INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR HERMENEUTICS
INSTITUT INTERNATIONAL D'HERMÉNEUTIQUE
Prof. Dr. Dr. Prof. h. c. Andrzej Wierciński, President, University of Warsaw
December 24, 2021
Dear Friends, Esteemed Colleagues, and Professores honoris causa of the International Institute for Hermeneutics,
Hans-Georg Gadamer, the hermeneutician par excellence and the Honorary Member of the IIH, coined the expression “hermeneutics in enactment” (Hermeneutik im Vollzug). Bringing together the world-class scholars in philosophy, theology, literature, architecture, education, law, and medicine, should help us to understand what needs to be understood in its Wirkungsgeschichte and honor great minds of intellectual history by our thinking (Heidegger’s “einen Denker achten wir nur, indem wir denken.”).
In the spirit of our mission, International Institute for Hermeneutics continues to be an innovative new form of academic collaboration. Founded upon the recognition of a legitimate diversity of modes of human thinking, we strive to welcome different voices and be attuned to what is said and unsaid. Communication technology is at the heart of the IIH's methodology. We use it intensively, turning the IIH into a virtual piazza globale, where scholars from all cultural, linguistic, professional, and religious backgrounds converse freely with each other on the subjects that make us all scholars.
The International Institute for Hermeneutics has successfully completed twenty years of service to the international community of scholars interested in hermeneutics. This anniversary gives us a welcomed opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude for all our patrons. The original idea of creating an international platform for communication among scholars of hermeneutics beyond the established academic formulas proved to be very fruitful. Responding to the transformation of the idea of international academic collaboration as caused by the rapid changes of the digital culture, the IIH is a truly virtual community where all hermeneutic voices are welcomed and taken seriously in the spirit of hermeneutic hospitality. We are convinced our hermeneutic work is already a reward in itself.
The main measurable success of the IIH apart from organizing congresses, conferences, workshops, seminars, and Summer Schools is in the area of publishing. Analecta Hermeneutica, a journal of the IIH, has been published since 2009. We can look back at the issues with the sense of accomplishment. I would like to express my gratitude to Prof. Dr. Dr. Sean McGrath, Memorial University of Newfoundland, who was instrumental in this successful endeavor. From the current issue, the journal will be edited by Prof. Dr. Ramsey Eric Ramsey and hosted on our new Website. The internal editorial change should not be considered as the rapture but a continuation of our efforts to offer the possibility of an engaged discussion on phenomenological hermeneutics at the international level.
International Studies in Hermeneutics and Phenomenology at LIT Verlag is a series that foster the dialogue between hermeneutics and phenomenology. The description of lived experience and interpretation generates shared meaning through the fusion of horizons belong together. Promoting international cooperation in the philosophical traditions of phenomenology and hermeneutics, we offer the platform for sharing innovative research on the infinite task of interpretation in the spirit of hermeneutic hospitality.
Hermeneutics in Enactment: International Research in Hermeneutics and Phenomenology is a series of publications at Brill International that discloses the interpretive nature of understanding as the mode of being a human being in the world. By contrast with the prevailing compartmentalization, specialization, acquisition, and distribution of knowledge in academia and society, hermeneutics empowers us to interpret the totality of dwelling in the world. Deciphering what needs to be understood, instead of merely setting out the conditions and following rules of interpretation, reveals the indispensability of hermeneutics and phenomenology, as well as the significance of thinking and living as the community within challenging contexts. The contributors to the series are seriously engaged in critical and constructive conversation among different academic disciplines, predominantly, philosophy, theology, education, literature, law, medicine, and architecture. The interpretive nature of understanding requires the hermeneutic ear to hear the polyphony of voices that expresses lingual mode of being in the world. Since the “language speaks,” (die Sprache spricht) our task is to listen to this voice and respond to it. The productive tension between listening and responding calls for an understanding of being a human being as existentia hermeneutica, i.e., existentia interpretativa. As such, our life is a hermeneutic practice of un-covering (ἀ-λήθεια, Ver-bergung/Ent-bergung) the reality we live in. Thus, by doing hermeneutics, we hope to contribute to the wellbeing of individuals, societies, and the world as caring stewards called to authentic life, commitment, and responsibility.
To pay tribute to outstanding accomplishments of our colleagues to artes liberales, IIH conferred the award of Profesor honoris causa to particularly achieved and internationally recognized scholars. In the 20 years of international and interdisciplinary collaboration, we have become a significant voice regarding the scholarship on phenomenologically oriented hermeneutic philosophy. We want to build an elite circle of Honorary professors to facilitate even closer and more intense collaboration between different disciplines. The newly awarded Professores honoris cuasa are honored for their exceptional intellectual acuity and advancing the culture of thinking, inventiveness, and originality in contemporary academia. Acknowledging the outstanding contributions to the interpretive approach to our being-in-the-world as being-with-others, we build together Agora Hermeneutica, an eminent circle of world-class scholars in philosophy, theology, literature, architecture, education, law, and medicine. The newly appointed Honorary Professors are hosts and guests in our Agora Hermeneutica. We want to work together and bring our perspectives into the subjects we discuss as the world community in the rapidly shrinking piazza globale. The international society becomes increasingly conflicted and polarized. Many excellent academics retire to the private sphere. Agora Hermeneutica wishes to be the hermeneutic home to all of us, who are seriously engaged in contributing to the academic culture. We want to participate in the continuing process of sharing life and shaping the world we live in.
With profound gratitude and overwhelming joy, I address you and welcome you to this prestigious circle at the International Institute for Hermeneutics. Your kind acceptance of the honor of Profesor honoris causa expresses the importance of the interpretive approach to reality. We take the urgency of thinking in this difficult time seriously and with a sense of radical responsibility for the world we live in. As a genuinely heterogeneous community, we represent different academic approaches, races, nationalities, religions, and political beliefs. We understand tolerance in every aspect of our life, not only as a patient acknowledgment of differences but as an active and welcoming gesture of hermeneutic hospitality toward the Other and otherness. The cordial gesture of the handshake (δεξίωσις, dextrarum iunctio), the touch of which we have been largely deprived of during the pandemic, reminds us constantly that there is always a possible path to the hearts of others.
The award of Professor honoris causa at the IIH acknowledges your unique, outstanding, and internationally acclaimed individual accomplishments. On the other hand, the community of internationally and interdisciplinarily respected colleagues endorses the esteem of the honorary title. We understand that only together, in a communio, a union in diversity (in varietate concordia), we can be salt of the earth and light of the world: τὸ ἅλας τῆς γῆς; τὸ φῶς τοῦ κόσμου (Mt 5,13–14).
Czesław Miłosz, my compatriot, a Nobel Preiss Laureate (1980), and Professor of Literature at the University of California at Berkley, expressed congenially inner conflicts we have to deal with while struggling with our personal identity. When I had the pleasure to work with him at the University of California in 1992-1993, he particularly liked my expression, “the confusion of voices”; a confusion which is not to be overcome or suffocated but heroically discovered, faced, and lived.
R E P O RT
O Most High, you willed to create me a poet and now it is time for me to present a report.
My heart is full of gratitude though I got acquainted with the miseries of that profession.
By practicing it, we learn too much about the bizarre nature of man.
Who, every hour, every day and every year is possessed by self-delusion.
A self-delusion when building sandcastles, collecting postage stamps, admiring oneself in a mirror.
Assigning oneself first place in sport, power, love, and the getting of money.
All the while on the very border, on the fragile border beyond which there is a province of mumblings and wails.
For in every one of us a mad rabbit thrashes and a wolf pack howls, so that we are afraid it will be heard by others.
Out of self-delusion comes poetry and poetry confesses to its flaw.
Though only by remembering poems once written is their author able to see the whole shame of it.
And yet he cannot bear another poet nearby, if he suspects him of being better than himself and envies him every scrap of praise.
Ready not only to kill him but smash him and obliterate him from the surface of the earth.
So that he remains alone, magnanimous and kind toward his subjects, who chase after their small self-delusions.
How does it happen then that such low beginnings lead to the splendor of the word?
I gathered books of poets from various countries, now I sit reading them and am astonished.
It is sweet to think that I was a companion in an expedition that never ceases, though centuries pass away.
An expedition not in search of the golden fleece of a perfect form but as necessary as love.
Under the compulsion of the desire for the essence of the oak, of the mountain peak, of the wasp and of the flower of nasturtium.
So that they last, and confirm our hymnic song against death.
And our tender thought about all who lived, strived, and never succeeded in naming.
For to exist on the earth is beyond any power to name.
Fraternally, we help each other, forgetting our grievances, translating each other into other tongues, members, indeed, of a wandering crew.
How then could I not be grateful, if early I was called and the incomprehensible contradiction has not diminished my wonder?
At every sunrise I renounce the doubts of night and greet the new day of a most precious delusion.
Czesław Miłosz, New and Collected Poems (1931-2001), trans. Czesław Miłosz and Robert Hass (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 589-590.
In our eminent circle of Profesores honoris causa at the IIH, we wish to give a testimony to the truly global, interdisciplinary, comprehensive approach to the world we live in without suffocating the voices that are very different or even contradictory to our own. Many of the nominees expressed, along with their gracious acceptance, a sense of wondering about the importance of their contributions, similarly to Miłosz’s humble confession. The meaning of the distinction and the meaning of hermeneutics as engaged with understanding in its broad sense expresses understanding Agora Hermeneutica as a community of distinguished scholars whose key contributions are varied and diverse.
I wish our hermeneutic community that, as existentia hermeneutica, we keep sharpening our concentration of attention to everything which calls for understanding.
The following citations are still work in progress and are result of our collaborative approach, which is distinct to our working together in the IIH.
Prof. Dr. Olivier Abel, University of Montpellier, France
Olivier Abel is Professor of Philosophy, University of Montpellier
Prof. Dr. Mariflor Aguilar, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Mexico
Mariflor Aguilar Rivero is Professor of Philosophy at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). She has been in charge of determinant seminars in Mexico, such as Hermeneutics and Critical Theory, Identity Construction, and Dialogue and Violence. In her extensive teaching and research, she established, guided, and provided new perspectives to studies on Structuralism and Subjectivity, Hermeneutics and Critical Theory, and Marxism, Feminism, and Psychoanalysis. In the 1990s, she presented a research synthesis of epistemic, social, and philosophical possibilities to bring together critical discourses with hermeneutics. Her solid and singular research line is the culmination of her work, which is understood in some other latitudes as critical hermeneutics. She educated a significant number of philosophers in the country, many of whom are now prominent University Professors and Researchers on Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2011, she was recognized with the Humanities Teacher Prize from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
Mariflor Aguilar Rivero continues to move forward with her hermeneutic studies. She endorses an articulation of hermeneutic theory with the poststructuralist theory of subjectivity. She opens up a new research line about present society, such as her listening theory, feminist hermeneutics, rethinking “political resistance,” i.e., her work about the rich and complex meaning of communities that remain or fight to do so in their territories. Her current research marks a turn toward social sciences (a return, to be more accurate, because the hermeneutic period of Aguilar is clearly marked for this tension between critics, understood as a social process, and hermeneutics), and toward the desire of turning it into a reflexive tool to allow going beyond theoretical problems and philosophical concepts to link up with and reliably direct social practices. As a result of a long reflection about Gadamerian hermeneutics from an ethic-political perspective, she contributes to this field with the notion of the condition of alterity, which explains why it is necessary to think about dialogic rationality to give an account of human understanding. She interprets the seminal Gadamerian notion of the fusion of horizons, not as two horizons that join together in one, but on the contrary, as a movement resulting in the construction of difference. She is a pioneer, as well, in hermeneutical and political studies in listening. She considers the phenomenon of listening a unique challenge for feminist movements, as democratic education should be concerned with educating people to listen. She develops the notion of the dialogue of listening, which provides a different way of being connected with the interlocutor.
Prof. Dr. Nicole Anderson, Arizona State University, USA
Nicole Anderson is Professor of English and Director of Institute of Humanities Research at Arizona State University. Her research specializes in cultural and media studies, and philosophy. She currently holds the position of Director of the Institute of Humanities Research at Arizona State University after severing for seven years as the Head of the Department of Media, Communications, Creative Arts, Language and Literature at Macquarie University.
Anderson’s work focuses on the relation of the humanities in all its various incarnations and practices to questions of how we come to understand ourselves. Anderson is the founding editor of the philosophy journal: Derrida Today published by Edinburgh University Press since 2008. In addition, she is the Executive Director of Derrida Today International Conference P/L, a forum for academics from around the world to discuss and apply the thinking of Derrida to contemporary world events and issues.
Prof. Dr. Babette Babich, Fordham University, USA
Babette Babich is Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University, The Jesuit University of New York, is a philosopher of science and aesthetics. Her work explores Nietzsche’s thought as a radicalization of Kantian critique. Significantly, she draws attention to Nietzsche’s philological contributions (on Pre-Platonic thought, his rhythmic and musical theory of tragedy, along with an account of his mocking, parodic Übermensch). In addition to Günther Anders on the transhuman, including broadcast media and nuclear violence, she writes on Heidegger’s philosophy of technology, Hölderlin and aether, silence and National Socialism, and Heidegger’s ethics of solicitude/assistance. Criticizing the editorial decision to re-order Heidegger’s plan for his Beiträge, she has made the case for reading the Black Notebooks as programmatic ‘Nachlass.’ In addition to writing on Nietzsche and sculpture, she has explored the natural history of life-size bronzes, including the physiology of aesthetic/material interaction. She also thematizes philosophical stylistics, especially in reading Nietzsche, Heidegger, Adorno, and Anders. In addition to writing on the digital transformation of music (Leonard Cohen and k.d.lang), she also writes on male and female desire and the culture industry. Adding to her writing on women in philosophy, she has also highlighted the tendency of analytic style philosophy to disqualify traditionally continental approaches by designating analytic approaches ‘continental’ and classifying just these as superior.
Prof. Dr. Jeffrey Andrew Barash, Université de Picardie, France
Jeffrey Andrew Barash is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Amiens, France. He obtained his doctorate at the University of Chicago and his Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches en Philosophie at the University of Paris Ouest–Nanterre. He has taught as a guest professor at the University of Hamburg and Boston College. He has served as Mellon Fellow at the Society of Fellows in Humanities at Columbia University, Humboldt Fellow at the University of Bielefeld, Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute, Max-Planck Fellow at the University of Konstanz, and Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. His publications have focused on the themes of collective memory and its modern articulations, political philosophy, historicism, and modern German thought. He is the author of several books: Heidegger et son siècle. Temps de l'Être, temps de l'histoire (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1995), Martin Heidegger and the Problem of Historical Meaning (second, paperback edition, New York: Fordham University Press, 2003), and Politiques de l'histoire. L'historicisme comme promesse et comme mythe (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2004). His most recent book, Collective Memory and the Historical Past, was published by the University of Chicago Press in November 2016. He has also edited a book entitled, The Social Construction of Reality: The Legacy of Ernst Cassirer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008). Jeffrey Andrew Barash is preparing a new work at present on philosophical theories of political myth in relation to recent developments in the mass media.
Prof. Dr. Damir Barbarić, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Damir Barbarić is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Zagreb. A large part of his works, written in Croatian, is hardly accessible to the international public due to the language barrier. However, his works written and published in German give us a great insight into Barbarić's philosophy, which is methodically committed to philosophical hermeneutics. As far as the content is concerned, there is a certain difference from Gadamer, which approaches the direction of the late Heidegger. Gadamer’s approach of the universality of hermeneutics, which is based on the potential universality of language, whereby language is understood as the infinite conversation founded in reason (logos) and simultaneously as the representation of the world as such, seems to Barbaric to disregard the key question posed by Heidegger about the interruption in the ability to speak (Sprachnot) as well as the related question of the momentary instant (Augenblick) of the sudden and unmediated transition as the abysmal essence of becoming.
As in Barbarić’s book Aneignung der Welt. Heidegger–Gadamer–Fink (2007) elaborated, Heidegger's fundamental insight into the never complete transparency, comprehensibility, and lightness of being itself has been avoided in Gadamer’s work. Therefore, in his own hermeneutical considerations, Barbarić follows Heidegger's suggestion that every openness (Lichtung), and that means every understanding and cognition, is actually an openness for self-concealment, whereby the emphasis of philosophical consideration should be placed on concealment, withdrawal, delay, and refusal as the basic trait of being–that is, on its own inner negativity and the inner essential historicity (Geschichtlichkeit) that arises from it. In this context, Barbarić’s philosophical work could conditionally be viewed as a systematic, step-by-step destruction of the entire philosophical tradition, above all the ontological one, where “destruction” should be understood with Heidegger as the appropriation and transformation of what has been handed down. (The, at least partially systematic, draft exposed in the treatise Anblick, Augenblick, Blitz (1999) has until today not yet been pursued.)
On the path of such transformative appropriation, Heidegger’s philosophy is interpreted in the book Zum anderen Anfang (2016) starting from the basic assumption of the dynamically conceived nothingness of being itself, not least with the help of the discussion of the relationship between this essential approach and the related views of Aristotle and Leibniz, but also that of Klee and Hölderlin. In the book Im Angesicht des Unendlichen (2011) the ontological foundations of Nietzsche’s radical critique of the metaphysics, including all of its manifestations, are presented, starting from the basic idea that guides the whole of Nietzsche's work: the idea of the infinite, that is inherent in all becoming, but for the human being remains forever inaccessible, and that means inconceivable, unthinkable and ineffable. In the most recently published book Die große Dißonanz, mit der alles anfängt (2021), the central themes of Schelling's philosophy, above all the ontological dualism of principles and the ecstasy of mind and finally the theory of potencies, are interpreted against the background of Schelling’s basic assumption of “being able to be” (Seinkönnen) conceived as really existing negativity.
Barbarić’s basic hermeneutic conviction that whatever we may think about, we always and inevitably think within the scope of tradition, and that many, if not almost all, philosophical topics and questions of the present are only possible by way of constant confrontation with the whole of the history of philosophy. We may hope for a solution, but always only provisional and temporary one. Much of the recent and most hotly debated philosophical discussion is actually due to the inadequate consideration of the basic texts of the great thinkers, which are mistakenly viewed as gone in the past. This makes the basic structure of his most comprehensive book written in German under the title Wiederholungen (2015) a compelling corrective. There, Barbarić deliberately and explicitly renounces any general theses-like conclusion drawn from the interpretations presented and any self-confidently established own view, the so-called own position. Instead, the emphasis is placed on the as close as possible to the text repeating, that is, appropriating interpretation of the selected topics considered central by the classical thinkers, from the early Greek to the modern and contemporary, from Heraclitus to Gadamer. The interpretations are put forward under the leading assumption that was expressed both in Hegel and, after him, in Heidegger’s view, namely, first that the history of philosophy has to do not with the past, but with the eternal and absolutely present, and second that the inexhaustible beginning that is preserved in the historically past (Gewesenheit) can only in repetition and as repetition (Wiederholung) be brought into the present for a new arrival.
On the same philosophical track, Barbarić continues to deal intensively with Greek philosophy, especially with Plato, for example in the books Annäherungen an Platon (2009) and Chora. Über das zweite Prinzip Platons (2015), as well as in the Croatian book on the politics of the Platonic Nomoi (1986; second, expanded edition 2009) as well as in the translation of Books VI. and VII. of Plato's Politeia (1991) and of Timaios (2017), which are both provided with extensive philological and philosophical commentaries. The eminently hermeneutical questions of art and especially of language are also among the subjects that have always preoccupied him. Partly due to the previously published individual interpretations of the Platonic Kratylos and the Aristotelian De interpretatione, as well as of the conception of language in Gadamer, Heidegger, Fichte, and Wilhelm von Humboldt, he tried to lay the foundation for a more systematic discussion of language in the book Die Sprache der Philosophie (2011).
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Mauricio Beuchot, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Mexico
Mauricio Beuchot is Professor of Philosophy, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Judith Butler, University of California Berkeley, USA
Judith Butler is Professor of comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley and holds the Hannah Arendt Chair in philosophy at the European Graduate School. She received a PhD at Yale University in 1984 where her dissertation focused on the relationship between Hegel, phenomenology, and the Frankfurt School. Professor Butler began to receive international acclaim with the publication of Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity in 1990. This text is recognized for its sophisticated questioning of hegemonic concepts within the philosophical and feminist traditions, particularly the essentialist views of sex, gender, and sexuality. Gender Trouble elegantly displaces the notion of a unitary “feminine” experience. Rather, gendered behavior is a violent imposition by external forces of control. It has since been lauded as one of the canonical texts launching the third wave of feminism that understands gender to be an artifact of its historical and cultural environments.
Her recent writings in political theory show a potent influence by her studies of subjectivation. Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly (2015) coalesced Butler’s ideas about the individuality of lived experience with an articulation of the multiplicitous nature of a political movement. It casts light on the forms of power and potentiality garnered by a gathering and coordination of bodies. While her early writings on gender and performativity are deeply impactful, they are by no means the entirety of her philosophical project. These are an expression of Butler’s larger work focused on exposing the politics of inclusion and exclusion, the production of marginality, and giving representation to diverse forms of life. This has given her cause to study a variety of questions ranging from her 2000 publication Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death, to Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? (2009), and Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (2012).
Butler’s theoretical writings have long been accompanied by her political, public engagement. She has been active with several human rights organizations, including the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York and the advisory board of Jewish Voice for Peace. Butler has been featured and cited by others in prominent new outlets such as The New York Times and The Guardian. She has received 12 honorary degrees from academic institutions, including the Université Paris-VII and the Universidad de Guadalajara.
Butler was conferred the Hermes Award from the International Institute for Hermeneutics in 2004 and 2020. She has advanced greatly the overtly political potential of the interpretive arts. Moreover, Butler’s work as an interdisciplinary theorist echoes the timeless hermeneutic insight that we are always already within, between, and encompassing the interpretations of our day.
Prof. Dr. Andrzej Ignacy Bronk, JP II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland
Andrzej Ignacy Bronk (born 1938 in Sopot) is Professor Emeritus in Phiulosophy at John Paul II Catholic University in Lublin. He studied philosophy and theology at the Divine Word Seminary in Pieniężno, where he was ordained in 1963 as the member of the Missionary Society of the Divine Word. In 1965 he started to study philosophy at the Catholic University in Lublin, where he made his M.A. degree in philosophy in 1968 (Rozstrzygalność założeń fizyki teoretycznej [w związku z koncepcją sprawdzalności Henryka Mehlberga], (The Decidability of the Principles of Theoretical Physics [In the Context of H. Mehlberg's Notion of Verifiability]) and doctor degree in 1971 (Język etnologii na przykładzie teorii religii Wilhelma Schmidta [studium metodologiczne], (The Language of Ethnology. A Methodological Study of Wilhelm Schmidt's Theory of Religion, 1974); he became in 1968 professor of philosophy at the Divine Word Seminary; in 1973 he started as an assistant at the Chair of Methodology of Science, Catholic University in Lublin; in the years 1976/7 and 1978 he studied in Germany (Hegel-Archiv-Bochum) as the holder of the scholarship of the Humboldt-Stiftung; he made his habilitation in 1982 (Rozumienie - dzieje - język. Filozoficzna hermeneutyka H.-G. Gadamera [Understanding - History - Language. The philosophical Hermeneutics of H.-G. Gadamer, 1982 and 1988] and became the associated professor KUL; since 1986 he was the director of the chair for the Methodology of Science KUL and since 1997 a full professor KUL. In 2009 the member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences in Kraków. He is the author of the book Zrozumieć świat współczesny, Understanding the Contemporary World (1998), Miscellanea Methodologica (together with S. Majdański, 2020) and the editor of several collective works, including Filozofować dziś. From research on the latest philosophy (1995) and author of approx. 170 articles, a number of reviews, entries and books translations. The monograph Foundations of the Study of Religion(s) [1996, 2003, 2009] discusses the epistemological presuppositions of the study of religious phenomena and the methodological status of the study of religion(s) [religious studies] called also religiology or Religionswissenschaft. It serves as a textbook at some Polish religious studies departments in Poland.
Prof. Dr. John D. Caputo, Syracuse University, USA
John D. Caputo is the Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion Emeritus at Syracuse University and the David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Villanova University. His work has been performed exuberantly at the crossroads of philosophy and theology. Having reservations about fixed disciplinary and institutional boundaries, he manages to combine hermeneutics with deconstruction, post-modernism with post-secularism, the critique of onto-theology with radical ethical-political motifs. He is the inventor of “radical hermeneutics,” “poetics of obligation,” “religion without religion,” “the weakness of God,” or “a theology of the event.”
