caputo, Pamela Sue Anderson and George Pattison).

The Association promotes research and reflection on continental philosophy of religion by:

  • Holding regular seminars with invited speakers
  • Running annual themed day conferences
  • Organising occasional major international conferences
  • Sponsoring colloquia on particular subjects
  • Running a regular philosophical reading group
  • Sharing information with other relevant networks and groups, particularly with regard to conferences, publications and sharing good practice in teaching continental philosophy of religion
  • Encouraging research and publication
  • Utilising online resources to promote wider discussion and dissemination of ideas
  • Exploring the promotion of adult community learning initiatives through short courses on topics such as postmodernism and religion

In an embryonic form, the Association has already been involved (jointly with Liverpool John Moores University) in running a successful colloquium on Ethics and Animality, with a view to preparing a publication for 2010. Seminars, a day conference on the work of philosopher Mark C Taylor and other initiatives are being planned for 2009-10.

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