Over the past two summers, I’ve attended international conferences at which I’ve delivered papers. Both of those papers will be published in peer-reviewed journals in the coming year, 2010. Here are the abstracts for both of them.

“Deconstructing the Secular Magisterium: Voices Past and Present for Conversations of the Future” – delivered at the Grandeur of Reason conference in Rome, Italy, Sept 2008, a conference of the Center for Philosophy and Theology at the University of Nottingham, will be published in The Heythrop Journal late in 2010. It should be available online ahead of the print edition as part of their “Online Early” Program.

Promoting intercultural, interreligious, and interdisciplinary dialogue requires that the conception of reason move beyond the privileged arena of scientific and logical reasoning alone. It must allow for the validity of other types of knowledge, including experiential, religious, and intuitive. The privileged forms of reason have consistently been challenged. In the nineteenth century J.G. Hamann emphasized the role of faith in all reasoning endeavors. In the twentieth century, Michael Polanyi offered a similar argument from the experience of a scientist. Karl Popper’s philosophy of science emphasizes the provisionality of scientific knowledge. William James and Reinhold Niebuhr offer a pragmatic account of reality, incorporating all types of knowledge, allowing for coherent, comprehensive presentations of reality which are persuasive while not demanding absolute status, but instead remaining provisional. Late twentieth century writers share equivalent convictions of these thinkers about the failure of the Enlightenment’s foundationalist conceptions of reason. They offer a means by which genuine conversation between apparently incommensurable bodies of knowledge can occur. This paper will explore the contribution of those past voices and allow these voices of the present to influence our approach to dialogue by embodying the nonfoundationalist epistemology advocated from the past to accomplish Benedict’s vision for the future.

“Challenging the Cultural Imaginary: Josef Pieper on How Life Might Live” – delivered at the Towards a Philosophy of Life Conference conference in Liverpool, UK, June 2009, a conference of the Association for Continental Philosophy of Religion, will be published in New Blackfriars sometime in 2010. It should also be available online ahead of the print edition as part of their “Online Early” Program.

Asking anew “How might life live?” is to offer an opportunity to re-imagine. In the midst of a cultural imaginary that imagines life in terms of the Protestant work ethic, resulting in a culture of total work, Josef Pieper imagines a different way of living. His work emphasizes the place of leisure in the life of the human creature. From within a culture of total work it seems impossible for leisure to have a place, yet Pieper’s reflections pose leisure as the very basis of culture itself, ironically the basis from which the current culture of total work may have emerged and at the same time, the only place from which it can be escaped. It is in the imaginative moment of leisure that one can affect a transformation of the cultural imaginary, for at one and the same time leisure is the basis for a new formulation of culture against total work and a living of life in a way that inherently stands in disobedience against the total work world.

I’ll post again when they are available in print and online. However, you’ll likely have to subscribe or be enrolled in a university with library access to the content of those journals in order to read them.

In the meantime, I’m working through some new abstracts for papers at upcoming conferences in 2010. I’ve got at least 4 I’m thinking seriously about attending. More news and abstracts as they approach.