In the past, he was mainly preoccupied with the landmark idea of “radical hermeneutics” (Radical Hermeneutics, 1987; More Radical Hermeneutics, 2000). Caputo encouraged us to treat hermeneutics as a radical anti-metaphysical work that goes all the way down and restores the original difficulty of life. As such, it has significant ethical (Against Ethics, 1993), political (Demythologizing Heidegger, 1993), and theological (The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida, 1997) implications. A crucial role in bringing out these radical elements plays Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction. Caputo discusses it in the acclaimed book under the brilliantly aporetic title Deconstruction in a Nutshell (1997).
More recently, he has been increasingly interested in post-modern or post-secular theology. His groundbreaking concept of “the weakness of God” turns against the God of authority and sovereign omnipotence. It originates from St. Paul but develops in conversation with Derrida, Gianni Vattimo, Walter Benjamin, and Slavoj Žižek. God’s weakness means that we do not know the proper name of God. We do not know who or what we love when we love our God. Rather than an ultimate being, God is an event: something emergent, im/possible, undecidable, sacred anarchy if you wish. Being an unconditional call or provocation for radical hospitality, it calls for “a theology of the event,” “a theology of perhaps,” “a theology of unconditional,” or “a theology of difficult glory” (The Weakness of God, 2006; The Insistence of God, 2013; The Folly of God, 2015; Cross and Cosmos, 2019). This approach derives from radical hermeneutics and contaminates it with some radical ethical-political thoughts against the sovereign power, on the one hand, and in favor of the weak (refugees, stateless people, et cetera), on the other. Such is the way of life we are ex-posed to by The New Testament (In Search of Radical Theology, 2020).
Loosening philosophy’s tongue and pushing the limits of academia looms large in Caputo’s work. This approach has yielded brilliantly written, popular books such as On Religion (2001), How to Read Kierkegaard? (2007), What Would Jesus Deconstruct? (2007), Truth (2014), or Hermeneutics: Facts and Interpretation in the Age of Information (2018). The latter is a must-read for two reasons. First, it deals with the history of modern and post-modern hermeneutics in a comprehensible way. Second, it tells us how to practice hermeneutics in the contemporary (more and more “post-human”) world. Another example of Caputo’s indifferent attitude to disciplinary differences is his quasi-autobiographical Hoping against Hope (2015).
Prof. Dr. Chung-ying Cheng, University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA
Chung-ying Cheng is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Over the last fifty years, he has developed a theory of human existence in the light of an onto-cosmological theory, comprehensive observation, and reflection on the nature of change in both the cosmos and world. These insights are derived from classical Chinese philosophy rooted in the tradition of “the Book of Changes” (Yijing易经).
Cheng’s theory of human existence has two dimensions: First, a concept of reality that accounts for creative formation and transformation of all things in both nature and the world. This is evident in the binary system of being and non-being, yang and yin in the Yijing. Second, his theory includes an explanation of how human existence participates in the creativity and vitality of the cosmos. This entails a capacity to understand the world, to create symbols, language, and texts for every civilization, and thus, allows for the formation of new understandings and new interpretations of things and events in the world. Toward that end, he introduces a concept of the human self and the human mind that has the ability to access and construct several categories of understanding in different and yet related fields of concreteness and abstraction.
Cheng develops ten primary categories of human understanding: internality, externality, internal transcendence, external transcendence, unity of the internal and external, unity of internal and external transcendence (to be called in Chinese “chaorong超融” or transcendental integration), the telos, the root, the periodic laws of bodily life, and the ultimate creativity. These categories refer to the process by which the human person integrates epistemology and hermeneutics from within the structure of onto-cosmology. Hermeneutics is thereby rendered significant to every language, culture and, tradition and applicable to various undertakings, including translation and comparative philosophy.
Concerning comparative philosophy, and particularly comparisons between classical Chinese philosophy and Western philosophy, Cheng expands hermeneutics beyond Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger, and Gadamer to include onto-cosmological foundations that he believes they presuppose.
Prof. Dr. Nicholas Davey, University of Dundee, UK
Nicholas Davey is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dundee. His career as a hermeneutics scholar was initiated by Prof. Gordon Leff (University of York) and Prof. Peter Rickman (City University, London) both of the British School of Historical Hermeneutics. His teaching and research in hermeneutics then took a different direction and had two principal aspects: (1) philosophical research into hermeneutic thinking and (2) the application of hermeneutic stratagems in aesthetic education. (1) had three strands: (a) publications exploring the hermeneutic dimensions of Nietzsche’s philosophy of interpretation; (b) publications focusing on the nature and implications of hermeneutic approaches to aesthetics, and (c ) publications attending to the possibility of using hermeneutic language-ontology as the basis of a non-metaphysical philosophy of inter-active relations. Regarding (2), the practical application of his teaching and research culminated in the development of two pioneering undergraduate degree programs which centered on developing dialogical approaches to art practice: the ‘Art and Aesthetics’ Undergraduate Program at the University of Wales, Cardiff and the ‘Art and Contemporary Practices Program’ at the University of Dundee. Both programmes placed hermeneutic dialogue at the centre of their pedagogy and shifted all assessment to dialogical exchange. In addition, he extended his hermeneutic research into theories of tolerance, conceptualizing the nature of borders, and exploring the nature of an inter-active epistemology of relations.
Prof. Dr. James DiCenso, University of Toronto, Canada
James DiCenso is Professor in the Philosophy of Religion at the University of Toronto. His early work focused on Continental thought and hermeneutical theory. His approach to hermeneutics has always been twofold, as both a set of principles and sensibilities supporting close textual work, and as addressing the roles of language, communication, and traditions in individual and cultural formation. His first book, Hermeneutics and the Disclosure of Truth: A Study in the Work of Heidegger, Gadamer, and Ricoeur (1990), argued for an approach to truth that attends to the linguistic, interpretive, and historical features of experience. It further argued that both Gadamer and Ricoeur extended and modified the disclosure approach to truth formulated by Heidegger. Subsequently, DiCenso applied hermeneutical principles to the study of Freud, drawing as well on the theories of language and the symbolic of Lacan and Kristeva. The work of this period is most fully represented in The Other Freud: Religion, Culture and Psychoanalysis (1999). Here, DiCenso applied a systematic reading of Freud’s various writings on religion and culture to highlight the often-neglected treatment of the indispensable role of culture and symbolization in the formation of higher-order intellectual and super-ego functions. More recently, he has undertaken a series of analyses of Kant’s writings on religion in relation to his practical philosophy, putting into practice Schleiermacher’s principles of part-whole interaction to show the consistency and continuity in Kant’s arguments. This research yielded Kant, Religion, and Politics (2011) and Kant’s Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason: a Commentary (2012). These works show that Kant was concerned with religious traditions as historical and social forces that can be interpreted in light of the moral law to facilitate dissemination of rational ethical principles. DiCenso has published in various European and American Journals and in edited volumes. He has presented papers across North America and Western Europe.
Prof. Dr. Dr. Laurent Dubreuil, Cornell University, USA
Laurent Dubreuil is Professor of Comparative Literature, Romance Studies, and Cognitive Science at Cornell University, where he serves as the Director of French Studies and is the founding Director of the Humanities Lab. Prof. Dubreuil also holds the IWLC International Chair of Transcultural Theory at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
On the interpretative side of his scholarship, Laurent Dubreuil aims to explore the powers of literary and artistic thinking vis-à-vis knowledge and social practices. Dubreuil's scholarship is broadly comparative and makes use of his reading abilities in some ten languages, with a particular emphasis on French and ancient Greek materials. Among the fifteen books Laurent Dubreuil authored, several are devoted to problems of literary reading, from his 2003 De l’attrait à la possession to his 2009 L’état critique de la littérature or his 2019 Baudelaire au gouffre de la modernité. Another set of concerns is with non-normative modes of existence and the limits of the political and the ethical realms (À force d’amitié, 2009; The Empire of Language, 2012; The Refusal of Politics, 2016; La dictature des identités, 2019). A series of books make the case for a redefinition of the mind at the interface of the sciences and the humanities, in relation to both ordinary cognition and extraordinary intellection: The Intellective Space (2015); Poetry and Mind (2018); Dialogues on the Human Ape (2019; co-authored with Sue Savage-Rumbaugh). Dubreuil also published several “creative” literary essays in French, beginning with Pures fictions (2013).
Dubreuil has been engaged with visual practices as well, through several articles for Les cahiers du cinéma, work with art galleries and museums, and the production of documentary movies.
Prof. Dr. Paweł Dybel, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Paweł Dybel is Professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology PAN, Warsaw. He is a philosopher, literary critic, historian. The main areas of his interests are modern philosophy (hermeneutics, phenomenology, poststructuralism), psychoanalytic theories, theory of literature and art, history of Polish psychoanalysis. He got scholarships from Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, Thyssen Stiftung, DAAD, DFG, The British Academy, The Mellon Foundation, The Kosciuszko Foundation a. o. Dybel was a Visiting Professor at the University of Bremen; Humboldt University Berlin; University Siegen; University at Buffalo; Institute of Sciences of Man, Vienna; Manchester Metropolitan University; the University of Dublin, University in Goeteborg a.o. Since 2020, he has been a member of the Scientific Council at Sigmund Freud Institute in Frankfurt a. M. He is the author of many books and articles in Polish, German, and English.
Prof. Dr. Kathy Hannah Eden, Columbia University, USA
Kathy Hannah Eden is the Chavkin Family Professor of English and Professor of Classics at Columbia University in New York City. She has taught there since receiving her PhD from Stanford University in 1980. During that time has established herself both as a respected scholar of the rhetorical arts and a theorist in her own right.
Eden’s earlier work was marked by close reading and re-interpretation of the classical texts of Western rhetoric. In Poetic and Legal Fiction in the Aristotelian Tradition (1986), she offers a potent defense of poetics. There is a practice, gleaned notably in the work of scholars like Philip Sidney, to defend poetry through its association with fiction and legal procedure. Deference is given to the methods of poets and lawyers as examples of poetry’s potency. While not incorrect, such understandings of poetry offer an incomplete representation of language in its poetic form. Eden argues, rather convincingly, that by returning to Aristotle’s Poetics and De Anima, and tracing its development in the psychological and rhetorical theory of the Middle Ages, to its culmination in the Renaissance’s literary theory, that the rhetorical weight of poetry is given its due.
After a thorough reading of the tradition, Eden turned her sights towards a properly hermeneutic period of her work wherein she recontextualized insights from the classical period into the present moment. One of the most representative pieces of this effort is Friends Hold All Things in Common: Tradition, Intellectual Property and the “Adages” of Erasmus (2001). In it, she examines the publication of Erasmus’ Adages in 1508 as a turning point in Western thought and the history of publication practices. For Eden, this text marks a suturing point between the ancient philosophical commitment to friendship and universal sharing and the development of modern copyright practices. Apart from a stunning display of theoretical prowess, this text also garnered her the Roland Bainton Award for Literature. Other noteworthy texts among Eden’s long list of publications include: Hermeneutics and the Rhetorical Tradition: Chapters in the Ancient Legacy and its Humanist Reception (2005) and The Renaissance Rediscovery of Intimacy (2012).
Throughout her prolific career, Kathy Eden has received numerous awards. These include fellowships from the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C. and a Guggenheim fellowship. In addition, she won the 1998 Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates and the 2001 Mark Van Doren Award. In 2005 Eden was conferred the Hermes Award from the International Institute for Hermeneutics. Her work in the re-interpretation and re-contextualization of classical, Western humanistic texts serves as a beacon for the significance of these texts to the present day.
Prof. Dr. Costantino Esposito, University of Bari, Italy
Costantino Esposito is Professor of History of Philosophy at the University of Bari. He graduated in philosophy at the same university and since 1979 has worked there, first as a teaching assistant and then as a researcher. Since 1998/99 he has worked as an associate professor at the University of Cassino. On various occasions he has carried out research in Germany at the University of Freiburg i. Br.
His main research interests are: 1) The thought of Martin Heidegger, - and in particular the phenomenology-ontology link, the problem of history, nihilism, the reading of Kant, Schelling and Augustine—on whom he has published three monographs and numerous essays and articles both in Italy and abroad. He has also edited the Italian edition of Heidegger’s address “Überlieferte Sprache und Technische Sprache;” 2) The philosophy of Immanuel Kant, in particular the relationship between “criticism” and “metaphysics.” He has edited the Italian edition of “Kant’s Vorlesungen über die philosophische Religionslehre” and a new Italian edition of “Kritik der reinen Vernunft.” In addition, he has published essays and articles on Kant both in Italy and abroad; and 3) The metaphysical works of Francisco Suárez, as a transition from the scholastic tradition to the ontology of the “modernists.” He has produced a Latin-Italian version, with introduction and notes, of Suárez’ first three “Disputationes metaphysicae,” as well as various articles and essays both in Italy and abroad.
He is a member of the Editorial Board of several International Journals, such as «Heidegger Studies», «Viator», «Dilthey Jahrbuch». He lectured and gave talks at Conferences in Europe, USA, South America and Japan. He also taught some graduate courses at the Universidad Catolica de Buenos Aires, at the Universidad Catolica de Santa Fe and at the Universidad "Sedes Sapientiae" in Lima. He his Distinguished Visiting Scholar Professor of UCLA “Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies”, Los Angeles, CA. Since 2001 he has worked alongside Pasquale Porro as editor of Quaestio—International Yearbook of the History of Metaphysics.
Among his latest works there is a Philosophy Textbook (written with P. Porro) for Laterza Publisher entitled Filosofia (vol. 1. antica e medievale; vol. 2. moderna; vol. 3. contemporanea), Roma-Bari 2009. New Edition: Le avventure della ragione (vol. 1: Dalle orini alla Scolastica; vol. 2: Dall’Umanesimo all’Idealismo; vol. 3: Dalla crisi dell’Idealismo ai nostri giorni), Laterza, Roma-Bari 2012.
Prof. Dr. Paul Fairfield, Queen’s University, Canada
Paul Fairfield is Professor of Philosophy at Queen’s University (Kingston, ON Canada) where he has taught since 2002. He holds a Ph.D. from McMaster University where his doctoral supervisor was the late Gary B. Madison. His dissertation was later revised into a book titled The Ways of Power: Hermeneutics, Ethics, and Social Criticism. Since then, he has authored over a dozen books, all of which stem from an ongoing interest in philosophical hermeneutics and its implications in moral and political philosophy (including Moral Selfhood in the Liberal Tradition: The Politics of Individuality and Why Democracy?), the philosophy of education (Education After Dewey and Teachability and Learnability: Can Thinking Be Taught?), aesthetics (Artistic Creation: A Phenomenological Analysis, with Jeff Mitscherling), and philosophy of history (Philosophical Reflections on Antiquity: Historical Change and Historical Imagination: Hermeneutics and Cultural Narrative). Between 2001 and 2007, he served as Editor of Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy, after which he went on to edit or co-edit five anthologies (including most recently Relational Hermeneutics: Essays in Comparative Philosophy and Hermeneutics and Phenomenology: Figures and Themes, both co-edited with Saulius Geniusas). At Queen’s he teaches undergraduate courses in nineteenth- and twentieth-century continental philosophy and an annual seminar on hermeneutics for graduate and senior undergraduate students.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Maurizio Enrico Vittorio Ferraris, University of Turin, Italy
Maurizio Enrico Vittorio Ferraris is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Turin. He wrote more than sixty books that have been translated into several languages. The last one is Documanità. Filosofia del mondo nuovo (Laterza). He is the President of the LabOnt – Center for Ontology and Deputy Rector for Humanities Research at the University of Turin. He is columnist for ‘La Repubblica’, for ‘Neue Zürcher Zeitung’, and for ‘Libération’. He is also the director of “Scienza Nuova,” an institute of advanced studies—dedicated to Umberto Eco and uniting the University and the Polytechnic of Turin—aimed at planning a sustainable future, both from a cultural and from a political point of view.
He is advisory member of the Center for Advanced Studies of South East Europe (Rijeka) and of the Internationales Zentrum für Philosophie NRW. He is doctor honoris causa in Humanities at the University of Flores (Buenos Aires) and at Univesity of Pécs. He has been Fellow of Käte-Hamburger Kolleg “Recht als Kultur” (Bonn) and Fellow of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America (Columbia University, New York) and of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung. He has also been Directeur d’études of the Collège International de Philosophie and Visiting Professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris) as well as other European and American Universities. He is the Director of ‘Rivista di Estetica’, and member of the committee of ‘Critique,’ of ‘Círculo Hermenéutico editorial’ and of the ‘Revue francophone d’esthétique.’
Among his books that have appeared in English we quote: History of Hermeneutics (Humanities Press, 1996); A Taste for the Secret (with Jacques Derrida—Blackwell, 2001); Documentality or Why it is Necessary to Leave Traces (Fordham UP, 2012); Goodbye Kant! (SUNY UP, 2013); Where Are You? An Ontology of the Cell Phone (Fordham UP, 2014); Manifesto of New Realism (SUNY UP, 2014); Introduction to New Realism (Bloomsbury, 2014); Positive Realism (Zer0 Books, 2015); Learning to Live: Six Essays on Marcel Proust (Brill – 2020) and Speculation (forthcoming, University of Edinburgh press).
In his long career, Maurizio Ferraris has determined a new course of thought and studies in at least four areas: hermeneutics, aesthetics, ontology and the philosophy of technology, attaching his name to the theory of Documentality and contemporary New Realism.
Prof. Dr. Günter Figal, University of Freiburg, Germany
Günter Figal is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Freiburg. His philosophical work has mainly been devoted to three topics. Figal’s philosophical concern is a realistic version of hermeneutics. As he has extensively pointed out in his book Gegenständlichkeit (2006, second edition 2018), in English, Objectivity (2010), interpretation and understanding are not to be taken as merely subjective achievements or as events of meaning, but primarily as responses to the potential and challenge of hermeneutic objects. Figal’s notion of hermeneutic objects is phenomenological. He conceives the correlation between hermeneutic objects and interpretation respectively understanding as a structure, in which the appearing is prior to its experience. He also shows that and how appearance is enabled by space. He discusses the spatial foundation of appearance in Gegenständlichkeit, but elaborates it further in Unscheinbarkeit. Der Raum der Phänomenologie (2015). Space is the “inconspicuous” that allows things to appear and thus to become objects of intentionality. In order to conceive and describe the very status of such objects more concretely, Figal, develops his version of philosophical aesthetics, predominantly in his book Erscheinungsdinge (2010), in English, Aesthetics as Phenomenology: The Appearance of Things (2015). As Figal emphasizes it, one character of art is particularly relevant for phenomenlogy: artworks are primarily perceptible and, as such, primary, primordial appearances because as such, they withdraw from easy ascriptions of meaning and allow experiencing the primordial perceptibility of things, which mostly is concealed by everyday life in a world dominated by meaning.
In recent years, Figal has further elaborated his hermeneutic, phenomenological, and aesthetic philosophy by concentrating on the problem of primordial appearance and exploring more concretely the spatiality of such appearance. This, again, has led him to an in-depth occupation with artworks, the spatial character of which is particularly distinctive, namely vessels and buildings. He has published a book on Japanese ceramics, namely Gefäße als Kunst (2019), and three books on architecture, Ando. Raum Architektur Moderne (2017; English version as e-book), Japan und der Westen. Kengo Kumas Meditation House im Kranzbach (2020) and Ästhetik der Architektur (2021). These books include Figal’s own photographs and thus present him also as a photographer.
Since 2015 Günter Figals manuscripts have been archived by the German Archive for Literature (Deutsches Literaturarchiv), Marbach am Neckar.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Harvard University, USA
Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza is the Krister Stendahl Professor at Harvard University Divinity School. She has done pioneering work in biblical interpretation, feminist hermeneutics, and theology. Her teaching and research focus on questions of biblical and theological epistemology, hermeneutics, rhetoric, and the politics of interpretation, as well as on issues of theological education, radical equality, and democracy. Professor Schüssler Fiorenza was elected the first woman president of the Society of Biblical Literature and has served on the editorial boards of major biblical journals and societies. In 2001, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She holds several honorary doctorates from American Colleges and Divinity Schools as well as European Universities. Professor Schüssler Fiorenza’s active leadership in the academy and her involvement in work connected with “women in academy, church, ministry, and theology” has been pathbreaking. Her published work is extensive and includes In Memory of Her (translated into 12 languages); Bread Not Stone; But She Said; Discipleship of Equals; Revelation: Vision of a Just World; The Power of Naming; Jesus: Miriam’s Child; Sharing Her Word; Jesus and the Politics of Interpretation; Wisdom Ways: Introducing Feminist Biblical Interpretation; Grenzen überschreiten: Der theoretische Anspruch feministischer Theologie, and The Power of the Word: Scripture and the Rhetoric of Empire, Among other volumes she has edited a 2 volume work Searching the Scriptures and co-edited Prejudice and Christian Beginnings. Investigating Race, Gender and Ethnicity in Early Christian Studies, Democratizing Biblical Studies. Toward an Emancipatory Educational Space, Wo/men, Scripture and Politics: Exploring the Cultural Imprint of the Bible, as well as Commentaries on 1 Peter and the Letter to the Ephesians. She also has been the co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, the premier journal in the field.
Prof. Dr. Michael N. Forster, University of Bonn, Germany
Michael Forster is Alexander von Humboldt Professor, Chair for Theoretical Philosophy, and Co-Director of The International Centre of Philosophy NRW at the University of Bonn. Foster taught for 36 years at The University of Chicago (28 full-time, since 2013 as guest professor), and for over 8 years at Bonn University (where he joined the permanent faculty in 2013). At Chicago he chaired the Philosophy Department for 10 years and became Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor. His research focuses thematically on epistemology and philosophy of language (in a broad sense of the term that includes hermeneutics and translation theory), historically on ancient philosophy and especially German philosophy (Kant, Herder, German Idealism, German Romanticism, Nietzsche, and Marx). He has authored and edited many books as well as numerous articles on these subjects.
Prof. Kenneth B. Frampton, Columbia University, New York, USA
Kenneth Frampton is the Ware Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University and is widely regarded as one of the leading figures in the history and critique of architecture. Born in England in 1930, Frampton studied architecture at the Guildford School of Art and the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. On completing his education, he worked in Israel and London and commenced teaching at the Architectural Association, followed by Princeton, Columbia University, and the Bartlett School of Architecture. Alongside his wide-ranging influence in architectural pedagogy, Frampton is renowned for his numerous written works on the history of architecture and biographies of key figures in the modern movement and contemporary architects, including:“Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an Architecture of Resistance” in The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture, edited by Hal Foster, (1983); Studies in Tectonic Culture: The Poetics of Construction in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Architecture (1995); Álvaro Siza. Complete Works (2000); Le Corbusier (2001); Labour, Work, and Architecture (2002); “Ando at the Millennium” in Tadao Ando: Light and Water (2003); The Evolution of 20th-Century Architecture: A Synoptic Account (2006); Modern Architecture: A Critical History (2020); Genealogy of Modern Architecture: A Comparative Critical Analysis of Built Form (2014); L'altro Movimento Moderno, edited by Ludovica Molo (2015). Frampton played a pivotal role in the development of architectural phenomenology and is acknowledged for his key studies on 20th century architecture, notably Modern Architecture: A Critical History, Studies in Tectonic Culture, and the key essay Towards a Critical Regionalism published in 1983. Critical regionalism attempts to address the lack of identity and sameness associated with some aspects of modern architecture by proposing that geography, climate, and urban topography can provide the context for identity, grounding, and furnishing the conditions for architectural and cultural diversity. In Frampton’s works, modernism and critical regionalism often overlap, revealing the necessity of moving away from formulaic stylistic ideas to embrace deeper interpretive approaches and concerns. As an architect, historian, and critic Frampton has received numerous awards and citations for his decisive contributions to the field of architecture and, specifically, the history and interpretation of modernism. Two awards include the Career Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2018 in recognition of his great cultural contribution and of the education given to several generations of architects throughout the years” and in 2021 Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to architecture.”
Prof. Dr. William Franke, Vanderbilt University, USA
William Franke is Professor of Comparative Literature and Religious Studies at Vanderbilt University and Professor of Philosophy and Religions at the University of Macao (2013-16). He is a research fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung and has been Fulbright-University of Salzburg Distinguished Chair in Intercultural Theology and Study of Religions. He is named among “arguably the three most distinguished scholars of comparative literature and religion in the world” by Stephen Morgan, Sacred and the Everyday: Comparative Approaches to Literature, Religious and Secular (Macao: Orientis Aura, 2021), p. 5. He lectures and teaches regularly by invitation in German, French, and Italian, as well as in English, on four continents.
