23rd World Congress of Philosophy 4 – 10 August 2013
‘Philosophy as Inquiry and Way of Life’
International Federation of Philosophical Societies in collaboration with one of its member societies. The xxiii World Congress of Philosophy will be held from August 4 through August 10, 2013, in Athens, Greece, under the auspices of the Hellenic Organizing Committee, which has been constituted by the Greek Philosophical Society. Participants: 2.000 from 105 countries.
The Congress has several aims, which are to be understood as complementary:
- To inquire into the world’s philosophical traditions and compare them in terms of their diverse contributions and possible mutual cross-fertilization.
- To reflect on the tasks and functions of philosophy in the contemporary world, taking account of the contributions, expectations, and gaps in philosophical awareness associated with other disciplines, with political, religious, social, economic, technological, etc., activities and with diverse cultures and traditions.
- To emphasize the importance of philosophical reflection for public discourse on global issues affecting humanity.
Because of its cultural history and geographical situation, Athens is an ideal location for stimulating encounters between scholars from across the world. The main theme of the 2013 Congress, ‘Philosophy as Inquiry and Way of Life’, emphasizing both theory and practice, recalls the declaration of Socrates that the unexamined life is not worth living.
The 2013 Congress invites discussion of the nature, roles, and responsibilities of philosophy and philosophers today. It is committed to paying heed to the problems, conflicts, inequalities, and injustices connected with the development of a planetary civilization that is at once multicultural and techno-scientific.
The main theme of the Congress will be developed, according to the tradition of the World Congresses, in the following four plenary sessions and seven symposia:
1. The relevance of Ancient Greek Philosophy Today
Georgios Anagnostopoulos (USA/Greece)
Enrico Berti (Italy)
Dorothea Frede (Germany)
Noburu Notomi (Japan)
Thomas Robinson (Canada)
Aminata Cissé Diaw (Senegal)
A.V. Afonso (India)
Jonathan Lear (USA)
Simon Critchley (UK / USA)
3. Philosophy and Religions
Jean Ferrari (France)
Michael von Brück (Germany)
Suwanna Satha-Anand (Thailand)
Seizo Sekine (Japan)
4. Art and Cultures
Pavlos Christodoulides (Greece)
Jos De Mul (Netherlands)
Yacouba Konaté (Ivory Coast)
Wolfgang Welsch (Germany)
Han Zhen (China)
5. Technology and the Environment
Workineh Kelbessa (Ethiopia)
Kristin Shrader-Frechette (USA)
Esa Saarinen (Finland)
Junichi Murata (Japan)
6. Current Trends in Epistemology
Ernest Sosa (USA)
Dismas A. Masolo (Kenya / USA)
Jason Stanley (USA)
Pascal Engel (France / Switzerland)
7. Philosophy in Modern and Contemporary Greece
Athanasia Glycofridi-Leontsini (Greece)
Evangelos Moutsopoulos (Greece)
Georgia Apostolopoulou (Greece)
Kostantinos Petsios (Greece)
Four Special Philosophical Sessions
During the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy, four Special Philosophical Meetings will be held to four different historical and philosophically important sites of Athens. All registered participants are welcome to attend, free of charge, any philosophical meeting they are interested in. As the availability in the below mentioned sites is limited, requests will be handled on a first-come first-served basis.
I. PLATO’S ACADEMY
Plato established the Academy after his return from Sicily in the Spring of 387 BCE. The site of the School was located in the area of the Gymnasium of the Academy, 1.5 kilometers outside the city’s gates. The area was known for its beautiful groves and trees, and flowing waters from the river Cephisus. The School operated continuously until 529 CE, a period of over 900 years. Plato himself lived near the Academy in the area of Hippeios Colonus.
The year 2013 marks a fortuitous coincidence in that the 23rd World Congress of Philosophy, which is to be held in Athens for the first time, coincides with the 2,400th anniversary of the Academy’s founding.
II. THE LYCEUM AS THE SCHOOL OF ARISTOTLE
The Lyceum was the site where Aristotle in 335 BCE founded his School as a ‘thiasos of the Muses’ - an association devoted to the Muses. At this site Aristotle purchased a building for living quarters and others for teaching activities. The choice of area was hardly accidental. The School’s facilities were immediately adjacent to the Gymnasium, a place of physical training, education and culture that was frequented by young ephebes undergoing military training. The youths’ presence there was like a magnet that attracted philosophers and other intellectuals who wished to engage them in discussion.
III. THE PNYX AND THE ASSEMBLY OF THE PEOPLE
The rocky hill of Pnyx began to be used as an area for public assemblies and deliberations of the Athenian citizens (the dêmos) from 507 BCE. In that year the Athenian statesman Cleisthenes introduced his sweeping reforms, under which the Athenian dêmos gained sovereignty over the political life of the city. Soon buildings and facilities were constructed here for the functions of the Assembly. Henceforth the Pnyx was to become associated with the democratic ideal that has inspired humankind the world over.
The podium, known as the ‘Bêma’, is the raised protruding step from which the speakers addressed the Assembly. More than any other remnant on the Pnyx, the Bêma is the symbol that best expresses the principles of the democracy, namely, political equality (isonomia), freedom of speech and assembly (isegoria), and the equal participation of the people in the institutions affecting public life (isopoliteia). It was from the Bêma that all the important political statesman and orators of the 6th to the 5th centuries BCE (the golden age of the Athenian democracy) addressed the Athenian people. Among them were Cleisthenes, Themistocles, Aristides, Kimon, Pericles, Alcibiades, Nicias, Demosthenes, Aeschines, Lycurgus, and many others.
IV. PLATO’S PHAEDRUS –THE SETTING OF THE DIALOGUE
(OLYMPEION, KALLIMARMARO STADIUM, ARTEMIS AGROTERA, KALLIRRHOE, ST. FOTINI AT ILISSOS)
Socrates, barefoot as usual, encounters an acquaintance of his, Phaedrus, who is also walking barefoot near the Olympeion. Phaedrus is planning to take a constitutional walk into the countryside, outside of the city environs, because he has spent the morning at the house of Morychus listening to a speech by Lysias, the famous orator, on Love (Erôs). Phaedrus tells Socrates that if he wishes to learn what Lysias said then he must join him on his walk. Though Socrates would rarely leave the city, he is enticed by Phaedrus and agrees to accompany him. As the two become engaged in discussion they pass through the city gates in the area just north of the Olympeion and coming to the Ilissos river ( in the vicinity of the Panathenaic Stadium) they turn right and walk along the river’s bank. Meanwhile, Socrates discovers that Phaedrus is concealing Lysias’ speech under his garment and asks him to read it. They then decide to sit beneath a large plane tree whose shade provides them with relief from the scorching heat. As it turns out their resting place is a sacred location dedicated to Pan, the Nymphs, Acheloos and other deities. The time is high noon and the entire area is buzzing with the echoes of cicadas.