Sisters in Arms. Reinventing the Bond between Philosophy and Theology after the 'Empirical Turn'



Although fundamental research is still in high esteem, it is clear that all academic disciplines meet the challenge of the so-called empirical turn. This implies that research should deal with what is often labelled as “real-life problems” and be relevant to society at large. An empirical basis or component of the research should guarantee this relevance. On another level, it seems that philosophy and theology have received more competition from other humanities than ever before. While some decades ago civil society looked at philosophers and theologians for moral guidance, nowadays disciplines like psychology, sociology and evolutionary studies have taken over this role to a certain extend. These disciplines collect empirical data to arrive at descriptions of the present situation. These are subsequently often used to answer topical questions, whether this was originally intended by the research or not. In this last step the descriptive research often takes on a normative weight. Given this climate, what is the specific strength of fundamental or speculative reflection like it has been developed traditionally in philosophy and theology? Is it in danger of becoming obsolete? Is it still meaningful to keep on aiming for a bond between philosophy and theology as strengthening both disciplines? Or should one rather aspire an empirical turn, as slogans like ‘lived theology’ or ‘lived philosophy’ seem to indicate? These questions are all the more urgent insofar as religion is concerned. The comeback of religion and metaphysics in philosophy of the last decades has led to models of reflection with a highly speculative appearance which seem to have lost interest in engaging in societal debates. In the meantime, theology is under severe attack from religious studies approach for its abstract or dogmatic character. The call for a theological turn to ‘lived religion’ is widespread. Are the times of an obvious bond between philosophy and theology past? What do the disciplines have to offer each other, as critical sparring partners in times in which their academic position is all but self-evident, as is religion itself? Is the divide between analytical and continental varieties of both disciplines symptomatic for the trend mentioned before or is there a chance for mutual reinforcement? Can theology and philosophy perhaps reinvent their coalition as one of ‘sisters in arms’, that is, of aiming for unfashionable approaches of academically neglected questions?



Researchers are invited to contribute to the parallel sessions by presenting a paper (20’ presentation + 10’ Q&A) on the conference topic. Papers on the general topic of the journal, namely the intersection between philosophy and theology are also welcome. Applicants send an abstract of max. 250 words to: Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein!

Extended deadline is September 20, 2018. Notification of acceptance will follow asap.

Note: the organizers have the intention of following the SWIP/BPA guidelines. See:

Here you find the link to the full text of the call for papers.