Franke’s work moves along two central axes. He has developed an apophatic philosophy pivoting on the limits of language as encountered in philosophy, religion, literature, and the arts. These limits are the key to unlocking untold riches expressed in all imaginable registers in each of these domains of human endeavor and all discursive disciplines whatsoever. Works along this axis include On What Cannot Be Said: Apophatic Discourses in Philosophy, Religion, Literature, and the Arts, 2 vols., 2007; A Philosophy of the Unsayable, 2014; Apophatic Paths from Europe to China: Regions Without Borders, 2018; and On the Universality of What is Not: The Apophatic Turn in Critical Thinking, 2020.
The other axis is a theory and cultural history of poetry and literature as theological revelation interpreted in secularizing terms. The key here is understanding theology at its source and central inspiration as negative theology based on acknowledging divinity’s transcendence of all possible discourse. This is the limit which authorizes absolute human freedom to express the experience of all modes of existential relatedness to the infinite and unknown as an open whole or not-all to which we cannot help but relate by virtue of the unlimited effects and uncontrollable consequences of our thoughts and actions. Works in this vein include Poetry and Apocalypse: Theological Disclosures of Poetic Language, 2015; Secular Scriptures: Modern Theological Poetics in the Wake of Dante, 2016; A Theology of Literature: The Bible as Revelation in the Tradition of the Humanities, 2017; Dante’s Paradiso and the Theological Origins of Modern Thought: Toward a Speculative Philosophy of Self-Reflection, 2021; as well as two monographs on Dante’s Paradiso and the Vita nouva also published in 2021 by Cambridge University Press.
Franke trained in philosophy and theology at Williams College (B.A. 1978) and Oxford University (M.A. 1980) and in comparative literature at UC Berkeley (M.A. 1988) and at Stanford (Ph.D. 1991). He has published philosophical and theological interpretations of epoch-making poets, ancient to modern, including Virgil, Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Blake, Yeats; Leopardi, Manzoni, Montale; Racine, Baudelaire, Jabès; Hölderlin, Rilke, Celan; Dickinson, Eliot, and Stevens. He has also published theoretical essays in hermeneutics and dialectics, treating such subjects as figurative rhetoric, dialectical and deconstructive logic, negative theology, dialogue, and psychoanalysis as a hermeneutics of subjectivity.
In 2020, Franke was visiting professor (Profesorado Internacional), at the University of Navarra in Spain (Philosophy Department). He has been Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong (Fall 2005). Franke has received international fellowships from the Camargo Foundation (Fall 1999) and the Bogliasco Foundation (Spring 2006, Fellow in Philosophy). He has been Professor of French-in-residence at Vanderbilt-in-France in Aix-en-Provence (2008) and a member of the Dante Society Council by the general election of the Dante Society of America.
Prof. Dr. h. c. mult. Karl Friston, University College London, UK
Karl Friston is Professor at Queen Square Institute of Neurology, University College London, Scientific Director of the Welcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, and Honorary Consultant at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. He is a theoretical neuroscientist and authority on brain imaging. He invented statistical parametric mapping (SPM), voxel-based morphometry (VBM), and dynamic causal modeling (DCM). These contributions were motivated by schizophrenia research and theoretical studies of value-learning–formulated as the disconnection hypothesis of schizophrenia. Mathematical contributions include variational Laplacian procedures and generalized filtering for hierarchical Bayesian model inversion. Friston currently works on models of functional integration in the human brain and the principles that underlie neuronal interactions. His main contribution to theoretical neurobiology is a free-energy principle for action and perception (active inference). Friston received the first Young Investigators Award in Human Brain Mapping (1996) and was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (1999). In 2000 he was President of the International Organization of Human Brain Mapping. In 2003 he was awarded the Minerva Golden Brain Award and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2006. In 2008 he received a Medal, Collège de France, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of York in 2011. He became of Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology in 2012, received the Weldon Memorial prize and Medal in 2013 for contributions to mathematical biology, and was elected as a member of EMBO (excellence in the life sciences) in 2014 and the Academia Europaea in (2015). He was the 2016 recipient of the Charles Branch Award for unparalleled breakthroughs in Brain Research and the Glass Brain Award–a lifetime achievement award in the field of human brain mapping. He holds Honorary Doctorates from the universities of Zurich, Liège, and Radboud University.
Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Fuchs, University of Heidelberg, Germany
Thomas Fuchs is Karl Jaspers Professor for Philosophical Foundations of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at Heidelberg University. His main areas of research include phenomenological philosophy and psychopathology, embodied and enactive cognitive science, and interactive concepts of social cognition. Central themes are the basic experiential categories of body, space, temporality, and intersubjectivity both in healthy and psychopathological states.
Fuchs first developed his phenomenology of the body in “Leib, Raum, Person. Entwurf einer phänomenologischen Anthropologie” (2000), later in “Leib und Lebenswelt” (2008). It starts from a “spherical anthropology” that conceives of bodily space, sensorimotor space, feeling space, and interpersonal space as concentric spheres of relatedness between the lived body and the world. Plessner's distinction between lived body and corporeal body (Leib and Körper) then provides the basis for the conception of various psychopathological phenomena such as reification, alienation, hyperreflexivity, or disembodiment.
These concepts have particular application to the analysis of schizophrenic self disorders, to the experience of body and time in depression, borderline disorder, dementia, and to the psychopathology of delusions. Fuchs’ conceptualization of schizophrenia as a “disembodiment” also led to the implementation of body-oriented therapy methods for the treatment of schizophrenic negative symptoms. A collection of central essays on these topics was published in 2020 under the title, Randzonen der Erfahrung. Beiträge zur phänomenologischen Psychopathologie.
Since the publication of his seminal book, Das Gehirn - ein Beziehungsorgan (2008), Fuchs has furthermore developed a conception of the embodied mind that, starting from a double aspectivity of body and mind, takes the principle of life as the basis for a new understanding of the mind-brain problem. Consciousness thus becomes a manifestation of the life process of the entire organism (continuity of “Leben” and “Erleben”). In the meantime, a more advanced version has also been published in English under the title“Ecology of the Brain. The Phenomenology and Biology of the Embodied Mind” (2018). Fuchs has also recently applied this basic concept to issues of artificial intelligence, transhumanism, virtuality, and embodied personhood in dementia, among others (“In Defense of the Human Being. Foundational Questions of an Embodied Anthropology,” 2021)
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Vittorio Gallese, University of Parma, Italy
Vittorio Gallese, MD, and trained neurologist is Professor of Psychobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience at the Dept. of Medicine & Surgery of the University of Parma, Italy, Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at the Dept. of Art History and Archeology, Columbia University, New York, USA, and Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Philosophy of the School of Advanced Study of the University of London. His significant scientific contribution is the discovery of mirror neurons, together with the colleagues of Parma. Since this discovery, he played a major role in proposing the possible far-reaching consequences of this neural mechanism, formulating embodied simulation theory. He identified the wide implications of the discovery of mirror neurons for a range of disciplines such as cognitive, social, and developmental psychology, psychiatry, psycholinguistics, philosophy of mind, educational sciences, and aesthetics. Gallese proposed that sensorimotor processes and their interplay with interoception are the embodied bases of intersubjectivity and social cognition, establishing new experimental approaches to several aspects defining human cognition. To this purpose, he established extensive collaborations with cognitive linguists, psychiatrists, philosophers, art and film scholars, leading to a series of empirical investigations in all these different fields. Another strength of Gallese’s approach consists in adopting a comparative perspective, the only one capable of connecting distinctive traits of human cognition to their likely phylogenetic precursors. Indeed, he is one of the few contemporary cognitive neuroscientists. They can investigate the relationship between brain, behavior, and cognition, moving from recording neurons in non-human primates to the study of the human brain-body employing physiological and imaging techniques. During the last decade, his research activity has been mainly devoted, on the one hand, to the investigation of the neural and physiological mechanisms at the basis of a core dimension of the Self–the bodily self–and its psychopathological aspects in Psychosis, Autism, and PTSD. His research, on the other, has shed new light on the neural and physiological mechanisms underlying the aesthetic experience of art, film, and literature, proposing a radically new approach to aesthetics. He is the author of more than 300 scientific publications and three books.
Prof. Dr. Saulius Geniusas, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Saulius Geniusas is Professor of Philosophy at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is one of the most prolific philosophers in Hong Kong and a recognized phenomenologist worldwide. He has published four single-authored books, edited and co-edited seven books, and published more than sixty articles in various journals and anthologies. He is the recipient of CUHK’s Research Excellence Award and his book, The Phenomenology of Pain (Ohio University Press, 2020), won the Edward Ballard Prize. He has been awarded twelve competitive research grants, including the Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers and three GRF grants from the Research Grants Council in Hong Kong.
Geniusas’ research is mainly focused on phenomenology and hermeneutics. Geniusas strives to advance phenomenological and hermeneutical research into areas that remain unexplored. Over the last ten years, most of his investigations have unfolded in two main directions, one of which concerns the phenomenology of pain, while the other is the phenomenology of imagination. Over the last years, he has been increasingly interested in the structures and varieties of self-awareness. In recent years, he has also published articles on William James’s and Alfred Schutz’s concepts of multiple realities, on the phenomenology of dreams, on the relation between phenomenology and deconstruction, on the phenomenology of music and the phenomenology of aesthetic experience, as well as on the relation between phenomenology and hermeneutics. Geniusas’ research develops toward the further investigation of sedimentations and the intersections between phenomenology, hermeneutics, and deconstruction.
Prof. Dr. Jean Greisch, Institut Catholique de Paris. France
Jean Greisch is Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Philosophy at the Institut Catholique de Paris. He was born in 1942 in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. After graduating from a double degree program in philosophy and theology in Luxembourg, Innsbruck, and Paris, in 1973, he became Assistant to Professors Dominique Dubarle and Stanislas Breton at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Institut Catholique de Paris, where he taught until 2006. After his doctoral thesis defense (1985), followed by the habilitation to supervise research, obtained at the University of Strasbourg (1989), he was Dean of the Faculty from 1985 to 1994, while actively participating as a Teacher-Researcher in the work of the “Laboratory of phenomenology and hermeneutics” of the CNRS. After his retirement, he was a Visiting Professor at several foreign universities (Institut Supérieur de Philosophie de Louvain-la-Neuve, Hans-Georg-Gadamer-Chair at Boston College, Chair of Christian Philosophy at Villanova-University), and the Romano Guardini Chair at the Humboldt University in Berlin (2009-2012). His teaching at the Catholic Institute focused primarily on metaphysics and the philosophy of religion, with particular attention to phenomenology and hermeneutics.
He is the author of some twenty works devoted to hermeneutical phenomenology, several of which have been translated into foreign languages: Herméneutique et Grammatologie, Paris, Ed. du CNRS, 1977; L’Âge herméneutique de la Raison. Paris, Ed. du Cerf, 1985; La Parole Heureuse. Martin Heidegger entre les choses et les mots, Paris, Ed. Beauchêne, 1987; Hermeneutik und Metaphysik. Eine Problemgeschichte, München, W. Fink, 1993; Ontologie et Temporalité. Esquisse d’une interprétation intégrale de Sein und Zeit, Paris, PUF, 2012, (translated to Japanese 2006); L’arbre de vie et l’arbre du savoir. Les racines phénoménologiques de l’herméneutique heideggérienne, Paris, Ed. du Cerf, 2000; Le Cogito herméneutique. L’herméneutique philosophique et l’héritage cartésien, Paris, Vrin, 2000 Spanish translation by Gerardo Raul Losasa, El Cogito Herido. La herméneutica filosofica y la herencia cartesiana, Jorge Baudino Ediciones, Buenos Aires, 2001. arab translation 2020; Paul Ricœur. L’itinérance du sens. Grenoble, Jérôme Millon, 2001; Le Buisson ardent et les Lumières de la Raison. L’invention de la philosophie de la religion. Tome I : Héritages et héritiers du 19e siècle, 2002. tome II : La Scène contemporaine, Paris, Ed. du Cerf, 2002. Tome III : Vers un paradigme herméneutique (2004)., arab translation (2018) ; Entendre d’une autre oreille. Les enjeux philosophiques de l’herméneutique biblique, Paris, Editions Bayard, 2006; Qui sommes-nous ? Chemins phénoménologiques vers l’homme, Louvain, Peeters, 2009; Fehlbarkeit und Fähigkeit. Die philosophische Anthropologie Paul Ricœurs, Münster, LIT, 2009; Du non-autre au tout-autre. Dieu et l’absolu dans les théologies philosophiques de la modernité, Paris, PUF, 2012 (awarded by the Silver Medal « Prix La Bruyère » of the Académie Française in 2013); Vivre en philosophant. Expérience philosophique, exercices spirituels et thérapies de l’âme, Paris, Hermann, 2015, Arab translation by Editions « Mimouni Without Borders » (2020); L’herméneutique comme sagesse de l’incertitude, Paris, Le Cercle herméneutique, 2015, forthcoming arab translation; Rendez-vous avec la vérité, Paris, Editions Hermann, 2017; Désirer comprendre. Court traité des vertus herméneutiques, Louvain-la-Neuve, PUL, 2019; Transcender. Libres méditations sur la fonction méta, Paris, Editions Hermann, 2021.
Greisch has also published 15 bilingual French-German, French-English, French-Flemish tales for younger readers, Les Contes de Minerva, la chouette philosophe (Editions Ipagine, 2014), in which the philosopher practices the hermeneutical art of storytelling. He is the translator of numerous works, including: Hans Jonas, Le Principe Responsabilité. Essai d’une éthique pour la civilisation technologique, Paris, Ed. du Cerf, 1990 (awarded by the Prix « Gérard de Nerval »); Wilhelm Schapp, Empêtrés dans des histoires. L’être de l’homme et de la chose, Paris, Ed. du Cerf, 1992 ; Hans Jonas, Philosophie. Rétrospective et prospective à la fin du siècle : Le Messager Européen 7, 1993, p. 331-348; Paul Ricœur, Das Selbst als ein Anderer, München, W. Fink, 1996 ; Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Au risque du langage, Paris, Ed. du Cerf, 1997; Romano Guardini, La polarité. Essai d’une philosophie du vivant concret, Editions du Cerf, 2010; Martin Heidegger, Phénoménologie de la vie religieuse, Oeuvres Complètes t. 60, Paris, Ed. Gallimard, 2012. Greisch’s work as a translator confirms and illustrates his conviction that the art of translating and the art of interpreting are inseparable.
Following Paul Ricœur, Jean Greisch defends a hermeneutical philosophy that does not shun conversations with the human sciences, instead of relying on an ontology of understanding. While distinguishing between the desire to understand and the will to know, Greisch does not treat them as opposed. Unlike post-modern philosophers who see hermeneutical philosophy as the expression of the death of metaphysics, he defends, like Jean Grondin, the thesis of the complementarity of the two disciplines, advocating a conception of hermeneutics, which straddles practical philosophy and primary philosophy.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jean Grondin, University of Montreal, Canada
Jean Grondin (Ph.D. Tübingen, 1982) is Professor of Philosophy at the Université de Montréal, is a distinguished expert in the history of German philosophy (mostly Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, Gadamer), hermeneutics, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion.
After publishing one of the very first books on Gadamer in 1982 (Hermeneutical Truth?) and seminal books on Heidegger’s turn (1987) and Kant’s philosophy (1989), he gained wider attention with his classical Introduction to Philosophical Hermeneutics (1991; 3rd ed. 2012), first published in German, which was translated into more than 15 languages, and whose French (and Spanish) edition was prefaced by Hans-Georg Gadamer. Sparked by a conversation with Gadamer, it understood hermeneutics out of the idea of the inner word (verbum interius), which we can strive to understand in every expression or outer word: what is the urgency, anxiety, and quest that seeks to express itself in all that is said? what is the question behind the stammering words that are uttered? He showed how this guiding question runs through the entire hermeneutic tradition and can help it fend off accusations of relativism. To this day, this book remains one of the most reliable and widely read introductions to philosophical hermeneutics. It also casts in a new light the question of meaning and even that of the meaning of life, to which Grondin devoted thoughtful essays (Du sens de la vie, 2003 = Vom Sinn des Lebens, 2006; À l’écoute du sens, 2011) in which he takes a stand against the constructivist understanding of meaning that characterizes modernity and our times. He renews the notion that there is a meaning in life itself and its striving for the better and the good. The “sense” of life also becomes here an ability to seize and to “sense” this meaning and inner aspiration in life.
This hermeneutic understanding of meaning led him to a renewed understanding of the history of metaphysics itself (Introduction to Metaphysics, 2004, Engl. transl. 2012) as the most cogent form of philosophy and a defensible answer to the question of the meaning of it all (which is, lest we forget, one of the, if not the basic question of philosophy). In opposition to the ubiquitous attempts to “overcome metaphysics,” which often have scant knowledge of the metaphysics they pretend to leave behind, he understands metaphysics as the vigilant and dialogical effort of human thinking to grasp something about reality as a whole and its many orders of reason. This aspiration finds one of its touchstones in the experience of beauty (La beauté de la métaphysique, 2019) which was already paramount for Plato and Gadamer himself. Out of this insight, Grondin developed the outlines of a metaphysical hermeneutics (Du sens des choses. L’idée de la métaphysique, 2013) that strives to overcome the nominalist (and materialist) impasse of contemporary thought. Grondin regards it as one of Heidegger’s and Gadamer’s most important achievements to have identified this nihilistic dead end. He points out, however, Heidegger’s own impasse in believing that one had to go beyond metaphysics in order to overcome the nominalism and nihilism of modernity (Comprendre Heidegger. L’espoir d’une autre conception de l’être, 2019). Grondin relies in this regard on Gadamer’s distance with Heidegger’s unyielding reading of metaphysics and its allegedly constraining language. He takes up Gadamer’s discreet hints about another possible reading of metaphysics and develops them in the form of a hermeneutic metaphysics, which emphasizes humanity’s capacity for understanding, initiative, and hope.
Grondin was a pupil, French translator, interpreter (Einführung zu Hans-Georg Gadamer, 2000; The Philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer, 2002) and close collaborator of Hans-Georg Gadamer (he edited his Lesebuch or Reader, in which he conducted a wide-ranging interview with Gadamer on his lifework, and published his extant correspondence with Ricœur and with Derrida). Out of this close collaboration grew the landmark biography of Hans-Georg Gadamer that Grondin published in 1999 (Hans-Georg Gadamer: A Biography, 1999, 2nd ed. 2013), and which was translated into many languages.
Grondin also had the good fortune to have met Ricœur very early on in his studies and wrote and introduction to his work, in the prestigious “Que sais-je?” series, on the occasion of his centenary in 2013 (Paul Ricœur, 3rd ed. 2021). It was also widely translated, as were his two other “Que sais-je?” on the Philosophie de la religion (2009, 4th ed. 2020) and on Herméneutique (2004, 4th ed. 2017). Grondin has tried to build bridges between Gadamer and Ricœur, viewing this as one of the most important tasks of contemporary research in hermeneutics.
His work has earned him prestigious honors, among them the Killam, Molson, Léon-Gérin, and André-Laurendeau Prizes, the Konrad-Adenauer-Award of the Humboldt-Foundation as well as three honorary doctorates. Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, he was named Officer of the Order of Canada, and of the Order of Quebec. In 2018 he was awarded the Gold medal of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He was the President of the Academy of Arts and Humanities of Canada (2016-2020). Ambassador Scientist of the Alexander-von-Humboldt-Foundation (2018-2022), he is also a member of the Holberg Committee , which awards the Holberg Prize. He is a founding member and member of the Scientific Board of the Société francophone de philosophie de la religion and of the Hans-Georg-Gadamer-Gesellschaft (2021-2026).
Prof. Dr. Daniel M. Gross, University of California, Irvine, USA
Daniel M. Gross is Professor of Rhetoric in the English Department at the University of California, Irvine. In 2005, he published Heidegger and Rhetoric (SUNY, coedited with Ansgar Kemmann), which was the first and still definitive work about Heidegger’s 1924 lecture course on Aristotle’s Rhetoric – the course that was absorbed most substantially into Heidegger’s 1927 masterwork Being and Time. Gross’s 2005 volume was also where Hans Georg-Gadamer’s final major interview appeared, as he reflected on this formative Heidegger lecture course he attended as a young man.
Gross subsequently expanded this work where “pathos” was a major theme, first into the field of affect/emotion studies which he helped establish with a series of publications starting in 2007, and then into pedagogical fields where rhetoric appears most prominently in the United States: Rhetoric & Composition and Communication Studies. Major publications from this period include The Secret History of Emotion: From Aristotle's Rhetoric to Modern Brain Science (Chicago), winner of the 2007 Hermes award, and Uncomfortable Situations: Emotion between Science and the Humanities (Chicago, 2017). The Heideggerian theme “rhetoric as the art of listening,” was also expanded by Gross into a series of articles and into a 2020 book, Being-Moved: Rhetoric As the Art of Listening (University of California Press).
He is the recipient of numerous major grants, including from the DAAD, The National Endowment for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. His work has been translated into multiple languages, including French and Chinese. Recently, he has been working most actively on The Cambridge History of Rhetoric, Volume 5 (from 1900), edited with Steven J. Mailloux and LuMing Mao.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Hans Ulrich
Gumbrecht, Stanford University, USA
Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht is Albert Guérard Professor in Literature Emeritus at Stanford University and a Professor of Romance Literatures at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem (2020-2023). Among his books on are EineGeschichte der spanischen Literatur (1990; Spanish translation forthcoming); Making Sense in Life and Literature (1992); In 1926–Living at the Edge of Time (1998; translated into German, Hungarian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish); Vom Leben und Sterben der grossen Romanisten (2002), French translation 2020; The Powers of Philology (2003; translated into German, Spanish, Georgian; Korean and Portuguese translations forthcoming); Production of Presence (2004; translated into French, German, Hungarian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish); In Praise of Athletic Beauty (2006; translations into Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Ukrainian); California Graffiti – Bilder vom westlichen Ende der Welt (010); Unsere breite Gegenwart (2010; translations into English, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian), Stimmungen lesen (2011; translations into English, Portuguese, and Spanish). After 1945–Latency as Origin of the Present (2013, German, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish translations). Der Geist im Silicon Valley. Leben und Denken im Zukunftsmodus. (2018, Spanish translation 2020, Portuguese translation forthcoming); “Prose of the World”: Denis Diderot and the Periphery of Enlightenment (2021, German translation 2020, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish translations forthcoming); and Crowds – das Stadion als Ritual von Intensität (2020, English translation 2021, Hungarian and and Portuguese translations forthcoming), ̛Provinz – über Orte des Denken und der Leidenschaft. Lünburg 2021, und Crowds – das Stadion als Ritual der Intensität. Hannover 2021 [English translation 2021].
Gumbrecht is a regular contributor to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, and Estado de São Paulo. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Professeur attaché at Collège de France, Professor Catedratico Visitante Permanente at the Universidade de Lisboa, and a Professor of Romance Literatures at the Hebrew University (2020-2023). He was a Distinguished Visitor at the Commonwealth Center of the University of Virginia; a Walker Ames Professor at the University of Washington; a Martin Buber Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; a Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center, at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) in Palo Alto, at the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundation (Munich), and at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.
Gumbrecht has been an instructor at the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University (summers of 2005 and 2012), where he is a Member of the Board. He has received the Miguel Espinosa Award for Essay in 2011, Province of Murcia (Spain). In 2012, Gumbrecht was awarded the José Vasconcelos World Award of Education. He received the “Kulturpreis der Stadt Würzburg” in 2015. During the same year, he was the Whitney J. Oates Fellow in the Humanities Council at the Department of Literature at Princeton University. He has been acknowledged with Honorary Doctorates (twelve in all) from universities in Canada, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Russia, and Georgia. Over the past years, Gumbrecht has been involved in the academic work of the Haute École Fédérale de Sport de Macolin (HEFSM) in Switzerland.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Tomáš Halík, Charles University Prague, Czech Republic
Tomáš Halík is Professor of Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Charles University in Prague. A leading Czech philosopher, theologian, sociologist of religion, psychologist and public intellectual, he is a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and other scholarly societies at home and abroad, Halík is a recipient of numerous international awards including the 2014 Templeton Prize and the prize for the best European Theological Book for 2009-2010 (Patience with God, 2010). Though associated with Charles University for several decades, Halík also lectured at a number of other universities across the globe: in many European countries, in the USA (at 12 American universities and colleges), Latin America (Chile and Argentina), Canada, Asia (Japan, Taiwan and India), Australia and South Africa. He has been a visiting professor and gave annual lectures at universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Pittsburgh, Harvard, Calvin College and the Catholic University of Leuven—to mention a few.
