Jim Kanaris is Professor of Religious Studies at McGill University. We invited him to answer the question “Is there a future for the philosophy of religion?” as part of our “Philosophers of Religion on Philosophy of Religion” series.
In1 the invitation to write this piece on the future of philosophy of religion, several questions were posed for my consideration, the most significant for my current professional purposes was the following: What does philosophy of religion contribute to ongoing discussions of normativity in philosophy and religious studies? In what follows, I propose something of a controversial answer to this question, one which I believe offers a needed critique of, and constructive response to, the normative discourse surrounding the differential of subjectivity and objectivity, a discourse that obstructs a responsibility toward self in philosophizing religion.
One of the most challenging aspects of teaching is the bewildering spectrum of interests and experiences of students and teachers alike. It is especially challenging when one’s area of specialization is remote from the questions and concerns in that spectrum. Because educators desire, ideally, to be engaging, they aim to alleviate the dissociation students and colleagues experience when faced with their subject matter. This general, though important, circumstance has challenged me to configure a teaching strategy apropos to my field, religious studies, specifically philosophy of religion, and to clear a path for students to formalize their philosophical foundations that directly or indirectly guide their research. Continue reading