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A Little Lower than Elohim: Philosophical Explorations of Human Nature


As members of this species called human beings, there is no subject that is more central to us than our very nature and the consequences of our views on this subject for practical issues in the world. Who are we? What have been or currently are the real implications of one's answer to this question for issues in ethics, technology, education, environment, politics, theology, and many more? For this year's conference of the Society of Adventist Philosophers, we invite proposals that attempt to answer these questions from various perspectives. As a philosophical conference, however, we strongly encourage all proposals to reference philosophical ideas or make use of philosophical tools that aid one’s approach. Some pertinent questions include:

Transhumanism & Technology—How do technological developments, particularly artificial intelligence, and transhumanism, change our understanding of who we are or what we can be? How does social media transform the nature of the human community? What is a defensible philosophy of self that adequately addresses the challenges posed by present and anticipated technologies?

Human nature—In light of existentialist and post-modern philosophical insights, does it still make sense to maintain some version of a Kripkean essentialism? What are potential problems for/consequences of the claim that the most predominant property of human beings is rationality, and that this characteristic distinguishes humans from other animals? How have Western philosophical conceptions of humans been used to advance colonialism and the oppression of indigenous communities? Does the Adventist theology of holism have anything to contribute to philosophical debates about human nature and personhood?

Gender & Sexuality—How has gender played a role in historical philosophical discussions of human nature, and vice-versa? As a church that is deeply concerned with health and wholeness, how might current discussions of gender, sexuality, and embodiment inform how Adventists deliver healthcare to sexual and gender minorities?

Philosophies of Sin—What are the implications of different interpretations of human sinful nature in the church's applied anthropology? What are some of the challenges empirical philosophy has raised for the Christian deflationary account of human nature? What are the ethical, philosophical, and practical limitations (or benefits) of understanding human nature in terms of the Imago Dei?


Submission Guidelines:

Proposals for papers should be at least 300 words and not exceed 1,000 words in length. The deadline for submission is 7/10/2022. Submissions should be sent to Paper length should not exceed 10 pages, double-spaced, or 3,000 words. Presenters will be allotted 20 minutes for their presentations. Additional time, as available, will be devoted to questions and discussion of presentations.


The Society of Adventist Philosophers is a network of students and scholars who are involved in the vocation of philosophical reflection and analysis. Together, the society:

a) facilitates networking between Adventist scholars with an interest in philosophical enterprises.

b) seeks to serve as a resource to the Church as it faces philosophical questions and challenges in its mission and assists in the development of a better self-understanding.

c) advocates for the study of philosophy at Adventist institutions of higher education in ways that are faithful to the goals of Adventist education.


Title image courtesy of The Society of Adventist Philosophers.


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