His theological hermeneutics of contemporary history, society and culture, with the focus on interreligious dialogue and dialogue between believers and nonbelievers, is intimately interwoven with his personal story. Banned from university teaching and persecuted by the secret police as “an enemy of the regime,” during the Communist period, Halík studied theology secretly and was covertly ordained into the Catholic priesthood in Erfurt, in 1978. In the 1980s, he was one of Cardinal Tomášek’s close associates, contributing to the spiritual and intellectual resistance against the regime that led to the “Velvet Revolution” in November 1989. During that period, he helped to organise the “underground university” and clandestine publication of religious and philosophical literature. He also initiated “The Decade of National Spiritual Renewal,” an ecumenical pastoral program aimed at preparing the Czech society for a peaceful transition to democracy and creating a “moral and spiritual biosphere” for life in freedom.
After the fall of the Communist regime, Halík has continued to offer a prophetic voice of hope, especially for the societies of the Global North facing the challenges of the (post)secular age. His mission of a bridge-builder spanned multiple disciplines of knowledge, aspects of faith and domains of public life. He co-founded the Czech Christian Academy, of which he was president for 23 years; he developed the Academic Parish in Prague, as a place of permanent dialogue between faith and science, and religion and art; and he helped establish a number of other institutions for the promotion of education in the field of religion and spiritual culture. For many years he also assisted President Václav Havel in organizing meetings of leading representatives of world religions as part of the annual international conferences of Forum 2000. In the 1990s he served as one of Havel’s external advisers. Despite Havel’s suggestion that Halík was an eligible candidate for his successor in the office of Czech President, Halík refused any active involvement in the politics and decided to continue his work as an academic, priest and writer.
Actively involved in the public discourse in his motherland and beyond, he promoted Czech-German reconciliation and the ecumenical reconciliation of the different churches; he has taken unequivocal stands against racial, national, religious and political intolerance and violence around the globe, and has regularly spoken out on issues of political and economic ethics. Halík has also been a frequent participant in international debates and panel discussions with European politicians regarding the widening of the European Union and the cultural and spiritual aspects of the process of European integration.
But it is above all through his books—published and translated in 18 languages and internationally recognised and awarded—that Halík’s global impact and popularity have gone far beyond the strictly academic and church circles. His writings focus chiefly on a spiritual diagnosis of our times and the dialogue between faith and atheism. Halík’s theological endeavours have helped to develop the philosophical and theological groundwork for dialogue between believers of different religions, and particularly between believers and nonbelievers. His public theologising has taken form of, inter alia, re-imagining spaces for mutual dialogue between Christian (and notably Catholic) spirituality and a postmodern culture.
The striking opening of Patience with God, one of his most celebrated books, published in 2010, gives one a good idea about Halík’s dialogical imagination and theological sensitivities. He writes: “I agree with atheists on many things, often on almost everything—except their belief that God doesn’t exist. In today’s bustling marketplace of religious wares of every kind, I sometimes feel closer with my Christian faith to the skeptics or to the atheist or agnostic critics of religion.” Halík considers paradoxes inherent in the Christian faith as a hermeneutic key to view the current absence of God in the world as Kairos, an opportune moment for a new Christianity that, voided of any triumphalist ideology, is essentially kenotic. Against the backdrop of the dramatic societal upheavals of 1968, Halík (re)interprets the signs of the times, in our (post)secular age, in a way that avoids reducing one’s options to simple binaries. For him, the undeniable culmination of secularisation paradoxically coincides with the so-called return of religion, where the latter is being transformed into political ideology, into philosophical hermeneutics and phenomenology, and into spirituality.
Halík’s innovative philosophical and theological reflection on the meanings of this new Christianity and its potential to constructively engage with contemporary atheists and agnostics, has already inspired a scholarly debate in Europe and beyond and posed a theme for several doctoral and master’s theses at European universities including Louvain, Prague, Krakow and Warsaw. Halík revisits these and similar questions in dialogue with Anselm Grün, in their 2019 book Is God Absent?: Faith, Atheism, and Our Search for Meaning (the German original published in 2016), where faith and uncertainty (or doubt) once again appear as sisters vis-à-vis various forms of religious fundamentalism, fanaticism and triumphalist ideology.
Prof. Dr. John T. Hamilton, Harvard University, USA
John T. Hamilton is the William R. Kenan Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Harvard University, where he is also affiliated with the Classics and Music departments. Prior teaching includes positions at the University of California-Santa Cruz (Classics) and New York University (German/Comparative Literature), with visiting fellowships at the University of Bristol, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, the ETH-Zürich, the Zentrum für Literaturforschung-Berlin, and the Hamburg Institute for Advanced Study, as well as a steady schedule of invited lectures in the United States and Europe. His research spans an array of fields and topics, including German and French literary history, Greek and Latin philology, Classical Reception, hermeneutic theory, Music and Literature, and conceptual history. Much of his work is concerned with the embedded metaphors, images, and semantic fields that inform and irradiate written discourse, often in ways that evade full authorial control. Philology and etymology thus serve as particularly fruitful modes of investigation, not to anchor usage to a purportedly original or conclusive meaning but rather to disclose trajectories of sense that would otherwise remain latent–to trigger unexpected encounters and compel a dynamic confrontation of horizons of expectation. Multiple vectors meet and provisionally come to a halt in any discursive instance. Hamilton’s research intends to open those present moments to precedent usages, not without an eye on possible developments to come.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Karsten Harries, Yale University, USA
Karsten Harries is one the leading figures in the philosophy and history of art and architecture. Born in 1937 in Jena, Germany, Harries trained at Yale University where he was the Howard H. Newman Professor of Philosophy until his retirement. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1962 under George Schrader, Karsten taught at Yale from 1965 until retiring in 2017. He has also taught at the University of Texas in Austin and has been a visiting professor at the University of Bonn. Harries has published extensively and has authored more than 200 articles and reviews and of ten books: Wahrheit: Die Architektur der Welt (2012); Art Matters: A Critical Commentary on Heidegger's "The Origin of the Work of Art" (2009); Die bayerische Rokokokirche: Das Irrationale und das Sakrale (2009) (reworked version of The Bavarian Rococo Church); Between Nihilism and Faith: A Commentary on Either/Or (2010); Infinity and Perspective (2001); The Ethical Function of Architecture (1997), winner of the American Institute of Architects 8th Annual International Architecture Book Award for Criticism; Martin Heidegger: Kunst, Politik, Technik edited with Christoph Jamme (1992), appeared in English as Martin Heidegger: Politics, Art, and Technology (1994); The Broken Frame: Three Lectures (1990); The Bavarian Rococo Church: Between Faith and Aestheticism (1983); The Meaning of Modern Art (1968). Acknowledged for his work on early modern philosophy and interpretations of Heidegger, Harries’ research and writings address critical issues concerning philosophy of art, ethics, and the nature of interpretation.
His work has been of importance not only for philosophers and historians of art and architecture but also of particular significance for architects themselves. His concern with dwelling, ethics, and the intersection between art, technology, and architecture has enabled him to investigate the key nature of that interrelationship, and significantly the question of the “legitimacy and limits of that objectifying reason that presides over our science and technology”(Yale.edu). He has received numerous awards and citations, including the Guggenheim Prize. In honor of his contributions to the field of architecture and the environment, Harries was awarded the degree of Master of Environmental Design by Yale University in 2007, and in 2015 University College Dublin conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature. Many of his papers, such as Building and the Terror of Time (1982), have been acknowledged by his contemporaries, with Harries being honored on two occasions by his peers with written works. On the occasion of his 70th birthday, the Festschrift, Himmel und Erde Heaven and Earth, and on the occasion of his 80th with the Festschrift Ethics in Architecture. Harries continues to write and is currently working on a commentary on Nicholas of Cusa’ De docta ignorantia.
Prof. Dr. Douglas Hedley, University of Cambridge, UK
Douglas Hedley is Professor of the Philosophy of Religion at the University of Cambridge. He studied philosophy and theology at the universities of Oxford and Munich, and in 1992 gained a doctorate in the Philosophy Faculty at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich under the supervision of Werner Beierwaltes. Hedley works on the history of philosophy and the philosophy of religion and has held visiting professorships in France, Germany, the USA, Canada, and India, and is a past Secretary of the British Society for the Philosophy of Religion and past President of the European Society for the Philosophy of Religion. In March 2002 he was Directeur d'études invité at the EPHE, Sorbonne, and from January to March 2004 he was the Alan Richardson Fellow of the Theology Department in Durham. With Stephan van Erp and Marcel Sarot, he is the editor of the Series, Studies in Philosophical Theology published by Peeters in Leuven. Douglas Hedley is also co-chair of the Platonism and Neoplatonism section of the American Academy of Religion. Douglas Hedley is the author of several monographs and articles and was the Principal Investigator of a major AHRC grant, ‘The Cambridge Platonists at the Origins of Enlightenment’ 2016-2019. He is the Director of the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Platonism. His own research is situated at the borderlands of philosophy and theology, attempting to draw upon Christian Neoplatonism to address some of the abiding problems of contemporary thought. Much of this endeavor revolves around the concept of imagination. He has published a trilogy on the religious imagination. Modern Theology published a book symposium on his work in 2017: Engaging Douglas Hedley’s Imagination Trilogy: Aesthetics, Representation, and Religious Rationality in Late Modernity. A volume dedicated to the systematic dimension of his thought was published as The History of Religious Imagination in Christian Platonism Exploring the Philosophy of Douglas Hedley, edited by Christian Hengstermann, in March 2021.
Prof. Dr. Michael D. Hurley, University of Cambridge, UK
Michael D. Hurley is Professor of Literature and Theology, and a Fellow and Director of Studies in English at Trinity College.
Prof. Dr. Brian R. Jacobson, California Institute of Technology, USA
Brian R. Jacobson is Professor of Visual Culture in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the California Institute of Technology. His work focuses on the history and interpretation of world making and the creation of artificial environments, from media architecture and visual representation to energy infrastructure, climate control, and terraforming. Jacobson has written extensively about the history of studio architecture and the essential role architecture and infrastructure play in the creation of visual media and their artificial image and screen worlds. In his field-defining book Studios Before the System: Architecture, Technology, and the Emergence of Cinematic Space (2015), Jacobson situates the world’s first film studios in the architectural and technological developments of urban industrial modernity and argues that cinema should be understood both as a system of environmental regulation and as a critical component of the human-built world. His award-winning edited volume, In the Studio: Visual Creation and Its Material Environments (2020), extends this work further into the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries in a range of geographic and media contexts.
His more recent work combines histories of energy and environment with art and media to examine the role visual culture plays in shaping the practices, politics, and cultural imaginaries of energy forms and environmental futures. What role, this work asks, have visual media played in shaping broad cultural interpretations of new energy forms and with what implications for the formation of political willpower and energy and environmental policy making? Focused primarily on France and its late-colonial empire but also attentive to intersecting histories in the US, UK, and the sites of their (neo)colonial ambitions, this work includes studies of the hermeneutical work of state and corporate propaganda, the epistemological role that visual media play in extractive industries, and the forms of art that emerge within and in response to unstable moments of energy transition like the one we are experiencing today.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Morny Joy, University of Calgary, Canada
Morny Joy is Professor Emerita the Department of Classics and Religion at the University of Calgary. An Australian by birth, Morny Joy earned her first degree at the University of Sydney (1968). Her intellectual horizon was broadened beyond the analytic philosophy predominant at that time in Australia when, as a graduate student at the University of Ottawa in the early 1970s, she attended a lecture presented by Paul Ricoeur on the topic of “silence.” The itinerary of her academic career since then has been largely determined by that initial encounter. After completing her doctoral degree (1981) in Religious Studies at McGill University, Montreal, Dr. Joy spent two years of post-doctoral studies at the Center for Advanced Study of Religion, The Divinity School, University of Chicago, where Ricoeur was a visiting scholar and where their academic relationship was allowed to flourish. Since 1989, Dr. Joy has been a professor in the Department of Religious Studies (now Classics and Religion) at the University of Calgary. While the philosophy of religion had been the focus of her research and teaching, it was hermeneutics and women and religion that have become the main touchstones of her studies.
A few representative publications (in journals and books, edited by other scholars) include:
• “Paul Ricoeur, Hannah Arendt, and the Journey to Justice.” In The Ambiguity of Justice: New Perspectives are presented on Paul Ricoeur’s Approach to Justice, edited by Geoffrey Dierckxsens. Leiden: Brill, 2020.
• “Women’s Journeys in the Study of Religion: Adventures in Gender, Postmodernism, Postcolonialism and Globalization,” Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religion,” 19 (2017): 56–74.
• “Ricoeur, Women, and the Journey to Recognition.” Feminist Explorations of Paul Ricoeur’s Philosophy, ed. Annemie Halsema and Fernanda Henriques. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2016: 19–36.
• “Ricoeur, and Fallibility to Fragility and Ethics,” in Symposium: The Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy 20 (2016): 69–90.
• “Ricoeur undertook a move from Hermeneutics to Ethics,” in Chinese Journal of Philosophy 42 (2015): 125–40.
• “Comparative Religion and its Vicissitudes in an Age of Globalization,” Temenos 50 (2014): 215–34.
• “Explorations in Otherness: Paul Ricoeur and Luce Irigaray,” Études Ricoeuriennes / Ricoeur Studies 4 (2013): 71–91; http://ricoeur.pitt.edu/ojs/index.php/ricoeur/issue/view/8.
• “Paul Ricoeur on Life and Death.” Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (2011): 249–53.
In addition, Dr. Joy has herself written and/or edited a number of books, including:
• Explorations in Women, Rights, and Religions, ed. Morny Joy. Sheffield, UK: Equinox, 2020.
• Women, Religion, and the Gift: An Abundance of Riches, ed. Morny Joy. Dordrecht: Springer, 2016.
• Women and the Gift: Beyond the Given and the All-Giving, ed. Morny Joy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013.
• After Appropriation: Explorations in Intercultural Philosophy and Religion, ed. Morny Joy. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2012.
• Continental Philosophy and Philosophy of Religion, ed. Morny Joy. Dordrecht: Springer, 2011.
• A Place of Springs: Living Beauty in Violent Modernity: Death and the Displacement of Beauty, Vol. 3, by Grace Jantzen, compiled and edited posthumously by Jeremy Carrette and Morny Joy. London: Routledge, 2009.
• Violence and Eternity: Death and the Displacement of Beauty, Vol. 2, by Grace Jantzen, compiled and edited posthumously by Jeremy Carrette and Morny Joy. London: Routledge, 2008.
• Divine Love: Luce Irigaray, Women, Gender, and Religion. Series in Gender and Religion. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007.
Prof. Dr. Richard Kearney, Boston College, USA
Richard Kearney is the Charles B. Seelig Chair of Philosophy at Boston College. In his vast work, comprising over two dozen books on Western philosophy and literature, and over twenty edited and co-edited volumes, he develops the project of reconciling hermeneutics and phenomenology in what he calls a “diacritical (carnal) hermeneutics.” Such hermeneutics comprises a critical function in the double sense of deciphering the conditions of possibility of meaning, as well as a critical exposure of injustice and inequalities of power, a diacritical function of discernment between competing claims to meaning, grammatological attention to inflections of linguistic marks, that is, a micro-reading between gaps and oppositions (similarily to deconstruction), and a therapeutic function based on a diagnostic reading of the body. Those characteristics point to a fundamentally carnal aspect of diacritical hermeneutics understood as sensing the Other. Rooted in Merleau-Ponty’s notion of “diacritical perception,” which stresses that meaning is never given as an isolated item, but as part of a complex and flowing interaction of elements, Kearney’s diacritical hermeneutics can be assimilated to an incarnate phronesis. Crucial for such phronesis is imagination, a fundamental notion in Kearney’s thought, explored as the uniting theme of his work in Imagination Now: A Richard Kearney Reader (2020). Developing Ricoeur’s notion of narrative imagination, Kearney portrays imagination as the capacity that allows us to navigate between the self and the Other in his considerations on ethics and aesthetics (Poetics of Imagining: Modern to Post-modern, 1998, The Wake of Imagination, 2002), theism and a-theism in his writings on theopoiesis ( The God who May Be, 2002, Anatheism: The Returning to God After God, 2011, The Art of Anatheism, 2018), hospitality and hostility in his more politically-oriented works (Debating Otherness with Richard Kearney, 2018, Radical Hospitality: From Thought to Action, 2021).
Devoted to the idea that diacritical hermeneutics fulfills itself as applied to the lived world, he develops it through his Guestbook Project in narrative pedagogy. This practical peace initiative allows participants to confront their stories with those of strangers or adversaries (https://guestbookproject.org/). In his recent publications, Kearney’s carnal hermeneutics concentrates on the hermeneutics of touch, as he develops an understanding of touch as the most primordial, foundational sense, situating it in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic (Touch: Recovering Our Most Vital Sense, 2021). He has also published fiction and poetry.
Prof. Dr. Walter Omar Kohan, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Walter Kohan is Professor of Philosophy of Education at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (since 2002). He received his doctorate from Iberoamericana University, in Mexico City, in 1996. His mentor was Matthew Lipman. He did post-doctoral Studies in Philosophy at the University of Paris 8 in 2006-2008. Kohan was a research fellow at EPCD, at the University of British Columbia, 2017-2018. He has also been visiting professor at different universities in Italy, France, Argentina, Mexico, and Chile. Since 2000 he has been a Senior Research member of the National Council of Scientific and Technologic Development (CNPQ, Brazil), and the Foundation of Support of Research of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ, Brazil). Since 2003, he has been the Director of the Center of Studies in Philosophy and Childhood (State University of Rio de Janeiro, www.filoeduc.org). Kohan was President (1999-2001) and a member of the Advisory Board of the International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children (ICPIC). Since 2005 he has been the co-founder and co-editor of Childhood & Philosophy,* the ICPIC journal. Kohan has presented papers or lectures in more than 200 conferences all over Brazil and Latin America, and in countries like Canada, the United States, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, France, Portugal, Italy, Iceland, Greece, New Zealand, Romany, Moldavia, England, Russia, South Africa, India, South Korea, Japan, and China. Since 2002, he has organized the Biennial International Colloquiums of Philosophy and Education in Rio de Janeiro. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and books as author, co-author, or editor in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, English, and French.
Prof. Dr. Dean Komel, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Dean Komel (1960) is Professor of Contemporary Philosophy and Philosophy of Culture at the Department of Philosophy Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, and the head of research activities at the Institute Nova Revija for the Humanities (Ljubljana).
His research work focuses in particular on addressing the philosophical potential of phenomenological description in conjunction with hermeneutic aspects of understanding and interpretation. In this context, he developed the concepts of “phenomenological interference” and “hermeneutical in-between,” which he also applied to the fields of art theory, philosophy of language, and intercultural philosophy (Tradition und Vermittlung, 2005; Intermundus, 2009).
Within the attempt to elaborate a hermeneutic basis of interdisciplinary humanities, he devoted some of his recent works (Features of Sense, 2016; Horizons of Contemporality, 2021) to the topological description of the contemporality of the understanding context. The epochal experience of contemporaneity in itself goes beyond the methodological framework of establishing humanistic knowledge, as it reveals our existential attitude to what it is today, that is, to the respective historical world.
Komel reflects on the crisis of historical existence in several of his philosophical works, most recently in the Totalitarium (2019); the discussion is not limited to the totalitarianism in 20th century but considers the ontotheological, metapolitical, biopolitical, and technoscientific aspects of the elevation of society to the state of unconditional subjectivity.
Prof. Dr. Frederick G. Lawrence, Boston College, USA
Frederick G. Lawrence is Professor of systematic theology at Boston College. Having completed his doctoral dissertation in 1975 at the University of Basel on the hermeneutic thought of Hans-Georg Gadamer and Bernard Lonergan, each of whom were outstanding interpreters and theorists of hermeneutics, much of his writing has been centered on both interpreting and on hermeneutics, especially as regards theological issues. Because of (1) Jürgen Habermas’s praxis-oriented interactions with Gadamer, (2) Johann Baptist Metz’s shift from transcendental to political theology, and (3) Leo Strauss (also a colleague and friend of Gadamer) on the “theologico-political problematic,” he has also been engaged with theology in a political mode (though not in the vein of Carl Schmitt!).
A number of Lawrence’s influential writings on these themes are collected in the volume The Fragility of Consciousness: Faith, Reason and the Human Good (University of Toronto Press, 2017). These essays are the product of a long and interdisciplinary engagement with theology and hermeneutic philosophy, which has spawned over a hundred articles, translations, and edited volumes. Lawrence’s writings cover a wide array of topics and concerns and range from close interpretative studies of individual philosophers and theologians to nuanced, systematic treatments of political theology, historical consciousness, trinitarian doctrine, and economic systems.
Lawrence’s work has proved particularly influential in two areas. First, his writings have played a prominent role in fostering the study of the thought of Bernard Lonergan, his former teacher and later colleague at Boston College. Lawrence has gained a national and international reputation as among the most insightful and authoritative interpreters of Lonergan’s philosophical and theological writings, and his work has helped to cement Lonergan’s legacy in twentieth-century Catholic thought. Beyond his own scholarly contributions, Lawrence has engaged in ongoing collaborative efforts throughout his career to helping understand and develop Lonergan’s thought through the organization of annual workshops, regular conferences, edited volumes, and teaching initiatives. Second, Lawrence has developed a reputation outside the circles of Lonergan studies as an incisive and discerning reader of twentieth-century continental philosophy and hermeneutics. Beyond his writings on Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jurgen Habermas, and Paul Ricoeur, he also has written detailed studies on pivotal continental thinkers too often neglected in wider discussions of philosophical hermeneutics, such as Leo Strauss, Eric Voegelin, and René Girard. Furthermore, he has provided standard translations of several significant works by Gadamer, Habermas, and others.
Lawrence’s unique approach to philosophical and theological hermeneutics reflects the influences of three distinct academic contexts: Rome, Basel, and Boston. Lawrence studied with Lonergan at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome from 1963 to 1966, after the publication of Lonergan’s Insight (1957), and during the time, he was developing many of the ideas that would find mature expression in Method in Theology (1972). Lawrence recognized early on the promise of Lonergan’s thinking for re-evaluating the Catholic Church’s complex relationship to modernity and for meeting the challenge of the emerging historical consciousness within Catholic theology. Following these studies, Lawrence turned his attention to early twentieth-century continental philosophy and to Gadamer’s landmark work in philosophical hermeneutics, which would become the focus of his subsequent doctoral studies at the University of Basel, culminating in a dissertation examining the hermeneutic circle in Lonergan and Gadamer. Since beginning his career at Boston College in 1971, Lawrence has worked consistently to bring these two influences together. And indeed, for a time, and partly through Lawrence’s invitation, Gadamer and Lonergan worked as colleagues at Boston College. Lonergan taught in Boston College’s theology department from 1975 to 1983. Following his retirement from the University of Heidelberg in 1968, Gadamer developed a close association with Boston College and served as a regular visiting faculty from 1974 to 1986.
In his own teaching and scholarship, Lawrence has been both a mainstay of Lonergan studies and an influential voice in Boston College’s Departments of Theology and Philosophy. In 1974, he founded and coordinated the annual Lonergan Workshop, now in its fifth decade. Since this time, he has also served as editor of the Lonergan Workshop Journal, as well as of several supplemental volumes of essays treating the works of Gadamer, Voegelin, and Johann Baptist Metz. In addition, he has directed dozens of dissertations in theological hermeneutic and systematic and philosophical theology, and he has played a principal role in shaping the curriculum of Boston College’s Perspectives Program, an interdisciplinary honors program that introduces undergraduate students to central theological, philosophical, and political writings in the Great Books tradition.
Lawrence continues to teach graduate courses on “Theology as Hermeneutical” and “Theology as Political,” along with foundational theology courses such as “On the Trinity.” He is now working on a book on political theology that relies heavily on Gadamer’s writings on Plato and Aristotle and the implications of Lonergan’s theological writings and his work on both the human good and economics.
