Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Towards an Exit From Shared Suffering (Eastern APA 2022)

Friday, January 14, 2-5 PM EST.
G22E. Society for the Phenomenology of Religious Experience (SOPHERE) Topic: Phenomenology of Forgiveness and Reconciliation Chair: Peter Costello


Drew Chastain (Loyola University New Orleans) “Just as I Am: The Spiritual Significance of Being Forgiven” 

Steen Halling (Seattle University) “Forgiveness as the Manifestation of Transcendence in Human Relations” 

Rene Dentz (Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais) “Ricoeur and Latin American Theology: Postmodernity and Vulnerability, a Theo-Analysis of a Case by Bento Rodrigues” 

Patrick Andre Mencias (University of Santo Tomas) “Teshuvah and the Return to Goodness: Emmanuel Levinas’ Concept of Forgiveness in the Religious Dimension” 

Peter Costello (Providence College) “Forgiveness as an Existential Clue: How Dasein is Made to Forgive”

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What is the content and structure of an experience of forgiveness or of reconciliation?  How are these experiences religious ones?  How do they intertwine with an experience of shared suffering? Does a phenomenological analysis or description of these experiences provide us with the context for hope that we can exit the violence and suffering that form the very call for forgiveness and reconciliation in the first place?  Why or why not?

The Society for the Phenomenology of Religious Experience (SoPheRE) will be hosting a panel discussion on the topic “Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Toward an Religious Exit from Shared Suffering” at the Eastern Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association in  Montreal, Quebec from January 5-8, 2022. We hereby invite papers related to that theme. Possible topics to be covered include (but are not limited to):

·       What is meant phenomenologically by forgiveness? What can—and cannot—be forgiven?  Why? How different religious philosophies (i.e., multicultural contexts) treat this issue?

·       How is reconciliation a movement rooted in the call of the transcendent?  Of the immanent?

·       What are resources in the Continental and phenomenological tradition that might assist us in order to aritculate the possibility or impossibility of reconciliation—resources such as those in the works of Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida, GWF Hegel, Jean-Luc Marion, Edith Stein, John Caputo, and others?

·       How does the experience of shared suffering make possible (or make problematic) what it means to move beyond that suffering?

·       How do actual attempts at forgiveness or reconciliation (such as those in South Africa or in Palestine and Israel) take account of a religious or sacred textual structure?  How do these attempts articulate a phenomenological understanding?

·       How does art or literature demonstrate or call for a new kind of space or temporality that forms the structure or possibility of forgiveness and reconciliation?

Papers should be for 30 minutes reading time (approx.. 3500 words) and submitted for blind review by July 20, 2021. Accepted papers will be notified by August 1, 2021. All presenters must register for the Eastern Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association. All papers, and any questions, should be sent to the panel organizers at

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