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PHILOSOPHY PATHWAYS electronic journal

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PHILOSOPHY PATHWAYS                   ISSN 2043-0728

philosophypathways.com/newsletter/

Issue number 103 9th May 2005

CONTENTS

I. 'New Open Membership of the ISFP' by Geoffrey Klempner

II. 'Considerations on Web-Philosophy' by Martin Herzog

III. The 1000th ISFP Member: Letter from Hubert Timmermans

-=-

EDITOR'S NOTE

In April, membership of the International Society for Philosophers topped the 1000 mark for the first time. Below, I have reproduced a letter from ISFP member number 1000-090405 Hubert Timmermans.

This seems a good time to raise the question - though not for the first time - where are we going and what is the purpose of the ISFP?

Martin Herzog, in his article on Web-Philosophy makes a powerful case for the use of the internet in furthering philosophical knowledge. But I had always hoped for more than this. The internet is a wonderful thing, which has placed in our hands a tool of immense power, if only we learn how to use it to its full potential. But that is still not enough. As the example of Socrates shows, the greatest, most intense form philosophical dialogue is and will always remain the face to face personal encounter.

Below is my suggestion for one way in which we could achieve this through the ISFP, by creating a new category of member: the Open membership.

I am putting this forward as a discussion piece, not a policy document or announcement. What happens next will depend very much on how Philosophy Pathways readers and ISFP members respond to the proposal. If the reaction is negative, or even luke warm, then the idea will be dropped and I will not raise it again.

Please write to me at klempner@fastmail.net and let me know your thoughts. I am waiting to hear from you!

Geoffrey Klempner

-=-

I. 'NEW OPEN MEMBERSHIP OF THE ISFP' BY GEOFFREY KLEMPNER

At the end of April, the 1000th member of the International Society for Philosophers Hubert Timmermans, a lecturer in philosophy from the Netherlands, received his ISFP life membership card.

Since April 2002 when the ISFP was formed, membership has risen at a remarkable pace and shows no signs of abating. It staggers me to think that we are already one of the largest philosophical societies in the world, and will soon be rivalling the American Philosophical Association!

I am tremendously proud of the efforts made by the members and the Board of the ISFP which have had an significant impact on the development of the Pathways to Philosophy distance learning project. The Philosophy for Business newsletter - an idea first mooted by ISFP Board member Rachel Browne - is just one example of an ISFP success story. Another is the Pathways to Philosophy online conference.

But we can do much more.

For a long time, it has been my idea that ISFP members should be able to freely contact one another, wherever they may be in the world. One of the main reasons for forming the ISFP was to encourage people interested in philosophy all over the world to meet one another to enjoy friendly face to face philosophical debate.

This has happened to a limited extent, where there have been particularly high concentrations of ISFP members, for example, where staff and students have joined from the same College or University. One notable case is the Philippines where there are 28 ISFP members. Thanks to the ISFP, a philosophy group has been set up in Nepal (see http:---) But these are the exceptions rather than the general rule.

My original idea was to have a special database accessible only to ISFP members, with full contact details of all the ISFP members. It was pointed out to me that the fatal drawback of this suggestion was that it would be impossible in practice to prevent the database falling into the wrong hands. An unscrupulous marketing company - or government intelligence agency - would have little difficulty in obtaining this sensitive data.

Another idea was to set up a special list, where ISFP members could post requests like, 'Please contact me if you want to form a group in Ankara, Turkey'. The objection to this is that many people who would be happy to join a philosophy group would not necessarily want to take the initiative of leading one.

But it occurred to me that there might be a third option - a compromise of sorts - where ISFP members could choose whether or not to make their contact details freely available on the internet.

This is how it would work:

     1. In future, there would be two levels of ISFP membership:
     Private members and Open members.
    
     2. There would be a publically accessible web page on the
     ISFP web site listing the name, affiliation (e.g. school,
     college), city, country and email address of every ISFP
     Open member.
    
     3. When you post your email address on the internet you can
     expect to receive some unwanted emails and spam. However,
     this threat is far less than one might suppose. My email
     address appears on more than 300 pages on the internet, but
     the amount of spam I receive is manageable. There is always
     the option of setting up a new email account for your ISFP
     contacts, e.g. with yahoo.com or hushnet.com.
    
     4. Existing ISFP members would be given the opportunity to
     opt for Open or Private membership. A new option for Open
     or Private membership would be included on the ISFP
     application form.
    
