Tuesday, 23rd January 2024, 12 pm

Prof. Dr. Angela Roothaan, Philosophy, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands: „The Dynamic Web We Live In: Bantu Philosophy as Phenomenology of Human-Nature Relations”



In the much-disputed classic Bantu Philosophy (1945/6), Placide Tempels attempted to critically describe our human being-in-the-world as he understood it from his Congolese interlocutors. To this end he connected the conceptual framework of Bantu languages, rooted in Bantu Life-worlds, to a Flemish-Dutch conceptual framework, rooted in Latin scholastic tradition and modern European phenomenology. As the quote shows, he was aware of the dangers of such a work. He deemed it necessary, however, to a) make Europeans take African thinking serious, and b) to rethink human-nature relations.

I will clarify Tempels' contribution to an African eco-phenomenology by

(i)           discussing letters of Tempels that clarify how Bantu Philosophy should transform static conceptions of being, dominant in scholastic catholic philosophy, into a dynamic and wholistic conception of being as identical with force;

(ii)          demonstrating how the French and English translations of Bantu Philosophy obscured key conceptual choices Tempels made to this end.

The first point will show Tempels Bantu Philosophy to be part of a wider movement of the 1930sand 1940s among catholic philosophers, to adopt concepts from existential philosophy and phenomenology to rethink ontology from the experience of a situated being that participates in this being (“Dasein”).

The second will show a way out of the thicket of transiation / interpretation issues around Bantu Philosophy. The two moves should help to understand Tempels' translated Bantu conceptions as African eco-phenomenological understanding of human-nature relations. For this understanding he chose the image of the spider's web, which transports any movement that occurs in one of the threads through the whole web, as key metaphor.



Angela Roothaan is Associate Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Having a background in continental philosophy, she published on a wide range of subjects such as Philosophy of Nature, Spirit Ontologies, Value Ethics and (early) Modem Philosophy, before turning to African and lntercultural Philosophy. She now supervises multiple PhD projects in these fields. In 2019 she initiated the Dutch Research Network African lntercultural Philosophy and the Bantu Philosophy project, that functions as an international scholarly network for exchange of research findings and sources regarding the 1945/6 work Bantu Philosophy by Placide Tempels. Angela connected her research into Philosophy of Nature and Spirit Ontologies in her book lndigenous, Modern and Postcolonial Relations to Nature. Negotiating the Environment (Routledge 2019). Most recently she published Bantoe-filosofie, the 1946 Dutch original version of Bantu Philosophy, in freshly updated Dutch and with an introduction and explanatory footnotes (Noordboek 2023). She now works on an annotated criticai edition of the same work for a global readership (in collaboration with Pius Mosima). She also co-edited (with Bolaji Bateye, Mahmoud Masaeli and Louise M Oller) two volumes in the field of African Philosophy: Beauty in African Thought. Critical Perspectives on the Western ldea of Development and Well-Being in African Philosophy. lnsights for a Global Ethics of Development (both Rowma n & Littlefield 2023). To bring philosophy out of the ivory tower, Angela also keeps a blog:

Tuesday, 6th February 2024, 12 pm

Prof. Dr. Lawrence Ogbo Ugwuanyi, Philosophy, University of Abuja, Nigeria: "The Ala Earth Ethics and Its Potentials"



The focus of my presentation is on how the notion of environment can lead to additional ethical thoughts that serves but goes beyond the environmental good. Ala is an environmental ethics  in the Igbo-African world. My claim is that the extant ethical theories and principles have some challenges which can be overcome through an engagement with the ethical views that are embedded in the notion of Ala. I begin by mapping out some challenges in extant theories and practices of ethics which I consider to be exclusivist, conflicting, alienating and fundamentalist. I explain the conflict of virtues that arise from this scenario and how the notion of ethics harboured by Ala has the potential to lead to a different ethical orientation and outcome. I explore the four principles embedded in Ala namely-peace, power, authority and morality-suggesting how they provide grounds for a fresh ethical thought. I characterize these as comprehensive ethics that makes harmony and equilibrium core ethical principles and how this minimizes the challenges offered by extant ethical theories and principles. To achieve these objectives I: Revisit some challenges of extant ethical beliefs and principles;(ii) Revisit some challenges of extant ethical beliefs and principles; (iii) Articulate the Ala belief and the ethics emanating therefrom;(iv) Explain how Ala amounts to an environmental ethics with wider and deeper ethical value;(v) Elaborate this with wider potentials of Ala Earth ethics.

