The later Wittgenstein has been accused of veering into relativism. A stress on concepts, as expressed in language, can leave even science looking like one social practice amongst alternatives. The cognitive science of religion emphasizes the importance of a pre-social human nature, as the basis of all human cultures. Yet it has been seen as encouraging, and even assuming, a physicalist, and reductionist, approach to our conceptual architecture. Are the two visions in complete conflict, or can some of their respective (...) insights be combined? (shrink)
This book is an ambitious attempt to develop a cognitive approach to religion. Focusing particularly on ritual action, it borrows analytical methods from linguistics and other cognitive sciences. The authors, a philosopher of science and a scholar of comparative religion, provide a lucid critical review of established approaches to the study of religion, and make a strong plea for the combination of interpretation and explanation. Often represented as competitive approaches, they are rather, complementary, equally vital to the study of symbolic (...) systems. (shrink)
Bouddha n'a pas érigé de religion. Dans les dimensions culturelles lointaines de son époque, il a fait de la philosophie et de la science. Si nous observons les racines de sa pensée et l'histoire de la connaissance humaine, nous nous rendrons compte qu'il a été, à sa manière, le précurseur du réalisme scientifique, de la psychanalyse, de la philosophie analytique, de l'existentialisme, du féminisme, de l'épistémologie, de la théorie et de la critique de la connaissance, de la psychologie sociale, de (...) la psychologie positive, du préservationnisme écologique et des concepts relatifs à la matière et à l'énergie que la physique quantique n'a pu démontrer que très récemment. Savoir correctement ce qu'est le bouddhisme est essentiel pour l'éducation et la culture de toute personne qui ne veut pas être un aliéné de plus dans un troupeau qui marche aveuglément au milieu d'une révolution technologique. (shrink)
Many philosophers of theistic religions claim (1) that there are powerful a posteriori arguments for God’s existence that make it rational to believe that He exists and at the same time maintain (2) that God always has the freedom to do otherwise. In this article, I argue that these two positions are inconsistent because the empirical evidence on which the a posteriori arguments for God’s existence rest can be explained better by positing the existence of a God-like being without the (...) freedom to do otherwise. (shrink)
In this chapter, I explore in what senses Wittgenstein might be taken to support as well as to oppose naturalist approaches to interpreting religious phenomena. First, I provide a short overview of some passages from Wittgenstein’s writings—especially the “Remarks on Frazer’s Golden Bough”—relevant to the issue of the naturalness of religious phenomena. Second, I venture some possibilities regarding what naturalism might mean in connection with Wittgenstein. Lastly, I explore the bearing of Wittgenstein’s remarks on religion for the interpretation of religious (...) phenomena. Ultimately, I argue that Wittgenstein’s remarks on religion depict a way of thinking about the naturalness of religious phenomena, and that naturalistic depiction is part of the clarificatory work of philosophy. Wittgenstein reminds himself and his readers that religiosity is not something mysterious, per se; it is a core possibility within human life, one which can anchor meaningful living. (shrink)
My claim in this article is that the thesis that Buddhism has no God, insofar as it is taken to apply to Buddhism universally, is false. I defend this claim by interpreting a central text in East-Asian Buddhism – The Awakening of Faith in Mahāyāna – through the lenses of perfect being theology (PBT), a research programme in philosophy of religion that attempts to provide a description of God through a two-step process: (1) defining God in terms of maximal greatness; (...) (2) inferring the properties or attributes that God must have in virtue of satisfying the definition. My argument comprises two steps. First, I argue that, since PBT is a method for providing a description of God starting from a definition of God, any text that contains a PBT ipso facto contains a notion of God. Second, I argue through textual evidence that The Awakening articulates a PBT, concluding that it contains a notion of God. Since the method of PBT leaves open what descriptions are to be inferred, my argument allows me to conclude that a text contains a notion of God without previously committing to any particular conception of the divine, which makes it particularly versatile and powerful. (shrink)
This collection of essays by major scholars analyze the religious diversity in Chinese religion, bringing together topics from traditional and contemporary contexts and Chinese religions' encounters with Western religion.