     5. Private members could change to Open membership and Open
     members could change to Private membership on demand at any
     time.
    
     6. Whether you were an Open or Private member, your membership
     of the ISFP would continue to be free, and for life.
    
- Imagine that you lived in Turkey, say, and you wanted to contact other ISFP members. All you would need to do is look up the ISFP Open members page and see if there are any members living in Turkey. It wouldn't matter whether you were an Open or Private member, so long as there was at least one Open member living in Turkey.

I think this would work very well. But I need feedback. Is this the way you want the International Society for Philosophers to go? Or are you happy with things as they are?

It is a big decision. If the idea is not popular, then so be it. But I think that it is worth giving a shot. 'Nothing ventured nothing gained,' so the saying goes. I think that in this case there would be a lot to gain.

I estimate that to make this work, we would need a minimum of 10-15 percent of ISFP members willing to take an Open membership. That would guarantee a good spread of countries from the 65+ countries where there are currently ISFP members.

Would you do it? Would you willing to be an Open member?

What do you think of the idea? Good? bad? not sure?

- Let me know!

(c) Geoffrey Klempner 2005 E-mail: klempner@fastmail.net

-=-

II. 'CONSIDERATIONS ON WEB-PHILOSOPHY' BY MARTIN HERZOG

Web-Philosophy as the Verification of Intuitive Knowledge and other Disperse Information

[Original German version: http:---]

1. Contemporary problems with truth-seeking

The basis of truth, be it scientific or philosophical, is formed by analysis, synthesis, critique and dialogue. The thought out (or viewed, inspired) model of reality is shot at with critical questions from all perspectives. Only this will guarantee, that the model is a fitting representation of reality, that the model holds true. The sharper the critique, the harder the defeat of critique, the more one may rely on the quality of the solution. That makes the difference between science and propaganda or mere opinions.

Science is only one way of finding truth. A science that already knows the outcome of its research when submitting the research proposal, is a weak, bureaucratic science. A science, whose main aim is to produce commercially useful knowledge, loses its objectivity. Politics cares as little for truth, as its job is to get power. The only truth business cares for is profit. Cunning strategies and economic (near monopoly) power are much more promising in that field than truth. The media, guardians of public information, are always running after news, presented as entertainment. (A fact that has not to be taken as negative only, because science and philosophy can be presented in an entertaining way as well!). So there remains a gap - and a strong demand for philosophy, that would have to fulfil many duties and would have much more importance, than it assumes today as academic discipline.

In the 20th century, philosophy has been subdued by science, especially as its metaphysical aspects were increasingly considered as not verifiable, which means not rational. This rationalisation tends to forget its own strongly limited perspective. So does the economist only ask for knowledge, that helps him to produce and to sell; so does the politician only ask for knowledge, that helps him to get power; so does the natural scientist only ask for knowledge of things found in the nature; so does any scientist (especially any career-minded scientist) only ask for knowledge that belongs to his discipline and may increase his fame (or at least produce a new publication). That's why scientific knowledge remains island-knowledge, precisely as personal opinions and arguments.

The individual, looking for his place in society - a society, developing a common future through politics - needs orientation in that complex, confusing, often cynical, world. The more complex a system is, the higher its demands in coordination and integration. 'The market' is one cheap (and often not applicable) way out, as it only means: Leave the problems to those that have to solve them, because it confronts them. This simplistic market-ideology is but one of the dysfunctional simplifications ruling the public monologue of the media, as are the dualistic view of 'left versus right' and 'freedom versus the state'.

This banalising populist approach is not only favoured by power-seeking politicians, but also by mass-media, which orient themselves at a mass-taste to be able to sell mass-opinions to consumers. Only a small fraction of press-articles, or media, give reasons for political opinions and actions, so the majority of politics is not done by argumentation, but by statements, what is not really 'reasonable'. What concerns the quality of argumentation in the media, is often restricted to the presentation of opposing arguments in the way: 'x says - y says', but rarely presented as chain of arguments. So philosophy has not only to stand up against the splintered knowledge of sciences, but just a much against indifference.

Neither economics, nor politics, nor science are in search of truth. That is still the job of philosophers [gr. philo-sophia: love of wisdom]. If they leave it to scientists, we will be submerged in an ocean of knowledge-crumbs. Philosophy tries to understand the whole, is searching for meaning and wisdom, not for progress and detailed knowledge. The foundation of philosophy is, that nothing of importance for common orientation, should be given a chance to avoid the philosophical quest for reason and critique.

