The president of the International Federation of Philosophical Societies (FISP), of which the EACP is a member, has spread the following announcement:
Message sent to all member societies, associations, and institutes of FISP
on the occasion of the World Day of Philosophy
Dear fellow philosophers, colleagues, and friends,
For many of us, the World Philosophy Day is still falling amidst particularly turbulent times. We observe an increasing awareness that the ongoing pandemic is not just one sanitary crisis yet; instead, it may represent the onset of a spiral that could, potentially yet dramatically, intensify the existing economic and social inequalities on a global scale.
Philosophers might dismiss this fear, or instead decide to embed our theoretical reflections into the actual reality of our time, addressing its main social, ethical, spiritual, religious, and political concerns. Earlier this year, a prospect into the future of our communities was opened by the decision of holding the next World Congress of Philosophy in Rome, Italy, in August 2024. Inviting a World Congress in an increasingly unpredictable and uncertain world was not an easy decision. It engages philosophy in the public sphere at large, bringing together ideas, traditions, and people from all continents and regions. But, in questioning the economic, technological, and cultural destiny of our common world, philosophy could hard ignore the inherent risks of a process of polarization that is likely to direly enhance civil subalternity, political subjection, and economic servitude across the planet.
Thinking across national and political divides, across cultural delimitations, thinking “across boundaries” is the theme that was chosen for this 25th World Congress of Philosophy. Perhaps we, as philosophers, could see it as a commitment to foster a shared reflection on the future of our diverse societies, and on the models that we would like them to be inspired by.
I wish you a creative, productive, and convivial World Philosophy Day.
Luca Maria Scarantino
President of Fisp
International Federation of Philosophical Societies
Message envoyé aux sociétés, associations et instituts membres de la Fisp
à l’occasion de la Journée internationale de la Philosophie
Chères et chers collègues, amies et amis,
Cette année encore, la Journée mondiale de la philosophie survient à un moment trouble pour nombre d’entre nous. La pandémie en cours, semble-t-on constater, n’aurait rien d’une crise exclusivement sanitaire. Elle marque au contraire le début d’une pente durable, d’une spirale susceptible d’accroître les disparités économiques et sociales existantes et d’accélérer le processus de polarisation à l’échelle internationale.
On peut choisir de faire l’impasse sur cette préoccupation. Mais on peut aussi décider d’ancrer nos réflexions philosophiques dans la réalité sociale et historique de notre époque, de manière à examiner les principales inquiétudes sociales, éthiques, spirituelles, religieuses et politiques de celle-ci.
En début d’année, l’annonce que le prochain Congrès mondial de la philosophie aura lieu à Rome, en août 2024, a ouvert une perspective nouvelle pour nos communautés savantes. Pourtant, convoquer un Congrès mondial dans un monde qui devient de plus en plus imprévisible et incertain n’est pas une décision que l’on prend à la légère. Elle émane du désir d’engager résolument la philosophie dans la sphère publique, de réunir des idées, des traditions et des personnes originaires de tous les continents et de toutes les régions du monde. Or au moment de s’interroger sur l’avenir économique, technologique, voire culturel de notre monde, la pensée philosophie ne saurait ignorer un danger inhérent au processus de polarisation en cours : à savoir, le risque d’aggraver de manière systémique les dynamiques de subordination civile, d’assujettissement politique et de dépendance économique à travers la planète.
Penser par-delà les démarcations nationales et politiques, par-delà les clivages culturels, penser « par-delà les frontières » est la visée qui inspire le XXVe Congrès mondial de philosophie et que ce dernier s’est donné pour thème. Peut-être pourrions-nous y voir le désir d’engager la philosophie, et les différentes cultures qui s’expriment à travers elle, à réfléchir à l’avenir de nos sociétés et aux modèles desquels nous souhaiterions les voir s’inspirer.
Permettez-moi de vous souhaiter, chères et chers collègues, amies et ami, une Journée mondiale de la philosophie aussi fructueuse, créative et conviviale que possible.
Luca Maria Scarantino
Président de la Fisp
Fédération internationale des sociétés de philosophie
Joseph Harroff (American University, Washington D.C.) and Ľubomír Dunaj (University of Vienna) have launced a call for papers for a special issue of Pragmatism Today on the topic "Time for Another Enlightenment: Reconstructing Modernities with Chinese Philosophy and World Pragmatism".
For more information, go to https://pragmatismtoday.com/index.php?id=callforpapers
Master Li, the Beauty of Life, and the Ethics of Becoming Human
Early in the morning of November third, I received a shocking message from my friend and colleague Li Chenyang. He wrote to me in an email that Professor Li Zehou, who was one of the most important people in my life, had passed away that night. Although we did not have a very close personal relationship, having met only a few times in his later years, I was closely connected to him through my professional work, especially in 2018-2020, a time when I wrote my two books on his philosophy and ethics. During those years, I was intensely connected to his ideas and his deep reflections of vivid, unceasing life. Every day I lived with his spirit practically from morning till night, and his ideas of becoming human, sedimentation, subjectality, emotion-based substance, relationalism, and many others accompanied me in my dreams until slowly and gradually, step by step, they became a permanent part of my own soul.
