Upcoming (2024) Exploratory Workshop

Exploratory Worksop of the Society for the Phenomenology of Religious Experience

October 28-30, 2024, at the Simon Silverman Phenomenology Center, Duquesne University, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

Confirmed Speakers: Michael Barber, Michel Bitbol, Peter Costello, Neal DeRoo, Crina Gschwandtner, Graham Harman, Olga Louchakova-Schwartz, Martin Nitsche, Felix O’Murchadha

Experience and Non-Objects: Towards a Phenomenology of Indiscernibility

For a long time, the objectlessness of religious experience has been a ground for denial of its existence. Yet, studies in phenomenology show these forms of experience exist, and are characterized by the intuition of the invisible. If such forms of experience are actual, the possibility of object-less perception and corresponding judgment can be extended toward experience in sciences. Specifically, this concerns the unobservable or indiscernible in quantum mechanics or quantum chemistry, or, to a lesser degree, the sciences of the brain.

In this invited workshop, we discuss relationships between the phenomenology of ordinary object-based everyday experience, and interesting, often religious, experiences which create a possibility for judgment (knowledge) of the invisible.  There are many accounts of the role of such experiences that can be drawn upon. For example,  under LSD, Carlo Rovelli had an experience that led him to formulate relational quantum mechanics. Another, dream experience of Mendeleev, provided an insight that led him to the development of the Periodical Table of Elements. Einstein is known to let his mind meander in the realm of imagination to crystallize his concepts. The recent Nobel Prize Winner, Anton Zielinger, stresses the role of imagination in quantum theorizing.  

True to Husserl’s view of metaphysics as the future task of phenomenology and drawing on both phenomenological and post-phenomenological perspectives and in dialogue with other contemporary philosophical approaches, the workshop will set out a perspective on how (to put it much too briefly) we can think the concept of reality containing both objects and non-objects, without reducing one to the other. Finally, we will also discuss how and if the concept of unified reality, which is theistic in its origin, participates in the object-less intuitions. 

We still have space for submissions. CFP is coming soon.


Olga Louchakova-Schwartz olouch@ucdavis.edu

Martin Nitsche nitsche.martin@gmail.com

Jeff McCurry mccurryj@duq.edu

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