Centre for Philosophy of Religion seminar

Mikel Burley (Leeds) will give a paper on 'Philosophy of Religion as Cultural Critique'.

Date: 07-12-2017
Time: 11:30 - 13:00

Mikel Burley is Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy at the University of Leeds. His many publications include Rebirth and the Stream of Life: A Philosophical Study of Reincarnation, Karma and Ethics (Bloomsbury, 2016).


Recent years have seen a growing number of philosophers of religion expressing dissatisfaction with their own field of study. Particular targets of complaint have included what Kevin Schilbrack has termed the ‘narrowness, intellectualism, and insularity’ that result from an undue fixation on questions concerning the rationality of theism. While concurring with these complaints, the present paper takes issue with the common assumption—typified by Schilbrack—that an inquiry must go beyond description if it is to be properly philosophical. Through arguing that this assumption underplays description’s critical potential, and by drawing an analogy with the notion of ‘anthropology as cultural critique’ (Marcus and Fischer 1999), a conception of philosophy of religion is propounded and exemplified that is cross-cultural, interdisciplinary and radically pluralist in scope, facilitating deep reflection on the contingency of culturally rooted assumptions about what religion is or ‘must’ be.

Location: Botany House, Room 1:03
Cost: Free