The empirical literature seems to indicate that prehistoric humans did not believe in God or anything like God. Why is that so, if God exists? The problem is difficult because their nonbelief was natural: their evolved mind and cultural environment restricted them to concepts of highly limited supernatural agents. Why would God design their mind and place them in their environments only to hide from them? The natural nonbelief of prehistoric humans is much more surprising given theism than naturalism. Thus, (...) it constitutes strong evidence that theism is false, or so Jason Marsh (2013) has argued. The "problem of natural nonbelief" is a debunking argument that invokes the genealogy of religious belief to cast doubt upon theism. In this chapter, we put it to the test. First, we argue on empirical grounds that it is not clear that natural nonbelief was prevalent: the empirical jury is still out on what prehistoric humans believed about gods. Second, we argue that even if natural nonbelief was prevalent, it would not be very surprising given theism. We conclude that natural nonbelief presents no problem for theism. We also turn the tables and suggest that the real problem is the problem of widespread belief in a High God (common consent), which is a problem for naturalism. (shrink)
Providing a rigorous analysis of Buddhist ways of understanding religious diversity, this book develops a new foundation for cross-cultural understanding of religious diversity in our time. Examining the complexity and uniqueness of Buddha’s approach to religious pluralism using four main categories – namely exclusivism, inclusivism, pluralistic-inclusivism and pluralism – the book proposes a cross-cultural and interreligious interpretation of each category, thus avoiding the accusation of intellectual colonialism. The key argument is that, unlike the Buddha, most Buddhist traditions today, including Theravda (...) Buddhism and even the Dalai Lama, consider liberation and the highest stages of spiritual development exclusive to Buddhism. The book suggests that the Buddha rejects many doctrines and practices found in other traditions, and that, for him, there are nonnegotiable ethical and doctrinal standards that correspond to the Dharma. This argument is controversial and likely to ignite a debate among Buddhists from different traditions, especially between conservative and progressive Buddhists. The book fruitfully contributes to the literature on inter-religious dialogue, and is of use to students and scholars of Asian Studies, World Religion and Eastern Philosophy. (shrink)
Religious diversity exists whenever seemingly sincere, knowledgeable individuals hold incompatible beliefs on the same religious issue. Diversity of this sort is pervasive, existing not only across basic theistic systems but also within these theistic systems themselves. Religious Diversity explores the breadth and significance of such conflict. Examining the beliefs of various theistic systems, particularly within Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism, Basinger discusses seemingly incompatible claims about many religious issues, including the nature of God and the salvation of humankind. He considers (...) particularly the work of Hick, Gellman, Plantinga, Schellenberg, Alston, Wainwright, and Quinn, applying their perspectives on 'exclusivism' and 'pluralism' as they become relevant to the issues in question. Basinger's survey of the relevant literature, proposed solutions, and fresh insights offer an invaluable contribution not only for philosophers of religion and philosophical theologians but for anyone interested in the increasingly significant question of what a religious believer can or cannot justifiably say about their religious perspective. (shrink)
This paper will explore the notion that religiously justified acts have often been the source of great harm. From the continued persecution of the LGBTQ community to acts like the Waco incident and in extreme cases, even genocide can often stem from religious belief. There does exist, however, a more generalized, noncentralized belief system (which I call “spirituality”) which seeks similar motives as most organized religions, but rarely—if ever—leads towards such terrifying and monstrous acts. In this paper, I pose that (...) modern organized religion can learn from the individualized focus of spiritualities to create a more open practice which would allow for more personal reflection before engagement in the congregation and, I pose, would lead to less horrendous acts of physical and cultural violence. Neither religion, nor spirituality is wavering in the modern world, so why not learn to use them to benefit the greater society, rather than using them as reasons to harm others? This should be a larger focus of religious congregations—the manner in which they interact with others about their beliefs. (shrink)
