By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
Philosophers from all over the world are converging in Seoul Wednesday for the 22nd World Congress of Philosophy.
Around 3,000 participants will attend the congress, organized by the International Federation of Philosophical Societies and the Korean Philosophical Association, which opens today at Seoul National University and runs through Aug. 5.
Various plenary sessions, symposia, endowed lectures, roundtable discussions and student sessions will tackle the main theme ``Rethinking Philosophy Today.'' The world congress presents a chance to ``rethink the nature, roles, and responsibilities of philosophy and philosophers in the age of globalization.'''
Distinguished philosophers such as Fred Dallmayr, Kim Jaegwon and Judith Butler from the United States; David Chalmers from Australia; Alain Badiou, Luc Ferry and Jean-Luc Marion from France; and Vittorio Hosle and Peter Sloterdijk from Germany will participate in the various sessions.
The Seoul congress is the first time an Asian country is hosting the event since it was established in Paris in 1900.
``As the first Congress ever to be held in Asia, the 22nd World Congress of Philosophy will put critical reflection in the perspective of the cultural backdrop, philosophical traditions, interpretations and identities specific to the Asian context. We hope this focus will bring about a richer understanding that will pave the road for the integration of Eastern and Western perspectives,'' said Lee Myung-hyun, president of the Korean Organizing Committee.
The first plenary session, ``Rethinking Moral, Social and Political Philosophy: Democracy, Justice and Global Responsibility,'' will be held July 31 with scholars Dallmayr, Nkolo Fo and Tong Shinjun as speakers, and D.P. Chattopadhyaya as chair.
Another plenary session ``Rethinking Metaphysics and Aesthetics: Reality, Beauty and the Meaning of Life'' will be held on Aug. 1 with speakers Tanella Boni, Kenichi Sasaki, Marion and Gerhard Seel.
On Aug. 2, the plenary session will tackle `Rethinking History of Philosophy and Comparative Philosophy: Traditions, Critique and Dialogue'' with speakers Jean Freisch, Enrique Dussel, Jung Hwa-yol and Tomonobu Imamichi. .
The last plenary session ``Rethinking Epistemology, Philosophy of Science and Technology: Knowledge and Culture'' will be held on Aug. 4. American scholar Ernest LePore will be the chair, while Evandro Agazzi, Kim and Bertrand Saint-Sernin will be the speakers.
Different symposia will be held throughout the congress, including ``Philosophy in Korea'' which is aimed at introducing Korean philosophy to Western scholars on Aug. 2. Other topics include ``Globalization and Cosmopolitanism'' and ``Bioethics, Environmental Ethics and Future Generations.''
For more information, visit www.wcp2008.or.kr.