Prof. Dr. David Leatherbarrow, University of Pennsylvania, USA
David Leatherbarrow is Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Design, Philadelphia. Previously he taught architecture theory and design at Cambridge University and the University of Westminster. Two hermeneutical challenges orient his teaching and scholarship: first, how the architectural site (variously rural or urban, remote or familiar) can be interpreted and transformed in response to contemporary and local concerns, and second, how architectural construction can acknowledge both traditional practices and new opportunities for meaningful building. Why these two problems of interpretation in the art of building? In short, because architecture is a practice that results in designs that are sited and built for the enactment and expression of human purposes. He has addressed the first of these challenges in a few of his books, specifically Uncommon Ground (2000), Topographical Stories (2004) and Architecture Oriented Otherwise (2009). The term topography figures prominently in these works, naming the spatial and material domain that endows experience with durable dimension. The matter of orientation is also key, for it raises an architectural equivalent to the philosophical problems of being situated and intersubjectivity. The second interpretative task his works address, translating inherited buildings practices into contemporary possibilities of construction, has been studied in: Roots of Architectural Invention (1993) and Surface Architecture (2002) especially. A third area of study he has pursued in his scholarly articles and books is the problem of architectural temporality. In On Weathering: the life of building in time (1993), a simple technical problem faced by all buildings was interpreted as a key to understanding the ways that buildings acknowledge and represent human finitude (an ethics and phenomenology of stains). His most recent book, Building Time: architecture, event, and experience (2020), presents hermeneutical readings of the time of the world, of the human body in movement, and of the architectural project--concurrent but non-synchronic times of all built works. And Three Cultural Ecologies (2018) examines how modern architects have explored intersections between a building’s cultural content and representations of the natural world, as presented in the literature of the environmental sciences. These texts have been widely translated, various books and articles into 14 languages. The aim of all this writing has been to illuminate topics that remain central to architectural practice and experience, not despite but because of changing demands and expectations for their creative transformation and appropriation. Thus understood, writing is a form of service, through which words render works intelligible and transmissible.
Leatherbarrow has lectured at significant schools of architecture throughout the world, has given keynote lectures at approximately one hundred scholarly conferences, and has held guest professorships in Britain, Denmark, Brazil, and China. Among the professorships and book awards, the one he values most highly is 2020 Topaz Medallion, the highest award given by the American Institute of Architects and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture for excellence in architectural education.
Prof. Dr. h.c. mult. Daniel Libeskind, Studio Libeskind, USA
Daniel Libeskind is a prolific and key figure in contemporary architecture. Born in 1946 in Lotz in Poland, he is a an architect, set designer, academic, and visiting professor who received his architectural degree at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1970, and his postgraduate degree in history and theory of architecture at the School of Comparative Studies at the University of Essex in 1972.
Renowned for works that address questions of remembrance, history and public memory such as the Jewish Museum Berlin and Ground Zero competition, he founded Studio Libeskind with Nina Libeskind in 1989 and came to prominence with the competition for the Jewish Museum in Berlin which was opened in 2001. The iconic zinc-coated jagged form that traces lines of connection linking of major Jewish figures in Berlin creates a fractured Star of David symbolically revealing the vast vacuum left as a result of the Holocaust in German-Jewish history. Libeskind’s other works which have been widely exhibited include the extension to the Denver Art Museum in the United States(2006); the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin (2009); the Imperial War Museum North in Greater Manchester, England (1997–2001); the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada (2007); the Felix Nussbaum Haus in Osnabrück, Germany (1998), the Danish Jewish Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark (2003); and the Wohl Centre at the Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel (2005). In 2003 Libeskind received international acclaim for the winning competition entry for the Ground Zero Master Planning and Reconstruction of the World Trade Centre Site in Lower Manhattan. Through his entry entitled “Memory Foundations,” Libeskind attempted to express the trauma of the event through the interrelationship between architectural forms and sites of commemoration. At the Military History Museum, Dresden (2009) his intervention was not a glorification of Germany’s Bundeswehr but rather sought to interpret from the perspective of violence and its potential in oneself.
Libeskind is regarded as a significant figure in the evolution of phenomenology of architecture and associated with the group of architects and scholars that constellated around Joseph Rykwert and Dalibor Vesely in the 1970s at the University of Essex. In particular, it was Vesely, and the phenomenological and hermeneutic approach to architecture later developed in association with his colleague Peter Carl at the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge, that played a formative role. Libeskind’s work, practice and thought traverses memory and architecture, and he was the first architect to win the Hiroshima Art Prize, awarded to artists whose work promotes international understanding and peace.
Prof. Dr. Dr. Christo Lombaard, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Christo Lombaard is Professor and Head of Department: Practical Theology & Mission Studies, in the Faculty of Theology of the University of Pretoria in South Africa, since March 2021. Prior to this, he served for 15 years at the University of South Africa as Research Professor of Christian Spirituality). His research specialisms include Biblical Spirituality, Music and Spirituality, Post-Secularity (as faith-positive world trend), Religious Communication and aspects of Hebrew Bible exegesis.
He holds two doctorates: a PhD in Communication Studies from North-West University, Potchefstroom-campus, specializing in Religious Communications, which followed on a Communication Studies at the University of Johannesburg, up to Master’s Level, in Editorial Journalism. In addition, he holds a DD in Theology from the University of Pretoria, specializing in Old Testament Studies.
He is a South African National Research Foundation rated researcher, and a regular contributor to conferences across the globe. His most accessible publication is The Old Testament and Christian Spirituality (Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012), which was awarded the 2013 Krister Stendahl scholarship medal by the Graduate Theological Foundation, USA. This volume may be downloaded for free at https://www.sbl-site.org/assets/pdfs/pubs/IVBS-lombaard2012.pdf).
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Max van Manen, University of Alberta, Canada
Max van Manen is Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of Alberta. Central to Max van Manen’s work is the prioritizing of a hermeneutic phenomenology of practice (see: Phenomenology of Practice: Meaning-Giving Methods in Phenomenological Research and Writing, 2014), and a phenomenological pedagogy (see: Pedagogical Tact: Knowing What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do, 2015). Scholars who take a professional interest in phenomenology of practice tend to bend their approach to “doing phenomenology directly on phenomena and events” relevant to their field. For a presentation see: Classic Writings for a Phenomenology of Practice, by Max and Michael van Manen (2021); they translate and investigate historical writings by proponents of the 1940-70s Utrecht movement of phenomenology. Protagonists assumed that a “phenomenological attitude” and “phenomenological seeing” must be exercised concretely on the phenomena (in contrast to more dominant exegetical and meta-theoretical approaches).
To support this textualizing approach to hermeneutic phenomenology, van Manen has explicated the meaning and significance of methodological notions such as “exemplary anecdotes that make the singular visible,” “vocative semiotics,” “insight cultivators,” “gnostic-pathic expressivity,” “existential themes such as corporeality, spatiality, temporality, relationality, materiality, etc., that intend to facilitate inquiry and an ontological epistemology of professional thinking and acting—such as in The Tact of Teaching (1991), The Tone of Teaching (1986/2002/2021) and research on the Phenomenology of Childhood’s Secrets (1996). Max van Manen published several accessible texts such as Researching Lived Experience: Human Science for an Action Sensitive Pedagogy (1990/1997) and Writing in the Dark: Phenomenological Studies in Interpretive Inquiry (2002) that present and discuss relevant research possibilities for doing a phenomenology of practice in professional contexts and that serves the creation of originary and inceptual experiential insights through an existential hermeneutic phenomenology. Van Manen’s books are translated into a dozen languages.
Prof. Dr. Jeff Malpas, Emeritus Distinguished Professor at the University of Tasmania, Australia
Jeff Malpas is Emeritus Distinguished Professor at the University of Tasmania. Growing up in Auckland, New Zealand, and completing his undergraduate work at the University of Auckland in both Philosophy and History, Jeff Malpas undertook graduate study at the Australian National University from 1982-1986 under the supervision of Jack Smart and Philip Pettit. Already at Auckland, and then later at the ANU, Malpas had made the acquaintance of Richard Rorty (then a fellow in the ANU’s Humanities Research Centre) and the connection was indicative of the character of Malpas’ work, like Rorty’s, in spanning both analytic and continental thinking. Malpas’ dissertation was on the work of Donald Davidson (with whom Rorty was closely associated), but it also drew on hermeneutic thinking, primarily that of Heidegger and Gadamer. In 1985, Malpas took up a position as a tutor at the University of New England in New South Wales remaining there until 1989 when he moved to Murdoch University in Western Australia. Although taking on a significant administrative role in his time at Murdoch, Malpas published his first book in 1992, with Cambridge University Press, titled Donald Davidson and the Mirror of Meaning. Drawing on his graduate work, the book explored the holistic and hermeneutical elements in Davidson’s thinking on truth and interpretation, explicitly connecting Davidson with Gadamer and Heidegger—becoming not only one of the very first monographs on Davidson, but also one of the first to argue, in detailed fashion, for a connection between Davidson and Heidegger as well as Gadamer. Davidson had read the book in draft recommending its publication to Cambridge and Malpas visited Davidson regularly from 1994 until Davidson’s death in 2003.
A key element in Malpas’ approach in this first book was the connection between the Davidsonian commitment to holism (which Malpas argued was inseparable from Davidson’s so-called “externalism”) and what Malpas there terms “localism”—the latter being the idea that the holistic structure of meaning (or of the “mental” more broadly) is necessarily worked out through specific bounded domains or “localities”. In other words, the holistic (or relational) structure of meaning does not entail the simultaneous integration of content but instead such integration is always worked out dynamically and in piecemeal fashion. Tied to this emphasis on localism was the further idea that the working-out of content was tied to the active engagement of speakers and agents in their immediate environments—Davidson’s externalism was thus directly connected to a similar form of localization.
The idea of “localism” as a necessary element in any holistic or relational account is central to the development of Malpas’ idea of philosophical topography or topology—though with the idea of the “local” being taken up in the idea of “place” or topos. The focus on place has been the central element in Malpas’ work since the publication of his 1999 book Place and Experience (originally with Cambridge University Press, and in a new and revised edition with Routledge in 2018) and it has opened up into engagements that extend well beyond philosophy alone—including in architecture, art, communication, ecology, geography, medicine, and sociology.
Malpas spent 1997-1998 at UC Berkeley, and then, with the support of both Davidson and Gadamer, as a Humboldt Research Fellow at Heidelberg University. In early 1999, he went from Heidelberg to take up the Chair of Philosophy at the University of Tasmania. His time in Tasmania has seen Malpas even more closely involved with issues of place and topology—the very character of the island reinforcing both the engagement with place and the interdisciplinary character of that engagement.
Malpas’ topological or topographical approach (the two terms being used more or less interchangeably in his work) has a direct application in his reading of hermeneutics. Malpas’ claim is that what characterizes twentieth-century hermeneutic thinking is the fundamental insight that, far from being a barrier to the possibility of knowledge or understanding, situatedness or being-placed is what makes it possible. Moreover, Malpas also argues for place and being-placed as sui generis notions that are therefore not reducible to, even though they are connected with, the ideas of space and time. Space and time are themselves argued to be derivative of or embedded in place. Adopting a position that is strongly resonant with contemporary ideas of extended cognition, Malpas argues for a view of self and mind as topologically or topographical shaped and so as inextricably bound to the environmental contexts in which agents are situated.
The emphasis on place, and so also on the ideas of topology or topography, is something Malpas takes directly from literary sources no less than philosophical, as well as drawing on the empirical scientific literature. But Malpas also reads Heidegger’s work as centrally oriented to the topological – the very idea of topology being taken from Heidegger’s characterization of his own thinking as taking the form of a “topology of being” (Topologies des Seyns). The topological reading of Heidegger has been developed by Malpas in Heidegger’s Topology (MIT, 2006) as well as in subsequent volumes in which the Heidegger’s work is explored alongside other thinkers and in relation to a range of themes and domains – works such as Heidegger and the Thinking of Place (MIT, 2012), Rethinking Dwelling (Bloomsbury 2021) and In the Brightness of Place (SUNY, in press, 2022). In 2021, Malpas also published a short volume, in collaboration with the poet Kenneth White, titled The Fundamental Field (with Edinburgh University Press), that dealt with issues of place, poetry and thought in White’s work whilst also drawing on Heidegger’s.
A large part of Malpas’ scholarly work, and not only the volume with White, has involved collaborations with others both in co-authored publications and in edited volumes. He has edited or co-edited some 25 volumes, including key works in hermeneutics such as Gadamer’s Century (with Ulrich Arnswald and Jens Kertschner, MIT 2002) and Consequences of Hermeneutics (with Santiago Zabala, Northwestern University Press, 2010), and the Routledge Companion to Hermeneutics (with Hans-Helmuth Gander, Routledge, 2015), as well as the influential volume, with Steven Crowell, Transcendental Heidegger (Stanford University Press, 2007). His work on failure with Gary Wickham (and more recently Keith Jacobs) has been important in some sociological circles. He has also collaborated with architects and artists on a variety of projects and publications.
While at Murdoch University, Malpas was already in collaboration with Andrew Brennan, then Professor of Philosophy at the neighboring University of Western of Australia, in work in organizational and public ethics. Malpas established the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Ethics soon after his arrival in Tasmania in 1999, and the Centre ran successfully for ten years before it was moved away from Philosophy, renamed, and later disbanded. Malpas was heavily involved in public comment on ethical issues in the Tasmanian and Australian media, sometimes in continuing collaboration wit
h Brennan, developing his own individual approach to ethics in public life and in organisation environments that draws heavily on hermeneutic thinking along with Malpas’ topological-topographical approach. Working with Sir Max Bingham, previously Tasmanian Attorney-General and a key figure in anti-corruption reform in Queensland during the 1980s and 1990s, Malpas was influential in discussions that led to the establishment of the Tasmanian Integrity Commission in 2009 (although the Commission took a different form than that recommended by Bingham and Malpas).
In 2012, Malpas’s work was recognised through the conferral of the title Distinguished Professor by the University of Tasmania. Currently Malpas, is Emeritus Distinguished Professor at the University of Tasmania (since the end of 2018) and is also Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland. He has held positions as Distinguished Honorary Professor at La Trobe University and Adjunct Professor in Architecture at RMIT University in Melbourne. For a time, he was also Professor of Philosophy in Architecture at the University of Tasmania. Malpas has been a regular visitor at universities in the United States and Europe, especially in Germany (where he has been a visitor in Munich and Freiburg on several occasions) and Scandinavia (where he has had a close association with the University of Uppsala). A Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, Malpas is also a Distinguished Fellow of the Australian Association of von Humboldt Fellows and is currently Vice-President of the Association.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Jean-Luc Marion, University of Chicago, USA
Jean-Luc Marion is Andrew Thomas Greeley and Grace McNichols Greeley Professor of Catholic Studies and Professor of the Philosophy of Religions and Theology at the University of Chicago and Professeur émérite at the Université Paris-IV (Sorbonne), Department of Philosophy. Marion begins with the understanding that we can no longer imagine the lexicon of contemporary phenomenology without the category of givenness. The author of this fundamental philosophical concept is undoubtedly one of the most famous living French philosophers. His fame has grown in the middle of the powerful torments of contemporary thoughts. He began studying at Ecole Normale Supérieure under Louis Althusser and Jacques Derrida, neighboring May 1968 movements. The other side of his philosophical path was strengthened by the spiritual life of the intellectual Christian center of Montmartre with the enchanting role of Monseigneur the rector of Sacré Coeur Maxime Charles who nominated him to run the journal Résurrection together with Jean Duchesne (with whom later he created the French edition of Communio).
Having parents involved in Catholic intellectual life, in his childhood and youth, he was a member of
”Jeunesse Etudiante Chrétienne,” branche étudiante de l’Action Catholique. Many years later, when he authored with Alain Bonfand an essay about the comics character Tintin, he sketched his own philosophical adventure of a passage from the ontic to the ethic (Hergé. Tintin le Terrible ou l’alphabet des richesses, 1996).
Inspired by Jean Beaufret and faithful to the great French tradition of thought, Marion embarked on Descartes as the subject of his doctorate thesis. He entered cartesian studies in the middle of a dispute between giants–Ferdinand Alquié and Martial Gueroult. His doctorate was published in 1975 with great success; Sur l’ontologie grise de Descartes unveiled Descartes’ critical reading of Aristotle’s Organon. He immediately became assistant of Alquié at Sorbonne and was invited to supervise the prestigious Épiméthée collection of Presse Universitaire de France. Six years later, he fulfilled the theological part of his cartesian studies: Sur la théologie blanche de Descartes (1981). Both books were recognized as a breakthrough in the strict rationalist, metaphysical reading of Descartes. Descartes was revisited within the Pascalian, Husserlian, and Heideggerian thinking. The only rational appearance of the Cartesian cogito became fissured. At thirty-five, Marion became the youngest French professor receiving a post at the University of Poitiers.
Marion struggled with the expression “the death of God,” which he understood as the end of the discourse on God. The books L’idole et la distance (1977), Dieu sans l’être (1982) and Prolégomènes à la charité (1986) prepared the ground for Étant donné (1997) that Marion considers his first work as a philosopher. “God without Being” calls for a metaphysics, which claims the death of God because its language cannot embrace distance. “When Being is opening, it doesn’t enter in evident presence, it doesn’t exhaust itself in presence because it defines itself only by resisting presence.” These words from “L’étant et le phénomène” disclose the depth of the phenomenon. This resistance to presence–distance–must characterize every discourse on God. Marion’s phenomenology paved a new way toward a phenomenality that exceeds intentionality–the saturated phenomenon.
Before Étant donné, Marion published Réduction et donation (1989), where he liberated phenomenology from naïve ontology and wherein the ontological difference is thought radically, and another reduction is added: the givenness of the unconditional phenomenon. With these two books Marion entered the pantheon of French phenomenology, and, at the same time, he became one of the targets of Dominique Janicaud’s attack allegedly for applying a theological turn to phenomenology (Le tournant théologique de la phénoménologie française 1995). Placed among the best, like Emmanuel Lévinas, Michel Henry, or Jean-Louis Chrétien, Marion turned the invective into a compliment. Still, he never speaks about “Christian philosophy.” He denounced the term repeating after Heidegger that there can be no “Catholic philosophy” to the same extent as there is no “Protestant mathematics.” Marion is one of the very few thinkers who rigidly sustained the separation between philosophy and theology. He achieved his givenness in purely philosophical terms, without theological preconceptions, and, afterward, he accepted with gratitude the multitude of fruits which this concept brings in the realm of theology.
In the beginning of the 21st century, Marion developed the concept of givenness through the logic of the icon (De surcroît. Etudes sur les phénomènes saturés (2001), Le visible et le révélé (2005). The saturated phenomenon reappeared under the figure of love in Le phénomène érotique (2003). In Certitudes négatives (2010), Marion reflected upon phenomena that appear as events only by contradicting the conditions of one’s experience, imposing a paradox–which is the condition of philosophy. Since Caravaggio’s Calling of Saint Matthew (God without Being), through Rothko’s abstract icon (De surcroit) up to Courbet (Courbet ou la peinture à l’œil, 2014) Marion revealed a mastery in the language of arts.
In 2008, he was “immortalized” by becoming a member of the French Academy, taking the seat after the Cardinal Lustiger. Five years earlier, he received from the Academy the Grand prix de philosophie (2003). Laureate of many lifetime achievement awards (such as Karl Jaspers Prize in 2008 and Premio Joseph Ratzinger in 2020), his work is nonetheless still on the rise with the recent publication of the monumental D’ailleurs, la révélation (2020). Having gathered all the possible tools to challenge the noticeable narrowness of the theological concept of revelation, Marion speaks about the revelation in terms of excess, multi-dimensional phenomenality, and the elsewhere (l’ailleurs). A new hermeneutics must measure distance. “Giveness has found me much more than I discovered it,” says Marion in one of the latest interviews (with Paul-François Paoli, 2021). When the philosopher’s thinking is rigidly rational, paraphrasing Lévinas’ title, God, nevertheless comes to mind.
Prof. Dr. Dr. Sean J. McGrath, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Sean McGrath is Professor of Philosophy at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is a Canadian philosopher of religion in the most interdisciplinary sense of the term. After graduate work at the University of Toronto in both theology and philosophy, McGrath published several major works in the area of Heidegger and religion. In 2008 he was awarded a Humboldt Fellowship for research in Germany on the topic of the relationship between psychoanalysis and German Idealism. The fruit of that research was published in 2012 as The Dark Ground of Spirit: Schelling and the Unconscious (Routledge). He was inducted into the College of the Royal Society of Canada in 2014, the same year he began to work in the field of religious ecology. In 2015 McGrath founded a non-profit organization called For A New Earth with the aim of raising environmental consciousness. Out of many years of teaching and lecturing in environmental philosophy, McGrath published Thinking Nature: An Essay in Negative Ecology (Edinburgh, 2019), which Richard Kearney describes as “a radical contemplative attunement to the call of deep nature.” McGrath is perhaps best known for his work on renewing the study of Schelling in English-speaking academia. With Jason Wirth, he co-founded the North American Schelling Society in 2012. In 2021 he published the first of two volumes on the late Schelling's philosophy of religion, The Philosophical Foundations of the Late Schelling: The Turn to the Positive (Edinburgh University Press, 2021).
Prof. Dr. James R. Mensch, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
James Mensch is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Charles University in Prague. His main areas of research are phenomenology and its contemporary social and political applications. A particular focus of his is the study of how our embodiment and consciousness affect each other. Here, his research is animated by such questions as: How does our embodiment influence our being in the world? What is its role in our social and political relations, in the ways in which we conceive public space? How does it affect our conceptions of the divine, including that of the Christian Incarnation? What is the role that the evolutionary development of our species plays in our cognitive awareness? Is it, for example, true, as Nietzsche says, that “the utility of preservation … stands as the motive behind the development of the organs of knowledge–they develop in such a way that their observation suffices for our preservation”? Or does such a statement undercut any possibility of our justifying it? How, in fact, can we admit the embodied nature of our cognition without relativizing its claims to our particular embodiment?
Mensch is the editor of the book series, Body and Consciousness, with Ibidem Press and is a member of the Central European Institute of Philosophy. He is the author of fourteen books, the most recent being Decisions and Transformations: The Phenomenology of Embodiment which was published by Ibidem Press in 2020 to initiate the series Body and Consciousness. Recent publications include Selfhood and Appearing, The Intertwining (Brill, 2018), Patočka’s Asubjective Phenomenology: Toward a New Concept of Human Rights (Königshausen & Neumann 2016), and Levinas’s Existential Analytic (Northwestern University Press, 2015). The Times Literary Supplement wrote of this last work, “Mensch does a brilliant job of explicating Levinas’s philosophical background,” while the Review of Metaphysics wrote, “James Mensch helps us read Levinas as Levinas himself preferred.” His other books have received similarly favorable reviews.
Prof. Dr. John Milbank, University of Nottingham, UK
John Milbank is Professor Emeritus at the University of Nottingham. His work has been largely concerned with the relationship of theology to other disciplines, to modernity and to cultural practice. He has dealt with this question both genealogically and analytically. Part of his work is rooted in his doctoral thesis (eventually published in an expanded two-part version) on Giambattista Vico which tried to read him as a Catholic Humanist thinker articulating a modern and yet traditional poetic metaphysics and philosophy of history focused upon the participation of natural life and human making in the Divine Trinity and the Creative action of God.
After completing this thesis, Milbank embarked upon the studies that issued in his most well-known work, Theology and Social Theory in 1990. Here he argued that secularity was not a negative residue but a positive construction, which often involved heterodox theological elements, besides a debatable margination of or hostility to religion. The notion that theology was a specialty in debate with other scientific specialties was challenged: to the contrary, theology is already in part a social theory and social theories remain to a degree theological. The work has been perceived both as postmodern and as helping to inaugurate a post-secular challenge to postmodern nihilism.
Since then, in the course of several articles and a book, Being Reconciled, Milbank has further elaborated a reflection on the question of the gift, both ethnographically and theologically. This work tends to suggest that, if slightly reworked, the Maussian understanding of gift-exchange can be rendered compatible with a Catholic Christian theological outlook: a future book on this is in the offing. The same work has challenged a typically phenomenological reading of the gift as disinterested and unliteral.