Many epistemologists argue that responses to disagreement should exhibit a certain kind of epistemic impartiality. “Strong conciliationists” claim that we ought to give equal weight to the views of those who, judged from a dispute-neutral perspective, appear to be our “epistemic peers” with respect to some disputed matter. Using a Bayesian framework, Chapter 8 considers whether there is a plausible epistemic impartiality principle that would require us to give up confident religious (or irreligious) belief in favor of religious skepticism. It (...) is argued that the strong conciliationist’s epistemic impartiality is untenable, at least in contexts like the religious domain where the primary questions under dispute cannot be cleanly separated from questions about what qualifications are needed to reliably assess those primary questions. The chapter recommends instead a rationalist view on which rational insight can sustain justified confidence even when impartial grounds are lacking. It closes by defending the “religious acceptability” of this rationalist epistemology. (shrink)
We examine dialectical tensions between “dialogue” and “narrative” as these discourses supplant one another as the fundamental discourse of intelligibility, through juxtaposing two interpretations of Genesis 38 rooted in changing interpretative paradigms. Is dialogue properly understood as a narrative genre, or is narrative the content about which people are in dialogue? Is the divine–human relationship a narrative drama or is it a dialogue between a god and human beings? We work within parameters laid out by the philosophical hermeneutics of Gadamer (...) (primarily representing dialogue) and Ricoeur (primarily representing narrative). On the one hand, a feminist approach can develop Tamar as a courageous hero in impossible circumstances, strategizing to overturn Judah’s patriarchal naïveté. On the other hand, Judah seems to be able to be read as a tragic hero, seeking to save Tamar. These readings challenge one another, where either Tamar’s or Judah’s autonomy is undermined. By putting these interpretations into dialogue, our aim is to show that neither dialogue nor narrative succeeds the other with finality, and that we can achieve a fragile integration of the two (dialogue and narrative) despite their propensity toward polarization. (shrink)
This work lies at the juncture between religious epistemology and virtue epistemology. Currently, both fields in epistemology are burgeoning with interest and novel theories, arguments, and applications. However, there is no systematic or sustained overlap between the two. I aim to provide such a systematic connection. Virtue epistemology holds that epistemology should turn away from analyzing person-neutral concepts like evidence, reliability, etc. as the primary locus of analysis in favor of person-based properties like intellectual character traits. I develop and defend (...) a virtue-theoretic approach to religious epistemology; arguing that, in certain circumstances, faith can be an act of epistemic virtue. After developing my own account of epistemic virtue, I turn to an analysis of epistemic trust and argue that such trust is an epistemic virtue. To place epistemic trust in someone is to be disposed to see him/her as a kind of intellectual authority and depend on that authority—a kind relying confidence or confidence reliance. Next, I analyze the conceptual connections between faith and epistemic trust—arguing that robust religious faith is a species of epistemic trust. We should see faith as an expression of epistemic trust in certain ways; namely, for religious matters and for beliefs that matter deeply to one’s overall intellectual, moral, pragmatic, etc. worldview. Given my argument(s) that epistemic trust is a virtue, it follows that faith is a particular expression of that virtue. Therefore, faith (when expressed properly) is epistemically virtuous qua act of epistemic virtue. We have an epistemological analysis of faith rooted systemically and deeply in virtue epistemology. The overall upshot is that genuine faith expresses a epistemically virtuous character via trust and, as such, can confer positive epistemic status on religious beliefs. Moreover, genuine faith must fit the same framework as other virtues: it must admit of a mean between excess and deficiency, it must come under the direction of practical wisdom, it must be consistent with other virtues, and other key criteria. I end by discussing how my approach addresses serious issues in religious epistemology and I locate it in the landscape of major theories of proper religious belief. (shrink)
Tiddy Smith argues that common consent amongst geographically and historically isolated communities provides strong evidence for animism―the view that there are nature spirits. In this article, I argue that the problem of animistic hiddenness―the lack of widespread belief in nature spirits―is at least as strong evidence against animism that common consent is evidence for it, meaning that the evidence for animism that Smith provides is neutralized.
