Philosophy, religion and public policy

By Press Office
February 11, 2014

'Philosophy, Religion and Public Policy' is an important two-day conference at the University of Chester, established as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Philosophy and Religious Practices Research Network.

It takes place from 8th-9th April 2014. Confirmed keynote speakers are: Clayton Crockett, University of Central Arkansas, USA; Adam Dinham, Goldsmiths College, London, and Elaine Graham, University of Chester.

The Call for Papers is worded as follows: Public policy, philosophy of religion and research on religion generally seem to live in their own separate bubbles without realising or even acknowledging the mutual benefit of dialogue etc. Hence, philosophers of religion (in both the continental and analytic traditions) have long been accused of distancing themselves from concrete religious practices. A key aim of the conference is thus potentially to reconnect philosophy with research on religion.

We intend to investigate how philosophers and religious communities can communicate fruitfully, producing the kind of change outlined by Scott-Baumann: "Scepticism about philosophy [among faith communities] is replaced by a dialectical process of using philosophy to help people live together and look forward, alert to new possibilities."

Public debate and policy often takes place at a superficial level that skirts and fights shy of the substantive issues underpinning conflict between religions and between religious and secular worldviews. The visibility of the New Atheist critique of religion is perhaps the most obvious example of this. The rationale of this conference is then both to start bringing these three discourses into a mutually-beneficial dialogue, but also to model ways in which such a dialogue can and should be undertaken.

To this end, we welcome papers in one of the following three areas of debate and research:

* Strand One: Economic and Political Regeneration.
* Strand Two: Rethinking Philosophy of Religion.
* Strand Three: Engaging the Public in Research on Religion.

Secure online registration is available at:

For any enquiries, please contact Carly McEvoy: c.mcevoy AT chester.ac.uk Phoen: +44 1244 511031

More on the programme: http://philosophyreligion.wordpress.com/

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