Ugwuanyi’s Bio:

Lawrence Ogbo Ugwuanyi, Ph.D is a Professor of African Philosophy and Thought at University of Abuja (since 2011). He is the current Head of Department of Philosophy and Director, Centre for the Mobilization of Stakeholders of the University of Abuja. He is the founder, Centre for Critical Thinking and Resourceful Research in Africa ( devoted to African Self-understanding.He has 30 years teaching experience in Nigeria, Zimbabwe and The Gambia. Formerly, Visiting Scholar, University of South Africa (2005); Visiting Associate Professor, Great Zimbabwe University, Masvingo-Zimbabwe (2014); Fellow: Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities (IASH), University of Edinburgh (2021); Visiting Scholar Centre of African Studies,  University of Cambridge (2023); Fellow: Multidisciplinary Environmental Studies in Humanities (MESH), University of Cologne, Germany(2023). Professor Ugwuanyi has 60 academic publications. He is published in South African Journal of PhilosophyReligionsTheoriaSouthern Journal of PhilosophyAfrican and Asian Studies and Revista de Estudios Africanos. His research seeks to uncover, discover and recover the relevance and autonomy of African thought scheme and he brings this to engage issues of environment; humour, ethics and modernity.

Thursday, 11th July, 18:00.

Prof. Dr. Yohei Kageyama, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan: „Kitaro Nishida with and against the Openness of the Phenomenological Concept of the World. Pure Experience, Place, Dialectical Universal.“Hybrid (Keplerstr. 2, rm. 003; online).



Throughout his philosophical career, Kitaro Nishida tackled the philosophical concept of the “world”. The world is not just one of the themes Nishida discussed but is the milestone for his entire philosophical system from the early to the late period, as he characterized his fundamental concepts of “pure experience”, “place” and “dialectical universal” respectively as the “world”.


In the context of intercultural philosophy, Klaus Held (1995/1997) argued that ”openness” as the most fundamental feature of the phenomenological concept of the “world” is comparable to an East-Asian concept of “emptiness (Ku)”, since both concepts refer to what gives space for all entities to appear in the experience. Acknowledging Held’s argument, in this presentation, I will still analyze and highlight the unique character of “openness” in Nishida’s concepts of the world, which does not “withdraw (entzieht)” itself like the phenomenological world but instead “mirrors” all entities. This character permeates and expresses itself in each phase of Nishida’s thinking.


  1. Early Philosophy of “Pure Experience”: The all-encompassing reality of pure experience accommodates and gives space for the infinite becoming of new moments in experience.
  1. Middle Philosophy of “Place (basyo)”: The primordial facticity of intentional experience is itself considered to be the “place” that “mirrors” and provides space for subjective consciousness and its objective correlates. Unlike Heidegger’s concept of the world, this “place” does not “withdraw” itself from entities.
  1. Late Philosophy of “Dialectical Universal”: Nishida unifies and comprehends the facticity of “place” and countless historical entities in their inseparability, like two sides of the same coin. This results in a unique understanding of the “openness” of the historical world that Nishida calls “eschatology,” which fundamentally differs from phenomenological concepts of historical turn, such as Heidegger’s “other beginning.”


Short Bio:

Yohei Kageyama is a professor at Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan. He first trained in phenomenology in Tokyo and Wuppertal. Having published several articles primarily on Heidegger, as well as on French phenomenology and Hegel, he began studying the history of modern Japanese philosophy. His overall research interests include phenomenological ontology and the history of contemporary philosophy, focusing on the historical plurality of phenomenological experience. From 2019 to 2021, he served as a member of an international research project, “Becoming of Philosophy in East-Asia,” at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto (Hosei University, 2022). In Heidegger studies, he is an editorial member of The Heidegger Handbook in Japan (Showa-do, 2021) and has collaborated with U.S. and European scholars to explore the literary resonance of Heidegger in various cultures worldwide (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021). Since 2022, he has been working with scholars from China (Mainland, Taiwan), Korea, the Philippines, and Iran for the Heidegger Circle in Asia, which will also take place this year in Rome. His book, Introduction to Philosophy Beginning with Questions, was translated into Korean (Kobun-sha, 2021/Munyechunchusa, 2022). He is currently staying in Coventry, U.K., as a visiting professor at the University of Warwick.


Wednesday, 24th July, 6 pm CEST

Prof. Dr. Arturo Escobar, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA: "Relationality, pluriversality, and care as foundations for ecosocial transitions."


Arturo Escobar

Professor of Anthropology Emeritus

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA


The conceptual ensemble of rationality, pluriversality and care is emerging as

a powerful gathering narrative for civilizational transitions against terricidio (terricide) and as the foundation for an ethical and political praxis towards new visions of the human, life, and the world. The presentation discusses trends associated with these concepts, highlighting new narratives of life being crafted at the interface of Latin American territorial struggles and critical academic work.




Los Angeles 10:00 AM

Sao Paulo 14:00 PM

Germany 7:00 PM

India 10:30 AM