My main claim is that, contrary to the assumptions of mainstream literature, epistemic religious diversity is not a matter of an abstract comparison among the belief systems of different religions or denominations; rather, it is a relation arising from the epistemic encounter among individuals who adhere to different doxastic groups. Particularly, while epistemic symmetry inclines to treat our doxastic opponents as peers, epistemic peerhood is not the starting point of doctrinal comparisons, but the potential outcome of the epistemic process of (...) the construal of shared evidence. A key point in my approach is that such a process is anecdotally constituted. My working plan is the following. In the first section I will introduce the challenge of religious diversity. In the next section, I will distinguish between two characterisations of the relation among seminal claims of doxastic groups, namely, beliefs which stand in a competing relation and beliefs which are merely alternative. I will provide a degree view of this distinction. The subsequent section consists in a overview of the outcomes from the epistemology of disagreement. In the fourth section, I will provide two basic motivations in support of TE. Finally, I will conclude by sketching how TE motivates the assumption of a schema for handling religious disagreements which I name anecdotal pluralism. (shrink)
The fact of religious diversity is vital for the philosopher of religion but also, to some extent, for the believer of a given faith. It takes place in such a dimension in which the views of a given believer or the meaning of the practice of a given religion presupposes the truthfulness of specific claims concerning a given religion or the beliefs included in it. If now on the part of the philosopher of religion or the followers of another religion, (...) there is a direct or indirect challenge to such a key proposition, religious disagreement with epistemic dimension is involved. At the same time, it is not the case that any religious diversity is a case of epistemically significant religious dissent. The paper, by distinguishing different aspects of religions and functions performed by religion, tries to show in which situations religious diversification leads to religious disagreement. Both the follower of religion and the philosopher of religion can and should seek the truth in matters of crucial importance to religion. The difference is that the follower of a given religion is more interested in the salvific and practical functions of religion, along with the associated sense of value and meaningfulness of life and, to a lesser degree, the theoretical certainty that her religion is correct at crucial points. On the other hand, the achievement of ‘the soteriological’ purpose of religion based on false belief is impossible, just as the meaningfulness of life 'based on the sand and not on the rock’. It is because the false foundation is devoid of higher value. That is why there is a community of a philosopher of religion and a follower of a given religion to search for the truth of it. (shrink)
Persistent disagreements may induce parties in the disagreement to experience a strong state of anxiety. Such anxiety has a psychological nature in ordinary cases of disagreement (i.e., cases which do not impact on the doxastic identity of the opposing epistemic agents). On the contrary, the more the content of a disagreement concerns basic issues related to the non-negotiable views for the parties involved, the more anxiety turns out to be of an epistemic kind, and, accordingly, suggests a set of normative (...) consequences. I will outline the main differences between ordinary and doxastic-identity-related disagreements in terms of the nature of the anxiety they give rise. In light of this distinction, I will characterize religious disagreements as disagreements of the latter type, and I will provide a few insights for approaching them. (shrink)
Religion emerged among early humans because both purposive and non-purposive explanations were being employed but understanding was lacking of their precise scope and limits. Given also a context of very limited human power, the resultant foregrounding of agency and purposive explanation expressed itself in religion’s marked tendency towards anthropomorphism and its key role in legitimizing behaviour. The inevitability of death also structures the religious outlook; with ancestors sometimes assigned a role in relation to the living. Subjective elements such as the (...) experience of dreams and the internalization of moral precepts also play their part. Two important sources of variation among religions concern the adoption of a dualist or non-dualist perspective, and whether or not the religion’s early political experience is such as to generate a systematic doctrine subordinating politics to religion. The near ubiquity and endurance of religion are further illuminated by analysis of its functions and ideological role. Religion tends to be socially conservative but has the potential to be revolutionary. (shrink)
The editors of the JRE solicited short essays on the COVID‐19 pandemic from a group of scholars of religious ethics that reflected on how the field might help them make sense of the complex religious, cultural, ethical, and political implications of the pandemic, and on how the pandemic might shape the future of religious ethics.
