Reenchantment in a Scientific Worldview

A study day organized by the Center for European Philosophy


Thursday 26 April 2018, 13:30-19:30


University of Antwerp, Stadscampus, Room E.201 (located two floors above Agora Caffee), Grote Kauwenberg 18, 2000 Antwerpen

Description and program

The emergence of a powerful scientific worldview is generally considered to be one of the key aspects of the history of western modernity. But against the grain of classical theories in a range of disciplines, which have often equated the progress of modern science with the progressive disenchantment of the world, some scholars have recently argued for the possibility of reenchantment within the prevailing scientific worldview. They claim that the process of disenchantment can be reversed, within the confines of a scientifically explicable world, and even on the basis of a purely naturalistic epistemology.

Our study day is devoted to this idea of ‘reenchantment in a scientific worldview’. Among the main issues at stake are the precise meaning of reenchantment and its conditions of possibility in a scientifically explicable world. We first investigate what is meant by the concept of reenchantment, and then proceed by examining in what respect the process of reenchantment is structurally equivalent to the process of disenchantment, and whether both processes are causally or otherwise related. Subsequently, we pay attention to earlier attempts at the reenchantment of modern science in the context of process thought, with a special focus on its alternative understanding of experience and its revision of the dominant naturalistic epistemology of modern science. We conclude with a discussion of the possibility of reenchantment within the prevailing scientific worldview, questioning which aspects of a presumably lost enchanted world are supposed to be retrieved in the process of reenchantment, and how such recovery could come about.

13:30 General introduction to the problem of ‘scientific reenchantment’, with readings from George Levine’s Darwin Loves You and Charles Taylor’s article “Disenchantment-Reenchantment”

15:30 Coffee Break

16:00 André Cloots (KU Leuven), “The Reenchantment of Modern Science: Alfred North Whitehead and David Ray Griffin” (Guest lecture and Q&A)

17:30 Dinner

18:15 Plenary Discussion

Practical information

No prior reading or preparation is required. All the study material will be provided in printed and electronic form at the start of the study day.

Participation fee: €20 (course material and catering included), to be paid in advance.

Registration: please write an e-mail to confirm your participation before Tuesday 24 April to

Course coordinators: Herbert De Vriese and Guido Vanheeswijck (University of Antwerp)

This study day is part of series of lectures and study days devoted to a critical analysis of philosophical discourse on re-enchantment. For more information, follow this link.