Mid-Year 2011 - Philosophical Association of the Philippines (PAP), Inc.

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Mid-Year 2011

Call for Papers


PAP Mid-Year Conference 2011
22 October 2011
San Carlos Seminary, Makati City

“Religion and the Public Sphere”

Invited Keynote Speaker:

Fr. Dr. Lorenz Moises Festin, San Carlos Seminary

Religion plays a profound role in Filipino culture. For one, religion has a long history in the country; one may quip, religion (Roman Catholicism) and the political construction of the Filipino identity are historically consanguineous. What we know today as the Philippines is built on the politicization of religion (or the “religionization” of politics) by the Spanish missionaries. From its inception, the private and public lives of Filipinos were organized based on certain religious principles. Here in the Philippines, the wall that separates religion from public life or Church from State had not been fully realized. The line that separates Church and State has been, from the very beginning, vague in the collective consciousness of Filipinos.

But it is precisely this blurring out of the distinction between Church and State that religion emerges in intermittent periods of the history of the country as a significant force in the public sphere. While we may assume that the onset of modernity and secularization had rendered religion marginal to the political life of the Modern State, especially in Europe and other Western countries in the 21 century, events in recent decades suggest a more complex reality particularly in the Philippine situation. Here the secular and religious coalesce, sometimes to the detriment of both elements. Nevertheless, this dialectical relation between the secular/State and religious/Church is something that we Filipino intellectuals should not take for granted; given the fact that some of the most important issues we are facing/debating at the moment—e.g., the RH Bill and the intervention of the clergy in political affairs—are, and should be, understood within the context of this dialectical relation.

In a recent book called A Secular Age, Charles Taylor addresses the dialectics between religion and secular life, and takes issue with the tendency of the secular to be the new dogmatism. In a similar note, Jürgen Habermas attempts to bridge the gap between religion and modern society in Religion and Rationality. Following the lead of these “post-secular” philosophers, we may entertain the need to inquire into the role of religion in the public sphere or ask whether religion impede the rationality of public debate, or even know if we threaten liberty when we push religion into the private realm, or perhaps individual liberty is threatened when we demonstrate our faith in the streets. For sure, neither the State’s rallying cry for the definite separation of Church and State nor the Church’s moral stance could adequately address our query. There is, therefore, a need for us to elevate the discussion, to supplant our superannuated notions perhaps with the “post-secular” or “post-religious.” Perhaps the discussion should shift!

This Mid-Year Conference of the Philosophical Association of the Philippines, Inc., will explore some philosophical, theological, social, and political responses to the apparent tensions between religious expression and liberal secularism, the Church and the State, religious belief and public life. After all, we hear from G.W.F. Hegel that the religious is a necessary step in the self-understanding of the Geist—that is to say, a necessary step in the self-understanding of “communal life.”

We are, therefore, sending out this Call for Papers to invite you to join us in the next Philosophical Association of the Philippines Mid-Year Conference 2011, with the theme “Religion and the Public Sphere,” to be held on 22 October 2011 at San Carlos Seminary, Guadalupe, Makati City.

We welcome paper abstract submissions from academics, graduate students, and independent scholars on the theme outlined above. Please submit an abstract of not more than 300 words with a tentative outline to Dr. Jove Jim S. Aguas (jovejim24@gmail.com) by 2 September 2011. The abstract should be in a Word or RTF file and prepared for blind review, i.e. the name of the author should not appear in the file. Please attach the file to your email. The following author’s details should be indicated in the body of your email: Name and designation of the author, institutional affiliation and position, and title of the abstract.

We look forward to receiving your abstracts soon and we welcome you to yet another exciting PAP Mid-Year Conference this October!

Click here to download the Call for Papers

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