Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Archive for the ‘Philosophy of religion’ Category

CFP: Commentating as Philosophy and the Abrahamic Interpreter,s July 2-5, 2014, Istanbul

leave a comment »

***Call extended to March 14, 2014**

Commentating as Philosophy and the Abrahamic Interpreters

July 2-5, 2014, Istanbul


 “Commentating as Philosophy and the Abrahamic Interpreters” is a conference second in a trilogy, entitled, “The Abrahamic Trilogy”. The trilogy is about the development and reception of Greek philosophy in the Abrahamic traditions. While the first conference was about Proclus, and his influence, the present conference will focus on the form of philosophy that was dominant until the early modern period.

The Abrahamic religions have a set of revealed holy texts which are intended to reveal the nature of God, creation, man’s place in it and his true destiny. As such, believers or those entrusted to guide the believers can or ought to have recourse to these texts to explain the nature of things. The intellectual and moral life was framed in interaction with a text. Parallel to this, one can view a similar tendency with the philosophical movement known as middle Platonism: here, philosophy was done by turning to the texts of Plato and Aristotle and either making commentaries on them or employing their texts liberally in independent treatises. These two threads meet powerfully, for example, in the Jewish philosopher from Alexandria, Philo. What is unique about Philo is how he used the philosophical concepts and systems of Plato and, to a lesser extent, Aristotle, to explain the Torah. Augustine claimed only to understand the Bible after reading the works of the Platonists and whose Biblical commentaries dominated the Latin west. Ibn-Sina also wrote many commentaries on Aristotle and developed his own system in that dialogue. Thus, for 1600 years, whether by a pagan or Abrahamic philosopher, the dominant mode of philosophising was done by means of writing commentaries.

The conference will, thus, explore the development of the commentary tradition within the ancient pagan world and the influence of that Greek commentary among Jews, Christians and Muslims and will focus on what it means to philosophise in a necessary interaction with a set texts that marks it off from early modern philosophy.

Confirmed speakers:

Prof. Richard Sorabji, CBE, FBA, (Wolfson College, Oxford and Emeritus, King’s College, London) will give the key-note lecture. Prof. Zev Harvey (Emeritus Prof. at Hebrew University and Columbia University) will give the plenary lecture on Jewish account and Prof. Thomas Leinkauf (Westfälischen Wilhelms Universität Münster) on the Christian account and Asst. Prof. Olga Lizzini (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) the Islamic account.

Please submit an abstract of approximately 500 words by March 14, 2014 to  https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=cpai14 [You must create an account there to upload your paper.] Notification of acceptances will be rolling. For further questions, please contact David Butorac at davidbutorac<atgoeshere>arxai.org and Marie-Élise (Lise) Zovko at lisezovko<atgoeshere>gmail.com. Papers will be 20-25 minutes long, although there may be some flexibility given some merit. Please see the conference website: http://www.arxai.org

The conference will take place at Sismanoglu Megaro (Greek Consulate) and Halki Seminary, Halki Island / Heybeliada, Istanbul from July 2-5, 2014.


Plato Society of Zagreb

Institute of Philosophy (Zagreb)

Confirmed Sponsors

The Onassis Foundation

The Consulate General of Greece in Istanbul

The Consulate General of Israel in Istanbul

Halki Seminary – Greek Ecumenical Patriarchate

Written by davidbutorac

March 11, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Books released

leave a comment »

Books released

Both my books are now released. You can check them out on my Amazon author page (link above) and ask your library to order them, if you think it’s worth.

Written by István Aranyosi

August 24, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Talk at Bogazici, Joseph Prud’homme (Washington College) on “Religion and Politics in Aquinas.” (05/04/2013)

leave a comment »

UPDATE: This talk has been CANCELLED due to the hospitalization of the speaker. (He is now in a stable condition but was very sick).

Joseph Prud’homme (Washington College) will give a talk at Bogazici University on Friday, April 5th from 5-7pm in TB130

“Religion and Politics in Aquinas.”

Written by Lucas Thorpe

April 1, 2013 at 9:26 am

God, Mind, and Logical Space (forthcoming at Palgrave Macmillan)

leave a comment »

My second book manuscript, titled God, Mind, and Logical Space, is now accepted for publication and enters  the production stage. It will come out this year with Palgrave Macmillan, as part of the new series, Palgrave Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion. As with my other book (The Peripheral Mind, Oxford University Press forthcoming), the cover will feature work by Alex Robciuc.

