Volume 30 (2022)
Abstract: Discussions about the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa have mainly focused on measures taken by the government and international bodies to combat this deadly virus. Little attention has been paid to the fact that these initiatives put into question the authority and influence of religious leaders and institutions. This is especially the case in Nigeria where religious leaders wield enormous powers and influence; where pastors and Imams/sheikhs lead mega-churches and mega-mosques. This presentation explores the steps taken by the government to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and how religious leaders and institutions reacted to these measures. The paper argues that contrary to the notion that religious traditions are unchanging in their nature, in the face of crisis, as seen in the COVID-19 pandemic, religious institutions innovate, and device ways, means and mechanisms to adapt and survive.
Learning In Our Contemporary World, a Natural Scientist’s Reflections
by Thomas Dillern
Abstract: In this essay I cast a look upon learning in the contemporary world. Based on my own experience as a natural scientist I reflect upon my own practice, learning and professional development. Alongside thinkers as Aristotle, Dewey, and Polanyi, I take a reflective journey where I elaborate how one, from a humanistic point of view, consider learning to happen. Further, I discuss how we in our contemporary world, governed by some sort of technological logic, have confined how we think about knowledge, the process of learning and human practice, and even how this confinement reduces our own potential horizon of understanding. Hence, in this journey, I also try to describe how we can meet these challenges.
Fighting Human Hubris: Intelligence in Nonhuman Animals and Artefacts
by Christian Hugo Hoffmann
Abstract: 100 years ago, the editors of the Journal of Educational Psychology conducted one of the most famous studies of experts’ conceptions of human intelligence. This was reason enough to prompt the question where we stand today with making sense of “intelligence”. In this paper, we argue that we should overcome our anthropocentrism and appreciate the wonders of intelligence in nonhuman and nonbiological animals instead. For that reason, we study two cases of octopus intelligence and intelligence in machine learning systems to embrace the notion of intelligence as a non-unitary faculty with pluralistic forms. Furthermore, we derive lessons for advancing our human self-understanding.
Apisteology: A Proposal for the Study of Nonbelief
by Jack David Eller
Abstract: Belief has been extensively (although not always profitably) researched, but nonbelief has not.. This essay proposes to change this attitude by introducing and promoting the concept of apisteology (a-pistis-logos) or the study of nonbelief. Nonbelief has not only been a neglected subject but has been generally assumed to apply to religion primarily or exclusively. Taking a much broader view of nonbelief as absence, abstention, or rejection of truth-claims, confidence, and commitment on any potential matter (in the contemporary world, for example, climate change, vaccine efficacy, the Holocaust, or mainstream news media), the essay begins to conceive the form and mission of apisteology and surveys what four disciplines—philosophy, psychology, sociology, and anthropology—can contribute to it as an independent interdisciplinary field of inquiry.