When I learned of his passing, therefore, I was devastated. I had hoped to see him once more to give him my best wishes for a long life and good health, but death was quicker. And of course, this great loss is not my own. Not only me, the whole world has lost a great thinker, a lucid theorist and an innovative philosopher. Just like his philosophy, he was always completely open and vividly curious as a person. At the same time, he was firm and uncompromising about his convictions and believes. Therefore, he always followed his very own path, a way that was unique and therefore often a little lonely.
Now, looking back at Li Zehou's own long and winding path, we quickly realize that creating and walking such a path is anything but easy. It requires not only strength and courage, intellect and creativity, but also a subtle but powerful sensibility informed by an eternal longing for beauty that is never quite fulfilled. Li's philosophy, among others, has shown us that beauty is not just the ultimate realm of our human values, nor is it limited to the ultimate realm of our humanness and our humanity. It also offers us autonomy and liberation from estrangement. Li offers us the certainty that we ourselves possess our freedom, not only in terms of free choices, but also in a broader and much more complex sense of such individual free will, which can only be fully realized through the full recognition and implementation of our social responsibility.
This freedom, which in reality is based on constraints and on enriching obligations, further reinforces the sense of belonging in a multitude of differences. Viewed from a broader intercultural perspective, Li's way of thinking points to a common human path, regardless of differences in our individual preferences, cultures, languages, and traditions. His philosophical thought, which is thoroughly reflected in his particular intellectual path, reminds us of our belonging to humanity. With his insightful explanations and sharp theoretical syntheses, Li makes us appreciate the complex, rich, and diverse intellectual heritage that his ancient homeland, Chinese culture, can offer our globalized world.
His contributions to the new global ethics are of paramount importance, especially in today's world, which is in dire need of new intercultural dialogues and transcultural solidarity. There are strong foundations for such transcultural solidarity and intercultural exchange in Li Zehou's theory, for he has created it not only for himself, and not only for Chinese or Americans, but for all humanity. The powerful beauty of his ideas is irresistible, and they will continue to influence people in their search for our common humanness. Their inner strength is based on Li Zehou's intimate experience with impermanence on the one hand, and on his sincere belief in the enduring eternity and immortality of beauty on the other. For everyone who has met him, everyone who has had the opportunity to plunge into the deep pools of his spiritual vastness, has learned that the beauty of the human spirit can always overcome death. Professor Li understood this from an early age.
Li Zehou was twelve years old when his father died. That year, as he wandered in the highlands, he was met by the astonishing sight of a meadow covered with splendidly blooming yellow mountain flowers. Overwhelmed by the beauty of the moment, he suddenly became aware of his own mortality. He wondered what meaning this beauty had, for it seemed meaningless, fleeting, and empty. Afterwards, young Li experienced a kind of existential crisis that led him to skip school for three days.
After this decisive moment, his interests, which were already very broad, gradually focused on philosophical questions and later increasingly on aesthetics. Through the study of aesthetics he hoped to find answers to the eternal questions of how we perceive and evaluate beauty and what it means to humanity. Ultimately, it was philosophy, and aesthetics in particular, that helped him understand that as an individual he would always be deeply affected by the laws of social development; even though individual life is tragic, it was easier to understand that it is the laws of the common development of human communities that elevate human purpose to the level of the sublime. It was probably also due to this brief but decisive experience that his later philosophy never left the realm of human life, and that his theory proceeded from the fundamental fact that "human being is alive."
Li Zehou will always remain alive. He will live on through his works. I have always tried to make his works known in my home country, Slovenia. To celebrate our friendship, I would therefore like to conclude with my Chinese translation of a poem written by a young Slovenian poet named Srečko Kosovel. Although Kosovel died in 1926 at the early age of 22, he will live on through his work. So will my beloved and respected master Li Zehou. For them, there is no death.
Jana S. Rošker
It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Li Zehou 李泽厚(1930-2021). Li Zehou was one of the most creative and influential Chinese philosophers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The vast and rich body of work he leaves behind - comproming topics as diverse as the theory and history of (Chinese) aesthetics, a radical reinterpretation of Kant's transcendental idealism in conversation with the historical materialism of Marx, a contemporary reading of the Confucian Analects, and researches in ancient as well as modern Chinese intellectual history - will continue to serve as a source of inspiration for future generations of scholars in China and beyond.
From the perspective of Confucian philosophers, one can only understand death and apprehend existence through the consciousness of death if one has already come to a prior understanding of life. The reason why human beings can intensely experience existence itself by being faced with their own mortality is precisely because existence as such derives its meaning from being alive. The meaning of life is a process that is formed historically and can only be grasped through the relationship with a community. Therefore, in Confucianism “life and death” are anthropological phenomena closely related to the interpersonal ties between human beings. In this sense, “death” is no longer some formal, mysterious generality or something living beings are instinctively afraid of, but rather counts as an individual's direct experience of the formation of an anthropological substance.
- Li Zehou, "An Account of the Chinese Tradition" (Zhongguo chuantong de shushuo 中国传统的述说), 1988