-Tuesday, 30th June, 2020
Prof. Dr.Jason Wirth, University of Seattle: "The Great Death and the Pure Land: Nishitani Keiji and the Ecological Emergency.”
Prof. Dr. Jason M. Wirth is professor of philosophy at Seattle University, and works and teaches in the areas of Continental Philosophy, Buddhist Philosophy, Aesthetics, Environmental Philosophy, and Africana Philosophy.
Nishitani Keiji (1900-1990), student of Nishida Kitarô and a second-generation member of the Kyoto School, is known in the West because of his reflections on the concept of nihilism and religion within the discussion regarding the overcoming of modernity in Japan.
-Thursday, July 30th, 2020
Prof. Dr. Nikita Dhawan, University of Gießen, Germany: „Die Aufklärung vor den Europäern retten“
Die erhabenen Ideale der Aufklärung gingen mit kolonialer Gewalt und faschistischem Terror einher, während die Aufklärung den Interessen einer gewissen privilegierten Klasse zugutekam, dessen Normen mit implizit rassistischer und sexistischer Ausrichtung festgeschrieben wurden. Trotz dieser Einwände argumentiert die postkoloniale Feministin Gayatri Spivak, dass man angesichts des imperialen und gegen-imperialen Wesens der Aufklärung diese „nicht nicht wollen kann", so dass die kontaminierten Hinterlassenschaften der Europäischen Aufklärung, wie „Menschenrechte" und die „Demokratie" wie ein Pharmakon Gift und Medizin zu gleich sind. Das Ziel des Vortrages ist es folglich die widersprüchlichen Konsequenzen der Aufklärung zu verstehen ohne einen Anti-Aufklärungs-Standpunkt einzunehmen. Die Unabdingbarkeit der Aufklärung in der Umsetzung kritischer Projekte muss mit den Euro- und Androzentrismen, welche ihr Erbe plagen zusammengedacht werden. Um post-imperiale Zukünfte zu imaginieren, wird eine kritische Theorie des Postkolonialismus vorgeschlagen.
-Tuesday, September 15th
Prof. Dr. Mogobe Ramose, University of South Africa in Pretoria: „ubu-ntu: affirming the humanness of all human beings, sharing the bread from mother Earth“
The South African philosopher Mogobe Ramose wrote the standard work on Ubuntu philosophy: a vision of existence as a continuous stream in which everything is constantly searching for balance and is inseparably connected with everything else. This is true of human communities, but it also applies to various aspects of social life, such as politics, religion, economics, law, medicine, ecology, and globalization. This is an ‘ethic of coexistence’ in profound contrast with Western models and the radical individualization that characterizes capitalism.
This is an ‘ethic of coexistence’ in profound contrast with Western models and the radical individualization that characterizes capitalism. Mogobe Ramose is Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Africa in Pretoria. He received his PhD in Philosophy from the University Leuven in Belgium in 1983. His time in Belgium was spent as a political refugee, having been exiled from South Africa during the regime of Apartheid. He returned to South Africa in 1996.
-Thursday, October 15th, 2020
Dr. Yoko Arisaka, Universität Hildesheim
"Knowledge and Compassion: Structural Racism and the Failures of Liberalism"
In Europe and the U.S.A., the dominant political discourse is largely based on the ideals of post-Enlightenment liberalism – equality, liberty, autonomy, individuality, respect, dignity, rights, due process, democracy – which are said to be universally applicable to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, religious background, sexual orientation, etc. The theory of liberal multiculturalism stipulates that cultural differences should be recognized and respected, and this framework is also used to combat racism, as if racism is a problem of inequality and disrespect among different racialized groups. In this presentation, I shall show how such a framework is inadequate in addressing the fundamental problems of racism. The ontology of individuality and respect may minimally address the problems of personal racism, but its framework fails to capture the problems of historical and structural racism. I will use the example of the U.S. to discuss the facts and nature of structural racism, and I articulate an alternative theoretical framework from critical race theory (and some postcolonial theories) to better address the problem of structural racism, not only in the U.S. but also elsewhere.
-Thursday, November 5th, 2020
Prof. Dr. Tariq Modood, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol, UK: “Can Interculturalism complement Multiculturalism?”
European/UNESCO interculturalism (IC) emerged as a critique of multiculturalism (MC) (complicated by the fact that there is an alternative Quebecer interculturalism, not discussed in this lecture). I suggest that this relationship has gone through three phases. Phase one begins in the 1990s with a general dissatisfaction with MC from many political and intellectual sources. Phase two, roughly from about the middle of the last decade, is when IC scholars, mainly sociologists, though also in cultural studies, policy studies, migration studies, geography as well as education emerge in significant numbers. The engagement with multiculturalism is superficial and serves the purpose of clearing the ground in order to get on with a new research or policy. Phase three is the political theory justification of IC. I argue that these three phases have not established a pro-diversity ‘ism’ which can replace MC. While I hope we may move on to a phase four, where MC and IC are seen to be complementary, I here re-state what I think are the key concepts of MC. I hope it will be evident that firstly, that these concepts are not out of date or redundant; and secondly, therefore, that IC is wrong to abandon them.
-Tuesday, December 15th, 2020
Dr. M. John Lamola, Associate Professor, Institute for Intelligent Systems, University of Johannesburg
Malesela John Lamola is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Pretoria where he researches and teaches on African Social Philosophy and the Philosophy of Technology. In addition, he holds Senior Research Associate appointment at the Institute of Intelligent Systems of the University of Johannesburg. He obtained his PhD degree from Edinburgh University and an MBA degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. His research interests are in Political Philosophy in the context of the emergence of African Modernity, and on the intersection between technology and an Africanist social theory and practice. He publishes on Marxian epistemology, applications of Sartrean existential anti-colonial philosophy to contemporary African socio-ontological inquiries, and on the representation of Africans in the technologies of the fourth industrial revolution. Dr Lamola is a professional member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers’ (IEEE) Society on Social Implications of Technology, an active member of the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective, the South African Center of Phenomenology, and is the founder the Research Group on Africa, Philosophy and Digital Technologies (APDiT).
"The historico-cultural challenge of Paulin Hountondji’s 'scientism' in the human-computer era"
The name of Hountondji is coterminous with his critique of a trend in African Philosophy which he characterised as something that is less than a philosophy, an ethno-philosophy. My project excavates that there is much that has been overlooked or underplayed in studies of his critique of this traditional collective thought system. I alert that at the core of his intervention is a nuanced conception of science that is derived from his education in the philosophies of Edmund Husserl and Louis Althusser, a devotion to which detoured into a detection of ethno-philosophy. Hountondji has endured accusations of imposing a Eurocentric scientism onto an African emancipatory discourse. In this lecture, I advance this dispute around his adamant fidelity to the epistemological primacy of scientificity into the contemporary scenario in which the emergence of the technologies of the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution have brought the veneration of technoscience and its effects on human society under normative scrutiny. Upon explicating Hountondji’s conceptualisation of science from the vantage points of the post-ethnophilosophy debate, as well as that of the philosophy of technology, I invite an exploration of the challenge his advocacy for the scientificity of philosophy and all African Knowledge poses in a Zeitgeist of concerns with incipient computerisation of human life and asymmetrical relations in the global production of scientific knowledge. I will defend my conclusion that, in an obverse fashion, the crux of Hountondji’s oeuvre equips philosophers globally, and African thinkers in particular, with a mental disposition and an epistemological system for the robust interrogation of our current digitalising social milieu.