FRANCISCO MARIANO assismariano at ufrn.edu.br
Mon Jan 22 15:58:09 AEDT 2024

Please circulate widely. Apologies for multiple emails.





Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

Worcester College, University of Oxford, UK

May 15-17, 2024

Deadline: March 1, 2024

Website: https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/b2MBCk81N9tkl0Pw6F2OCKi?domain=god-and-consciousness.com

Submission of abstract: god.and.consciousness at gmail.com



- Timothy O'Connor, Indiana University, USA

- Amit Chaturvedi, University of Hong Kong, China

- Gavin Flood, University of Oxford, UK

- Benedikt Paul Göcke, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

- Joanna Leidenhag, University of Leeds, UK

- Anand Jayprakash Vaidya, San Jose State University, USA



Divinity in some theistic (or theistically inclined) Indian religions is
often conceived monotheistically, as a supreme OmniGod (much like in
Western accounts of God). Monotheistic conceptions of God occur in Śaivism,
Śaktism, Vaiṣṇavism, Sikhism as well as Indian reiterations of Islam,
Christianity and Zoroastrianism. There are also arguably monotheistic
concepts of God given by the Indian philosophical schools (darṣanas), such
as Vedānta, Nyāya, Mīmāṃsā, and Yoga.

Despite the evidence for a general Indian religious disposition towards
monotheism, Indian concepts of God can exhibit certain peculiarities that
distance them from the traditional idea of monotheism. For example, some
Indian conceptions of God revolve around God’s being united with the world
and finite conscious beings in various ways. This is the heart of the
famous Vedānta debate about the relationship between Brahman - the ultimate
conscious reality - and the rest of existence, and of a wide variety of
theistic views on the relation between ultimate conscious reality and the
world. Interpretations range through idealism, qualified monism, dualism,
and a mixture of monism and dualism (as in the different theories of
bhedābheda, or difference and non-difference).

The reference to consciousness (in the expressions “conscious beings” and
“ultimate conscious reality”) is not gratuitous. Philosophical Indian
traditions such as Vedānta and Sāṅkhya have developed sophisticated
ontological views on consciousness. These views have strongly influenced
and been influenced by Indian theistic traditions. For example, in the
Bhavagad Gītā - a key Vedānta text strongly informed by Sāṅkhya (or
proto-Sāṅkhya) thought - matter is seemingly given a cognitive aspect that
somehow intermediates the conscious experience of ordinary living beings.
But the Gītā also says that God is the source (prabhava) of consciousness
and matter. While matter and consciousness are fundamental aspects of
reality, in God they have a common ontological ground. Depending on how a
specific theistic tradition interprets this, its concept of God might imply
some kind of theory of consciousness.

Against this background, two sets of questions arise, which in current
debates are often overlooked or are only partially addressed. The first
relates to the nature and tenability of concepts of God; the second
concerns the nature of consciousness. On the first set of questions, one
might ask:

- Can certain concepts of God in Indian traditions really be regarded
monotheistic in the Western sense of the term?

- Or are they closer to panentheism, theistic pantheism, henotheism or

- What divine properties do the traditions ascribe to their respective
divinity or sets of divinity?

- Can the corresponding concepts of God be described in a consistent way?

- Is it sensible to presuppose that they should be describable in such a

- Do any of these concepts of God possess an advantage over Western
philosophical accounts of God?

On the second set of questions, it could be asked:

- Which views on consciousness are presupposed by Indian concepts of God?

- How can these views be philosophically articulated?

- What are their advantages and disadvantages compared to standard accounts
of consciousness found in Western analytical philosophy?

- Furthermore, are these accounts compatible with a scientific worldview?

- Can the concept of God contribute to a scientifically consistent theory
of consciousness?



We invite submissions of contributed papers that address the above
questions in relation to specific Indian traditions. Abstracts must have a
maximum of 3000 characters and be written in English. They must be
submitted by March 1, 2024, through the e-mail
god.and.consciousness at gmail.com, with the subject “Submission to the Oxford
Conference”. In the body of the message, the author should state whether
the paper will be presented in-person or online (preference will be given
to in-person presentations). Notification of acceptance will be released on
March 11, 2024.



This the first conference of the project “Concepts of God and the Variety
of Theisms in Indian Traditions: Towards a Theistic Theory of
Consciousness”, hosted by the Brazilian Association for the Philosophy of
Religion and supported by funding totaling $260,000 from the John Templeton


It is hosted by the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, and will take place in
Worcester College, University of Oxford.



Selected papers presented at the conference will be published in one of the
publications of the project, including the journal special issue on “Indian
Theistic Traditions and the Philosophical Debate on Consciousness” which is
being edited by Benedikt Paul Göcke (Ruhr University Bochum) and Swami
Medhananda (UCLA and University of Southern California).




- Alan Herbert, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, UK (chair)

- Gabriel Reis de Oliveira, Saint Louis University, USA



- Ricardo Sousa Silvestre, Federal University of Campina Grande, Brazil

- Yujin Nagasawa, University of Birmingham, UK

- Monima Chadha, Monash University, Australia

- Swami Medhananda, UCLA and University of Southern California, USA

- Ananya Barua, University of Delhi, India

- Dilip Loundo, University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil
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