RVP Annual Seminars

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





Power, Truth, and Trust: 
In Search of More Human Governance

August 20-September 21, 2018                                                                  Washington, D.C.


Thematic Description


Philosophy is both a way of life and a human-divine Voice capable of engaging our common cultural endowment and so provide guidance to the social realties of each age and time. The RVP 2018 Annual International Seminar is designed to foster a renewed effort towards a serious exploration of both theoretical and practical insights regarding issues of truth, power and, finally and importantly, trust in societies around the world. The ultimate goal, however, is to re-think some of the key issues that surround governance and as such call for a renewed understanding of the human being as both in-the-world and with-others.


In his New Science of Politics, Eric Voegelin provides a compact and precise expression of the beginning point for the central considerations of human organization and social realities. Voegelin’s insight might help us understand the many layers of the ongoing social processes in the contemporary world. We shall give particular attention to the critical analysis of Michel Foucault, especially his attempt to penetrate the microphysics of power. Foucault tries to uncover the force of truth and the need for parrhesia as part of any socio-political process based on a renewed form of human self-understanding. He thinks this can lead up to what might be understood as a new politics of human liberation. Other authors will also be used in order to better explore the ontological implications of the problems we shall be confronting during the Seminar. The goal is to help understand the cogency of issues attached to the problems we face in the orders of governance and representation as well as in the different realms of inter-human communication. The main resources will be taken from the various philosophical traditions, but always in order to better confront the many issues of power and governance characteristic of our technological age.  


The RVP international annual seminar has been, for more than thirty years, a constant invitation to a renewed engagement with practices and concepts that are timely, especially in periods of crisis and/or social transformation. At this particular moment in history we are urged to re-think and re-evaluate issues such as the following:


1. What is the nature of power and how does it relate to truth?

2. What are the implications of critical notions of power and truth for human self-understanding?

3. How does a critical analysis of both power, truth and trust reflect itself when it comes to issues of governance in a highly complex and technologically sophisticated world such as ours today?

4. What is the meaning of democracy in the digital age and how might it evolve in the near future?

5. What kind of relation should there be democracy and education in our present global age?

6. Are there different models of democracy?

7. What role does politics play in the humanization of the world?

8. What are the guiding principles to build a more human society in both individual and institutional levels?

9. What kind of stories and metaphors should we listen to in order to understand the contribution of different cultures and civilizations?

10. What kind of contribution can philosophy make toward a more human governance?

11. How to understand freedom and responsibility?

12. How to live personal and shared identities in connection with pluralism and the interaction of cultural communities and the governance required for large scale entities such as nations and understand international institutions in a context that clearly go beyond traditional forms of sovereignty?

13. How can trust be regained in the human ability to respect the humanity of others without suppressing the distinctive realities of peoples, cultures, and religions? 


Indeed, crises are challenges as well as opportunities, hence, the special focus of the RVP 2018 annual seminar.


1. Objectives


Besides a philosophical deepening of issues related to truth, power and trust related to contemporary governance, the 2018 RVP Seminar is being planned with the following goals: 

- to meet, exchange, discuss and consult with scholars and policy-makers in regard to international experiences in order to promote democracy and other forms of authentic human governance;

- to understand the nature of socio-political organizations, including political parties;

- to explore new conceptions of democracy, for instance, democracy “American style” as described by Alexis de Tocqueville almost two hundred years ago;

- to clarify the current conditions of democracy around the world and possibly to examine particular cases of democratization in recent history.


2. Expected practical results

The seminar will help participants expand the knowledge and references on topics such as:

1. the right of citizens to participate in the management of the State and society;

2. mechanisms capable of ensuring people's right to be part of managing a State or any other major social organization on the complex issues;

3. organizational principles and institutional models of operation; and

4. human rights and other issues associated with the Rule of Law.


3. Method


The 2018 RVP annual seminar will focus on issues related to the above-mentioned questions. It will be projected with the following characteristics:


1. The number of participants will be limited to about 15 scholars from around the world gathered for an intensive experience of study and interchange around a single table;

2. The approach will be interdisciplinary in order to draw upon the contemporary capabilities of the various realms of the humanities and penetrate into the roots and meaning of cultures and values today;

3. The proceedings will be intercultural so that all may come to benefit from the experiences and commitments of the various cultural communities from around the world;

4. The seminar will have a duration of 5 weeks, the minimum time for the is­sues to mature and the participants reach an ideal degree of mutual understanding so that new insights might emerge in a context of academic friendship;

5. The process will be intensive and focused on the detailed analysis and discussion of a set of related readings;

6. The personal contribution of the participants will require a complete dedication to the process and presupposes that upon arrival each member of the seminar will have a well thought-of and structured paper on any of the issues associated with the topic of the seminar;

7. The process will culminate with the publication of a volume consisting of substantive papers written by the individual seminar participants, intensively discussed in the seminar and then redrafted and capable of seriously reflecting the work of the seminar both in terms of the readings proposed as well as of the discussion produced around them.


4. Application for Participation


Applications for participation in the RVP 2018 annual seminar should be sent by email by April 1, 2018 to cua-rvp@cua.edu. Participants cover their own travel costs; the RVP provides simple room and board during the seminar. The seminar will be conducted in English and held at the RVP Seminar Room: Gibbons Hall B-12, 620 Michigan Avenue, North East, Washington, D.C., 20064. Email: cua-rvp@cua.edu; Telephone: 202/319-6089. Candidates will be notified of acceptance by the end of April, 2018. As soon as participants confirm their presence in Washington, a preliminary set of readings will be made available.


In order to be considered, please enclose:

(1) CV describing the applicant's education, professional positions and activities;

(2) List of the applicant's publications;

(3) Letter stating the applicant's interest and motivation to participate in this annual seminar; and

(4) Abstract (ca. 500 words) and basic bibliography of the paper the applicant intends to present during the seminar.





 (all the materials on this website are copyrighted ©pan class="Apple-converted-space"> 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