2. Interrelated thinking is the best means to combat the violence of banality

Interrelated thinking means, not to think, to argument and to decide on the base of selected, preconceived positions. For many people this is a disaster - and the end of clear positions. Does not already the Bible say: 'But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil' [Mat 5:37].

Unluckily in complex situations the answer will often be: 'maybe, under conditions a, b, c; but under condition e, f, g it might be the opposite.' The loss of clarity is not as harmful as it might seem, if we take knowledge more as orientation, as light house, than as paved road. Seafarers do not all drive to the north, just because their compass is pointing to that direction. And seafarers are not lost without the magnetic compass, as they still know how to use the polar star, the sun, the moon, to find their way. So humans will need different possibilities of orientation as well - and they have to know where they are and where they want to go! The economic north pole of business and growth is not sufficient. A compass is useless if you don't know where you are and where you want to go. Moreover there is neither one single way to arrive at some desired point, nor one single way to find out how to go there. In between the yea and nay, in between black and white, in between good and evil, there are much larger fields than those extreme poles themselves indicate.

That sounds a bit relativistic, yes, but let's take an example covering the field politics, economy, society and the individual: To care for one's own business, to take responsibility for one's action, for one's family, sounds good. Economy, society, state and religion would mostly agree with that. And still this set makes instantly clear, that in spite of this clear orientation, there are many decisions to be taken every day: What is more important for me? My family or my company, my career, my job? If we look at state and society the problems get worse. Here families and companies are just two of many elements that are conditioning each other and depend on each other. Nevertheless business traditionally opposes the state, often even society, when those demand more respect for themselves or for nature. It's a constant fight of differing interests for dominance. And the problem is, that if one element wins the fight, the system will break down.

In this game not one of the participants can claim dominance or exclusiveness. History presents us with many examples, how cruel the exclusive dominance of politics (e.g. in communism), of economy (e.g. in the Manchester-type liberalism), of society (e.g. in each narrow-minded traditional small-village society) and individuals (each dictatorship, be it political or economic). And it's the same problem the free market has: Everyone tries to beat the competitors. The one that succeeds overtakes the losing firm or its share in the market and is thus grows - and the end result is, that the free market, eaten up by global giants, disappears. (See http:--- 'Economy of scale'.)

3. Web-philosophy is moreover a philosophy of intuitive thinking

Positivism dropped all search for Being, its primary reason and ultimate purpose, in favour of explaining structures, relations and processes. Philosophical speculation and religious gnosis gave way to the discovery of natural laws. The dominance of science led to a dominance of abstract rational thinking. But rational thinking is not the only way of thinking and not the only way of acquiring truth. Precisely because modern science limits itself to narrow academic fields, studied with a restricted methodology (sc. Feyerabend), enormous amounts of knowledge get lost. Especially intuitive knowledge, favoured by romanticism and gnosis, which leaves a place for emotions and spiritual longing (as Plato's idealism). Also lost is the knowledge of the unity of mankind and God, common sense and traditions.

Intuition solves many problems by itself, if given time and relaxed working conditions (as meditation). Intuition is not as mystical as one might imagine, as it creates new thoughts out of existing pieces - without a predetermined, most often without predictable, outcome and result. Depending on the pieces of knowledge available in the brain, conscious as well as unconscious knowledge, the results may look quite different and change suddenly. Intuitive knowledge, well probably all knowledge, is a bit 'jumpy', if fed with new information.

Intuitive knowledge seems to be located on the right side of the brain and is often associated with the female way of thinking, opposed, or better complementary, to the male way of thinking, the rational left brain thinking. That explains, why men often have difficulties in understanding women (and why women often have difficulties in understanding each other and creating a common platform). Intuitive knowledge works a bit like neuronal networks, but with much larger potentials of self-construction (autopoiesis).

Another interesting form of thinking is 'thinking with the stomach'. Our nerve-cells store unconscious memories of pain, wellbeing, success, failure, joy and pain. The thinking out of the belly is most often overestimated, especially by populist political leaders, because each belly has only its own and so very limited experience, an experience strongly influenced by what one has eaten or drunk.

Web-philosophy has a large advantage over science and logic: The jumpy, unsystematic and unrelated ideas, not grown out of logical relations or disciplinary perspectives, can be linked, woven into a whole - and checked for consistency!

Contradictions and errors will be visible and lead to a constant rephrasing, reshaping and refocussing of the bits and pieces, that are mostly results of descriptions made out of certain perspectives.