Al-Māturīdī is seemingly the first medieval theologian who gives precedence to his theory of knowledge over other theological issues. 4 He opens his discourse with a chapter of invalidity of taqlid and continues with a discussion of means of knowledge. In that chapter, Al-Māturīdī offers two ways of knowing the divine will: reason (‘aql) and tradition (sam’). For him, tradition, as a source of knowledge, refers to knowledge of past events, names of things, distant countries, benefits and harms of a (...) thing. They are not self-evident nor are we able to witness their reality for ourselves by way of senses. In principle, Al-Māturīdī says, we acquire all our knowledge about external world by way of hearing. However, this kind of knowledge is not valid unless it is transmitted by uninterrupted chains of authority (mutawātir) or unless its validity is determined by sensual or rational channels of knowledge. 5 Thus, the reliable knowledge originated by tradition is of two kinds; one is that mutawātir, the other is that which can be validated by reason. Al-Māturīdī asserts that due to the rational signs demonstrating the truth of the message of prophets, their message richly deserves to be admitted as truth. (shrink)
My paper characterizes religious beliefs in terms of vagueness. I introduce my topic by providing a general overview of my main claims. In the subsequent section, I develop basic distinctions and terminology for handling the notion of religious tradition and capturing vagueness. In the following sections, I make the case for my claim that religious beliefs are vague by developing a general argument from the interconnection between the referential opacity of religious belief content and the long-term communitarian history of the (...) precisification of what such content means. I start from describing an empirical example in the third section, and then I move to settle the matter in a conceptually argumentative frame in the fourth one. My conclusions in the final section address a few of consequences relevant to debates about religious epistemology and religious diversity. (shrink)
The Bahai Faith originated in 19th century Iran. Since the early days of its inception and up until today, in Iran the followers of the faith have been subject to persecution, carried out under different pretexts. A study of polemical anti-Bahai writings demonstrates that the accusations against Bahais evolved and in fact changed over time. The portrayal of the Bahais as “enemies” was reshaped and adapted time and again to current needs and ideological agendas. Anti-Bahaism, it is argued in this (...) paper, is part of the contemporary political discourse and mirrors the different stages of political developments in Iran over the past one and a half centuries. Anti-Bahai polemics, while in general wholly unreliable as a source for Bahai doctrine and history, serve as a vivid example for mechanisms employed in the “othering” of minority groups and the preparation for their physical persecution. (shrink)
Bahá’í law differentiates between a secular and a sacred legal sphere, intertwining both by positing a religious duty for its adherents to abide by secular (state) law. In Germany, it encounters a secular legal framework that aims at something similar – creating an equilibrium between state law and religious law by establishing the principle of the division of State and Religion, while at the same time facilitating religious freedom; it provides a secular justification for the recognition of religious law. With (...) this, both orders provide mechanisms ensuring that state law and religious law are able to enforce their own claim of validity, while at the same time avoiding conflicts between the respective legal orders. The article argues that this unique interaction between Bahá’í law and the German constitutional law framework impacted both legal orders. For German law, on the one hand, it proved to be crucial for the development and opening of this legal field – whose original purpose was the regulation of the relationship between the state and the (two) Christian churches – for other religious traditions. The interaction with state law has impacted the Bahá’í Community of Germany, on the other hand, by catalyzing a number of developments that in other comparative law contexts have been dubbed “constitutionalization” effects. (shrink)