Instead of a summary, I thought I offer a little teaser in guise of some quotes on a few of the many topics I discuss. Here they are:

Read the rest of this entry »

When a predator wants to pray

with 5 comments


The case is philosophically very interesting in various regards. I recommend at least a quick look. Below, I will summarize and make an observation.

There is a show on NBC where they catch pedophilic sexual predators red-handed and on one of their episodes they caught a 56 year old (prominent) rabbi soliciting sex with a 13 year old boy. (According to the evidence police later found this was not his first time. He also had a long and explicit sex-chat with the decoy posing as this underage boy during which he sent the boy a picture of himself performing oral sex on another man).

Then the rabbi got a 6.5 year sentence and served his term. When he got out, he declared that he repented (the Hebrew word for this official repentance seems to be “T’shuvah”) he wanted to be allowed to pray in a relatively inclusive synagogue on the sabbath days. The community of the synagogue initially allowed him, but as the news of his past deeds became widely known in the community, some people expressed strong objections to his presence citing the presence of children in the building on the sabbath days as a safety concern.

After a “backbreaking amount of time” was spent on debating “how to handle the former Rabbi’s presence in the synagog” involving online forum debates about their moral duty to a fellow faithful and consultations with expert psychiatrists, prosecutors and detectives, “the Board decided that without agreement on suitable strictures for this individual’s attendance, this person would, sadly, not be welcome.”

My observation is this: This is a tough moral dilemma. Any community, especially those which consist of very well-intended people, would struggle to come to a solution which would satisfy every member. (And they couldn’t reach a consensus in the case, the vote was not unanimous at their board.) I don’t profess to have a good solution either. But if religion can provide significant moral guidance into people’s lives, which is unattainable without faith, why didn’t religion make the dilemma easier to solve for this particular religious community? Why do their reasoning and deliberation process sound very much like what would have happened in a non-religious community with the same amount of social cohesion and generosity?

This question bothers me a lot, because I see atheists being criticized time and again on the grounds that atheism impoverishes the moral dimension of the individual and society, whereas faith in God provides moral guidance. Unless this moral guidance is as invisible as God himself, shouldn’t we be able to perceive its effects somehow?

My own take on this matter is that we are all permanently stuck in the same moral ambiguity. Believing in God or having faith in commandments doesn’t solve any problem. Yes, we can assume that there is a god commanding us to do x and even reach at quick verdicts with harsh punishments, unconditional forgiveness, or principled indifference, but this case shows that when a well-intended epistemically responsible group of adults who care for each other face a tough moral dilemma it shall remain tough, regardless what the creator of the universe commands. This is so in part because there is an ambiguity about what the command is, born out of the puzzlingly cryptic and convoluted statements through which the alleged commands are conveyed. But even if the commands were utterly unambiguous, the question “Is God’s command righteous?” is always a meaningful question to ask even for a theist, assuming that the theist wants to do his epistemic duty to find a satisfactory solution to the dilemma as the good people of the synagogue tried in this case.

Written by burkayphil

October 11, 2012 at 9:48 am

Yahya Michot at Ankara University today.

leave a comment »

Yahya Michot is giving a lecture entitled “Ibn Taymiyya against Extremisms.” at Ankara University Faculty of Divinity on April 30, 2012 at 3:30pm. Venue: Yunus Emre Conference Hall

Yahya Michot (Ph.D. Catholic University of Louvain, 1981) is currently Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary, Hatford, Connecticut, USA.

Written by Sandrine Berges

April 30, 2012 at 10:34 am

Oliver Leaman in Ankara University, 23 March

leave a comment »

I just heard that Oliver Leaman will be giving a paper in Ankara tomorrow.

Here’s the announcement:

“Oliver Leaman is giving a lecture at Ankara University Faculty of Divinity on March 23, 2012 at 2pm (tomorrow). The title of the lecture is “Can Art be Religious: The Case for Islamic Art”

Venue: Yunus Emre Conference Hall

The lecture will be in English and no Turkish translation will be provided. I am sorry for the late announcement. Everybody is welcome. Please kindly let anybody who might be interested know. Many thanks in advance.

Oliver Leaman (Ph.D. Cambridge, 1979) is a Professor of Philosophy and Zantker Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Kentucky. He has published extensively on Islamic, Jewish and eastern Philosophy.

Ankara University Faculty of Divinity is conveniently located in Besevler, and only a few minutes walk away from the Besevler Station of ANKARAY.”

Written by Sandrine Berges

March 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm