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Invitation to an International Conference

Philosophy in the New Age of Religious and Cultural Pluralism



The International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC)
The International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)
Kuala Lumpur
, Malaysia

June 6-7, 2007




In the past approaches to cultural and religious pluralism have ranged from all taking up the faith of the ruler (cuius regius, eius religio) to relegated cultural and religious identities behind a veil of ignorance (J. Rawls). In most cases the ability of peoples to reach more deeply into their cultural identities and to apply these to facing the challenges of their times were restricted. This  generated not peace and progress, but dissatisfaction and mutual antipathy.


The present convergence of new respect for the deep and varied cultural resources the diverse peoples, both within each nation and of the other civilizations we meet in global times, presents both challenge and opportunity. It challenges one to open mind and heart to the greater range of vision and broader commitments needed in order to live peacefully in a multi-religious and multi-cultural world. This, in turn, provides an opportunity to rethink the place and role of the various philosophical traditions with a view to a greater enrichment and application of the multiple cultures. This is the new and urgent project of cultural and civilizational pluralism in this global times. It is then the issue of this conference of Southeast Asian philosophers.


It is a matter, not of attenuating or abstracting from, but of more fully appreciating and bringing to bear cultural and religious resources in facing present challenges. It means appreciating the accomplishments of the distant past in order to develop their meaning for life today with different peoples both at home and across the globe. It means also shaping the new values of our times in ways that are able to implement the development of all peoples. Above all, it means uniting rich and poor, the city and countryside, the self and the others, past and future for progress in peace. All this must be discussed.


This will enable also drawing upon the cultural values of South East Asia in rethinking of the overly Eurocentric professional philosophical tradition. In turn, this points ahead as a necessary step in the preparation for the World Congress of Philosophy in Seoul in 2008.


The details are as follows:


Theme: “Philosophy in the New Age of Religious and Cultural Pluralism”

Dates: July 6-7, 2007

Place: the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC) of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Presentation: 20 minutes, plus 20 minutes discussion

Abstract: 1 page by May 10, 2007 and full paper by June 20, 2007

Publication: the volume of papers will be co-published in the RVP series “Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change”. These should be substantive, 15 or more pages in length (no upper limit), and appropriately footnoted.

Room and board: provided by ISTAC

Travel: covered by the participants

Contact person: Prof. Osman Bakar,  the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC) of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; email: [obbakar@yahoo.com] 












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