International Symposium "Living Thought(s), Thinking Life, Facing Global Challenges: New Forms in Philosophy, Art, and Religion" - LSRS, Luxembourg, November 7th to 11th, 2022
LIVING THOUGHT(S), THINKING LIFE, FACING GLOBAL CHALLENGES: NEW FORMS IN PHILOSOPHY, ART, AND RELIGION
A Symposium for Emerging Scholars
November 7th to 11th, 2022
Luxembourg School of Religion & Society
Organized by the
Department of Philosophy and Education Sciences (UniTo) and the Luxembourg School of Religion & Society
Prof. Gianluca Cuozzo & Prof. Jean Ehret
Europe has become a largely secularized and pluralist space; individualism is a common way of life. While diversity is commonly valued as an asset, the absence of a commonly shared “set of beliefs” or religious imaginaries founding institutional responses, can result in different re- sponses, ranging from a reactionary or even fundamentalist claim of competing “truths” to a complete disinterest not only in religion but also in politics. In this symposium we are inter- ested in different types of “form,” shaping thinking and living together: how can we describe these forms, how are they generated, what effects do they produce, are they a contribution to responding to problems that cannot be solved “individually” but request a European and larger global response as the climate crisis, refugees, war, energy...
The different presentations will explore philosophy, art, and religion: while philosophy and religion can commonly be understood as “systems,” we wouldn’t like to reduce them to this point of view but explore their creativity – or the resistance to it. Art – all the arts: literature, theatre, music, painting, sculpture, architecture, cinema, video art, installations... – can serve as a heuristic tool – without being reduced to this function.
In fact, art has its own intellectual capacity: in the creative process, the different aspects of the human brain-body-mind play together, and the invention of “form(s)” plays a central role to offer coherence to the specific work. Furthermore, art is both rooted in traditions and open to transgression and innovation, art addresses affectivity and emotions, art provokes enthu- siasm, creating different types of communities with weaker or stronger bindings. Art can be fun; art can function as a critical, inventive laboratory of possible characters, people, societies, programs, worlds etc.
If art produces virtual presences that people can relate to, philosophical reasoning is a differ- ent, complementary way of exploring, shaping, and knowing “worlds,” referring also to spe- cific forms. While philosophy was an “art of living” in antiquity, it has become a mere intellec- tual exercise in modern times. As for religion, it can be considered as an institutionalized
complex set of elements and bodies that provide “spirituality,” i.e., that shape in different ways the mutual relationships between “God,” a “world,” and an “ego,” i.e., a self-represen- tation. In other words, religion offers a set of forms of different types for both living and think- ing. Thus, religion could be considered as the potentially most philosophical art of living – if it kept both its holistic, creative, self-reflexive, and critical dynamics. However, in secular socie- ties religion is mostly reduced to one domain in people’s life.
The global problems that threaten the future of our planet as habitat for the next generations request a truly “humanist conversion,” i.e., a new way of thinking and living, different rela- tionships between people’s self-understanding or -representation, on the one hand, and the ecosphere, a “world” integrating the impact of global human behavior, on the other hand. Such a conversion needs to be political, social, communitarian, and individual. The discussion about individual freedom and responsibility for the common good or for social cohesion, of which early humanists were aware before contemporary critics of individualism, is overtaken by the urgency of the threat to our ecosphere. Despite scientific proof, despite apocalyptic warnings, politics and individuals continue to do business as usual or excel in local actions: the causes are many but are there other forms of thinking and living that might bring about a global change? Which resources do art, philosophy, and religion, which brings into the rela- tional system “divine” references, offer humankind to act responsibly and to offer our future generations good space to live in, enough resources, a decent habitat, justice, and peace? Which new forms of living together do they provide? Who could be the ones to act and what form would that action imprint on life? Who would take profit from them, who would resist them? Are there perhaps self-emerging forms?
This symposium is organized according to the agreement of cooperation signed between the LSRS and the Department of Philosophy and Education Sciences of the University of Turin. It is part of a larger research seminar directed by the organizers on the forms of thinking (Denkfor- men), a topic that on one hand goes beyond system considerations and on the other hand takes up a central notion of Pareyson’s philosophy. After two sessions focusing on “form” in itself, one in Luxembourg and one in Turin, the pandemic interrupted the project; this confer- ence focuses more specifically on global challenges that urge humanity to develop new forms of “spirituality.”