Web-philosophy can be tested for truth and logical reliability just as well as science and philosophy. For that purpose not only the links, the networks, are important, but also the pieces of thought that form the basis of the intuitive solutions have to be determined. As intuition is largely an unconscious process, the determination of the decisive pieces of knowledge comes close to a kind of psycho-analysis. The dependency of intuition on knowledge present in the brain shows as well its limits: An empty head will only create empty thoughts, no matter how intelligent (fast thinking) he may be.

4. Web-Philosophy: A grid needs poles to fix it

Now, let me give you an example to illustrate why I'm using this rather pleonastic term 'web-philosophy'. Pleonastic it is, because philosophy always tries to understand the whole - with its interconnections. Philosophical thinking is (almost) always the networking of thoughts that are born out of different perspectives. So why should I create that pleonasm? The answer is: Because philosophy does not seem to do its job (or better: philosophers their job). The increasingly anomic state of our societies is used by polemic and populist politicians for their purposes, but does not seem to incite philosophers to create new orientations.

Let's have a look at the traditional virtues, one of the strongest fields of ethical orientation:

  prudence - the right measure between licentiousness and apathy
  justice - the right measure between doing wrong and suffering wrong
  courage - the right measure between recklessness and cowardice
  generosity - the right measure between pettiness and extravagance
  gentleness - the right measure between irascibility and inability to feel
  justified anger

The virtues, seen as right measure, make it immediately clear why there is most often no clear answer to complex questions and no simple way out of chaos and insecurity. Life always demands decisions between extremes. Each 'philosophy' that emphasises too much one-sided aspects, be it the nation, God, intelligence, material values etc. is not philosophy but mere PR, sectarianism, fundamentalism. The philosopher's job is not to beat the PR drum for one of the extremes, but to find the right way between the extremes. Wisdom is the art of the right measure - an art that needs life long learning - seldom from books, most often from the life itself (and that's exactly the reason, why one surely gets old before wise, but not always wiser with increasing age.)

The 'compass' of virtues shows us, that there is no either-or, no yea or nay, no clear good and evil, but only hints where the right way might be and what the right decision might look like. The free human being may and must decide, which road he or she wants to take. So people should not be asked, to which party they belong, which extremes they adhere to, but rather, in between which poles their grid of thinking is hanging and how large it is. The larger the grid, the more poles it is fixed to, the freer is the decision searcher.

Now, if you keep this image in your head, the image of a thinking (and decision) grid, hung up between juxtaposed poles, then you understand, what I mean with web-philosophy. The web, hypertext in general, allows us, to span and spin incredible grids of knowledge - and to subject them to testing at the same time. Hypertext-presentations allow us to see things from different perspectives and to create multidimensional presentations. Most people and institutions still stick to one-dimensional presentations, limiting themselves to their own business (what is not an utterly bad thing to do). Philosophers might profit from that, and interrelate those one-dimensional presentations. This has two positive effects:

     1. The interrelation allows us to check, under which
     perspective, assumptions, context a theory, an opinion, a
     statement, is valid.
    
     2. Embedding philosophical thinking in contemporary real
     world problems gives philosophy a new chance to reassume
     its duty and to give wisdom a chance to develop.
    
Precisely because neither science nor politics nor economics really care for truth, not to speak of wisdom, this duty stays with the philosophers. More truthful approaches would be most important in those fields that concern social development, as in politics.

I see the (ideal) state as an organised forum of citizens. This forum has to deal with ever-increasing complexity, which makes more and dialogues necessary. As this is a kind of mediation and mostly bound to values, it's not really the business of the sciences (if we accept Max Weber's separation of science from valuing and theory from practice), but the job of philosophy.

5. The current confusion between epistemical, poietic and practical knowledge - and some ideas of sociologists, to re-philosophize their science

     Science has not only the duty, to formulate the ideals of
     justice, it has to describe as well the roads leading to
     their realisation.
    
