Research Associate LeRon Shults
Seventh International Conference of the Institute for American Religious and Philosophical Thought: Evolution and Transcendence
June 20, 2018

Conference Summary: The theme of the 2018 IARPT conference is human transcendence considered in light of biocultural evolution. Central to this theme are questions of human uniqueness and the various interpretations of transcendence that can be given in light of this uniqueness, as well as questions about the kinds of social and cultural conditions that are necessary for the development and realization of various kinds of human transcendence. For example: How should we articulate the continuity/discontinuity of the human species in relation to our evolutionary past and the rest of nature, and how should this evolutionary standpoint inform our understanding of the human yearning and capacity for transcendence? Is human transcendence a species universal, or is it a cultural development like agriculture, written language, or mathematics? What kinds of human transcendence are conceivable within a naturalistic, evolutionary framework? How should the phenomenon of human transcendence—as evidenced, for example, by the history of religion, but also by science and the arts— inform our understanding of human nature, nature, and evolution? In keeping with the special interests of IARPT (see for more information), we welcome, as always, contributions from diverse perspectives of American religious and philosophical thought, including pragmatism, empiricism, process philosophy, religious naturalism, and liberal theology. 

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