Goal & Working Method
This international symposium for emerging scholars offers a very intense program, emphasiz- ing opportunities to develop their personal reflection. The goal is not to write new essays; participating in this symposium shall offer the young scholars the possibility to take profit from the experience of established professors, of their peers, and of the artist in residence at the LSRS, to discover other institutions, authors, artists, works, and to relate to them. This sympo- sium intends the young scholars to develop their own thinking and writing. Therefore, the symposium combines different elements:
1) Three morning sessions during which two professors and the artist in residence of the LSRS introduce the attendees to their work from the perspective of the conference.
2) 4 presentations from emerging scholars to be discussed by their peers as well as by leading scholars.
3) A public lecture by Prof. C. Raschke on November 9. The lecture will find a response the day after by two students that open a discussion with the scholar.
4) Visit of the European Court of Justice and a discussion with its representatives, fol- lowed by reflections of students on the event, relating it to the topic of the conference and their own research.
5) Cultural visits: the exhibition “I Am Digital” by the artist Flora Miranda (https://www.advantageaustria.org/lu/files/Flora_Miranda.pdf) as well as Edward Steichen’s exhibition “Family of Man” in Clervaux (https://www.visit- clervaux.lu/en/art/the-family-of-man; https://youtu.be/Xd5F-KCUpYI), followed by re- flections of the students on these visits.
6) Time for personal exchange among peers and with professors.
What is expected from the emerging scholars who participate in this symposium?
We expect the willingness to engage into a lively and critical exchange between persons and not only between (representatives of) ideas.
Before arriving, open a Word Document and write down
a) The definition of form that will serve you as a starting point to participate in this con- ference (max. 2 lines).
b) The question that you try to answer in your current research (max. 2 lines).
c) The relation between “form” and your research (max. 3 lines).
d) What do you expect from this symposium for your own research (max. 3 items)?
Then print the document and bring it with you to the opening session.
We will start with a presentation of the participants as we come from different academic cul- tures, disciplines, religious traditions or worldviews, nations, cultures, and families. It would be an illusion to think that these elements have no influence on our work. The way how we ask questions, which questions we ask, how we try to answer them, etc., all these elements are influenced by our different perspectives. The symposium shall help the participants to be- come aware of these elements that form our thinking as well as our lives, on the misunder- standings and solidarities that they may create, on the opportunities that the encounter with someone who has a different perspective on life offers for the specific research topic one is working upon.
16:30 – Arrivals & Registration
17:00 – Introduction to the Conference (Jean Ehret) 18:30 – Walk to the City
19:30 – Reception at the Italian Embassy
9:00 to 12:30 – Prof. Doude van Troostwijk: “Inventive theology” – presentation and work with participants. Presentation by Valentina Maurella, M.A. (doctoral student UniTo and LSRS), followed by discussion.
13:00 – Lunch
14:00 – Visit of the European Court of Justice 19:00 – Dinner
9:00 to 12:30 – Presentation by Maxim Kantor and work with participants (chapel of the CJ23 with 14 paintings by Maxim Kantor, artist in residence at the LSRS). Presen- tation by Raimondo Grassadonia (master student UniTo), followed by discussion. 13:00 – Lunch
14:30 – Visit of the exhibition: “I Am Digital” at the Residence of the Austrian Ambas- sador (https://www.advantageaustria.org/lu/files/Flora_Miranda.pdf)
18:00 – Dinner
19:00 – Public Lecture by Prof. Carl Raschke: “The Political Use and Abuse of God – The New World Disorder and the Political Fight for What is Called Real”
9:00 to 12:30 – Reactions to Carl Raschke’s lecture by two participants (TBD); presen- tation by Prof. Carl Raschke; work with participants. Presentation by Dr. Ernesto Sfer- razza Papa (UniTo, LSRS): “The spirituality of the limit between immanence and tran- scendence”, and by Hans Legrand (doctoral student VU Amsterdam) followed by dis- cussion.
13:00 – Lunch
14:00 – Leaving the LSRS to visit Edward Steichen’s exhibition “The Family of Man” (Clervaux Castle, by bus) https://www.visit-clervaux.lu/en/art/the-family-of-man. 18:30 – Dinner in Clervaux
Returning to Luxembourg by bus
9:00 to 10:30 Final meeting Departure