About RVP Regional Network Publications Annual Seminars International Conferences Board Members Associate Membership Newsletters Support Contact

 Invitation to an International conference


as Ways of Life in Times of Global Change


August 1-3, 2013

University of Athens, Greece


(preceding the World Congress of Philosophy)


anniversary of

30 RVP annual seminars 

150 RVP international conferences: "Culture and Values"

300 volumes the RVP publication series: "Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change"



Conference Program




As we move forward in global times we encounter new, unexpected and unsettling challenges. The work of abstractive reason so widely pursued by philosophy in modern times seems bewildered as borders become porous, societies become multicultural and intercultural harmony become the new challenges for peace. For these global times human progress now depends anew on the ability of philosophy to reengage its sources in cultures as ways of life.


The location of this conference in Athens is a unique context in which to reflect on this emergence of philosophy from culture. The program includes leading philosophers from each of the great cultures to open the discussion of the significance not only of philosophy in and for culture, but the contribution which their cultures can make to philosophy for the emerging global whole.


To accomplish this as a coordinated and creative philosophical effort some recent related developments will be called upon. Thus the first day of the conference (August 1) will begin with the philosophical rediscovery of the nature and evolution of culture in the last half century initiated through such studies as, e.g., those of H.G. Gadamer as well as the efforts of the RVP with philosophers on all continents to relate their cultural heritages creatively to contemporary change. This will introduce (1a) a study by Richard A. Cohen from the University at Buffalo on the thought of Emmanuel Lévinas for whom not the ego but the encounter with "the other" so deepens the sense of philosophy in interpersonal and social life as to suggest ethics as "first philosophy" for our times. (1b) Mark Gedney from the Gordon College will speak on the social role of the body. (1c) João J. Vila-Chã from Portugal and the Gregorian University will relate this to a dynamic, existential metaphysics not only to the love of wisdom but to the wisdom of love/agape. The afternoon will be devoted to the discussion of submitted papers related to these themes.


Yet as global economic competition now imposes attention to material progress that tends to marginalizes philosophy and the humanities there is need to find more meaning for matter, namely its essential role in binding cultures in local and global cooperation. In response the second morning session (August 2) will examine further the horizons of human culture through three studies: (2a) a statement of the human significance of the material or embodied conditions of life by Enrique Dussel from Argentina and the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico. (2b) The deep sense of Self in Indian philosophy by Indra Nath Choudhuri, the University of New Delhi. Finally, (2c) the challenge will then fall to Gholamreza A'avani, the Iranian Academy of Philosophy, to draw upon the Islamic cultural tradition to relate spirit and matter in an integrated whole. These issues will be discussed in parallel afternoon sessions through the related submitted papers.


Finally, the third day (August 3) will concern the expansion of philosophical horizons for work in global times. (3a) Marietta Stepanyants of the Russian Academy of Social Sciences will review the recent expansion of hermeneutic studies and modes of philosophizing integrating developments in social sciences. (3b) The cultural resources and prospects for such enrichment of philosophy will be illustrated by two studies of 5000 year old cultures, namely, those of Africa by M.B. Ramose of the University of South Africa, and (3c) of China by Tu Weiming of the Harvard-Yenching Institute and Peking University. Both will consider how cultures past and present can enable philosophy as ways of life to contribute to our global future.




August 1 Openness to the Other


Morning Sessions (9.00am-1.00pm)


9.00am-9.20am George F. McLean (RVP): Thematic Introduction

9.20am-10.20am: Richard A. Cohen (U.S.): The Face of the Other: Ethics as First Philosophy

10.40am-11.40am: Mark Gedney (U.S.): Recognizing Who We Are. Arendt and Ricœur on the 'Bios Politikos’

12.00am-1.00pm: João J. Vila-Chã (Portugal/Rome): On an Existential Metaphysics of the Wisdom of Love/Agape


Lunch 1.00pm-2.30pm (a light lunch will be provided)


Afternoon Concurrent Sessions (2.30pm-6.00pm)


1/Openness to the other and the cultural pluralism of global times

2/The human transcendence in metaphysics and religion as ways of life


August 2 Embodiment and Spirit


Morning Sessions (9.00am-12.30.pm)


9.00am-10.00am: Enrique Domingo Dussel (Argentina/Mexico): The Meaning of Matter for Life

10.20am-11.20am: Indra Nath Choudhuri (India): Self as Ultimate Consciousness

11.40am-12.40pm: Gholamreza A'avani (Iran): Integrating Matter and Spirit for Harmony and Compassion


Lunch 1.00pm-2.30pm (a light lunch will be provided)


Afternoon concurrent sessions (2.30pm-6.00pm)


3/ Human person as integrating matter and spirit

4/ Comparative nature of culture and philosophy as ways of life


August 3 Cultures and Philosophies as Ways of Life for Global Times


Morning Sessions (9.00am-12.30.pm)


9.00am-10.00am: Marietta Stepanyants (Russia): Recent Philosophizing as Reengaging Culture as Way of Life

10.20am-11.20am: M.B. Ramose (South Africa): African Life, a Philosophy Emerging from Culture

11.40am-12.40pm: Tu Weiming (China/U.S.): Philosophy Grounded in Culture: the Chinese Experience and the Global Future


Lunch 1.00pm-2.30pm (a light lunch will be provided)


Afternoon concurrent sessions (2.30pm-6.00pm)


5/Challenges of philosophy in global times

6/Philosophizing world cultures as ways of life:

(a) Africa

(b) China

(c) India

(d) Islam

(e) Judeo-Christian



Morning sessions will consist of three speakers with an hour each for presentation and discussion. Concurrent sessions each afternoon will explore the day's theme in greater detail, each speaker having 15-20 minutes for presentation plus time for discussion. Abstracts and paper required in advance.


Registration and submission of abstracts and papers are by email to cua-rvp@cua.edu. Information requested:

(1) name

(2) scientific degree

(3) place of work and position

(4) email

(5) title and abstract of the paper


Submission Dates [cua-rvp@cua.edu]

May 30, 2013, one page abstract. Those selected for presentation will be notified by June 30.

July 10, 2013, full paper for electronic transmission.

October 20, 2013, final text for publication.



Location of the pre-Congress conference: the School of Philosophy of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, University Campus, Zografos, Athens, Greece.


Participants cover their own travel, room and board. Information on accommodations available through the World Congress of Philosophy: registration@wcp2013.gr] or [mhatziioannidi@afea.gr]


 There is no registration fee.






(all the materials on this website are copyrighted © by the council for research in values and philosophy)

Gibbons Hall B-12, 620 Michigan Avenue, North East,  Washington DC 20064; Telephone: 202/319-6089; Email: cua-rvp@cua.edu; Website: www.crvp.org