Phenomenology, Science and Religion
19-23 August, 2019
In this one-week intense workshop, we explore the phenomenological relationship between science and religion. As an approach phenomenology concentrates on the study of consciousness and the objects of direct experience. Thus our aim is study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. The central structure of an experience is its intentionality, its being directed toward something, as it is an experience of or about some object.
We first begin by deepening our familiarity with phenomenology and study it both as an approach and a method. Then we take up a phenomenological study of religion, as personally experienced. We use the essential features of religion as lived and experienced by the believer. This is followed by a phenomenological approach to science, since phenomenology “provides an excellent framework for a comprehensive understanding of the natural sciences. It treats inquiry first and foremost as a process of looking and discovering rather than assuming and deducing. In looking and discovering, an object always appears to a someone, either an individual or community; and the ways an object appears and the state of the individual or community to which it appears are correlated” (IEP).
This leads us to appreciate the need for interaction between science and religion, since “Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes” (John Paul II). We are also inspired by Einstein for whom “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” Further, we may note that Einstein, who did not believe in a personal God could claim: ‘All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.’ He was full of awe and wonder at the universe. In fact, “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.” This takes us to the human intentionality, which is able to relate to the world and admire at it.
So this workshop invites young scholars to dwell critically, creatively on issues that relate science and religion. It deals with religious themes which be purified by science and vice-versa. It looks for avenues of collaboration between science and religious, maintaining the autonomy between them.
Hopefully this will be an intensely stimulating experience for all the participants, which will urge them to encounter their Lebenswelt personally and intimately and provide intellectual and experiential stimulation!
Those who wish to apply for this seminar can take up any one of the themes (or more) and write a 1000-word abstract and sent to the organisers.
- A phenomenological approach to science
- A phenomenological appraisal of religion
- Experience in science and religion
- Science and religion as partners
- Meaning through science and religion
- Purified religion and humble science
- “Religion does not need science. Science does not need religion. Human beings need both.”
- Learning from each other: exploring science and religion as rivals and partners
- Any theme from science and religion which can be phenomenological approached (Eg: freedom, meaning, power, force, space, time, world, origin of the universe, origin of life, technology, technological singularity, fourth industrial revolution, nirvana, rebirth, death, dying, life after death, etc.)
- Any topic of the researcher’s interest keeping in view the general focus of the workshop.
The Aim of the Workshop
- To experience phenomenology as a creative and fulfilling philosophical venture
- To encounter science as a critical and progressive exploration
- To explore religion as meaningful journey.
- To enable a healthy and creative interaction between scientific and religious perspectives
The following internet sources may be helpful:
Wynn, Mark, "Phenomenology of Religion", The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
Daniel, Kasomo. "The Applicability of Phenomenology in the Study of Religion”
Crease, Robert P. "Phenomenology and Natural Science” IEP
The workshop will initiate young scholars to write academically qualified papers, which will be published by the organisers, depending on the quality of the papers. Thus the workshop consists on research methodology (including phenomenological method) as well scholarly studies on science and religion. It is expected that one month after the workshop, each person, mentored by a qualified guide will write a scholarly article.
Food and board will be arranged by the organisers. One way train ticket (Sleeper Coach) also will be provided.
Application should be sent along with 1000 word abstract on any one topic of your interest.
Limited to 25 participants.
Last date for application: July 31, 2019
Application Fee: Rs 500/-
Dr V.C. Thomas
Dr E.P. Mathew
Dr Kuruvilla Pandikattu
JDV Centre for SR Studies, Pune 411014
Centre for Phenomenological Studies, Pondicherry 605008
Christ College, Pune 411014