     Leon Walras, quantitative economist (1834-1910)
    
Aristotle's' systematic of philosophy split knowledge in mainly three categories:

  Logic/ analysis: Mathematics, physics, metaphysics, theoretical philosophy
  (cognition)
  Practice: Ethics, politics, economics, education (action)
  Poiesis: Technique, aesthetics, rhetoric (modelling, forming, executing,
  producing)

The contemporary lead-science is economics. Scientific research that promises economic growth is good research. Unluckily Aristotle's classification has been totally forgotten. Otherwise economics could never have assumed any authority as 'science'. And this authority is dangerous, as it claims truth in fields, namely the future and the aims of social development, where there is no truth to be found, especially no scientific truth. But the confusion between practice and epistemic science breeds more problems. If science is subject to 'usability' - saleability, profitability - truth comes definitely second. We can easily observe that in most new fields of science, especially genetics and nanotechnology, where any opposition against the use of the ideas and possible products are rejected as restraints to the freedom of science, while in reality our concern is to restrain commercial spread and its risks. So the primary objective of science, to find true descriptions, relations and, where possible, predictability, is more and more overruled by economic interests.

While technicians may get away with the excuse, that they produce what they are asked to produce, this rather foul excuse can't apply for 'sciences' that produce guidance (orientation) for human action. Politics, ethics, economics and education are eminently practical activities with real effects in the real world. They have to stay submitted to the free decision, acceptance or rejection, of their subjects.

An interesting science here is sociology, that tries to form a counter-science to economics, assuming for sociology the position philosophy once occupied:

     Sociology is the queen of the sciences.
     Unlike other sciences which analyse one narrow segment
     of life, sociology integrates all knowledge about humanity.
    
     Steven Seidman: Contested Knowledge. Social Theory Today.
     Blackwell Publ. Malden, Oxford, Victoria. 1994, 98, 2004
     (sec. ed.) [p 18:]
    
Charles Wright Mills (1916-62: The power elite, White collar: The American Middle Class) saw sociology as engaged public discourse. Theories were of minor importance for him and serve just as concepts, how to do empirical social analysis. Mills wanted to create a public sociology.

Robert Bellah (1927-) tried to change sociology back into public philosophy. Against the scientistic trend, Bella stuck to the conviction, that sociology is not only value oriented, but has to promote certain values. While Marx, Weber, Durkheim had written for the educated citizens, Bellah saw sociology as part of the ongoing discussion about societies common interests such as freedom, justice, poverty, war and community.

Antony Giddens (1938-) was also of the opinion, that sociology should not only explain the nature of the social world, but should help as well to shape it. Giddens strengthened the reflexivity of our society. While in the pre-modern cultures traditions controlled our daily behaviour, based on best practice, knowledge is in a perpetual movement in our post-modern society. Trends change the knowledge, considered as important, almost faster than books on trends are written.

Zygmunt Bauman (1925-) sees the modern spirit as reckless and relentless drive to extinguish everything that is chaotic, ambivalent, different and insecure. The heart of modernity is this unscrupulous drive to organize, to classify and to control. Post modernity stands for decentralized social order, that, as an ideal, should create institutional spaces for an ongoing dialogue, in which competition and negotiations on the endemic socio-political conflicts should be possible. For Bauman the character of sociology is narrowly connected to the role of the intellectual. While intellectuals lost their social authority in its legislative role, they now assume a role as interpreters. Their aim is now less to dictate standards and norms, than to facilitate communication between traditions and society.

The new millennium presents lots of complex problems to be solved by knowledge-workers and philosophers - but it also presents us a useful tool: the web.

The most common reason for social decline is - no, not zero growth or recession, but anomie, the lack of reliable orientation, or prevailing wrong orientation. So any kind of fundamentalism, populism, banalising polemics, in short, any terror of stupidity, has to be refuted. This duty can't be overtaken by politicians or the economy, as both use such methods extensively to get what the want.

This fight against decay of orientation and secure knowledge is not only needed since post-modernity, but was fought already by Plato, as the fight against the death of reason (misology). Reason has to fight, where people may have different opinions, where decisions between alternatives have to be taken. Reason has a strong relation to action, but tries nevertheless, as philosophy, to keep some distance, not to be submitted by force of things (Sachzwang).

To be able to develop new orientations in the Babylonian confusion of the post-modern era, we need a more intense and better working netting of the partial systems. As sciences themselves are partial sub-systems, I guess it would be a new duty for philosophy, to replace the honour and budget-oriented monologue of disciplinary scientific tribes by a philosophical, truth-seeking, dialogue.

As Seidman wrote [p. 282-83:]: 'Most problems and debates can't be assigned to single disciplines, but form clusters.' Discussions on globalization or the civil society do not take place in sociological newspapers, but under titles as: Public culture, social text, theory, culture, society, constellation. Today, in most clustered debates theorists must have at least some familiarity with classical sociology, neo-Marxism, identity-theories such as feminism and queer-theory, post structuralism, critical theory, varieties of psychoanalytical theory, and often postcolonial theory and critical race theory.

