Templeton Colloquia at the NDIAS

Artistic Creativity: An Existential-Phenomenological Study

Friday, April 15, 2016
Led by Dr. Bjarne Sode Funch

2015-2016 Templeton Fellow at the NDIAS
Associate Professor of Psychological Aesthetics at Roskilde University, Denmark

Bjarne Funch With Maria Tomasula And Peggy Garvey At Snite

This conference brought together artists from the visual arts, writing, and musical composition in addition to scholars from art, history, literature, music, philosophy, psychology, and theology to further the development of Professor Bjarne Funch's psychological theory of artistic creativity based on phenomenological studies and existential philosophy. Funch's theory emerged out of phenomenological analyses of autobiographical works, interviews, and personal documents by renowned artists such as Margue-rite Duras, Agnes Martin, Einojuhani Rautavaara, and other artists. The theoretical component of the project was inspired by existential theorists such as Søren Kierkegaard and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Its focus on sensation and emotion was an attempt to demonstrate art’s importance for existential integrity and mental well-being. Three principal queries that framed this conference are as follows:

  1. How do artists create works of art, especially as described from a first-person perspective?
  2. What is the importance of pure experience with respect to artistic creativity?
  3. What should be expected of an existential-phenomenological theory of artistic creativity?

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The Impact of Laughter and Humor in Our Past and Today’s Digitized World

Thursday, April 7 and Friday, April 8, 2016
Led by Dr. Otto Santa Ana

2015-2016 Templeton Fellow at the NDIAS
Professor in the César Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies at the University of California Los Angeles

Impact Of Laughter And Humor

This conference brought together scholars from anthropology, communications, digital media, neuroscience, political science, psychiatry and psychology, religious studies, and sociology to examine the origins, development, and neurology of human laughter; explore humor and laughter as deeply human expressions of imaginative cognition; and evaluate the use of laughter and humor as social and political mechanisms.

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Becoming Human: Evolutionary and Ontogenetic Stories about the Emergence of the Human Mind

Monday, March 21 and Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Led by Dr. Henrike Moll

2015-2016 Templeton Fellow at the NDIAS
Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Southern California

Becoming Human Moll

In this conference, Professor Henrike Moll explored the emergence of the human mind, as demonstrated through scientific investigations and philosophical inquiries, and the origins of perspective-taking. This conference brought together scholars from anthropology, history and philosophy of science, philosophy, and psychology to examine critical questions that address topics such as the emergence of imagination, "second nature," sentience, sociobiology, and kinship in human evolution, as well as the human-animal horizon.

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Mind, Soul, World: Consciousness in Nature

Monday, March 14 and Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Led by Dr. David Bentley Hart

2015-2016 Templeton Fellow at the NDIAS
Visiting Danforth Chair at St. Louis University

Mind Soul World

In this conference, Professor David Hart, in dialogue with a multitude of eminent scholars, explored the mystery of consciousness (the entirety of mental life), posed critical questions such as the place of nature within mind, and probed more traditional assumptions about the physicalist emergentist accounts of the origins of consciousness. Those attending also examined the idea that careful reflection on the nature of consciousness yields an understanding of consciousness to which certain classical understandings of the soul (Western and Eastern) may prove far better suited than more materialist reductionist approaches.

This conference brought together scholars from history, philosophy, and theology to examine critical topics about consciousness including whether consciousness can evolve or emerge from matter, intentionality and the transcendental ends of consciousness, classical metaphysics of the soul, Eastern contributions to the understanding of consciousness, and the soul and the whole of being.

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Afternoon of Christianity: Church and Theology for a Post-Secular Age

Monday, November 16 and Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Led by Msgr. Dr. Tomáš Halík

2015 Templeton Fellow at the NDIAS
2014 Templeton Prize Laureate
Full Professor of Philosophy at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic

Afternoon Of Christianity Halik

This conference brought together scholars from history, philosophy, political science, sociology, and theology to examine the crisis of modern Western Christianity and how its members can seek the path to a deeper, more credible and mature form of church, theology and spirituality.

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Invisible Aspects of Human Evolution

Monday, April 14, 2014
Led by Dr. Jonathan Marks

2013-2014 Templeton Fellow at the NDIAS
Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Invisible Aspects Of Human Evolution

This conference, led by Jonathan Marks on April 14, 2014, brought together scholars from various fields and perspectives in anthropology to discuss the transformation of an anatomical human into a behavioral human, which seems to have taken place between about 100,000 and 50,000 years ago, a timespan notably impoverished of data, but whose eventual products would become art, kinship, morality, religion, and the myriad other features of what we call “humanity.” Some scholars have postulated an invisible, unknown genetic mutation lying at the root of this transformation, rendering a deus ex machina explanation. However, as other scholars have suggested, these humans existed at the origin of a great learning curve. Although biologists and evolutionary psychologists have reduced the origin of morality and religion to altruism and cooperation, morality and religion more likely emerged from the classic anthropological domains of the sacred, the profane, and the taboo. In this conference, participants were asked to confront these ideas and to discuss the origins of human intellectual and social life that constitute the transformation of an anatomical human person into a human being, or perhaps into a human “becoming.”

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Participation in God: Reassessing an Ancient Philosophical Idea and its Contemporary Relevance

Tuesday, March 18 through Thursday, March 20, 2014
Led by Dr. Douglas Hedley

2013-2014 Templeton Fellow at the NDIAS
Reader in Hermeneutics and Metaphysics at the University of Cambridge, UK

Participation In God

This conference brought together scholars from numerous disciplines, including the natural sciences, philosophy, theology, and literature, to examine the fundamental questions of participation in the Divine. Building on philosophical premises and drawing on a rich tradition of thought, including ancient and Thomist philosophy and the inheritance of participation following the scientific revolutions, this meeting of scholars will examine key ideas, conceptual definitions, the language of participation, and its logic. Topics discussed include:

  • the historical background of participation in the Divine;
  • ancient philosophical understandings of participation;
  • medieval understandings of participation;
  • participation and literature;
  • participation and the modern scientific worldview;
  • participation, the image of God, and evolutionary theory;
  • participation and its contemporary relevance; and
  • participation and the natural sciences.

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