Calendar | Conference

Panel on Spirituality and Religion

New Orleans, 22 - 24 February 2021

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Call for Papers:

Spirituality and Religion

Panel of the Society for the Phenomenology of Religious Experience, an Affiliated Group of the American Philosophical Association,  Feb 22-24, 2021, New Orleans 

The issue of spirituality is under-researched in philosophy of religion. As such, the relationship between spirituality and religion is difficult to determine: while spirituality seems to be an aspect or element of religion, many people consider themselves “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR), thereby suggesting that the two might be in conflict with each other, rather than complementary. Given the dramatic rise in people who identify as SBNR, as well as the traditional role of spirituality in established religious traditions, properly understanding spirituality and its relationship to religion may be crucial to making sense of religion in our current context.

The Society for the Phenomenology of Religious Experience (SoPheRE) will be hosting a panel discussion on the topic “Spirituality and Religion” at the Central Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association February 24-27, 2021 in New Orleans, LA. We hereby invite papers related to that theme. Possible topics to be covered include (but are not limited to):


What is meant by ‘spirituality’?

Is spirituality necessarily religious, or could we speak of non-religious spiritualities (a ‘spirit of consumerism’ or the ‘spirit of 1968’, for example)?

How do we experience spirituality? Are such experiences necessarily ‘religious experiences’ or not?

How should we understand the term “Spiritual but not Religious”? How should this impact our understandings of spirituality and of religion?

Can spirituality remain a meaningful philosophical term, given the ‘disenchantment of the world’ that characterizes our “Secular Age”, according to Charles Taylor?

Are there resources from the phenomenological tradition (e.g., Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, Husserl’s “spirit of Europe” or Henry’s “spirit of barbarism”) that could help us articulate a contemporary account of spirituality?

What resources from other philosophical and religious traditions that could helps us articulate a contemporary account of spirituality?


Papers should be for 30 minutes reading time (approx. 3500 words) and submitted for blind review by August 25th, 2020. Accepted papers will be notified by September 30th, 2020. All presenters must register for the Central Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association. All papers, and any questions, should be sent to the panel organizer at