Invitation to the 23rd Word Congress of Philosophy
WELCOME MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF FISP
It gives me great pleasure to extend this invitation, on behalf of the International Federation of Philosophical Societies, FISP, to all lovers of philosophy to participate in the 23rd World Congress of Philosophy, which is to be held from August 4-10, 2013 in Athens. This will be the first World Congress to take place in Greece, the cradle of Western philosophy. And it promises to be especially memorable, in the already long history of these quinquennial events, for many reasons.
Concerning the glories that are (and not only were) Greece, our hosts can write more knowledgeably and eloquently than I. And it is certainly true that to have the opportunity to enjoy these glories, whether it be for the first time or once again, is an extremely strong incentive to attend this World Congress. But there are other incentives as well. Quite a few very distinguished philosophers – a group that no doubt includes a number of you who are reading these words – have already agreed to make contributions in various forms: in plenary sessions, symposia, and endowed lectures, a full listing of all of which is to be found in this circular; and in invited sessions (some of which will be posted on the World Congress website), member society sessions, round tables, and sessions of sections organized around individual submissions. Indeed, the list of names of chairs and co-chairs of these sections, which is also to be found on the pages of this circular, is itself, as you will see, extremely distinguished. That the range of offerings in all of these various configurations will be highly diverse is perhaps best reflected in the fact that there will be 75 sections, the largest number ever, from which those submitting papers will be asked to choose the one that seems most appropriate for them.
Beyond the benefits of listening to presentations by many of the world’s most astute thinkers, both well known and less widely known, that the World Congress affords to all participants lie the subtler, less easily definable, but for some more profound benefits of social interaction with colleagues from around the world at a level and on a scale that no other gathering can match. Past World Congresses of Philosophy have proved to be milestone events for many of those who have attended, as I have heard it said so often, and as has been my own experience; it is inconceivable that our 2013 event will be any less remarkable in this respect.
Finally, there is the contribution that the forthcoming World Congress promises to make to the flawed, incomplete, but nevertheless real sense of a world philosophical community, which has increasingly, as shown by statistics in recent decades recording participants’ countries of origin, become genuinely and not just nominally global. This community, members of which are capable of appreciating other approaches to philosophy while not abandoning their preferences for their own approaches, has, it seems to me, both an intrinsic and an instrumental value. Its intrinsic value has to do with philosophers’ unique, shared dedication to the life of the mind, which means striving to understand our world in all of its aspects. But there are today many powerful forces that disdain any such dedication, and that work to diminish or dismiss the importance of philosophy in institutions and in public and private life; the very existence of our philosophical community, however partial and imperfect it may be, can serve as an important practical barrier to the triumph of such forces.
So, whatever reasons you may find strongest for coming to Athens in early August 2013 and profiting from the hard, greatly appreciated, organizational work of our Greek hosts, I urge you to act on those reasons and to come to what could be the grandest of World Congresses of Philosophy yet held – one worthy of a still-new century and millennium that have begun, it is true, under less than ideal conditions, but that remain full of the promise, which it is to be hoped will be reflected in this gathering, of a more enlightened world of the future
William Leon McBride
PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION
OF PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETIES
WELCOME MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF HOC
The World Congress of Philosophy provides a unique opportunity for philosophers, friends of philosophy and serious thinkers from all corners of the world to meet, to put forth ideas, exchange points of view, to argue and to present the fruits of their research to a unique and distinguished academic audience. The Congress is an outstanding cultural institution that serves as an international forum for philosophical research, a meeting place for philosophical collaborators and a place where new acquaintances are made and old renewed; it is a place of reflection and brainstorming within a relaxing environment; it seeks to contribute to the forging of universal values that address the common human issues of our times; it is a place where clarity is sought regarding the Socratic challenge that reaches out to us even today, to old and young alike: “how one must live?” For this reason the Congress extends its heartfelt welcome to old and young philosophizing thinkers and researchers, to those with an established intellectual presence and to developing intellectuals who aspire to contribute to a better future for humankind.
On behalf of the Hellenic Organizing Committee I invite you to participate in the 23rd World Congress of Philosophy, under the auspices of the International Federation of Philosophical Societies (FISP), to be held in Athens Greece. This Congress is destined to continue the outstanding traditions of the previous Congresses, but it is also unique in that the very city in which it is to occur beckons all philosophizing persons with inspiring echoes from its past. I invite you to come to Athens in whose Ancient Agora Socrates, Diogenes, and so many others spent their time, where you can walk and discourse at the site of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum and be within the environs of Epicurus’ Garden, Zeno’s Stoa, the haunts of Proclus and others whose intellectual works contributed to the cultural heritage of humanity.
The Congress, with the kind permission of the Ministry of Culture, has arranged to hold a number of events in the areas of Plato’s Academy; Aristotle’s Lyceum; the Pnyx (the meeting place of the ancient Athenian Parliament), which is itself located right across from the Acropolis; and at the site where Plato’s Phaedrus took place, within the environs of the present day Church of Hagia Photine on the Ilisus river. The Congress participants will have the once in a lifetime opportunity to not only visit these sites passively, as is usually the case, but be an active part of the historical tradition of discourse, philosophical and political, that was cultivated within these areas.
Not only the place that the Congress is being held is unique, but so too the time of its occurrence. Summer is when the whole of Greece radiates with its blue, Homeric seas, its clear skies, its white islands and its rugged landscape. Greece’s summer splendour welcomes philosophers, their families and their friends and their friends’ families and extends an invitation to visit such sites as Delphi, one of the world’s most inspiring locations, venerable Olympia and Mycenae, ancient Dodoni, magnificent Knossos, and Alexander’s Vergina and Pella, Aristotle’s Stagira and holy Mount Athos in the north, Odysseus’ Ithaca and Corfu in the west, Pythagoras, Melisus and Aristarchus’ Samos, Homer’s Ios and Chios, Hippocrates’ Kos, Panaetius’ Rhodes, Ariadne’s Naxos, Saint John’s Patmos in the Aegean, and further east, Heraclitus’ Ephesos and Thales’, Anaximader’ and Anaximenes’ Miletus. All of these sites are within only a few hours from Athens.
Especially when summer comes the people of Greece open up to visitors, enacting their Zeus-endowed trait, which comes most naturally to them: their philoxenia, their hospitality to visitors and travellers to their land.
PRESIDENT OF THE HELLENIC ORGANIZING COMMITTEE