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International Research Conference in Lucerne organised by the TheiRs

From 3-5 July 2023, scholars and students from all over the world met at the University of Lucerne for a research conference entitled "Fake Faiths: God, Beliefs, and the Rationality of Assent", under the direction of Giovanni Ventimiglia, Professor of Philosophy at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Lucerne.

The conference showcased a diverse range of new research projects and facilitated the exchange of new insights through stimulating discussions. In line with its mission, the Centre for Theology and Philosophy of Religions (TheiRs) does not treat philosophy of religion as a monolithic discipline of Western thought, but rather as a philosophy of religions in which thinkers from Christian, Jewish, and Islamic tradition engage into dialogue with each other.

The conference began with Roberto di Ceglie (Vatican): he explained how religious commitments can lead to more empathy for those of other faiths. Amber Griffioen (Duke Kunshan University) presented how make-believing is part of religious imagination. Katherine Dormandy (Innsbruck) spoke about religious maps of reality and how believers can either positively immerse themselves in them or rather negatively be oppressed by them.

On the second day, Ryan Mullins (Lucerne, Palm Beach) along with Tasia Scrutton (Leeds) and Simon Hewitt (Leeds), guided participants through a comprehensive exploration of diverse perspectives on the possibility of making affirmative statements about God. They examined how this question is approached within analytic philosophy of religion, as well as its treatment in Jewish and Islamic discourses, specifically in relation to the concept of God's impassibility (God's inability to suffer).

On the third day, Behnam Zolghadr (Munich) gave stimulating insights into Islamic logic and philosophy of language, before Lucerne experts Giovanni Ventimiglia and Ursula Schumacher concluded with contributions on the relationship between faith, assent, and reason in Thomas Aquinas and Vatican I. 

The conference also allowed young researchers and graduate students to present their work. Through a rigorous Call for Papers, five people were chosen for this task. Akumjung Pongen (Oxford) argued tgat testimony is a form of knowledge. Yasmin Abdelsalam (Cairo) spoke on the Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides and whether human language can adequately speak about God. Nicholas Noyola (Miami) focused on some problems concerning the omniscience of God, Karim Ayad (Istanbul) spoke about "Judgement & Tolerance" in Islam, and Amir Mohammad Emami (Exeter) presented what “inclusive exclusivism” could be.