During the same period Milbank developed a theological critique of philosophy along parallel lines to his critique of the social sciences: arguing genealogically and analytically against the separation of philosophy from theology or vice-versa. Philosophy without theology is regarded as inhabiting a kind of post-Christian wasteland and as struggling to achieve in secular terms a synthesis that is now unattainable. In general he has argued for a return to metaphysics beyond both Analytic philosophy and Phenomenology, but at the same time that there is no metaphysics innocent of the perspectives of faith. This view has been articulated in several articles, in his debate book with Slavoj Zizek, The Monstrosity of Christ and his 2013 book Beyond Secular Order. Milbank is working towards a longer book-length statement of this argument. Its more positive aspect is represented by his work towards crafting a more adequate Trinitarian Ontology—see various articles with more work pending.
In terms of Christian doctrine and ethics, Milbank has written several essays. some of them collected in The Word Made Strange and in The Future of Love. He is also a public intellectual and cultural and political activist. During the 1990's in Cambridge, he co-founded Radical Orthodoxy with Catherine Pickstock and Graham Ward: a movement towards a kind of 'left integralism' in theology: insisting on a revived Romantic Christian Platonism beyond postmodernism, on the unity of grace and nature (after Henri de Lubac) and on the orientation of a Christian socialist politics to the Church as the community of charity and reconciliation (The Suspended Middle, 2005).
This movement has achieved international resonance and Milbank has strong connections in North America (where he lived and taught for seven years) and with France and Italy, besides many other European links. After his return to the UK in 2004, Milbank helped to shape an RO-influence in British politics, influencing both the Red Tory and the Blue Labour factions: Milbank cleaves to the latter. Together with Adrian Pabst he articulated his postliberal communitarian vision in The Politics of Virtue (2017). Beyond Alasdair Macintyre and Charles Taylor this book tries to engage also with the more political aspects of Plato and Aristotle, and to search for a personalist-corporatist vision beyond either liberal or social democracy, without succumbing to new modes of fascism.
Milbank is additionally a published poet and this artistic practice, along with his theoretical reflections on poetry (in The Mercurial Wood and The Legend of Death) are strongly related to his 'metaphysics of making' with roots both in Nicholas of Cusa and in Vico. His most important poetry book is The Dances of Albion which reflects obliquely on British and Irish identity. More recently he has started to redefine RO as including also a 'radicalized orthodoxy' which would regard 'radicals' like Origen, Maximus, Eriugena, Eckhart, Cusanus and William Blake as actually pushing the logic of orthodoxy itself to its full conclusions. This involves both an endorsement of universal salvation and an insistence that Trinitarian and Christological doctrines are not additions to monotheism but a better articulation of the latter. A key mark of this is the integration of the monistic with the personal. In an upcoming volume, After Science and Religion, published with Cambridge University Press, co-edited by Milbank and Peter Harrison, Milbank tries to rethink the theology and natural science relation rather in the way that I have tried to think the theology to social science one. A no doubt overly enthusiastic devotee of Twitter, Milbank has used it, in novel way, to issue a kind of continuous public diary and notebook, including besides comments on many things, also aphorisms, jokes and photographs.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Dermot Moran, Boston College
Dermot Moran is the Inaugural Holder of the Joseph Professorship in Catholic Philosophy, Boston College. He was previously Professor of Philosophy (Metaphysics & Logic) at University College Dublin. He is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy and Institut International de Philosophie. He was awarded the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal in the Humanities in 2012. He is currently Past President of the Fédération International des Sociétés de Philosophie (FISP) and was President of FISP from 2013-2018 and President of the 24th World Congress of Philosophy in Beijing.
Dermot Moran is one of Ireland’s most distinguished philosophers with a singular breadth of achievement and originality. He is an expert in medieval philosophy (especially Neoplatonism), Christian philosophy (especially Edith Stein, John Henry Newman) and phenomenology. A meticulous researcher working in several European languages, he combines careful historical studies with insightful and original analysis, writing with penetrating intelligence and crystal clear articulation. Moran first received international acclaim for his pioneering work on the ninth-century Irish philosopher John Scottus Eriugena, whom he has successfully championed as a major philosopher of the Idealist tradition. In recent decades he has become equally acclaimed for his ground-breaking contribution to the understanding of the phenomenological tradition and for his efforts to mediate between the competing traditions of analytic and continental philosophy.
His Introduction to Phenomenology, which was awarded the Ballard Prize for Phenomenology in 2001, and has been translated into Chinese (twice) and Spanish, broke new ground in its account of the phenomenological tradition and is now a standard reference work in the field. His third monograph Husserl. Founder of Phenomenology is a major and enduring contribution to Husserl scholarship. His latest monograph on Husserl from Cambridge University Press greatly expands Husserl’s scholarship by exploring the hitherto unknown National Socialist critique of Husserl. Prof Moran’s detailed yet clear analyses of complex themes concerning consciousness and embodiment have contributed significantly to the resurgence of phenomenology not just in philosophy, but in the cognitive and health sciences. His research projects have won competitive funding from the Irish Research Council Australian Research Council and the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Professor Moran has also contributed greatly to the profession of philosophy internationally. An inspiring teacher, he is regularly visiting professor at prestigious universities in USA, China, and Australia. As Founding Editor of the internationally acclaimed International Journal of Philosophical Studies, now in its twentieth year, he has promoted work by emerging philosophers. He has hosted international conferences in Dublin and has served for ten years on the Steering Committee of the International Federation of Philosophical Societies.
Moran’s publications include: Introduction to Phenomenology (2000), Edmund Husserl: Founder of Phenomenology (2005), Husserl’s Crisis of the European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology (2012) and, co-authored with Joseph Cohen, Husserl Dictionary (2012). Edited works include: Husserl’s Logical Investigations, 2 vols. (Routledge, 2001), The Shorter Logical Investigations, The Phenomenology Reader, co-edited with Tim Mooney (Routledge, 2002), Phenomenology. Critical Concepts in Philosophy, 5 Volumes, co-edited with Lester E. Embree (Routledge, 2004), The Routledge Companion to Twentieth Century Philosophy (Routledge, 2008); The Phenomenology of Embodied Subjectivity (Springer 2014) co-edited with Rasmus Thybo Jensen,; Empathy, Sociality, and Personhood. Essays on Edith Stein’s Phenomenological Investigations, co-edited with Elisa Magrì (Springer, 2017); Conscious Thinking and Cognitive Phenomenology, co-edited with Marta Jorba (Routledge, 2018); and, with Anya Daly, Fred Cummins, James Jardine, Perception and the Inhuman Gaze. Perspectives from Philosophy, Phenomenology, and the Sciences (Routledge, 2020).
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Martha C. Nussbaum, University of Chicago, USA
Martha C. Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, Philosophy Department and Law School, The University of Chicago. Her interdisciplinary research interests include Ancient Greek and Roman literature and philosophy, political and moral theory, feminism, to human and non-human animal rights. The uniting theme of Nussbaum’s scholarship is the reflection on vulnerability. In her breakthrough book, The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Literature and Philosophy (1986), she develops ethical reflections based on the notion of vulnerability, which involves the acknowledgment of emotions as intelligent elements of rationality and indispensable aspects of practical wisdom, and of relationality as central for the development and flourishing of the human being. Acknowledging the ethical and political role of works of art and literature in reconsideration of vulnerability, Nussbaum powerfully advocates for their centrality in contemporary societies in Love’s Knowledge (1990), Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life (1996), Cultivating Humanity (1997) and Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (2010). In her writings on philosophical accounts of emotions, Upheavals of Thought (2001), Hiding from Humanity, (2004), From Disgust to Humanity (2010), Political Emotions (2013), Anger and Forgiveness (2016), and the Monarchy of Fear (2018), she explores emotions as the expression of significantly vulnerable attachments. She investigates their role in a world of uncontrolled events. Inquiring into the forms of vulnerability that impede human flourishing and are incompatible with political justice, Nussbaum, along with economist Amartya Sen, has developed the Capabilities Approach–which in her version (different from Sen’s) is a normative evaluative approach to understanding poverty, well-being, and justice: Woman and Human Development (2001), (Frontiers of Justice (2006), Creating Capabilities (2011)–which has become is an influential paradigm in the areas of development, economics, and human rights. In her recent work, Justice for Animals (2022), Nussbaum extends this approach to non-human animals.
Nussbaum holds honorary degrees from over 60 colleges and universities around the world and is a recipient of many prestigious awards, including the American Philosophical Association’s Philip Quinn Prize (2015), the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy (2016), the Don M. Randel Prize for Achievement in the Humanities from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2018), the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture (2018), and the Holberg Prize (2021).
Prof. Dr. Anne O’Byrne, Stony
Brook University, USA
Anne O’Byrne is Professor of Philosophy at Stony Brook University. Her hermeneutic work is multifaceted in both research and teaching. From Natality and Finitude to her current project on democracy, generational life, and genocide (see below), this work has happened at the intersection of ontology and politics.
O’Byrne’s work investigates the political and ontological questions that arise around embodiment ("The Politics of Intrusion," “Umbilicus”), gender ("The Excess of Justice"), labor ("Symbol, Exchange and Birth"), teaching ("Pedagogy without a Project"), and worldiness (“Amery, Arendt and the Future of the World”). Much of it has dealt with the work of Heidegger, Arendt, Derrida, and Jean-Luc Nancy.
In true hermeneutic fashion her work also includes translations both alone and with collaborators, include three books of Nancy’s: Being Singular Plural (with Robert Richardson, Stanford, 2000), Being Nude (with Carlie Anglemire, Fordham, 2014) and Corpus II (Fordham, 2013); Subjects and Simulations (Lexington, 2014), on the work of Jean Baudrillard and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, was edited with Hugh Silverman and Logics of Genocide: The Structures of Violence and the Contemporary World, was edited with Martin Shuster.
O’Byrne’s current book project (Democracy and Generational Being) engages and develops an understanding of modern democracy indebted to reinterpreting its ancient origin as a promise of a politics of the demos that moves beyond the violence associated with genos.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Juhani Pallasmaa, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Juhani Pallasmaa (b. 1936 in Hämeenlinna, Finland), is an architect by academic training, but the scope of his activities is quite wide: architecture and urban planning; exhibition, furniture, product and graphic design; and artistic works. His major design projects include numerous one-family houses 1961-90; the Moduli 225 Industrial Summer House System (in collaboration with Kristian Gullichsen 1968-73; the Antilope Block in Helsinki Center 1988-93; Rovaniemi Art Museum, Rovaniemi 1984-86; Finland Institute, Paris 1986-91; Arrival Plaza, Cranbrook Academy, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 1994; Sámi Lapp Museum, Inari 1990-98; and Korundi Music Hall, Rovaniemi 2011. He closed the design activities of his office in 2011 and devoted his time to writing and teaching.
He has held a number of administrative and teaching tasks: Rector of the Institute of Design, Helsinki 1970-71; Associate Professor, Haile Sellassie I University, Addis Abeba 1972-74; Director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture 1978-83; State Artist Professor 1983-88; Professor and Dean of Architecture Faculty, Helsinki University of Technology (currently Aalto University) 1990-95. He has also held several visiting professorships in the USA: Yale University, spring term 1996; Washington University in St Louis 1999-2004; University of Virginia, spring term 1992; The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, fall term 2011; and the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, fall term 2000. Besides, Pallasmaa has taught numerous workshops and given countless lectures around the world since the late 1960s. He has participated in the juries of numerous Finnish and international juries. In 2008-2014 he was member of the Pritzker Prize Jury.
Pallasmaa’s literary production includes 70 books and 850 published essays, articles and prefaces. His best known publications include: Inseminations: The Language of Wood, 1987; The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses 1996; The Thinking Hand: Existential and Embodied Wisdom in Architecture 2009; The Embodied Image: Imagination and Imagery in Architecture 2011; The Architecture of Image: Existential Space in Cinema 2001; Animal Architecture 1995, Encounters 1: Juhani Pallasmaa, Architectural Essays 2012, Encounters 2: Juhani Pallasmaa, Architectural Essays 2012; Understanding Architecture (in collaboration with Robert Mc Carter) 2012; Inseminations: Seeds for Architectural Thought (in collaboration with Matteo Zambelli) 2021. His books and writings have been published in 37 languages.
His early writings are mostly critiques of modern and contemporary architecture. Later his interest turned to the arts in general, experience, perception and the role of the senses, embodiment and existential sense. He has a special interest in unfocused and peripheral perception, uncertainty and unconscious mental processes. The philosophical framing of his later writings could be identified as phenomenology. As he has not studied philosophy academically, Pallasmaa has paraphrased a statement of the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa: “I am not a philosopher with literary interest, I am a poet interested in philosophy,” with the declaration, “I am not a philosopher with architectural interests, I am an architect interested in philosophy.”
Pallasmaa has received six Honorary Doctorates: University of Industrial Arts, Helsinki, 1993; Helsinki University of Technology, 1998; Estonian Academy of Arts, 2004; Washington University in St. Louis, 2013; The Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest, 2014; Gdansk Art Academy, 2021.
He is Honorary member of the Association of Finnish Architects, the American Institute of Architects and The Royal Institute of British Architects, and Academician of the International Academy of Architecture. He has received numerous awards and prizes for architectural design and writing.
Prof. Dr. Alberto Perez-Gomez, McGill University, Canada
Alberto Pérez-Gómez is Emeritus Professor of Architectural History at McGill University (since 2021). He was born in Mexico City in 1949, where he studied and practiced architecture. He did postgraduate work at Cornell University and was awarded an M.A. and a Ph.D. by the University of Essex (England). He has taught at universities in Mexico, Houston, Syracuse, Toronto, and at London’s Architectural Association. In 1983 he became Director of Carleton University’s School of Architecture. He has lectured extensively around the world and is the author of numerous articles published in major periodicals and books. In January 1987 he was appointed Bronfman Professor of Architectural History at McGill University, where he founded the History and Theory Master’s and Doctoral Programs.
His book Architecture and the Crisis of Modern Science (MIT Press, 1983) won the Hitchcock Award in 1984. Later books include Polyphilo or The Dark Forest Revisited (1992), Architectural Representation and the Perspective Hinge (co-authored with Louise Pelletier), and Built upon Love: Architectural Longing after Ethics and Aesthetics (2006). His most recent book, Attunement (MIT Press, 2016), examines connections between phenomenology, recent enactive cognitive science, and emerging language, seeking attunement in architecture and the urban environment and examining the issue of architecture as atmosphere. He has also recently published Timely Meditations (RightAngle Intl., 2016), a collection of essays in two volumes. Pérez-Gómez is also co-editor of the seven-volume series Chora: Intervals in the Philosophy of Architecture.
Prof. Dr. James Phillips, Yale University, USA
James Phillips is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in Yale University School of Medicine. His academic work has focused on the interface of psychiatry and philosophy. In this context he is Secretary of the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry (AAPP), an international group that promotes the interdisciplinary field. He is also editor of the Bulletin of AAPP. He has written widely in this field, with studies of Merleau-Ponty, Ricoeur, Lacan, Jaspers, Sartre, hermeneutics in psychiatry and psychoanalysis, and diagnostic issues in psychiatry. He has also published and edited a volume on technology and psychiatry.
In a series of articles on Merleau-Ponty Phillips addressed the fact that Merleau-Ponty was the phenomenologist who took Freudian psychoanalysis most seriously. The articles focused on Merleau-Ponty’s recognition of the psychoanalytic unconscious, a notion which was alien to phenomenology’s study of consciousness. In “Latency and the Unconscious” (1988) Phillips associated the unconscious with Merleau-Ponty’s notion of latency. And in “Merleau-Ponty and the Unconscious” (2019) he described Merleau-Ponty’s reinterpretation of the unconscious as pre-reflective consciousness. Recognizing that Merleau-Ponty’s critics argued that his pre-reflective consciousness only reached the Freudian preconscious, Phillips in “Lacan and Merleau-Ponty: the Confrontation of Psychoanalysis and Phenomenology” (1996) addressed Merleau-Ponty’s strongest critic, Jacque Lacan. Finally, in “From the Unseen to the Invisible: Merleau-Ponty's Sorbonne Lectures on Psychoanalysis as Preparation for his Later Thought.” (1999), Phillips connected Merleau-Ponty’s Sorbonne lectures with his final thought.
Another area of interest for Phillips has technology and psychiatry. In Philosophical Perspectives on Technology and Psychiatry (2008) he organized a series of chapters on this theme. In this and other papers, “Technical Reason in DSM-IV: An Unacknowledged Value” (2004); “Managed Care’s Reconstruction of Human Reason: The Triumph of Technical Reason” (2002), he explored the way in which technical, instrumental reasoning has replaced traditional reasoning with a repair-model model in which the subtleties of psychopathology are reduced to a broken organism that needs to be fixed. Tracing this model all the way back to Aristotle, Phillips argues that the latter’s analysis of practical knowledge predates the struggle over technical, instrumental reason.
In recent years Phillips has focused on problems in psychiatric diagnosis. Two major efforts in this area are Making the DSM-5: Concepts and Controversies (2013), edited with J Paris; and The Six Most Essential Questions in Psychiatric Diagnosis: A Pluralogue (2012), a six-part series on major questions in psychiatric diagnosis. “Scientific validity in psychiatry: Necessarily a moving target?” (2015) and “Idiographic formulations: Symbols, narratives, context, and meaning” (2005) are belong to this discussion. Phillips’ aim in these writing has been to challenge the hegemony of the biomedical model in contemporary psychiatry.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. William Pinar, University of British Columbia, Canada
William Pinar is the Tetsuo Aoki Professor in Curriculum Studies at the University of British Columbia. He was the architect of the 1970s reconceptualist movement in curriculum theory, conceived of curriculum as currere.* He founded the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing and its companion Bergamo Conference** in 1979 and 1982 respectively, the LSU Curriculum Theory Project in 1995, the International Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies***– he served as its first President–and (that same year: 2001) founded its U.S. affiliate: the American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies.****). Although Pinar is known best for his publications on curriculum theory, he has also written on cultural studies, international studies, and queer studies.
Prof. Dr. Maria Luisa Portocarrero, University of Coimbra, Portugal
Maria Luisa Portocarrero is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Coimbra. Her philosophical work has always been deeply influenced by hermeneutics, and namely by the works of Gadamer and Ricoeur. Working with Gadamerian references, Portocarrero, since her book O preconceito em H.-G. Gadamer: sentido de uma reabilitação [“The prejudgement in H.-G. Gadamer”] (1995), until the most recent Rituais hermenêuticos da convivência. A atualidade de H.- G. Gadamer [Convivial Hermeneutic Rituals] (2020) has addressed the field of hermeneutic rationality and the way in which it reminds the West that the calculating model of thinking translates into a “rationality of means to an end” that forgets the fundamental goals of the human community and of human authenticity. The endless desire of a “productive society,” created by modern rationality, leads to the absence of meaning: the meaning of what we are, and what we do, in short, the meaning of our lives. Gadamer’s teaching is this: we must detach from the paradigm of the individualist Cogito, in order to learn “not to be always right.” In our pluralistic society characterized by the absence of consensus and strong convictions, there is an unprecedented opportunity to reinterpret tradition in this way, namely, in its repressed, unused potential.
With Ricoeur, Portocarrero states that something more can be added. From her book A hermenêutica do conflito em P. Ricoeur [“The Hermeneutics of Conflict in P. Ricoeur”] (1992), until the recent Testemunho, Atestação e Conflito. Balizas da Antropologia hermenêutica de Paul Ricoeur [Testimony, Attestation and Conflict. Beacons of Paul Ricoeur’s Hermeneutic Anthropology] (2021), it is the study of the internal unity of Paul Ricoeur's philosophical thought that is at stake. Often seen as dispersed and moving from one theme to another, in fact, Ricoeur's long path of philosophical thinking requires different approaches, since the philosopher considers that the new cogito does not understand himself immediately, as was the case with the traditional cogito. It is through the testimony of the capabilities and vulnerabilities of the situated person in the world, of its works, actions, and historical decisions, that we can understand the eminently ethical character of the person. The necessary path to understand the human way of being must be sought out through signs, texts, and history, which leads us to consider language, forms of action, historiography, memory, and institutions in order to try to understand ourselves better.
Prof. Dr. Adrian Preda, University of California at Irvine, USA
Adrian Preda is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Psychiatry, and Human Behavior, School of Medicine, the University of California at Irvine, combines clinical work and clinical research in his day-to-day practice of psychiatry. His research focuses on two subjects, which one might argue are the prototypical major psychiatric disorders: schizophrenia and Alzheimer dementia. Both schizophrenia and Alzheimer dementia present with severe psychological symptoms and with a better defined organicity that most other psychiatric disorders. Yet, despite their more accentuated biological signatures, to date neither the schizophrenia’s, nor the Alzheimer’s biological equations have been resolved. On a quest to illuminate the biology of an elusive psychopathology I use the tools of brain imaging and clinical trials. It has been a process that informed to some extent, through that which has been discovered, and to a much bigger extent, through that which has not been found. What has been discovered? Biological interventions, more efficacious and better tolerated medications when compared to their predecessors. Also, previously uncharted brain circuitry or morphological changes that help better explain some deficits found in patients with schizophrenia and Alzheimer. Informative findings, yes; at the same time, not getting us any closer to solving the mystery of the psychosomatic conundrum. Preda’s research experience is similar to many. Tremendous strides in neurosciences and biological psychiatry have not significantly changed our ability to heal mental pain and sufferance. In fact, despite impressive advances, several population mental health metrics have been getting worse. Rates of depression and schizophrenia are unrelenting; rates of anxiety and suicide are increasing.
At the same time, in his clinical practice, he found that a phenomenological-existential-hermeneutic perspective furthers the understanding of one’s experience in the world, deepens the quality of the therapeutic rapport, consolidates the non-judgmental safety stance of the therapeutic interaction; all factors linked to improved mental health outcomes, across diagnoses and therapeutic modalities.
Following two decades of intertwined professional experiences, clinical and research, plus a good dose of Dasein, he added another research interest to his list. Best summarized as a question: How can a clinical researcher and psychiatrist contribute to understand better that indescribable change laying at the watershed of Plato’s ‘being’ and ‘becoming,’ Heidegger’s ‘Being’ (Sein), ‘being-in-the-world’ (Dasein) and ‘time’ (Zeit), Jaspers’ ‘understanding’ (Verstehen) and ‘explaining’ (Erkläraen), Sartre’s ‘being’ (l’etre) and ‘nothingness’ (le neant)? It gives him little comfort that psychiatry took one hundred years to debate Jaspers’ concept of mental issues, and the debate is ongoing. And a reason to throw his hat in the ring.
Prof. Dr. Andrzej Przyłębski Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland
Andrzej Przyłębski is Professor of Philosophy. He specializes in the history of German philosophy. Considering systematic philosophy, he is a representative of the Gadamerian line of hermeneutics, the author of numerous publications (7 books and over 50 scientific articles) in this field. He wrote his master's thesis on the concept of truth in Heidegger, a doctorate on the concept of philosophy by Emil Lask, and his postdoctoral thesis on the Baden Neo-Kantism. Later publications (after 1995) were mostly devoted to hermeneutic philosophy (Hermeneutyczny zwrot filozofii, Wyd. Nauk. UAM Poznań 2004; CKrytyka rozumu hermeneutycznego. Preliminaria, Wyd. Universitas, Kraków 2016; Hermeneutyka. Od szuki interpretacji do teorii i filozofii rozumienia, ZYSK i S-ka, Poznań 2019; Gadamer, Wiedza Powszechna, Warsaw 2006).
Some of these books have been translated into English and were published by the well-known publishing house LIT (Sense, Meaning and Understanding. Towards a Systematic Hermeneutical Philosophy, 2013; Ethics In the Light of Hermeneutics, 2017; The Value of Motherland. An Introduction to a Hermeneutic Philosophy of Politics ", 2021). The last book by Przyłębski is Hermeneutics. From an Art of Interpretation to a Theory and Philosophy of Understanding, (ZYSK i S-ka, Poznan 2019), which is an attempt at a comprehensive approach to hermeneutical philosophy as a systematic concept (against Rorty), containing (at least in outline) a position in all major areas of philosophy (ontology, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, political theory). Przyłębski uses here the findings of all outstanding representatives of this trend, from Schleiermacher, through Dilthey, Heidegger, Gadamer and Ricoeur, to Vattimo and Fellmann.
