This Publication originated from a
project with the same name pursued
by the Chair of Philosophy I at the
University of Bamberg in collaboration
with the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
The aim of the project is to elucidate
by the means of philosophical
reflection the spiritual and religious
foundations which have formed
cultures till today. Thereby the
perception of one’s own identity as
well as of the other may be promoted,
thus encouraging mutual appreciation
and innovative intercultural
cooperation as basis for a humanely
creative peace. The present volume
establishes an exchange of ideas
between representatives of different
fields and world religions. A
"philosophical exposition" (H. Beck)
explains the value of the treatises "on
the general problem of intercultural
encounter and world peace" and of
the contributions by specific regional
cultures (Europe - Africa - Asia- [Latin]
America) to the "dialogue of world
Heinrich Beck is professor in ordinary
of philosophy at the university of
Bamberg. Gisela Schmirber is deputy
director of the Academy for Politics
and Contemporary History of the
Hanns Seidel Foundation.
The Hans Seidel Foundation’s international work pursues two objectives
which are correlated in many ways: The fostering of international attitudes and
understanding between the people-sand, where-ever it appears necessary and
possible, the development of humane living conditions and stable, democratic,
market-oriented societies. Both objectives we pursue in commitment to the
values of our Christian and occidental world conception.
In practice the Hanns Seidel Foundation is engaged in establishing various
international contacts on the pre-political, social and political sector and in the
fields of science and media. These contacts enable a global exchange of opinions and information on questions of foreign and security policy and on
cultural and foreign-trade issues. In the field of development cooperation the
Hanns Seidel Foundation is presently managing 72 projects in 73 countries,
covering mainly the social and social-political area. The projects are deseigen
to activate self-help and to contribute to the creation of pre-political structures
which are to strengthen the societies in the respective countries with regard to
democracy and to promote the free and economically efficient development of
the individual. Every year the Foundation reaches more than 200,000 people
worldwide, who, in passing on the experiences gained in our seminars and
conferences, are even multiplying and deepening their effectiveness.
In our opinion we will not reach our goals just by ""exportion" our own
experiences and political concepts. What we must do is expounding our offer
frankly. The concrete selection and the adaption of our contribution to the
actual demand, however, can only take place in dialogue with our partners. This
has to be based on the respect for the cultural and personal autonomy of our
partners, but also in order to secure our achievements of increased peace,
lieberty and economic development in the long term. Thereby we have to
overcome not only factual but also personal differences. Differences can arise
easily between Germany’s responsibility and interests in the world on the one
hand and the individual course and ideas of our partners on the hand; and very
often the obstacles to success are not of a factual but of a human nature.
Therefore a constant dialogue with our partners is necessary in search for the
best way into the future for all concerned. This presupposes tolerance and
openness towards the opinions and needs of others, but at the same time the
ability to keep to one’s own principles.
These considerations are to serve as a basis for the endeavour to pave the
way to an understanding between those belonging to different cultures. This
publication tries to forge links for a better understanding between the peoples.
In a more indirect way it also supports the Hanns Seidel Foundation s practical
efforts in setting up an agricultural trade association in Kenya or in strengthening the local and regional self-administration in Venezuela, just to name two
examples which are also mentioned in this publication. In the end both aspects
are equally indispensable: mutual knowledge as a basis for mutual understanding and the direct engagement on the spot with and for our partners throughout
It is only fitting that, in the year of the 50" anniversary of the United
Nations and the 200" anniversary of the publication of Kant's "Perpetual Peace"
("Zum Ewigen Frieden"), a slightly augmented, all-English version of Heinrich
Beck's and Gisela Schmirber's publication - that has been available in a Ger-
man/English and Spanish version: "Creative Peace through the Encounter of
World Cultures" - should appear, and that it should be published in India.
The book assembles a number of contributions to the idea of world peace
and the conditions necessary to secure it, by eminent philosophers and social
scientists from Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It is part of a larger
project to study world cultures and their potential for convergence. Its intention
is to lay bare, with the methodology of empathetic philosophical-hermeneutic
inquiry, the similarities and common existential categories underlying human
existence and cultural expression, in order to arrive at a philosophical-anthropological foundation for the principle of tolerance.
In bringing together diverse and divergent points of view from a variety of
philosophical traditions, the book is itself an example of the encounter of world
cultures - at least of thought cultures - that it tries to investigate. It is most
significant, therefore, that 1t appears in English and is published in the Indian
subcontinent so as to be more readily available to readers from Asia at large.
For this audience, the terms "end of history", "multi-cultural society", and
"globalisation" have an entirely different ring to them than they have to Westerns intellectuals: Well aware of the legacies of colonialism and the double-
bind of experiencing one's own history as derivative, and of having to write in
a language other than the indigenous one in order to be heard, globalisation
may sound much like a new colonising attempt by the West as the victorious
contestant that emerged from the Cold War. Even if Fukuyama, an Asian
American living in the United States, may think that, with the apparent world-
historical victory of liberal democracy in its American variety, history has come
to an end, many intellectuals in the countries of Asia and on the other continents represented in this book may justifiably think that theirs is only about to
The challenge of the book is thus the contestation it implies to the thesis,
recently promulgated by Samuel Huntington, of the impending "clash of civilizations". By uncovering the common ground, in the sense of a philosophical-
anthropological-metaphysical grounding, of our cultural developments, and by
bringing these communalities to the level of consciousness of the actors in the
various world cultures, the editors and authors hope to contribute to the strategy
of avoiding precisely such a "clash of civilisations".
In today's world, philosophical investigations, particularly those that are
indebted to an idealistic. metaphysical tradition. have a hard time to be heard
against the din of voices from the camp of "realpolitik". The success of the
project - of which the current volume gives but a preliminary glimpse - will,
therefore, depend on the strength and rigour of the philosophical analyses
presented, and on the degree to which the contributions will overcome the
hortative character that pronouncements in favour of world peace invariably
In a conflict-ridden world, marked by global migration, violent xenophobia.
and a shrill evangelism of particular truths, any attempt at working towards
conflict-resolution, any contribution to a theory of convergence of cultures in
the face of politically and ideologically manipulated discord, is welcome. And
in India, where a philosophically inspired movement of non-violence has brought
about political change against considerable odds, such an attempt coming from
the metaphysical camp may not be considered entirely gratuitous.
The editors’ and authors’ instinct is laudible that the most "universal" of
scholarly disciplines, Philosophy, should again lead the way in this debate. Its
catholicity, in the Greek sense of the term, is well documented over the centuries. In dealing with the matter of world peace which has become a matter of
life and death, not only for humanity but for the Earth as a whole, in the age of
destruction capabilities of planetary proportions, the discipline of philosophy
can regain some of the relevance and credibility that it seemed to have lost in
the post WW II decades when it became enmeshed in a new scholasticism of
hair-splitting technicalities. For this attempt, the editors are to be particularly
commended. May the response to their efforts trigger a truly global "Auseinandersetzung" - in the best tradition of philosophical discourse.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
for saving your wish list, viewing past orders, receiving discounts, and lots more...
Email a Friend