Institute for American
Religious and Philosophical Thought

originally located in Highlands, North Carolina USA



Members: If you need additional information please contact one of our Board members. Please note that our Board decided several months ago that the IARPT web pages are to be maintained by the secretary of IARPT. --David Conner, web steward emeritus

Robert Neville is a towering figure in the history of IARPT. In a career spanning fifty years, he has charted a distinct position within contemporary philosophical theology with clarity, consistency, and ambition. In his first book, 1968’s God the Creator, Neville integrated aspects of pragmatic philosophy and process cosmology into an innovative argument for creation ex nihilo, an argument that remains at the heart of his project. In subsequent works, he has addressed the question of freedom in creation (Cosmology of Freedom, 1974), the public nature of philosophy and theology (Soldier, Sage, Saint, 1978), the construction of a system in which all thinking is valuing (Reconstruction of Thinking, 1981; Recovery of the Measure, 1989; Normative Cultures, 1995), the application of semiotics to theological ends (The Truth in Broken Symbols, 1996; Symbols of Jesus, 2001), and the robust defense of pragmatic and process thought as means of avoiding the pitfalls of modernism and its discontents (The Highroad Around Modernism, 1992; Realism in Religion, 2009). Throughout these works, a common question pervades: why is there something rather than nothing?

The theme of the 2014 IARPT annual meeting is Neville’s Philosophical Theology series, which addresses itself explicitly to this question and is arguably his most ambitious work to date—in fact, it may very well represent a definitive statement of his views. A projected three volume work nearing completion, the first installment of Philosophical Theology was published in 2013 under the title: Ultimates. This volume is the focus of the conference and will provide the subject for keynote and plenary speakers. To the question of how or why there is something rather than nothing, Neville answers with a shift away from some of modernist (and postmodernist) philosophy’s most ingrained axioms, openly embracing philosophical system-building, metaphysics, and discussions of value as inseparable from interpretation. The question of ultimacy orients investigation upon the essential features of determinate things, as well as an ongoing clarification of their conditional features that requires thoroughly looking into any and all networks in which determinate objects participate. For all its rigors, Ultimates offers a means of surveying religious pluralism without succumbing to relativism or reductionism, as well as a testament to philosophy’s utility in exploring first-order theological claims.

In addition to papers focused on Ultimates, we welcome others that deal with previous work by Neville, or that place him in dialogue with other thinkers, problematics, and traditions of thought. Without in anyway prejudging or delimiting the nature of these questions, papers might consider following: How has Neville’s philosophical theology enabled us to evade problems and conceptual dead ends associated with modern and postmodern thought? How has Neville’s work affected the trajectory of IARPT? How does Neville manage the pragmatic and Whiteheadian components of his thinking? In light of Neville’s work, what are the prospects for liberal theology and religious thought? What is the role of system in theology? How does one traverse the boundary between theologies that claim to seek truth relative to those that seek identity? In what ways are Neville’s key influences (Peirce, Whitehead, Confucius, Plato, Tillich, etc) manifested in his texts?

While Neville is the focus of the conference, we invite proposals on a broad range of topics that do not address the work of Neville but are related to empiricism, naturalism, pragmatism, and process thought as articulated by IARPT’s mission statement.

Membership and Fees
Information from Dan Ott, Treasurer; 2005 62nd Street; Monmouth, IL 61462
(All memberships include a single, one-year subscription to AJTP plus dues)
  • $80, 2014 Membership (full)
  • $60, 2014 Associate Membership (for graduate students and junior members)

2014 Conference in Manitou Springs

  • $130, Full Registration
  • $70, Spouse/Guest (All dinners and receptions)
  • $35, Spouse/Guest (Tuesday Banquet Only)

From Vaughan McTernan in Manitou Springs

Hi All,

Hotel reservations for the IARPT 2014 conference in Manitou Springs are now available at conference rates.

  • For rooms at The Comfort Inn at 45 Manitou Ave. call 719-685-5455. Please make your reservations by May 1in order to make sure rooms are available. Standard rooms are $99.00. Parking is free.
  • Rooms at The Cliff House at 36 Canon Ave are available but will only be held until MARCH 1st. The conference base rate is 96.00 for a studio room. The conference rate will still be applicable after that, but rooms may not be available. Guests wishing to book rooms should contact Catherine Roosevelt at 719-785-2408 or via email at croosevelt@thecliffhouse.com. Group rates are not available on line. Incidental Service Charge is $9.00 per person per night. Overnight parking is $7/night.
  • The Villa Motel at 481 Manitou Ave. will have rooms available at a discount rate by calling the motel directly at 719-685-5492. You must say you want the Hot Deals rate in order to get it. The rates are: king bed – $84.00+tax; Two queen beds – 89+tax. Parking is free.
  • At each of these places you will be required to guarantee the room with a credit card. There is no penalty for cancellations that occur more than a week before scheduled arrival date. These lodgings fill quickly, so I recommend making your reservation promptly. (Please note that the Cliff House cutoff is coming up soon.)
I look forward to the conference and welcoming you back to Colorado!
Vaughan McTernan


c/o William Hart, President
3916 Linden Terrace
Durham, NC 27705

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