-February, 8th, 7pm (CET)
Prof. Dr. María Jimena Solé, University of Buenos Aires: “The Early Reception of Fichte in Latin America: Juan Bautista Alberdi”
In 1837, Juan Bautista Alberdi (1810-1884), one of the most relevant Argentine thinkers of his generation, inaugurated the reception of Fichte in Latin American territory. Alberdi mentions Fichte in a note at the end of his Preliminary Fragment to the Study of Law and again, a few years later, in a brief programmatic writing entitled “Ideas to Preside over the Preparation of the Course of Contemporary Philosophy”. I will argue that despite the geographical distance and cultural differences that set them apart, it is possible to find a deep affinity between Fichte’s and Alberdi’s positions and thoughts. Sharing an affinity to a philosophy of history based on the idea of progress, both made freedom the central theme of their meditations and attributed philosophy an emancipating role. Thus, concentrating on some passages of the two works in which Alberdi mentions Fichte and on other writings produced around the same time, my proposal is to find Fichte’s spirit in the letter of this young Argentinean thinker.
-March 8th, 7 pm (CET)
Dr. Gabriele Münnix-Osthoff, Münster/Innsbruck, Präsidentin der Association Internationale des Professeurs de Philosophie: „Is Intercultural Communication Possible? On the Difficulty of Adequate Trans-Lations.“
Normally most people tend to assume that communication between representatives of different cultures and mothertongues can work by translations programmes that are getting better and better nowadays. Professional translators no longer seem to be necessary.
But there are intranslatables, and very basic structual linguistic difficulties, especially if we move out of the area of the so-called Standard Average European languages. Regarding African and Asian languages, for instance, there seems to be no universal grammar, but thinking is very much imprinted by the structures of languages which incorporate world views that remain hidden to us if we hold our own structures to be universal. Between Humboldt and Whorf, Chomsky and Quine different language philosophies are traced. Is there a way between universalism and relativism?
In this lecture languages are seen as different perspectives of seeing the world, and in order to improve intercultural understanding, one should not rely on interpretors or translation programmes which deliver ready made transformations into the world of our own own language structures. This does not prevent language imperialisms and the conviction that our own way of thinking and speaking is universal. Rather should one strive to know more about other possibilities of seeing the world in other languages, in order to complete one’s own views. Intercultural communication can only be succesfull if other ways of seing the world are not leveled and neglected, but respected and seriously taken into account.
Dr. Gabriele Osthoff-Münnix is president of the Association Internationale des Professeurs de Philosophie (AIPPh) and in the board of SIP. After having taught at Münster university (Germany)and Innsbruck university (Austria) she is now author of philosophical books, such als „Trans-Late. Language Diversity and Intercultural Hemeneutics“ (Alber Freiburg 2017).
-April 19th, 7:30pm (CET)
Prof. Dr. Edwin Etieyibo (Department of Philosophy, School of Social Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa)
The Marriage of the ‘I’ and ’We’
Depending on who and what is being married, marriage can be an important event and a beautiful thing. William Blake, one of the foremost Romantic poets is famous in the book, “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” for attempting to marry the “energetic creators” (hell) and the “rational organizers” (heaven) in a unified vision of the cosmos. In this talk, and inspired by Blake, I aim to preside over the marriage of the “I” or an I mode of being and a “We” or a We mode of being — a marriage that is fostered by some of the elements of social contract theory which, I argue, provide for the possibility of a rational self in community. Because this marriage attempts to demonstrate the prospect of a union of individualism (a predominantly Western/liberal ontological outlook) and non-individualism (a predominantly non-Western/communalistic ontological outlook), it potentially positions itself as a self-effacing and commune-inducing worldview that could be deployed to resolve the renowned and notorious dispute between radical communitarianism and moderate communitarianism.
-July 19, 7 pm CEST (=UTC + 2), Tuesday
Dr. Adoulou N. Bitang, Harvard University: «Muntu in Crisis and the Critique of (Western) Philosophy»
Abstract: Published in 1977 (but translated into English only in 2014), Muntu in Crisis is undoubtedly Fabien Eboussi Boulaga’s most famous philosophical essay. As such, it has had a long-lasting influence on debates on African philosophy, especially in the 1980s. One of Eboussi Boulaga’s main theses in this book is that “philosophy is an attribute of power,” and in particular of Western power, which must be put at the service of African emancipation. The author argues that this is only possible through the transfunctionalization of philosophy, i.e., the process by which this discipline is brought to signify elsewhere and differently. Therefore, the Muntu’s effort to submit (Western) philosophy to their needs, requires in the first place the critique of this discipline, by which it must be cured of its domination content when it comes to its relationship with the indigenous, the subjugated and the colonized. The entire Muntu in Crisis can thus be considered as Eboussi Boulaga’s own attempt to engage the critique of (Western) philosophy.
I would like, on the one hand, to show how, i.e., under which categories, this enterprise is conducted by the author. On the other hand, I am interested in questioning the results obtained by the book from the perspective of what I am entitled to consider the methodological standpoints of Eboussi Boulaga’s reflection.