Przylebski is also a diplomat: in 1996-2001 he was the head of the Science Department at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Bonn, and in the years 2016-2022 he was the Polish ambassador in Berlin. He was also vice president of the International Hegel Society Berlin (2004-2010) and the Polish Society for Phenomenology (2006-2014), as well as a member of the Committee on Philosophical Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences (2003-2009) in Warsaw and a professor at the Technical University Chemnitz (Saxony, 2003, 2006-2007). Currently, he teaches philosophy of culture and theory of interpretation at the Institute of Culture Sciences, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. He is a member of the National Development Council under the President of the Republic of Poland and the Scientific Council of the Poland-Great-Project Foundation.
Prof. Dr. Ramsey Eric Ramsey, Arizona State University, USA
Ramsey Eric Ramsey is Professor of Philosophy teaching in the New College and Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. Ramsey holds a Ph.D. from the Joint Program in Philosophy and Communication, Purdue University where his major professor was the renowned hermeneutical philosopher Calvin O. Schrag. He is the author of the books Leaving Us to Wonder: An Essay on the Questions Science Can’t Ask (co-authored with the biologist Linda Wiener) and The Long Path to Nearness, a philosophical contribution to communication theory and ethics. He is also the editor of and contributor to the book Experiences Between Philosophy and Communication. He has published numerous essays and book chapters in major journals and in edited collections and lectured throughout the US, Latin America, and Europe.
The manner in which Ramsey approaches the study of hermeneutics as a non-nostalgic contemporary conversation with traditions allows for simultaneously the criticizing and edifying our shared being-together. He has undertaken numerous interpretative projects from aesthetic studies of literature, painting, and poetry to the public understanding of science, all with a special attention to the relation of language to ethical issues.
Embracing the claim of philosophical hermeneutics that interpretation is essential to our being-in-the-world, allows him to think about education in a way furthering both the pedagogical practice of hermeneutics and to make sophisticated contributions to hermeneutic philosophy as a writer. Ramsey further advances the study and practice of hermeneutics and pedagogy as a co-collaborator in the International Institute for Hermeneutics (IIH) Summer School in Krakow and Zakopane, Poland. In this ongoing collaboration with IIH President Wierciński, the IIH Summer School brings together established scholars and students for week-long philosophical conversations, which often lead to new collaborations and academic publications from the participants. With a pedagogical commitment to broadening and advancing hermeneutic understanding, Ramsey lectures to many religious, literary, and fine art groups outside the university. For example, he has taught his “Hamlet and Hermeneutics” seminar both to advanced university students and in a separate setting to participants in a life-long learning program.
In recognition of his hermeneutic pedagogy, he is the recipient of the Arizona State University at the West campus Award for Excellence in Teaching, is a Wakonse Teaching Fellow, and multiple-time nominee for the ASU Parents Association Professor of the Year Award. In 2013 he earned the Outstanding Achievement Award from the ASU Council on the Status of Women. In 2017 he was awarded a Special Commendation from the ASU West campus for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching and Mentoring.
Informed by this constellation of hermeneutic understanding and practice, Ramsey undertakes his role as editor of the official IIH journal, Analecta Hermeneutica. As editor, he serves the global community of scholars developing the hermeneutic tradition providing an outlet for the writing and thinking that will keep hermeneutics relevant to an array of disciplines taking an interpretive approach to reality. Along with his work with the International Institute for Hermeneutics, he is an invited member of the Forum for the Humanities (FORhUM) at Institute Nova Revja in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Prof. Dr. Dr. Dr. Yvanka B. Raynova, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria
Yvanka B. Raynova is Professor of Contemporary Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Institute of Axiological Research in Vienna, and President of the Bulgarian Phenomenology Association.
By posing and elucidating the question, if French personalism is a sort of existential philosophy or, on the contrary, if the existential philosophy is a kind of Personalism, Raynova elaborated a comparative hermeneutical methodology, which permits him to distinguish and define more clearly the different contemporary philosophical currents. We can hermeneutically grasp the differentia specifica of a current if we analyze its fundamental philosophical question (Fundamentalfrage) as well as the philosophical method(s) that it uses to answer it.
Raynova elaborated a translative and comparative hermeneutics, which she applied to explain diverse approaches or/and philosophical positions on a specific subject (human being, values, responsibility) and practical issues (like conflict resolution and democracy building). She revisited the mainstream thesis of the continuity of Ricœur’s philosophical work, arguing that there is continuity and discontinuities and ruptures with previous positions. These discontinuities are due to the tension between two opposing projects: the project of the early phase of a “second Copernican turn” as a decentering of subjectivity towards transcendence and a “second naivety,” i.e., the restoration of the forgotten sense of the Sacred, and the project of the late phase of the hermeneutics of the self, where the question of Transcendence (God) is understood as an “aporia of the other” at which the philosophical discourse has to stop.
Prof. Dr. James Risser, Seattle University, USA
James Risser is Professor of Philosophy and former holder of the Pigott McCone Chair of the Humanities at Seattle University. His philosophical work centers around issues in contemporary hermeneutics that is itself informed by the historical sources of ancient Greek philosophy and the German aesthetic tradition. His most recent work, beginning with The Life of Understanding (2012) attempts to articulate the basic character of an existential hermeneutics in which there is a focus on the multiple aspects of human living. Such a hermeneutics gives priority to the concept of relation over the traditional concept of the hermeneutic circle which enables hermeneutics to enter current discussions on issues of identity and cultural production. Over many years Risser has devoted himself to service in the profession with leadership roles in SPEP (Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy), the Collegium Phaenomenologicum, and the journal Research in Phenomenology.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. John Sallis, Boston College, USA
John Sallis is Frederick J. Adelmann Professsor of Philosophy at Boston College. He has held endowed Chairs at Pennsylvania State University, Vanderbilt University, and Loyola University of Chicago (where he also directed the Continental Philosophy Program); at Duquesne University he served for several years as Chair of the Department. Professor Sallis has held Visiting Professorships at the University of Freiburg, the University of Tübingen, Warwick University, Staffordshire University, and the University of Wuhan. He has lectured throughout Europe, Asia, and North and South America.
He is the author of more than twenty books, including a trilogy of systematic works on the theme of imagination: Force of Imagination, Logic of Imagination, and Ethicality and Imagination. He has also written extensively on Plato, Kant, Nietzsche, and German Idealism. He is Co-Founder of the Simon Silverman Phenomenology Center at Duquesne University and of the Collegium Phaenomenologicum in Umbria, Italy. Professor Sallis is the founding editor of the journal Research in Phenomenology and is General Editor of the book series Studies in Continental Thought, published by Indiana University Press. In 2020 Indiana University Press announced that they will publish Sallis’ Collected Writings, an edition which will contain more than forty volumes; several volumes of the edition have already been published.
Professor Sallis is also a curator of fine art. He has curated an exhibition entitled “Paul Klee: Philosophical Vision—From Nature to Art; and an exhibition entitled “Cao Jun: Hymns to Nature.” Both exhibitions were held at the McMullen Museum of Art in Boston.
His current research deals with the philosophical analysis of music.
Prof. Dr. Dennis Schmidt, Western Sydney University, Australia
Dennis Schmidt is Professor of Philosophy at the Western Sydney University. His work has pressed upon questions of ethical life, the relation of art and truth, and has engaged painting, poetry, translation, and literature. A special issue devoted to essays on his work was published by the journal Epochē (Idioms of Ethical Life, 2017). His work has been translated into Portuguese, German, Chinese, Greek, Italian, and Romanian. He has mentored doctoral students in three academic departments (Philosophy, Comparative Literature, and German) at four universities: Binghamton University (New York), Villanova University (Philadelphia), Penn State (State College), and Western Sydney University. Carrying on the tradition of teaching and conversation that he learned thanks to his own mentors–Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jacques Taminiaux, and Joseph Fell–Dennis Schmidt regards those students who have gone forward in philosophy as among is most important legacies. He has also been instrumental in such regular international gatherings as the Collegium Phaenomenologicum (Italy) and the Hermeneutisches Seminar (Germany), and he has published over 160 books in his Series in Continental Philosophy (SUNY Press). He is deeply committed to the idea that, while profoundly singular, the experience of philosophy is always equally one that cultivates a sense of equally profound solidarity.
Prof. Dr. Michael Schulz, University of Bonn, Germany
Michael Schulz is Professor of the Philosophy of Religion at the University of Bonn. Born in Wiesbaden, Germany, he grew up in Mainz, where he began his studies in philosophy and theology and continued in Rome (Gregoriana) and Munich. In 1995, he received his doctorate with a thesis on the reception of Hegel’s philosophy of religion by Protestant (Jüngel, Pannenberg) and theological theologians (Rahner, v. Balthasar). In 2003, he completed his Habilitation with a thesis on the doctrine of original sin. From 1994, he worked as an assistant professor in Munich, from 2001 as “professore associato” in Lugano (Switzerland). Since 2004, he has been Professor in Bonn. In 2010, he was elected Director of the Interdisciplinary Latin America Center at the University of Bonn. In 2020, was appointed as a "docente colaborador no Programa de Pós-Graduação em Filosofia" by the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS) in Porto Alegre, Brazil. In addition to the philosophy of religion, topics of theodicy, and authors such as Gustav Siewerth, Karl Rahner, Haus Urs von Balthasar, Wolfhart Pannenberg, and Eberhard Jüngel, he has been studying questions of the colonial history of Latin America over the last ten years, especially authors such as Bartolomé de Las Casas and José de Acosta, and the topics of the 20th-century Latin American philosophy.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Jane Shaw, University of Oxford, UK
Jane Shaw is Professor of the History of Religion, Principal of Harris Manchester College, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Oxford. She is an intellectual and cultural historian of religion who, in her work, seeks to relate lived religion to the history of ideas. She has examined how the practice of religion has influenced theology and philosophy in the modern period, questioning and reversing the usual assumption that ideas “trickle down” to affect religious practice. She first explored this in her book Miracles in Enlightenment England (Yale University Press, 2006), examining the ways in which belief in miracles persisted or was revived amongst some Protestants in the mid-late seventeenth century. She argued that it was the claims of miracle events amongst certain Protestant individuals and groups, events that were much debated in the public and print sphere, that came to prompt, influence, and shape the famous philosophical and theological debates about miracles of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. In short, that philosophical debate did not happen in a vacuum.
Some reviews of Miracles in Enlightenment England:
“While Jane Shaw's study is by no means the first attempt to deconstruct the Enlightenment, expand its chronological parameters, or assert its religious roots, it applies formidable theological learning and sound historical insight on an important subject. It is also an inspiring example of how the history of ideas, and the social history of religion, can be brought together in fruitful conversation.” –Peter Marshall, Times Literary Supplement
“Rich and entertaining. . . . While Shaw's is surely not the last word on the miracles debate, it is the best. And anyone who follows after into the subject will have to take account of her provocative book.” —Robert G. Ingram, Anglican and Episcopal History
“Fascinating. . . . The key contribution of this volume is a rich contextualization of the debate on miracles—familiar from the writing of David Hume and Bishop Butler—by relating it to lived religious experience. . . . Through clear prose and circumspect claims, Shaw situates these miracle cases at the heart of the Habermasian emerging public sphere.”—Lori Branch, American Historical Review
In Octavia, Daughter of God: The Story of a Female Messiah and her Followers (Yale University Press (USA) and Jonathan Cape (UK), 2011), Shaw told the story of an extraordinary millennial community of the 1920s and 30s, The Panacea Society in Bedford, England, whose archives she had discovered. In that book she looked at how the community’s life was shaped by the distinctive biblical hermeneutics of its female charismatic founder (Mabel Barltrop, known as Octavia to her followers) and the series of prophets on whose work she drew for inspiration. Shaw also demonstrated how the community, despite its heterodox theology and religious practices, was symptomatic of the period in its paradoxical intertwining of radical ideas and conservative nostalgia.
Some reviews of Octavia, Daughter of God:
“[This] astonishing book… reveals the cosmic events that took place behind the front doors of a quiet street in Bedford…. Shaw recounts the Panaceans’ history with humor, sympathy, and understanding.” —John Carey, Sunday Times
“With superb empathy, she uses the history of this eccentric group as a keyhole through which to observe [interwar] society, its problems with politics and anxieties over the role of women. The triumph of Shaw's book is that it demonstrates not how peculiar Barltrop's sect was, but how achingly typical and predictable it was.”—Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman
“Shaw has been blessed with unfettered access to the society's archives.... That is every historian's dream, but my envy of Shaw is eclipsed by my admiration for how well she handles such a weight of material and for her sense of responsibility to the surviving members.”—Peter Stanford, The Observer
Shaw’s more recent research and writing is on mysticism. looking especially at the work of those early twentieth-century thinkers who revived mysticism and re-emphasized the cultivation of a spiritual life, such as Evelyn Underhill. Some of this work was presented in the Sarum Lectures, delivered in Salisbury Cathedral in 2017, and published as Pioneers of Modern Spirituality: The Neglected Anglican Innovators of a ‘Spiritual but not Religious’ Age (Darton, Longman and Todd (UK) and Church Publishing (USA), 2018). Her current book project develops these themes further, providing a new interpretation of the history of religion in twentieth-century Britain through an exploration of the writings and spiritual practices of a wide range of early twentieth-century figures in theology, spirituality, literature, and the arts.
Prof. Dr. Charles Marshall Stang, Harvard University, USA
Charles Marshall Stang is Professor of Early Christian Thought and Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Giovanni Stanghellini, University of Chieti, Italy
Giovanni Stanghellini, MD and Dr. phil. honoris causa, psychiatrist, is Professor of Dynamic Psychology and Psychopathology at “G. d’Annunzio” University (Chieti, Italy) and Profesor Adjuncto “D. Portales” University (Santiago, Chile). He chairs the European Psychiatric Association (EPA) Section on Philosophy and Psychiatry, the International Network for Philosophy and Psychiatry (with K.W.M. Fulford and J.Z. Sadler) and the Scuola di Psicoterapia Fenomenologico-Dinamica (Florence, Italy). Among his books in English: Nature and Narrative (co-edited with K.W.M. Fulford, K. Morris and J.Z. Sadler, Oxford University Press 2003), Disembodied Spirits and Deanimated Bodies. The Psychopathology of Common Sense (OUP 2004), Emotions and Personhood (with R. Rosfort, OUP 2013), One Hundred Years of Karl Jaspers’ General Psychopathology (co-edited with T. Fuchs, OUP 2013), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry (co-edited with K.W.M. Fulford et al., OUP 2013), The Therapeutic Interview in Mental Health. A Values-Based and Person-Centered Approach (with M. Mancini, Cambridge University Press, 2017), Oxford Handbook of Phenomenological Psychopathology (co-edited with M.R. Broome et al., OUP 2019), International Perspectives in Values-Based Mental Health Practice. Case Studies and Commentaries (co-edited with D. Stoyanov, K.W.M. Fulford, et al., Springer, 2020) and Time and Body (co-edited with C. Tewes, Cambridge University Press, 2020).
Prof. Dr. Andrzej Szahaj, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Poland
Andrzej Szahaj (born in 1958) is Professor of Philosophy at Nicolaus Copernicus University. He has published a number of books in different fields of philosophy (philosophy of politics, philosophy of culture, theory of interpretation). His central thesis in the field of interpretation theory is that there are no limitations for an interpretation on the side of a text. There are such limitations only on the side of the interpreter. The interpreter should be understood not as an independent, fully autonomous individual but as a member of an “interpretative community” (Stanley Fish), which is always determined by a large cultural context of the given society. Differences in the way a given text is interpreted can be explained by the conflict between different interpretative communities, which has several dimensions (philosophical, moral, political). The main limitations of interpreting texts are connected with its social and cultural context have been seen by hermeneutics from its beginning. The only problem is that it has been faithful to the conviction that something on the side of the text is not constructed in interpretation but simply discovered by it. Szahaj challenes this idea and trys to show that this is a sign of a certain kind of inconsistency within the hermeneutics. The only actual resistance for an interpretation is connected with other people and their institutional power of imposing their version of interpretation of a given text as a valid one and with the content of given culture (dominant cultural convictions) but not with the content of given culture (dominant cultural convictions) the text alone. Szahaj’s work focuses on this cultural and social context to understand the historical unity or pluralism of interpretations and their content.
Prof. Dr. Tomasz Szkudlarek, University of Gdańsk, Poland
Tomasz Szkudlarek is Professor of Education at the University of Gdańsk, His interests circulate around relations of education, culture, and politics. He reads them through the lens of identity understood in non-foundational ways, as desire, demand, simulacrum and an object of discursive investments. His main inspirations have been critical theory and pedagogy, especially in their attempts at addressing postmodern transformations of subjectivity, and poststructuralism—with Foucault, Derrida and Laclau among frequently present in his references. His first books related to how critical pedagogy embraced postmodernity (The Problem of Freedom in Postmodern Education, 1993, and Wiedza i wolność w pedagogice amerykańskiego postmodernizmu, 1993 and 2009). Related topic was the spatiality of postmodern culture where historical formations defined by oral, printed, and visual-digital media are “flattened” into co-existing histories of profanation and fall, progressive emancipation and crisis, and of deconstruction and disillusionment (Media: Szkic z filozofii i pedagogiki dystansu, 1998 and 2009).
Szkudlarek was engaged in collaborative empirical projects where constructions of identity were investigated across individual, socio-cultural and political domains, with a combination of phenomenographic, discourse-analytical and hermeneutical approaches (e.g. Dyskursywna konstrukcja podmiotu, Przyczynek do rekonstrukcji pedagogiki kultury, 2012, co-authored), and he edited and authored works where such connections were investigated theoretically as well (e.g., Education and the Political: New theoretical articulations, 2013). Oftentimes, such theoretical analyses addressed current political issues. For instance, historical politics of the Law and Justice party in Poland, driven by the ambition to terminate a “pedagogy of shame” where national identity is demystified as implicated in violence, and to promote national pride instead, is analyzed as shameless politics. Shame, identified as permeating the relations between education and politics in Rousseau, is seen as indispensable in modern politics that refrains from resorting to naked power (Pedagogika wstydu i bezwstydna polityka, 2017, and 2020 with Maria Mendel).
In his recent works Szkudlarek analyses educational theories as sharing the space of social ontology with political theories (On the Politics of Educational Theory. Rhetoric, theoretical ambiguity, and the construction of society, 2017). However, this connection is rhetorically marginalized or denied. As Szkudlarek observes, educational theory must construe its political foundations, as much as political theory must imply pedagogy as their conditions of possibility. The politics of theory grounds how they make those mutual dependencies rhetorically invisible, which seems to be the condition of their publicly acceptable instrumental projects of rational politics and a-political education. Read together, they appear as operating along the lines of a quasi-Cartesian parallelism while their shared engagement in construing impossible totalities is kept behind the scene.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Charles Taylor, McGill University, Canada
Charles Taylor is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at McGill University. A student of Isaiah Berlin at Oxford, he taught at McGill from 1961 to 1997. Although he calls his philosophy a Western Thought, Taylor has attracted attention across many cultures and diverse socio-political milieus. His oeuvre–which currently includes 25 original books or collections of essays, 7 co-authored books, 2 co-edited books, over 400 articles–has been translated into over twenty languages and discussed in over 2000 works of secondary literature, books and articles. For more than half a century, his research and publication career has yielded meaningful insights, influencing, and, at the same time, illuminating the understanding of a human being and the world. A unique role in his intellectual formation can be attributed to German Idealism, particularly to Hegel, whose thought he discusses in Hegel (1975) and Hegel and Modern Society (1979). If, as Hans-Georg Gadamer tells us in Truth and Method, the term “Geisteswissenschaften”–the Humanities––is a translation of the “moral sciences” of John S. Mill’s Logic, then Charles Taylor can be said to find a fruitful transition that allows him to address the “moral” issues in an elucidating way in a whole host of publications: Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity (1989), The Malaise of Modernity (1991), republished as The Ethics of Authenticity (1992), and The Language Animal: The Full Shape of the Human Linguistic Capacity (2016), to mention but a few. He offers a compelling inquiry into human phenomena from an anthropological point of view and not the “analytical” one. Taylor’s thinking is characterized by the ability to sense moral concerns and follow scientific curiosity. This attitude can be encapsulated in his own words: “The changes defining modernity are both well-known and very perplexing, and that is why it is worth talking still more about them.” Aristotle’s advice seems to resonate here: “Not every problem, nor every thesis, should be examined, but only one which might puzzle one of those who need an argument, not punishment or perception.” Taylor’s themes also embrace the phenomenon of religion from the perspective of the multicultural encounter: Varieties of Religion Today: William James Revisited (2002), A Secular Age (2007), and the issue of how to cultivate political and social awareness and recognition: Modern Social Imaginaries (2004), Republican Democracy (2012), Boundaries of Toleration (2014). His plead for reconciliation to build a human world together contributes to the further development of human thinking and living in peace and solidarity.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Josep Muntañola Thornberg, Barcelona Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Spain
Josep Muntañola is a leading and renowned scholar in the field of Architecture with a deep knowledge of hermeneutics, having worked with Ricoeur and having translated into Spanish Ricoeur’s key paper on “hermeneutics and architecture.” His work is organized, from the seventies on, around fundamental issues such as: architecture as place (1974), the concept of topo-genesis (1978; 1979; 1996; 2000), architecture and childhood (1984), poetics and architecture (1981), rhetoric and architecture (1990), time and architecture (2007). His work currently ranges from Architectural Design theories (2021) to new theories of urban forms and their impact upon architectural education, urban design and social behavior on cities (2019); from the education of the architect today (2019), to the configurative knowledge of architecture in childhood and adulthood uncovered by the space syntax analyses (2019).
Connecting all these approaches is a fundamental concern: to investigate the theoretical foundations of human spatial conditions. Dealing with a vast set of authors from architecture, philosophy of science and technic, neurology, anthropology, and hermeneutics, Muntañola develops a consistent approach to the dialogical, critical, and hermeneutic relations between architecture and culture that is central in the context of contemporary hermeneutics of architecture.
Prof. Dr. David W. Tracy, University of Chicago, USA
David W. Tracy is the Andrew Thomas Greeley and Grace McNichols Greeley Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Catholic Studies and professor of theology and the philosophy of religions at the University of Chicago, where he also served on the Committee on Social Thought. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Professor Tracy has taught a wide variety of courses in contemporary theology and has offered classes in philosophical, systematic, and constructive theology and hermeneutics, as well as courses dealing with issues and persons in religion and modern thought. He is the author of many influential essays and ten books, including The Analogical Imagination: Christian Theology and the Culture of Pluralism; On Naming the Present: God, Hermeneutics, and Church; Plurality and Ambiguity; Blessed Rage for Order; and, most recently, two volumes of selected essays, Fragments: The Existential Situation of Our Time and Filaments: Theological Profiles. He is currently working on a book about God.
Prof. Dr. Luis Umbelino, University of Coimbra, Portugal
Luís António Umbelino is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Coimbra. His philosophical work has mainly been devoted to philosophical approaches to body and space, crossing the fields of Biranism, contemporary phenomenology, and hermeneutics of architecture. His perspective is, in a way, inscribed in the vigorous micro-tradition of topological thought that tries to resist the prevailing devaluation of space regarding time in the history of philosophy. In this context, he has always been interested in the case of the spatial side of memory. In his book Memorabilia. O Lado Espacial da Memória [Memorabilia. The Spatial Side of Memory] (2019) the main features of the elusive phenomena of “spatial memory” are studied along three main axes: a phenomenological one, dealing with the “original pact” body and space seem to establish as if they mutually were to take each other in charge; an hermeneutic one, dealing with the repercussions of such a pact in the mediated experience of built human spaces, as human space is only accessed by architecture (playing the same role regarding space, as the one played by narrative regarding time); an ontological one, dealing with the endless description and interpretation of our spatial way of topologically belonging to the Earth.
In recent years, Umbelino has further elaborated his phenomenological, hermeneutic approach to space. He has mainly done so concentrating on two directions: a fundamental one, dealing with the research of the original “model” of an embodied unveiled space. In this context a return to the works of Maine de Biran is believed to be crucial and, in his book “Somatologia Subjetiva. Apercepção de Si e Corpo em Maine de Biran” [Subjective Somatology: Apperception of Oneself and Body in Maine de Biran] (2010), that is well demonstrated along a study of affectivity, of the stratification of memory, and of the notion of “interior space of the body.” A second direction is a “concrete” one, and currently deals with atmospheres, edges, fireplaces, churches, and burial sites.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Gianni Vattimo, University of Turin, Italy
Gianni Vattimo is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy University of Turin, and a former member of the European Parliament.
