Fall Symposium with Paul Bloom & Jean Porter

by Robin Lovin

CTI will mark the beginning of the 2013-14 Inquiry on Religious Experience and Moral Identity with a symposium led by Paul Bloom, professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale. The theological respondent to Prof. Bloom’s work will be Jean Porter, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame.

Prof. Bloom’s work focuses on the ways that human understandings of the body, art, morality, and religion develop in experience. “All of the work in my laboratory is strongly interdisciplinary,” he writes on his Yale website, “bringing in theory and research from areas such as cognitive, social, and developmental psychology, evolutionary theory, linguistics, theology, and philosophy.” Prof. Porter writes and teaches on ethics and moral philosophy, with emphasis on the ethics of virtue, natural law, and the relationship between law and morality. She holds a concurrent appointment at the University of Notre Dame Law School.

The symposium provides an extended opportunity for the 2013-14 research team to engage in conversation with Professors Bloom and Porter. The program also features a public lecture by Professor Bloom on the afternoon of Thursday, September 26.
The Inquiry on Religious Experience and Moral Identity is part of a three-year program on New Approaches in Theological Inquiry, supported by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Each year features two symposia focused on interdisciplinary work that is important to contemporary theology. The spring symposium in 2014 will be led by William Hurlbut, from the Neuroscience Institute at Stanford University, and Werner Jeanrond, Master of St. Benet’s Hall, an historic house of theological studies within Oxford University.