Calendar | Conference

Society for the Phenomenology of Religious Experience Group Meeting, Central APA

Chicago, 23 - 26 February 2022

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.

Religious/Spiritual Experience and Metaphysics

Panels 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, presence or disconnect, etc.) impact one’s beliefs and/or attendant metaphysical (pre)suppositions. Do RSE change 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.