Many believe that a peaceful, tolerant and respectful coexistence among religions is not compatible with the conviction that only one of them is true. I argue that this ‘incompatibility problem’ (IP) is grounded in a ‘naturalistic assumption’ (NA), that is, the assumption that every subject, including religion, should be treated without taking into account that a super‐natural being may exist and reveal to us an unexpected way to deal with our experience. I then argue that in matters of religion, NA (...) is untenable and that its very opposite, which I call ‘super‐naturalistic assumption’ (SA), should be adopted. My thesis is that, once SA is adopted, IP can be dismissed and that it is plausible to maintain that a peaceful, tolerant and respectful coexistence among religions is compatible with the conviction that only one of them is true. (shrink)
As a philosophical approach to public moral discourse in a religiously plural society, Jeffrey Stout’s “modest pragmatism” has received a mixed response from the opposite sides of the secularism debate. While many political theologians and communitarians claim that Stout concedes too much to the secularists, some secularists, on the other hand, find Stout’s inclusive approach towards religious reasonings in public discourse all too “theological.” This essay offers a re-examination and a further analysis of modest pragmatism in the light of recent (...) work in epistemology of democracy (especially Anderson’s interpretation of Dewey’s inclusive and experimental democracy), and discourse ethics based on Jose Medina’s theory of hermeneutical (in)justice. I argue that Stout’s normative vision of public moral discourse is persuasive only if certain principles which Stout either affirms or presupposes – a strong principle of religious freedom, a democratic principle of inclusion and a principle to settle disputes discursively and not violently – are placed in its center and developed further than they have been in Stout’s own work. This also means that I apply the previously-mentioned theory – Medina’s theory of hermeneutical (in)justice in particular – to the question which it does not address, namely: how can and should different religious languages be included in public moral deliberation? The result is a new and stronger variant of the modest pragmatist vision of public moral discourse, and a renewed argument for a qualified secularity of such discourse. (shrink)
This paper argues that Rahner’s approach lays the foundation for a serious analysis of the social dynamics at work in the reality of the sensus fidei. Theologically, Rahner’s view of the Church as communal, sacramental, and spirit-filled is dynamic and relational. This view coupled with his acknowledgement of the new social reality of the World Church living in diaspora creates a conceptual space in which a socially informed notion of the sensus fidei can be articulated. Suggestive in nature, Rahner’s appreciation (...) of the significant role of practical theology’s inductive and self-reflective nature provides a method to analyze and express a socially nuanced, theologically grounded understanding of the sensus fidei. This understanding enriches the life of the Church and is a model for the incorporation of the social sciences in theological discourse. (shrink)
Zusammenfassung Der Artikel untersucht die in der Sozialtheorie seit der Antike gebrauchte Metapher eines sozialen Bandes im Blick auf die Religion. Mit ihr wird die Performativität sozialer Bindungen und Kohäsionskräfte und damit ihre kulturelle Hervorbringung akzentuiert. Religion kann jedoch nicht einfach mit kulturellen Akten gleichgesetzt werden, wie es oft in liberalprotestantischen Ansätzen und in Konzeptionen einer Öffentlichen Theologie der Fall ist. Alternativ wird daher das Gespräch mit poststrukturalistischen Autoren gesucht, um von ihm her einen Bezug zur offenen Metaphorik des sozialen (...) Bandes und zur These seiner Performanz zu suchen. (shrink)
Historically it has been common for theologians to understand demons as basically on a par with angels in terms of intelligence and access to knowledge (excluding direct communications from God). Yet on this point Origen dissents, suggesting instead that demons might be qutie ignorant, at least with respect to spiritual truths. I explore some of the justifications available to him for entertaining this idea, and consider whether it could contribute to current discussions concerning the theology of world religions. Specifically, I (...) argue that Origen's account of demonic ignorance provides the key ingredients for a plausible (at least for those already open to the reality of the demonic) explanatory model of one root cause of religious diversity: paranormal and “religious” experiences delivering incompatible propositional content. (shrink)
