Centre for Philosophy of Religion research seminar: Professor Sonia Sikka 'What should the philosophy of religion be?'

Philosophy of religion, as a subfield of both philosophy and religious studies, has been undergoing a period of critical self-scrutiny in recent years.

One direction of this scrutiny involves awareness of the field’s roots in Christian natural theology and attention to the confessional biases underlying the discipline’s traditional topics and approach. Another direction highlights philosophy of religion’s lack of inclusivity, its narrow focus on the doctrinal beliefs of Abrahamic, mainly Christian, forms of religion. I examine these two lines of criticism by exploring what it might mean to include Asian traditions within the philosophy of religion. I focus in particular on varieties of Indian thought that current academic practices classify as both philosophy and religion. What criteria determine whether these reflective and argumentative traditions count as “religion” as opposed to, for instance, metaphysics or ethics? What difference does it make to our philosophical engagement with the subject matter? What are the implications for the methodology and scope of the field we call “philosophy of religion”? 

Speaker Bio:

Professor Sikka is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ottawa. Her research responds to one of the most significant challenges faced by philosophy of religion today: how to expand the boundaries of philosophy of religion to include non-Western traditions and to make the sub-discipline more global in scope.