Calendar | Conference

Experience and Non-Objects: Toward a Phenomenology of Indiscernibility

Pittsburgh, 28 - 30 October 2024

Official Website
CFP is closedOriginal Call for Papers

For a long time, the objectlessness of religious experience has been a ground for denial of its existence. Yet, studies in phenomenology show these forms of experience exist, and are characterized by the intuition of the invisible. If such forms of experience are actual, the possibility of object-less perception and corresponding judgment can be extended toward experience in sciences. Specifically, this concerns the unobservable or indiscernible in quantum mechanics or quantum chemistry, or, to a lesser degree, the sciences of the brain.


In this invited workshop, we discuss relationships between the phenomenology of ordinary object-based everyday experience, and interesting, often religious, experiences which create a possibility for judgment (knowledge) of the invisible.  There are many accounts of the role of such experiences that can be drawn upon. For example,  under LSD, Carlo Rovelli had an experience that led him to formulate relational quantum mechanics. Another, dream experience of Mendeleev, provided an insight that led him to the development of the Periodical Table of Elements. Einstein is known to let his mind meander in the realm of imagination to crystallize his concepts. The recent Nobel Prize Winner, Anton Zielinger, stresses the role of imagination in quantum theorizing.  


True to Husserl’s view of metaphysics as the future task of phenomenology and drawing on both phenomenological and post-phenomenological perspectives and in dialogue with other contemporary philosophical approaches, the workshop will set out a perspective on how (to put it much too briefly) we can think the concept of reality containing both objects and non-objects, without reducing one to the other. Finally, we will also discuss how and if the concept of unified reality, which is theistic in its origin, participates in the object-less intuitions. 


We still have space for submissions. The sphere of our interest rotates around the question of how and if the ego can “appresent” non-objects.  Disruptions of the everyday in meditation or the religious-spiritual practices of embodied inwardness (e.g., in Tantra,  Vedanta, the Prayer of the Heart, or other systems of religious experience) give us repetitive, predictable experiences, but what gives itself in these experiences?  And are these intuitions, presentations, or appresentations of the invisible? If there is a symmetry between the eidetics of embodied inwardness  and quantum concepts, what are conditions of possibility for this symmetry? Do the opposing arrows of time, multidimensionality of space, and other non-ordinary relationships, which manifest in these experiences, genuinely exist? Do such experiences encompass the notion of non-objects?  How can they be connected with eidetic intuition of quantum indiscernables (in a Leibnitzian sense)? What are the limits of mereology or logic in these analyses? “In the experience of embodied inwardness, how does the ego choose which aspect of passivity, the objects or non-objects, to bring into awareness? And ultimately: what is the sphere of validity for the theory of objects in confrontation with the invisible or indiscernible? We seek solutions from phenomenology of consciousness in its different forms: descriptive, eidetic, formal ontological, genetic, transcendental, or, lately, realistic, its mereology, topology, and apophansis, its provinces of meaning, in how they contribute to our conceptual picture of the world.


Around this broad spectrum of interconnected  themes, approximately ten talks will be accepted. Accepted talks and the rest of the submissions will be considered for publication in a topical issue of Frontiers. Selectively, we will provide support with applications for fee waivers. To be considered, please send a 300-word abstract to The mailbox is set for automated responses, so please check your spam folder if you do not receive a response. The deadline for submissions is June 15.  Acceptance notices will be sent out by August 15, 2024. We will accept original philosophical research reports,  hypotheses and theory, interpretive reviews, perspectives, case studies, reflections on method, and proposed research protocols.




Olga Louchakova-Schwartz (for questions, email


Martin Nitsche 


Felix O’Murchadha


Jeff McCurry (Duquesne University)