The concept of ultimate reality has an important role in the metaphysics of religious pluralism. John B. Cobb—a process philosopher in the Whiteheadian tradition—has suggested not only two ultimates, like other process philosophers, but three ultimates: God, creativity, and the cosmos. Based on this, I argue, firstly, that Cobb’s tripartite conception of the ultimate offers greater conceptual resources for inter-religious dialog than, for example, John Hick’s conception of ultimate reality or ‘the Real’. In support of this first claim, I will (...) apply Cobb’s conception of the ultimate to Zen-Buddhism, thus exemplifying the resources of this conception. Secondly, given the conclusion that Cobb’s conception of the ultimate does indeed offer greater conceptual resources, I further explicate how panentheism, understood as the thesis of a transcendent, immanent divine being who is bilaterally related to the world, can be read in terms of Cobb’s conception of the ultimate. I thus argue that panentheism in general inherits and retains many of the conceptual resources of Cobb’s understanding of the ultimate, and can be seen as a preferable position in relation to religious pluralism. Finally, I conclude from the example of Zen-Buddhism that, although Cobb’s conception offers greater resources for engaging in a dialog from a metaphysical point of view, work has to be done to adequately address questions on the level of soteriology. (shrink)
Martin Hägglund’s This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom offers a naturalistic, this-worldly theology with eloquence and heart. Nevertheless, from a religious studies perspective, there is a fair amount to criticize. This review essay identifies two shortcomings in this book and then develops a typology of religious teachings about eternal life in order to assess places where Hägglund’s critique succeeds.
I want to know whether Chan masters and students depicted in classical Chan transmission literature can be interpreted as asking open (or what I will call “genuine”) questions. My task is significant because asking genuine questions appears to be a decisive factor in ascertaining whether these figures represent models for dialogue—the kind of dialogue championed in democratic society and valued by promoters of interreligious exchange. My study also contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of early Chan not only by detailing (...) contrasts between contemporary interests and classical Chan, but more importantly by paying greater attention to the role language and rhetoric play in classical Chan. What roles do questions play in Chan encounter dialogues, and are any of the questions genuine? Is there anything about the conventions of the genre that keeps readers from interpreting some questions in this way? To address these topics, I will proceed as follows. First, on a global level and for critical-historical context, I survey Chan transmission literature of the Song dynasty in which encounter dialogues appear, and their role in developments of Chan/Zen traditions. Second, I zoom in on structural elements of encounter dialogues in particular as a genre. Third, aligning with the trajectory of performative analyses of Chan literature called for by Sharf and Faure, I turn to develop and criticize a performative model of questions from resources in recent analytic and continental philosophy of language and I apply that model to some questions in encounter dialogue literature. (shrink)
I examine a tension between temporal and spatial conceptualization of the genesis of the cosmos to show how chronological characterization of ‘beginnings’ occludes ontological interpretation of our existential orientations, to help my audience distinguish symbolic expressions of wonder that the cosmos exists from explanations for it. I bring together resources from multiple intellectual and religious traditions to perform a philosophy of religions that goes beyond the narrowness, intellectualism, and insularity of institutionalized philosophy of religion. I turn to Ibn Rushd, Tillich, (...) Pamela Sue Anderson, and Sara Ahmed to expose problems of confusing symbols with concepts. I bring Aristotle, Nagarjuna, Maimonides, Kant, Wittgenstein, and Nasr together in conversation about the notion of a ‘beginning.’ Through this, I seek to shift questions of cosmic linearity to questions of spatial symbols of inclusivity and suggest that our orientation toward chronology distracts us from inclusive ontologies, inadvertently getting us stuck in imagistic representation of a closed cosmos rather than critical conceptualization of open symbols for an inclusive cosmos. (shrink)