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Invitation to a Conference

In Honour of the Late Professor George F. Mclean

 

Re-Learning to Be Human for Global Times:

Humanism, Faith and Secularism Today

 

 

  School of General Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria

May 15 -16, 2017

Thematic Rationale

Never in human history has societies been so closely bound and boundaries so removed, as they are in our century. Never also in human history have cultures influenced each other so gradually and yet deeply, as they have in our century. The results are massive: the Arab spring which no doubt resulted from, among other things, the knowledge of possibilities of resisting political and religious leaders as obtainable in cultures outside the Arab world, is one of such consequences. These are themselves results of a situation best captured by the idea of globalization, and the time described as ‘global times’. Yet, never in human history have human beings so understood their biological make-up that it is evident they can edit their off-springs, as they have in our time. Even this latter feature of our time is also part of the result of the global time.

 

What is known as ‘global times’ is a time, therefore, in which there are real-time evidence of disparities in the economic and social well-being of individuals and communities. Such evidence contributes to question what was previously known as human nature, and arguments about human equality. What is also questioned, more than ever before, is the necessity of religion and faith in any supreme [supernatural] being that deserves to be worshipped under the umbrella of religion. The whole scheme of questioning religion as having any primary role in human life and societies is known as secularism. Even this scheme is one of the features that also defines our global times.

 

One person who had passionately tried to get philosophers to gather and reflect on the above and related issues on human existence is the Philosopher, George F. McLean [June 29, 1929 – September 2016], late President of The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (RVP, www.crvp.org) and Professor Emeritus of The Catholic University of America. Just a few weeks after his death, anyone who had known about his life and works as a philosopher is forced into some moments of deep reflection:

 

-‘Did we really understand McLean’s message well?’

- ‘Should his message and eagerness to serve like a ‘gadfly’ to human societies in our time be left to die with him?’

- ‘Can the fact of his death be explored as a reason to spread his passion and ‘gadflaic’ tasks in societies in Africa?’

 

It is to answer these and similar questions that the organizers of this conference thought it wise to bring together philosophers and thinkers in various fields of life to engage them in reflections on the life and works of George F. McLean. This conference is also one of several efforts that are required to sustain George F. McLean’s tasks as a gadfly in a time in human history when so many more of such gadflies are desperately needed to save human societies from destroying themselves.

 

Abstract

Please send 300 words and a brief CV to Dr. Anthony Ajah [anthony.ajah@unn.edu.ng], Professor Joseph C.A. Agbakoba [jcaagbakoba@gmail.com] and [cua-rvp@cua.edu] by March 1, 2017. Full papers sent by April 30, 2017 will be considered to be published by the RVP in its publication series "Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change".

 

Contacts:

Dr. Anthony Ajah

anthony.ajah@unn.edu.ng

Organizer

 

Professor Joseph C. A. Agbakoba

jcaagbakoba@gmail.com

Convener

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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