Owen Flanagan is James B. Duke University Professor of Philosophy at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, where he also holds appointments in Neurobiology, Psychology and Neuroscience, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, and the Graduate Program in Literature. His interests are on the nature of consciousness, philosophical naturalism, ethics, cross-cultural ethics.
He is the author of 10 books, including Consciousness Reconsidered (MIT 1992), Varieties of Moral Personality (Harvard 1991), The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World (MIT 2007 ), The Bodhisattva’s Brain: Buddhism Naturalized (MIT 2011), and The Geography of Morals: Varieties of Moral Possibility (Oxford 2017). In 2015-16, Flanagan was Rockefeller Fellow at the National Humanities Center, and in 2016-2017, he was Berggruen Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. His article Varieties of Naturalism in the Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science discusses the many meanings of ‘naturalism’ in philosophy and whether and how naturalism can speak sensibly about epistemic or ethical oughts, about good, bad, right, and wrong.
Ursula Goodenough is Professor of Biology Emerita at Washington University with a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1969; she has been living by the ocean on Martha’s Vineyard since 2017. Her research has focused on the molecular, cellular, and evolutionary biology of unicellular algae. Her first IRAS conference was in 1987. She has served in several IRAS leadership positions and co-chaired 6 conferences. Her interest in the religious naturalist orientation was birthed at IRAS and lead to a book (The Sacred Depths of Nature) and many articles in Zygon. She participated in the founding of the Religious Naturalist Association (RNA) in 2014 and currently serves as its president. She has 5 children and 8 grandchildren.
Sarah Lane Ritchie
Sarah Lane Ritchie is Lecturer on Theology and Science at Edinburgh University. She is fascinated by questions surrounding the human mind, the relationship between God and the physical world, the development of religious belief, and the question whether the theological framework of theistic naturalism provides the resources to affirm the sheer physicality of the human person. She earned a Master of Divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary and an MSc and a doctorate at the School of Divinity in Edinburgh. Her thesis on theories about divine action and the naturalization of consciousness earned her the ESSSAT Research Prize in 2018. It is published by Cambridge University Press as Divine Action and the Human Mind (2019). In Edinburgh, she coordinates with Mark Harris the Templeton funded research project God and the Book of Nature: Building a Science-engaged theology of nature.
Carol Wayne White
Carol Wayne White is Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Bucknell University, specializing in Poststructuralist Philosophies, Process Theism and Philosophy, Religious Naturalism, and Science and Religion, and Critical Theory and Religion. White was recently awarded a Bucknell University Presidential Professorship for 2018-2021. Her books include Black Lives and Sacred Humanity: Toward an African American Religious Naturalism (2016), which also won a Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Titles; The Legacy of Anne Conway (1631-70): Reverberations from a Mystical Naturalism (2009); and Poststructuralism, Feminism, and Religion: Triangulating Positions (2002). She has published numerous chapters in edited volumes and articles on religious naturalism, process philosophy, and the creative intersections of critical theory and religion; her work has also appeared in Zygon: The Journal of Religion and Science, The American Journal of Theology and Philosophy, Philosophia Africana, and Religion & Public Life. White has received international awards and national fellowships, including an Oxford University Fellowship in Religion and Science, a Science and Religion Grant from The John Templeton Foundation, and a NEH Fellowship. She is currently writing a new book that explores the tenets of deep ecology and insights of religious naturalism expressed in contemporary American nature poets and writers.
Janet Newton, Chapel Speaker
Janet Newton is minister of First Parish Church of Berlin, MA, a Unitarian Universalist and United Church of Christ congregation. She has come to ministry after many years as a high school English and philosophy teacher. For Janet, religion is a collaborative invitation to find, feed, and honor the spark of the sacred within every human heart, that we may know ourselves and our communities more deeply, and that we may make love more visible in the world. Her experiences have helped her develop a vision for church that uses worship, conversation, contemplation, and opportunities for lifelong learning and service to help us grow our souls, build community, and heal our world. She received a Masters in Divinity in May 2018 from Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, where she studied with Michael Hogue.
Willem B. Drees,