Institute of Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies in Science (IAISS) is an interdisciplinary venture of Scientists, Philosophers, Literarists, Sociologists, Anthropologists, Psychologists, and theologians, based at Little Flower Institute of Philosophy and Religion, Aluva, committed to the cause of the constructive dialogue between sciences and other disciplines. Non-sectarian and multi-religious in its approach, IAIS stands for a value-based integration of the philosophical, ethical, religious, and societal implications of the revolutionary developments in modern science into the diverse strata of human life, both at the academic and popular levels. IAIS has been launched with a view to carry on the global interdisciplinary momentum in our proximate context. IAIS engages itself in value-based, committed and disciplined researches in the arena of interdisciplinary interface.
IAISS, formerly known as ISR, was formally inaugurated with an opening lecture on the dynamics of Science-Philosophy-Religion Dialogue by Dr. Paul Wason, Director of the Science-Religion Programs of the John Templeton Foundation, USA. This significant step in Science-Philosophy-Religion interface in this part of the world dates back to August 2001.
If the methodic ideal of purity dominant in the systematic thought reduced the modern pursuit of truth into a one-way-traffic, whereby every specialist would contemplate reality solely through the spectacles of one’s own specialization, the post-modern strategy of the human quest for understanding has retrieved in the opposite direction showing an unprecedented level of systematic interdisciplinary attention. The popular notion that science and philosophy, reason and faith, logic and aesthetics, math and poetry, philosophy and spirituality, have been rivals does not withstand the test of critical reason. They are substantively complementary and only deceptively contradictory. The challenge of the time is to discover the unitary conceptual grounds and frameworks of interaction between them. Science, Philosophy and Society are some of the central pillars that protect and promote the canopy of this interdisciplinary singularity. We believe that the future of humanity depends on our ability to think scientifically and literarily, rationally and intuitively, technologically and ethically, critically and worshipfully.
The epithet ‘advanced’ is coined to highlight the unique approach of the IAIS in exploring the boundary questions and the mystery dimensions in the developments in natural sciences. While there are hundreds of interdisciplinary projects and researches in scientific disciplines, what is less recognized and inadequately researched upon are the foundational questions pertaining to philosophy, ethics, anthropology, spirituality, etc., emerging from the breakthrough scientific discoveries. IAISS transcends the conventional interdisciplinary ventures and is focused on a deeper understanding of the meaning of reality as implied by the scientific researches. Researching, and catalysing researches on foundational issues at the transdisciplinary domains between science, philosophy, religion, ethics and society is the mission of the IAISS. Innovative visions of Reality and new frontiers of meaning are sought after by synthesising the insights from the various branches of scientific knowledge.
IAISS provides the platform and space for non-mainstream and unconventional researches to explore the ultimate or deeper questions and it does not shy away from employing the rational-speculative method in drawing out its potential suggestions regarding the meta-scientific nature of reality. Thus it expands and the strict methodological contours of the conventional disciplines in the task of constructing meanings.
In accomplishing its unique mission, the importance of philosophy, religion, literature and art in having to dialogue with sciences have been recognized by IAISS and the broad landscape of the range of activities of IAISS are organised under these four schemes (Science-Philosophy-Religion; Science and Art; Science and Literature).
IAISS - Institute of advanced interdisciplinary studies
The vision and mission of IAIS is achieved through the following measures and activities:
The Institute of Science and Religion organizes International, National and Regional Conferences, apart from the public seminars and lecture series. Since the year 2002, such events are organised almost every month. Conferences and seminars are organised under the aegis of ISR mainly at Universities, Colleges, and Schools and hosted at the respective institutions. The conferences and seminars are being run in co-operation with the Indian Institute of Science and Religion, New Delhi and Jnana Deepa Centre for Religion and Science, Pune; and the Global Ministries University, California. ISR organised over 200 such events since its conception in 2002 to 2021. A select number of Conferences/Seminars/Public Lectures, that are solely or jointly organised by ISR or in which ISR faculty has presented papers are listed under the Conferences Menu on this site.
As a unique mission to academic community, we have rendered our seminars, conferences and workshops free of cost or at a nominal cost to the participants. Every year IAIS organizes a number of national conferences, regional workshops and other Institution-based seminars. It is a pleasure to learn the positive momentum generated by these seminars across the state.
There are panel discussions and other group sessions on science-religion pedagogy in schools and colleges, etc. as part of the workshop. Our strategy of presenting the positive and constructive aspects of the contemporary interaction between science and religion has been found very useful in rectifying the distorted images of reality prevalent at the academic and popular level. These workshops are serves preludes to the Advanced Colloquium on Science and Religion the Institute organizes every year.
The Institute organizes one-day seminars, involving a select number of scientists and philosophers from Kerala. It is organized from a multi-religious perspective, to be true to the pluri-religious character of our Indian context. The papers and discussions are centered around the religious and philosophical underpinnings of the scientific developments like, Artificial Intelligence, Nanotechnology, and Human Genome Project. In addition to the scientific community, the participants were represented by Hindu, Christian, and Islamic theologians.
One of the chief target groups of our activities is the educational institutions and the teaching personalities. In tune with our teachers’ workshop, we organize a number of functions aiming at conscientizing the teachers and would-be teachers of degree or higher level educational institutes. We found it to be the most effective channel to have a wide-range of impact on the larger public. We held the first seminar of this series at St. Joseph’s Training College, Ernakulam on November 30, 2002. Dr. K. Babu Joseph, K. S. Radhakrishnan, Martin Kallumkal, and Jojo Varakukalayil were the resource persons for this seminar. We organized the second phase of the series of one-day seminars in B.Ed Colleges of Kerala with a view to conscientise the would-be teachers about the emerging horizons of collaboration between science and religion. SNM College, Cochin and Govt. B.Ed. College, Kannur were the proposed venues in this second phase. The main papers in these seminars were on, Science and Religion – From Conflict to Complementarity; Revolutions in Quantum Physics and Neuroscience – Philosophical and Religious Implications; Biotech Revolution – Challenges to Society, Religion and Ethics; Molecular Information and Divine Dimension, Chaos Theory and its Existential Nuances.
IAIS (ISR) is joining hands with the Indian Institute of Science and Religion, Pune, in organizing a series of three seminars on Science and Religion under the aegis of the CBCI (Catholic Bishops Conference of India) Committee for Science, Religion and Society. The first seminar of this series had the general theme of Christian Faith in an Evolving World of Science and was held at Chaitanya Pastoral Institute, Kottayam on September 29 and 30, 2005.
Dr. Augustine Pamplany has been giving public lectures on science and religion at various centers of learning in Kerala, to large public audience. “Future Technologies: Philosophical and Religious Challenges” ; “Science and the Eviction of God: Myth or Reality?”; “Science and Religion – From Conflict to Complementartiy.”; “Developments in Physical Sciences and Their Religious Implications”; ‘Science, Philosophy and Religion – The Emerging Interface’ are some of the central themes of the such seminars and public lectures held in a number of colleges in Kerala in the past two years.
In tune with the commitment of the IAIS (formerly ISR) to the popular folk, IAIS has struck a deal with the English edition of the widely circulated Sathyadeepam, to publish a regular column on Science and Faith. A wide range of impact is created on the laity and the children through these columns. The similar suit is followed by a number of similar publications in Kerala.View Full Conference Gallery