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 Invitation to an RVP Project on

Re-Learning to Be Human for Global Times:

Challenges and Opportunities


International Symposium

Learning to be Human for Global Times:

Challenges and Opportunities from the Perspective of Contemporary Philosophy of Religion


April 7 – 8, 2017

University of Vienna, Austria




  • Mag. Dr. Brigitte Buchhammer

  • Univ. Prof. i.R. Dr. Herta Nagl-Docekal

Institutional Cooperation 

  • Interdisciplinary Research Platform: ‘Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society’, University of Vienna;

  • Austrian Academy of Sciences;

  • The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, Washington, D.C.


  • Campus of the University of Vienna, Spitalgasse 2 (Hof 1, Kapelle)

Working Language

  • English

The topic of the symposium refers to the XXIV. World Congress of Philosophy, to be held in Beijing, China: August 13-20, 2018, under the title 'Learning to be Human'.

The speakers from five countries will address current global issues such as the phenomena of increasing loss of solidarity and violent conflicts, the societal impact of recent research in the sciences (such as neuro-sciences and techno-sciences), and the dynamic changes in the socio-economic sphere. In view of these fundamental challenges, the symposium will explore new philosophical approaches to the human being and its self-understanding. The scope of topics includes suggestions to re-define the relation between human beings and extra-human nature, as well as theories focusing on the situation of religion in the context of modernity.
The proceedings will be published by The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, Washington, D.C., as part of a book series to be presented at the WCP, Beijing, China, 2018.





Friday, April 7, 2017



13.00 – 13.30         Welcome Address & Introduction


13.30 – 15.00         Chair: Ludwig Nagl


13.30 – 14.00         Kurt Appel / University of Vienna

                               The Humanistic Potential of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit


14.00 – 14.30         Thomas M. Schmidt / Goethe University Frankfurt

                                The Search for Lost Intimacy. Georges Bataille on Religion as Immanent Human Experience


14.30 – 15.00         Angela Kallhoff / University of Vienna

                               Rescue Cases and Environmental Duties in the Climate Crisis



15.00 – 15.15    coffee break



15.15 – 16.45         Chair: Claudia Melica


15.15 – 15.45         Birgit Heller / University of Vienna

                              To Whom It May Concern. Humanity and Dignity in Interreligious Perspective


15.45 – 16.15         Maureen Junker-Kenny / Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

                               Re-learning to be Human: Translations Between Religions and Cultures as Case Studies of

                                Mutual Learning


16.15 – 16.45         Sandra Lehmann / University of Vienna

                               Messianic Cessation and the Praxis of the Neighbor



16.45 – 17.00   coffee break



17.00 – 18.30         Chair: Herta Nagl-Docekal


17.00 – 17.30          Stephan Steiner / Katholische Akademie Berlin

                                Emersonian Anxieties. The Age of Anthropocene and the Legacy of Humanism


17.30 – 18.00         Cornelia Esianu / Alexandru-Ioan-Cuza-University of Iaşi, Rumänien

                                The Conception of Love in Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Schlegel: Its Relevance for a                                 Comprehensive Theory of the Human Being


18.00 – 18.30         Brigitte Buchhammer / University of Vienna

                                Philosophy as an Advocate of the Whole Humanity: Moral Enhancement Theories – A Current

                                 Philosophical Problem 



19.00   dinner



Saturday, April 8, 2017



10.30 – 12.00        Chair: Thomas M. Schmidt


10.30 – 11.00         Ludwig Nagl / University of Vienna

                               What is it to be a Human Being? Charles Taylor on "the Full Shape of the Human Linguistic



11.00 – 11.30         Carlo Willmann / Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences, Vienna

                              Empathy - Attention - Responsability. Milestones to Humanity by Edith Stein, Simone Weil

                               and Dag Hammarskjöld and their Relevance in the World of Today


11.30 – 12.00         Rita Perintfalvi / Ökumenischer Verband der Theologinnen Ungarns

                              (Re)-Learning to be Human in Central and Eastern Europe: If Political Authoritarianism is

                              Flirting with Religious Fundamentalism



12.00 – 14.00   lunch break



14.00 – 15.30         Chair: Maureen Junker-Kenny


14.00 –14.30         Herta Nagl-Docekal / University of Vienna

                               Educating Humanity. A Core Concern of Kant’s Philosophy of History


14.30 – 15.00         Leonhard Weiss / Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences Vienna

                               'The Human Being – A Beginner'. The Anthropological Foundations and Current  

                                 Relevance of Hannah Arendt’s Understanding of Childhood and Education


15.00 – 15.30         Claudia Melica / Sapienza University Rome

                               ‘Menschlichkeit’. Lessing’s Ideal Model for Culture, Religion and Ethics Today



15.30 – 15.45    coffee break



15.45 – 17.15         Chair:  Cornelia Esianu


15.45 – 16.15         Isabella Guanzini / University of Graz

                              Humanisation and Desire. The Symbolic Dimensions in the Thinking of Jacques Lacan


16.15 – 16.45         Elisabeth Menschl / Johannes Kepler-University Linz

                              Occam´s Razor: Simplicity Versus Simplification or How to Deal with the Complex Image of



16.45 – 17.15         Sibylle Trawöger, Katholische Privatuniversität Linz

                              Learning to be Human in the Silence



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