Symposium on “Heidegger’s Confessions”


Thursday, May 26, 4:30pm
Swift Hall, 3rd Floor Lecture Hall
1025 East 58th Street

Ryan Coyne (University of Chicago)
Jean-Luc Marion (University of Chicago)
Gregory Fried (Suffolk University)
Moderator Mark Alznauer (Northwestern University)


Hosted by the Lumen Christi Institue

Cosponsored by the Philosophy of Religions Workshop and the Theology & Religious Ethics Workshop

Although Martin Heidegger is nearly as notorious as Friedrich Nietzsche for embracing the death of God, the philosopher himself acknowledged that Christianity accompanied him at every stage of his career. In Heidegger’s Confessions, Ryan Coyne isolates a crucially important player in this story: Saint Augustine. Uncovering the significance of Saint Augustine in Heidegger’s philosophy, he details the complex and conflicted ways in which Heidegger paradoxically sought to define himself against the Christian tradition while at the same time making use of its resources.

Ryan Coyne is Assistant Professor of of Philosophy of Religions and Theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He holds an MA and PhD from the University of Chicago. Prof. Coyne studies the relationship between modern European philosophy and the history of Christian theology, and is author of Heidegger’s Confessions: The Remains of Saint Augustine in “Being and Time” & Beyond (University of Chicago Press, 2015) and A Spectacle for the Gods: Nietzsche and the Question of Faith (forthcoming).

Jean-Luc Marion is the Thomas Greeley and Grace McNichols Greeley Professor of Catholic Studies and Professor of the Philosophy of Religions and Theology and professor in the Committee on Social Thought and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago, and holds the Dominique Dubarle chair at the Institut Catholique of Paris. He is also Professor Emeritus of Modern Philosophy and Metaphysics at the University of Paris IV (Sorbonne) and is a member of the Académie Française. Among his books are In the Self’s Place: The Approach of Saint Augustine, God Without Being, and The Erotic Phenomenon. In 2014 he delivered the Gifford Lectures on Givenness and Revelation.

Gregory Freid is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Suffolk University in Boston. He holds an MA and PhD from the University of Chicago and a BA from Harvard University. His research focuses on the history of Philosophy, particularly Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Kant, and Heidegger. He is co-author with Charles Fried of Because It Is Wrong: Torture, Privacy, and Presidential Power in the Age of Terror, co-editor of A Companion to Heidegger’s Introduction to Metaphysics, and is author of Heidegger’s Polemos: From Being to Politics.


The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to maintaining itself as a fully accessible and inclusive workshop.  Please contact Workshop Coordinator Anil Mundra ( in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

Eun Young Hwang (PhD Student, Religious Ethics): “A Constructive Comparative Religious Ethical Analysis of Augustine and Xunzi: The Sacred Origin of Human Rights and Its Demand for Just Society”

Wednesday, February 3, 4:30, Swift 106 (co-sponsored with Global Christianities Workshop)


While referring to some contemporary theoretical concern for human rights grounded on the person’s potential for sacred experience (Joas) and their implication to the institutional demand not to violate the entitled access to flourishing according to some universal criteria of minimal justice (Pogge), this project engages with a comparative reading of two historically unrelated traditions, Augustine and Xunzi. I will show how Augustine and Xunzi show differences and similarities when dealing with the sacred capability of human person as the source of entitlement for human flourishing and the institutional demand of securing basic rights for human flourishing according to their culture-specific visions of personal fulfillment and social order, which all resonate with the universal concern for human rights and universal criteria of thin justice.

The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to maintaining itself as a fully accessible and inclusive workshop.  Please contact Workshop Coordinator Anil Mundra ( in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.



Sean Hannan on Time: Augustinian/Post-Phenomenological Critiques of New Realism

Sean Hannan (PhD Candidate, U Chicago Divinity School)

“A New Realist Philosophy of Time and its Augustinian or Post-phenomenological Critique”

Tuesday, February 17, 4:30 pm

Swift 201


In recent years, certain philosophical circles have come to revolve around a shared interest in reviving the project of what they’d like to call realism, materialism, or ontology.  This movement is no monolith.  Conversations have grown up around the actor-network theory of Bruno Latour, the Badiou-inflected materialism of Quentin Meillasoux, and the Heidegger-influenced ontology of objects put forth by Graham Harman.  What ties these disparate threads of thought together is the goal of somehow moving past a state of intellectual gridlock, which has supposedly stalled the momentum of movements tracing their roots back to German Idealism and phenomenology.  The way to do this, according to many, is to take away the privilege accorded to the human subject in order to treat all ‘things’ as ontologically equal.

One of the liveliest voices in the field belongs to Tristan Garcia, a young French novelist and philosopher whose substantial work—Form and Object: a Treatise on Things (Edinburgh UP, 2014)—has just been translated into English.  Garcia’s take on things has, even more recently, turned towards time as a suitable topic for post-idealist or post-phenomenological speculation.  In his article “Another Order of Time: Towards a Variable Intensity of the Now” (Parrhesia 14 [2014], 1-13).  Garcia offers up a new theory of temporality that, in his estimation, will allow us to move beyond the inadequate theories once offered up by idealism, phenomenology, and even Anglo-American ‘analytics.’

Throughout the article, Augustine of Hippo appears as a foil.  In the account of temporality given in Book XI of Augustine’s Confessions, Garcia finds a precursor to the phenomenology of time as inaugurated by Edmund Husserl.  And yet, while Garcia’s approach to time comes off as fresh and thought-provoking, it’s not entirely clear that he’s adequately dealt with the questions posed both by Augustine and the phenomenological tradition.  Most specifically, he fails to appreciate the degree to which certain thinkers—Augustine not least among them—were willing to dethrone the ‘present’ from its privileged position at the center of temporality.  This paper, then, aims both to sketch out Garcia’s doctrine of time and to push back against it from the perspective of Augustine’s critique of the present.  It might turn out that the question of the now has less to do with intensity or intension than with what Augustine called ‘distension.’