Under Gadamer, he learned to approach his intellectual and political work through the tradition of philosophical hermeneutics.
His philosophical work shows a deep inheritance from the masters of interpretation, including Nietzsche, Heidegger, Gadamer, and Kuhn. Two of his centrally developed concepts are that of an “affirmative nihilism” which leads to an acknowledged and intentional “weak thought”. Vattimo’s claim is that traditional metaphysical and philosophical systems have a tendency to break down when placed in their historical context. An “affirmative nihilism” will position us to be prepared for that disruption in thought in a fashion that we recognize that breakdown not only as inevitable for each line of thought, but also constitutive of any future forms of possibility. “Weak thought” is thus an approach to interpreting philosophy, politics, and everyday life through a deconstructive attitude. It incorporates nihilism, failure, and deconstruction as essential components of an everyday attitude that is both mindful and resistant of dogmas, institutions, or ideologies.
Vattimo is a prolific writer on his own and in collaboration with the philosopher Santiago Zabala. Some of his most recent, well-recognized works include:
(2011) Hermeneutic Communism, Gianni Vattimo and Santiago Zabala, Columbia University Press.
(2012) Weak Thought, translated by Peter Carravetta, SUNY series in Contemporary Italian Philosophy, 2012. Translation of Il pensiero debole, Feltrinelli, Milano, 1983
(2014) Deconstructing Zionism: A Critique of Political Metaphysics, edited by Gianni Vattimo and Michael Marder, Bloomsbury.
Prof. Dr. Marcelino Agís Villaverde, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Marcelino Agís Villaverde is Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy and Anthropology, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela. He started my research by studying myth, symbol and pre-philosophical thought, focusing on Mircea Eliade´s (1907-1986) writings. Then he turned to studying "philosophical hermeneutics," having as major reference Paul Ricoeur's (1913-2005) works, with whom he collaborated for nearly two decades in Paris and Chicago. Subsequently, he looked into the features of philosophical discourse as the foundation for philosophical thought. His latest research is focused on History of Hermeneutics in both European and Ibero-American thought.
1991 Mircea Eliade. Philosophy of the Sacred, USC.
1995 From Symbol to Metaphor. Introduction to Paul Ricoeur's hermeneutic philosophy (Foreword by P. Ricoeur) USC.
2011 Knowledge and Practical Reason. An overview of Paul Ricoeur's philosophy, Emmanuel Mounier Foundation, Madrid.
2020 History of Hermeneutics. Future and current relevance of philosophy of interpretation, Ed. Sindéresis, Madrid.
2022 Anatomy of Thinking. Philosophical discourse and its interpretation, Ed. Sindéresis, Madrid.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Bernhard
Waldenfels, University of Bochum, Germany
Bernhard Waldenfels is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the Ruhr-Universitaet and the co-founder of the German Society for Phenomenological Research (Deutsche Gesellschaft für phänomenologische Forschung). He is the most influential contemporary phenomenologist in Germany. In his expansive writings, Waldenfels is interested in the responsive phenomenology of embodiment by Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, and Alfred Schütz. During his time in Paris, he studied with Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Paul Ricoeur but is also influenced by other French philosophers, such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Levinas, and Michel Foucault. And while his works encompass a wide variety of topics, the questions of embodiment, experience, and Alterity are at the center of his thinking.
In his books, Der Stachel des Fremden or Topographie des Fremden, he explores the notion of the Other in relationship to the idea of ‘order’ (Ordnung). The perspective of the Other, can be seen as the ‘disturbance’ of the ‘order.’ Thus, Waldenfels juxtaposes the notion of ‘order’ with the idea of the ‘extraordinary’ (das Ausserordentliche).
One of his English books on this topic is the collection of papers called The Question of the Other (SUNY Press, 2007). It can be described as the development of a ‘responsive phenomenology.’ He explores the notion of experience not by starting with intentions or common understanding, but rather ‘experience’ as something that happens to us: it can interfere with our projects and urges us to respond. And only in our responding to the Other can we in return become ourselves. Thus, Otherness is not something that is ‘contained’ in another person or ‘outside of us,’ rather we ourselves can be ‘other’ or contain otherness. This can be experienced, for example, in the intertwining of self and other through our embodied encounter. Spread out into time and submerged into the fabric of the world, Otherness means that we are never fully ‘at home,’ but it is this discomfort that allows us to invite something radically new into our being in the world. We thereby remain open to change.
In addition to notions of Otherness, Waldenfels’ second major research focus has been the phenomenology of embodiment. He interprets the body as the intertwining/interplay (Umschlagstelle) between nature and culture, self and other. Only in relationship towards the other or the world can I understand myself. With his detailed phenomenological analysis, he invites the reader into his ambiguous and complex thinking.
Over time and with Waldenfels’ sincere engagement with the classical philosophical tradition as well as to contemporary scientific disciplines, literature, the arts, and questions of everyday life, he has reformed the phenomenological tradition in Germany. His works have been translated into English, French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Turkish, Serbian, and Russian.
Prof. Dr. Barbara Weber, University of British Columbia, Canada
Barbara Weber is Professor and Chair of the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program (ISGP) at the University of British Columbia. She is also associated with the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and an Adjunct Professor in the Philosophy Department. Before her arrival at UBC, she held the Professorship for Civic Engagement and Values Education at the Philosophy Department at the University of Regensburg. In her work, she engages with phenomenological and hermeneutic theories in order to rethink the relationship between embodiment, empathy, reason (Vernunft), and the political space, which has led to a radically different understanding of the cultivation of a global public space and Human Rights Philosophies (Weber, 2013 ).
In her works on hermeneutic and phenomenological theories around natality, she understands childhood as an existential state of being human (Kohan & Weber 2020). The goal of education is no longer the “exodus from childhood.” Instead, education is seen as the possibility to respond to the arrival of a new human being dialogically. The experience of natality is not chronologically determined but could happen at any time in life. This dialogical understanding of childhood and natality might allow us to “liquify” stagnate concepts around the experience of time, embodiment, and thinking. Being in the world becomes a dialogical adventure that is “underway” through understanding (im Verstehen unterwegs sein).
Weber has worked as a performance artist, choreographer, and dancer of ballet, German expressionist dance, Bharatanatyam, and Butoh. Her performance works combined poetry and philosophical aphorisms with embodied “answers” conveyed through the dancer’s movements, starting a bodily conversation around existential states of being in the world and what it means to have fallen into time and space.
Prof. Dr. Alicja Wiercińska-Drapało, M.D., PhD, Medical University of Warsaw, Poland
Alicja Wiercińska-Drapało, M.D., PhD is Professor and Head of the Department of Infectious, Tropical Diseases, and Hepatology at the Medical University of Warsaw (from 2008). As the Head of the Department, she actively participates in the creation of the recommendation for the Polish AIDS Scientific Society with regards to the principles of care for HIV-infected persons. Her department is responsible for teaching infectious and tropical diseases, and hepatology for all Departments of the Medical University (4500 teaching hours).
In her scholarly work, she dedicates special attention to testing of endothelial activity in HIV-infected patients, mitochondrial haplotypes in various causes of liver diseases, research in the field of genetic engineering in the field of early HCC detection, early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma, and organ-related complications of antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected and AIDS patients and their early detection.
Understanding medicine as the art of healing reveals the indispensability of listening with care to a human story as narrated by the patient. This listening with care will not turn medicine into a talking cure (à la psychoanalysis), but will inquisitively, intuitively, and imaginatively engage the personal reality of the patient in order for them to understand the justification for possible medical assistance. Without this sort of reform, the routine of doctors’ turning a deaf ear to the patient will continue; society’s disillusionment and disenchantment with the health care system will deepen. The covenant of trust between the doctor and the patient will largely be replaced by a business contract, which discloses the health care industry’s incompetence and dysfunctionality in dealing with the human being in need.
As a dedicated and experienced physician, teacher, and scholar, she contributes to the reinterpretation of medicine as the Art of Healing in order to be of service to the human condition. Apart from many professional and academic awards, she was presented with 2020 The “Gloria Medicinae” Medal, the highest distinction of the Polish Medical Association, “for dedicated service to people, for the highest respect for human health and life, for conscientious and dignified treatment, for upholding the honor and noble traditions of the medical profession, for creating lasting values for the good of the Polish Medical Association.”
Prof. Dr. Dr. Andrzej Wierciński, University of Warsaw, Poland
Andrzej Wierciński is Professor of Liberal Arts at the Department of Artes Liberales at the University of Warsaw and President-Founder of the International Institute of Hermeneutics (2001). Educated at the Catholic University of Lublin, Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, he continued his intellectual journey through the USA (Boston College, the University of California at Berkley, Arizona State University), Mexico (UNAM), Canada (University of British Columbia). He was a Research Professor of Hermeneutics at the University of Toronto and Professor of Philosophy of Religion at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg.
Wierciński pays special attention to the dialogue between philosophy, theology, literature, rhetoric, education, law, medicine, and architecture. As the art of interpretation and the art of being in the world, hermeneutics largely overcomes the divisions between university departments, disciplines, cultures, languages, and religious traditions. It promotes an interpretive approach to the diversity and complexity of human experience in the world.
Wierciński’s earlier work centers on the hermeneutic rereading of medieval sources. Inspired Metaphysics? Gustav Siewerth’s Hermeneutic Reading of the Onto-theological Tradition (2003) is the first full book-length introduction to Gustav Siewerth’s philosophy in English. The translation of Siewerth’s texts into English is a hermeneutic enterprise. Translation is, in itself, an interpretation. A hermeneutic reading of Siewerth placed within the tradition of onto-theology and set in relation to Heidegger discloses original insights of medieval thinking.
Searching for the new proximity of philosophy and theology, Wierciński shows that the strict separation of philosophy and theology is not tenable. Hermeneutics is neither theology nor philosophy but must remain open to both disciplines if it wants to remain faithful to the voices that create the tradition that we are. In his Hermeneutics between Philosophy and Theology: The Imperative to Think the Incommensurable (2010), Wierciński understands theology not just as an academic discipline; it is the way we are in the world. With some restrictions, the same can be said about philosophy. In this case, not only do the two disciplines collide, but two alternative ways of being a human being are suspiciously watching one another and are, at the same time and for each other, a challenge and a threat. Hermeneutics excludes hasty problem-solving, whether it is a liberal synthesis of two separate discourses or a post-liberal blurring of differences. The ongoing dialogue does not allow for the final conclusion.
Wierciński interprets hermeneutic existence as a phronetic existence: Cultivating practical wisdom (φρόνησις) comes from life, influences life, and transforms life (Hermeneutik und Metaphysik: Bildung im Gespräch zwischen Philosophie, Theologie und Dichtung, 2017; Existentia Hermeneutica: Understanding as the Mode of Being in the World, 2019). The experience of hermeneutic truth as the truth of interpretation requires personal commitment and existential response. It expresses the hermeneutic moral imperative. As practical philosophy, hermeneutics motivates a person to actively participate in the community’s life, which is our inseparable and inalienable right and moral imperative. The basic dialogical structure of a human being underlines the fundamental importance of conversation. Language permeates the human being, and it is the language that reveals us to ourselves as polyphonic and dialogical beings. In mutual communication–speaking and listening to one another–a person discovers that he/she can communicate with others, thus creating a community of communication.
Wierciński’s work on poetry, especially Czesław Miłosz, shows that poetry is the concretization of the relationship between Being and the poet, who through his/her rootedness in Being discovers an opportunity to reveal Being in the word and the world. The positioning of poetry in relation to Being is possible due to its closeness to Being and (dis)closes its (re)vealing character.
The interpretive potential of the phenomenon of education inspires Wierciński to build his school of the hermeneutics of education. Hermeneutics of Education: Exploring and Experiencing the Unpredictability of Education (2019) addresses the central role of conversation in the educational process of formation of the person as a unique reality of being and acting while supporting intersubjective understanding. The hermeneutic philosophy of education is the hermeneutics of hospitality toward oneself and the Other, demanding the permanent translation of each understanding into another sensitivity. Reflection on education is inseparable from educational practice. The hermeneutics of education is a hermeneutics in action (Hermeneutik im Vollzug), which enables a person, as a conscious and free subject of education, to take care and responsibility for his/her own comprehensive development. The hermeneutic imperative of self-education emphasizes the understanding of education as a lifelong practice of personal freedom and responsibility. Existentia hermeneutica as finite, lingual, and historical existence encompasses our experience of the world, and, therefore, the person is in constant motion, heading toward self-understanding.
Prof. Dr. Lech Witkowski, Pomeranian University at Slupsk, Poland
Lech Witkowski is Emeritus Professor of Humanities at the Pomeranian University at Slupsk, Poland, and still teaches there. Born 1951, then he graduated with honors from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Faculty of Mathematics in 1974. In 1980 he got his Ph. D. in epistemology from the University in Lublin, receiving the prize of The Ministry of Science and got habilitation at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań in 1989. He became a full professor at Nicolaus Copernicus University in 1992 for his book on culture semiotics of M. Bachtin for which he was also awarded by The Ministry of Science. Three years later he received the title of ordinary professor. The reviewers in his academic career proceedings and nominations were, among others, outstanding Polish professors B. Skarga, J. Kmita, M.J. Siemek, A. Jasinska-Kania, M. Tyszkowa, S. Morawski, Z. Bokszanski, representing philosophy, sociology, psychology and cultural studies. As an ordinary professor he worked at Nicolaus Copernicus University, Jagiellonian University, Casimir the Great University.
In the 1980’s he participated in the seminar of B. Skarga at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Science in Warsaw. He lectured (in English, Italian and French) at numerous foreign universities and international conferences in Italy, Canada, USA and Switzerland. Between 1993-1996 he served as Dean of Faculty of Humanities at NCU in Torun. He was then responsible for the prestigious series of “The Copernican Lectures” (lecturers included: B. Skarga, Z. Bauman, M.J. Siemek, S. Morawski). In 1995 he organized the 6th Polish Philosophical Congress and 2nd Polish Pedagogical Congress in Torun. He was also responsible for organizing international philosophical congresses in Kraków (2001) and Greek Olympia (2003) as the president of International Society for Universal Dialogue of that time.
He has tutored nine Ph.D students, many times reviewing both Ph.D. and habilitation degrees as well as applications and proceedings for professorship. He is an author of numerous “super-reviews” for the Central Board of Scientific Titles and Degrees in Poland. He was many a time a member or a chairman of the Philosophy Division of KBN (State Committee for Scientific Research). He was appointed ten times in a row as a philosophy representative and also to chair competitions for government funding of research; many times he was a member of review committees for the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in the field of philosophy and pedagogic. He was a member of the Committee on Philosophical Sciences of the Polish Academy of Science, as well as a member of the Committee of Pedagogical Sciences of the Polish Academy of Science. He promoted as a tutor the honoris causa Ph. D. proceedings of Nicolaus Copernicus University for prof. Barbara Skarga and gave the laudatory speech for the honoris causa Ph.D. of Nicolaus Copernicus University for Karl Dedecius.
This year he has received the Medal for Achievement in Pedagogy by the Polish Pedagogical Society, and last year he was honoured with Medal of the Polish Ecology Chamber for the Merits for Sustainable Development. In 2009 he received the Wladyslaw Spasowski Prize of Polish Academy of Science for 'triptych essays' on the philosophy of education. In 2010 he was among the ten nominees for Jan Długosz Prize for the book Wyzwania autorytetu w praktyce społecznej i kulturze symbolicznej (Challenges of authority in social practice and symbolic culture) which was nominated the Book of the year 2009. In 2013 he was awarded with the title of The Master of Pedagogic and was chosen as a correspondent member of European Academy Sciences Arts Letters in Paris. In the year 2013 he was nominated a member of the Team of Experts of the National Science Centre in Kraków.
To honor the academic achievements of professor Lech Witkowski by the representatives of many fields of Polish human sciences, a Jubilee Book was published on the 35th anniversary of his academic work (among the authors were B. Skarga, Z. Bauman, S. Kowalik, Z. Kwiecinski, B. Sliwerski, T. Szkudlarek, Z. Melosik). Recently professor Lech Witkowski celebrated his 45th anniversary of academic work. The covers of the books bring appreciation from such outstanding scholars as Z. Bauman, P. Sztompka, Z. Kwieciński, Z. Kowalik, A. Michalska and T. Sławek. He was also in 2013 the guest editor of the highly appreciated monographic issue of the Journal Er(r)go on the theme: "Authority/hierarchy/influence."
The scientific achievements of professor Lech Witkowski represent the grand scope and a broad horizon. In his work, one can find papers on epistemology, history of culture, philosophical anthropology, theory of education and pedagogy, psychology and psychoanalysis, sociology, history of ideas, theory of literature and semiotics, critical theory, and hermeneutics. What is inspiring is not the sheer variety of research fields and familiarity with so many areas of modern human sciences but unmatched dexterity in combining different languages and stepping over traditional thresholds. The work of Lech Witkowski is the highest proof example and confirmation of the possibility of doing transdisciplinary humanities. No other author in this field in Poland having such a fluid command of idioms from so many disciplines and specializations. What is the most impressive is the ability to translate; causing the idioms to enter into a creative dialogue. This particular skill enables a philosopher to communicate with a psychologist, a sociologist with an anthropologist, and a historian of ideas with the psychoanalyst. And in this dialogue, or rather polilogue, they have profoundly more to say than in usual monologues. A preferred, documented with many studies, seen from various perspectives, idea of integral humanities is the proper focus point of this “Work.”
Trans-disciplinary studies and research of Lech Witkowski are characterized by dexterous integration of historical and theoretical dimensions, insidious analysis, and panoramic synthesis. Most of all, however, which is a true rarity, the combination of patient “philosophical” inquisitive precision with genuine passion, curiosity, and devotion to the matter at hand. The passion that does not cease to question and probe, where each answer is verified in the fire of various arguments. The passion that searches and opens. The passion often takes the shape of passionate polemics but is always ready to listen to its opponents and give them their due recognition.
The research style of Lech Witkowski has nothing to do with a hostile “antagonism.” Still, it follows the long tradition of polemics as an agon where the goal is not to overcome an opponent but to bring to light and to recognize the matter of the argument itself. Reasoning “the other way round” and “across” Lech Witkowski never loses from his sight the problem of the thought itself. His thoroughness and passion for research are great examples of dialogue and transitive thinking. An exemplary way to do integral humanities.
In his research Lech Witkowski never limits himself to mere account but as a rule he seeks to present a problem which translates into in-depth and thorough study. His passion for questioning and opening of a research area makes his studies not only original but truly revealing – not in a sense of giving authoritative, conclusive answers but exactly in a sense of opening, organizing and broadening the space of dialogue and creative thinking. Whatever the mater, whether it is the problem of authority and dealing with the traditional superstition concerning one, an idea of “radical pedagogic” created in dialogue with an American scholar H. Giroux, “breaking point of dualism in humanities” constructed and reconstructed theoretically using critical studies devoted to “psychodynamic ecology of a life-span” of E.H. Erikson or “complete pedagogic” of H. Radlinska with a key idea of “invisible environment”, in all his studies the problems presented are creatively revitalized. Thus becoming an inspiration for all readers and commentators who share the inclination to think.
Monumental studies of “complete pedagogic” of H. Radlinska and „The Duality Turnover in Polish Pedagogy” are exquisite examples that Lech Witkowski is able to combine values of theoretical construction and reconstruction with a proposal of deconstruction of fossilized historical and speculative stereotypes. For example, undermining a very dominant idea that the only achievement of Polish science between two World Wars of international recognition were logic research of the so called “Lwow and Warsaw School” whereas discoveries in the field of “philosophy of education” have similar value. Another illustration of his ability to demythologize is equally monumental, stunning in its boldness and erudition, study of “authority” in the atmosphere of a global and thorough crisis of this institution. Which only proves that the author is able to perform not only deep diagnosis of a crisis situation but also to formulate proposal as to their repair and foresee groundbreaking critical solutions.
What should also be emphasized is that the studies and research of Witkowski are very systematic and consistent. His inherent logic and discipline of discussion does not only apply to the parts of his work but to a whole vision consolidating it into coherent anthropological and philosophical unity. He has not become an extraordinary thinker and scholar due to being the author of so many important and groundbreaking works but most of all because he is the author of the Work of an open thought, the thought that searches and inspires, the thought that is aware of its descent and its future. Some of his above books are extensive monumental volumes. This quantitative result is not representative, though, considering the impact of his work for modern humanities, particularly within the philosophy of education while he teaches in various places in Poland and abroad.
Prof. Dr. Dr. Holger Zaborowski, University of Erfurt, Germany
Holger Zaborowski is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Erfurt. After his M.Phil. (Cantab); M.St. (Oxon); M.P.A. (Speyer); studied theology, philosophy, and classics at Freiburg; Basel, and Cambridge Universities; 2002 D. Phil. (University of Oxford); 2010 Dr. phil. (University of Siegen); from 2005 until 2011 he was Professor of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., USA; from 2012 until 2020 he held the Chair of History of Philosophy and Philosophical Ethics at the Catholic University of Vallendar, Germany; he was rector of his University from 2017 until 2020. In 2020, he took the Chair of Philosophy at the Faculty of Catholic Theology at Erfurt University, Germany.
His publications include Spielräume der Freiheit. Zur Hermeneutik des Menschseins (Freiburg/München: Verlag Karl Alber, 2009); Eine Frage von Irre und Schuld? Martin Heidegger und der Nationalsozialismus (Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischerverlag, 2010); Robert Spaemann’s Philosophy of the Human Person. Nature, Freedom, and the Critique of Modernity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010); Andächtig leben. Denkanstöße für den Alltag (Freiburg, Basel, Wien: Verlag Herder 2015); Tragik und Transzendenz. Spuren in der Gegenwartsliteratur (Ostfildern: Matthias Grünewald Verlag, 2016); Menschlich sein. Philosophische Essays (Freiburg/München: Verlag Karl Alber, 2016). He is co-editor of the Heidegger-Jahrbuch, of the Martin-Heidegger-Briefausgabe, and of Interpretationen und Quellen and serves on the board of directors of the Martin-Heidegger-Stiftung, on the Comité scientifique of he Bulletin Heideggérien (Bhdg), on the board of New Heidegger Research Series and of Gatherings. The Heidegger Circle Annual.
Zaborowski is an ordinary member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and recipient of the Aquinas Medal of the University of Dallas, USA (2017) and, together with Martin W. Ramb, of the Robert Schuman Prize of the “Centre européen Robert Schuman” (2020). With Ramb, he started the project “Denkbares” (www.denkbares.org), the "Edition Denkbares," and a research project on the identity of Europe. He currently works on Heidegger’s late thought and on the phenomenology of religion, on the philosophy of mercy, on questions concerning education and the educational system, and on the idea of Europe.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Giuseppe Zaccaria, University of Padua, Italy
Giuseppe Zaccaria is Professor Emeritus of Jurisprudence Padova University, Former Rector of University of Padova, and Member of Accademia dei Lincei Rom. The path that led him to the “hermeneutic choice” starts from a reflection that on a general philosophical level aims at abandoning the dualism and separation between being and having to be in the name of the concreteness of existence and the practical world of men, joining in the broadest perspective of rehabilitation of practical reason. In the legal field, he considers the law a parte subiecti, in the experience observed every day at the moment of the action of the common man. Therefore from the practical point of view, that is, from the point of view of the citizens for whom in the end the law is produced and without whose contribution law would not live.
Since the 1980s, he has introduced and spread the hermeneutic orientation in Italian legal culture, contributing to enriching a philosophical-legal panorama that at the time was still firmly linked to the doctrine of Hans Kelsen, which separated law from society and theory from practice. Zaccaria contributed essentially to the recognition of legal hermeneutics as one of the main currents of contemporary philosophy of law.
In 1996, he founded the journal “Ars Interpretandi” to root the hermeneutic perspective within the philosophy of law. Thus, he opened up a dialogue between legal hermeneutics, philosophy, other regional hermeneutics, and positive law. In the last 25 years, the journal enjoyed international recognition and collaborated intensively with illustrious philosophers, from Apel to Hans Albert, from Derrida to Gadamer, from Davidson to Searle, from Ricoeur to Amartya Sen to Michael Walzer, and illustrious jurists, such as Robert Alexy, Arthur Kaufmann, Winfried Hassemer, Duncan Kennedy, and Jerzy Wroblewski.
I wish our hermeneutic community that, as existentia hermeneutica, we keep sharpening our concentration of attention to everything which calls for understanding.