That's said for the field of sociology. To be able to hold a discourse on social development, integrating not only social sciences, but everything relevant for development, we probably have to make a step backward in order to advance faster, and revive the philosophical art of rhetoric, especially topics and argumentation, with the objective to:

  enhance critical thinking

- The sciences have to learn again, that the right answer can only emerge, if the right questions are asked.

  reintegrate speculative thinking, especially heuristics

- Speculari (Lat.) means: to look at something from far away. Speculative thinking, something unthinkable for scientists, is needed, if you want to deal with ideals (platonic or other) and utopiae. Without such speculative fore-sights its not possible, to create political or social development plans for the future, as any future is always (more or less) speculative.

  reintegrate values in argumentation and decision processes

- Values are decisive in that field, but disintegrated from scientific research.

  interrelate cluttered knowledge and preserve contexts [the foundation of
  web-philosophy]

- Each scientific discipline should in fact have its philosophers, mediating between related fields that might be quite far from each other, what concerns academic structures, especially what concerns the split between humanities and natural sciences. The multidimensionality of the web allows us to group themes, to form clusters. Such a way presentation may tackle large as well as deep contents. The arrangement of knowledge in clusters allows access from different perspectives, which do not get lost in a tangled mix, thanks to the subportals in the center of the clusters.

  intensify and clarify dialogue with knowledge users and in general with the
  population

- Scientists (and philosophers) should defend their thesis publicly, not the commercial use of their inventions.

There should be a philosophy, and philosophers, that tackle real world problems and real time problems.

That would give philosophy a real push, as few people are interested in academic discussions on reinterpretation of old texts.

(c) Martin Herzog 2005

E-mail: hewww@brainworker.ch

Martin Herzog Dipl. Ing. ETH Rheinfelden Switzerland

-=-

III. THE 1000TH ISFP MEMBER: LETTER FROM HUBERT TIMMERMANS

Date: Sat, 07 May 2005 12:24:39 +0200 To: klempner@fastmail.net From: Bert Timmermans Subject: ISFP

Dear Dr. Klempner,

I am happy with my membership card of the ISFP. It arrived last Saturday when we were just about to go on holiday, which means that I couldn't reply earlier to your kind letter. It is a funny coincidence to be the 1000th member and l must say that I like it very much. You asked me to write something about myself and here it comes.

I am working as a lecturer in 'Intercultural Philosophy' at the University of Maastricht Centre for European Studies.

The ICPh course as I teach it tries to introduce undergraduate students (first and second years) to the comparison (if possible) of the 3 (only 3?) important intellectual/ philosophical mindsets of the world: the Western (including the Islamic), the Indian (Hindu and Buddhism) and the Chinese ones.

During the course the students are provided with a (partly historical) introduction into the 'main' philosophical world traditions. They are also confronted with concepts (from metaphysics, ethics, philosophical anthropology, aesthetics, philosophy of language etc) that do come from these traditions and that invite them to analyse and evaluate their own mostly Western views. As such these concepts ask the students, on the basis of models that both come from Philosophy and from the Theory of Communication field, to compare them, if possible, with their Eastern counterparts. As such the main question is: is (any) communication between these philosophical traditions possible and if it is, how then should it be done?

I really enjoy doing this lecturing (it teaches me as much as it teaches the students: especially the rather distressing insight that my own university education was a very limited Western one!) and that is why I was so happily surprised when I learned about the existence of the ISFP! It would be wonderful if philosophers, and other genuinely interested people with 'the philosophical mind' from the different (intellectual?) world traditions would be enabled to communicate and debate with one another about topics that we would call 'philosophical' (Western view: philosophical?) and if they would be able to exchange ideas in a free and unlimited way. (Which doesn't mean that I am interested in pseudo mysticism and religion and things like these but only in what the different traditions would judge to be real 'philosophy'!)

The conference topics are very interesting (I would like to join 'Philosophy-a way of life?') but I also hope that in a future time there will be a conference on 'language', because that is what I am mostly interested in: I am very interested in discussing the way in which the different cultures shape their views as to the 'philosophical' role that language plays in their mindsets and, again, to exchange ideas as to this. Well, this is something about myself and about the reason why I joined the ISFP. I really do think that your initiative is a very sympathetic and important one and I hope that, in a modest way, I could contribute to its success.

With kind regards,

Hubert Timmermans


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