Religious/Spiritual Experience and Metaphysics (Central APA 2022)

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Thursday, February 24, Evening, 7:15–10:15 p.m.

G3G. Society for the Phenomenology of Religious Experience
Topic: Religious Experience as the Ground of Metaphysics
Chair: Olga Louchakova-Schwartz (University of California, Davis and Graduate Theological Union)


1. Mirela Oliva (University of St. Thomas)
“The Experience of Prophecy and the Metaphysics
of Providence”
2. Evan Underbrink (Boston College)
“Sad Sermons and Bad Praxy: A Phenomenological
Analysis of Ritual Infelicity” 
3. Xiaochen Zhao (Columbia University)
“Heidegger’s Polemos in Mythos”
4. Bongrae Seok (Alvernia University) “Religious Experience of Mindfulness and Metaphysics of Corporeal Consciousness” 5. Shruti Sharma (Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur)
“Can Religious/Spiritual Experience Be an
Alternative Form of Self-consciousness?”

6. Ray Cheung (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
“A Humanistic Agnosticism: Psychology of
Significance Projection and the Reality of
7. Poonam (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
“The Phenomenology of Bhakti”
8. Michael Barber (St. Louis University)
“Pragmatic Encroachment, Religious Experience and Phenomenology”  [substitution for Andrew Oberg]


G5A. Society for the Phenomenology of Religious Experience 2
Topic: Religious Experience and Revisionist Metaphysics
Chair: Andrew Oberg (University of Kochi)/Christof Oltvai (University of Chicago)


1. Felix Ó Murchadha (National University of Ireland,
“Religious Experience as Interruptive: The Originary
Appearing of World as Inappropriable”
2. Bruno Cassara (Fordham University)
“Phenomenology and Transcendence: Metaphysical
Restlessness at the Heart of Intentionality”
3. Kristóf Oltvai (University of Chicago)
“Ambiguous Silence: Revisiting Jüngel’s Critique
of Metaphysics and Mysticism in Light of Recent
Phenomenology of Religion”
4. Andrew Oberg (University of Kochi)
“The Self as Source and Destination for
Understanding the Metaphysics of Religious
Experiences” [substitution for Daniela Verducci] 5. David Jaeger (Kent State University)
“Albrect’s Mystical Theses and the Metaphysics of
6. Saurabh Todariya (National Institute for Advanced Studies, Bangalor, India) “Ritual Hermeneutics in Vijnana Bhairava Tantra”
7. Olga Louchakova-Schwartz (University of California,
“Grounding in Suhrawardi’s Metaphysics of Light”

Funding for technical support for the panels was provided by a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science grant, reference number: 21K12829


Call for Papers

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The Society for the Phenomenology of Religious Experience invites submissions of high-quality abstracts of 150-300 words for its group meeting at the Central APA. The APA is currently planning the Central Division meeting at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, IL, on February 23-26, 2022, with virtual backup plans. Abstracts should be anonymized and sent by email to before August 15 with the subject line “Central APA Submission”. Notifications of acceptance will be emailed by Aug 25. Paper presentation time should be no more than 20-30 minutes. Selected papers will be published in the special issue of Religions free of charge.

Religious/Spiritual Experience and Metaphysics

Sessions Co-Chairs: Olga Louchakova-Schwartz (UC Davis) and Andrew Oberg (University of Kochi)

In these two panels, we seek to address relationships between religious or spiritual experience (RSE) and metaphysics.

RSE are associated with interruptions in ordinary language/common sense experience of the everyday (cf. Dahl; Barber; Heidegger). RSE interruptions create specific changes in perception, but it is not clear if and how RSE phenomena as described by i.e. mystics (such as internal perception of light, sound, altered perception of the body (re: spatiality, density, depth, other parameters), internal stillness, motion, presenceor disconnect, etc.) impact one’s beliefs and/or attendant metaphysical (pre)suppositions. Do RSE incite changes in empirical realism of the natural attitude, religious attitude, or one’s metaphysics of the self? In the first panel, we invite concrete empirical and textual investigations of relationships between the perceptual and conceptual aspects of RSE across different traditions. The papers can include both first-person and second-person descriptive phenomenological research or an intertwining of different phenomenological analyses.

The second panel seeks revisionist metaphysical proposals that include a reference to formal phenomenological analyses of consciousness in RSE. By contrast with the ordinary experience of objects, originary self-giving in RSE can be non-associative, open-ended, undetermined; in other words, excluding mental or “real” (empirically so) objects. Therefore, a descriptive metaphysics of such consciousness needs to be non-object related (cf. Ladyman, French). What is the nature of reality “displayed” by RSE? Besides covering the metaphysics of consciousness, the panel welcomes speculative extensions of such phenomenologically grounded metaphysics into realist contexts, such as e.g., metaphysics of the quantum world or Minkowski space-time. 


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