Neal DeRooCorresponding authorORCID id

Phenomenological Spirituality and its Relationship to Religion

25/1 – Spring 2020, pages 53-70
Date of online publication: 25 June 2020
Date of publication: 25 June 2020


This paper develops a phenomenological account of spirituality that can help us think more broadly and deeply about religion and its role in our lives. It begins by explaining spirituality as a supra-subjective force that shapes a subject’s intuitive engagement with the world (Section I). Then, it shows that such a spirituality is affective in (and affected by) cultural expression (Section II), by way of historically situated institutions or traditions [Stiftungen] (Section III). The last step of the paper will be to connect this account of spirituality to our understanding of religion by articulating four distinct levels of phenomenological analysis that will have emerged in the discussion of spirituality and showing that each of these levels must be accounted for in a distinct way if we want to offer a full-fledged philosophy of religion (Section IV). In so doing, we will see that this account of spirituality potentially helps us see a broader range of things that could count as “religious,” in part by helping us see that religion is a particular mode of expressing the spirituality that operates as the deepest motivating impulse driving our lives.

Cite this article

DeRoo, Neal. “Phenomenological Spirituality and its Relationship to Religion.” Forum Philosophicum 25, no. 1 (2020): 53–70. doi:10.35765/forphil.2020.2501.4.


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