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24.04.2021 13:07 Alter: 182 days

Save the Planet!


Theme: Save the Planet!
Subtitle: Climate Change and the Role of Intercultural Philosophy
Type: Lecture Series
Institution: Working Group 'Intercultural Philosophising: Theory and
Practice', Viennese Society of Intercultural Philosophy (WiGiP),
Institute Science and Art (IWK) and Department of Philosophy of the
University of Vienna
Location: Online
Date: March – May 2021

Our earth and its life as we know it are endangered by a changing
climate. Already today it is hot in regions where it was supposed to
be cool, like in the Arctic, and unusually cool in regions where this
is not typical, like in many Asian countries this year. A great
number of scientists are increasingly alarmed: climatologists,
biologists, geoscientists, historians, anthropologists, and more. But
which role does intercultural philosophy play in the analysis of this
situation, and which solutions does it have to offer? Moreover, can
it contribute not only on theoretical level, but be also of practical
help? Lastly, what have climate change and environmental protection
to do with intercultural competence?

Over the last years, several philosophers have worked on these
questions. A few of them we invited to this lecture series. We want
to get to know the perspectives of different countries and
continents, but also of different classes, ethnicities, and
religions. We want to explore their view on climate protection, their
cultural approaches to the problem, if they think that human
civilization and life on earth can be saved, and how this should be
done. The lecture series takes place in summer and winter term


Dr. Ľubomír Dunaj
Assistant at the Department of Philosophy at Vienna University, WiGiP

Dr. Bianca Boteva-Richter
ext. lecturer at the Department of Philosophy at Vienna University,
deputy managing editor of Polylog, board member of WiGiP

Lectures and dates in summer term 2021

Please register with:

25.03.2021, 18:30 (6:30 pm CET)
via zoom

Graham Parkes (University of Hawai’i at Manoa)
How to Avoid the End of Civilisation as We Know It – in Four
Difficult Steps.

Behind the Covid-19 pandemic looms a phenomenon that will cause far
greater global misery unless we act to prevent it: a breakdown of the
climate. By persisting in overheating the atmosphere we are on track
to making so much of the planet uninhabitable that the consequent
conflicts over land and water resources will put an end to
civilisation as we know it. But catastrophe can be avoided if we take
decisive action to slow global heating, and the faster we act the
less misery we'll incur.

A shady group of libertarian billionaires has been waging a covert
'war of ideas' against the rest of us, the upshot of which is three
major obstructions to tackling the climate crisis. These are: the
political clout of the fossil fuel industries and national oil
companies, the power of the religious right (especially in the US but
also in countries like Brazil), and the distractive forces of Big
Tech, which divert our attention from the most urgent issue
confronting humanity. But if philosophers strike back with better
ideas, and activists accordingly act forcefully, we can circumvent
these obstructions.

However, we won't be able to cope with the climate crisis effectively
without full cooperation from China (then from India, Brazil, and the
rest). Our relations with the Chinese regime are going from bad to
worse, but we could improve them considerably if we showed
appreciation for the ancient Chinese philosophy that the current
regime began advocating after Xi Jinping came to power. In fact these
Confucian and Daoist ideas are perfectly suited for a reframing of
our approach to the climate crisis. 

It's true that the regime isn't putting all of these ideas into
practice, but if we propose cooperation on the basis of classical
Chinese thought (and the corresponding ideas from the Western
tradition), it would be hard for the Chinese Communist Party to say
no without a catastrophic loss of face.

15.04. 2021, 18:30 (6:30 pm CET)
via zoom

Madalina Diaconu (Universität Wien)
Die globale Wetter-WG. Dimensionen einer Ökoästhetik der Atmosphäre.

Das Wetter gehört zu den allgemeinmenschlichen Erfahrungen, die im
Alltag unreflektiert als schön oder hässlich bezeichnet werden. Aber
gerade diese Selbstverständlichkeit ließ es bislang in der
ästhetischen Theorie unbeachtet. Der Vortrag unterscheidet zwischen
anthropologischen Konstanten der Wettererfahrung und -bewertung,
ihrer kulturellen Bedingtheit und aktuellen transkulturellen
Entwicklungen, hauptsächlich im Zusammenhang mit den
Naturwissenschaften und den Medien. Daraufhin werden Vorschläge für
eine Ökoästhetik der Atmosphäre gemacht: Außer ökophänomenologischer
Ansätze, die z.T. indigene Naturphilosophien entdecken, soll die
ursprünglich deutschorientierte Ästhetik der Atmosphäre
weiterentwickelt, aber auch korrigiert werden durch den Begriff des
ästhetischen Engagements, einen gemäßigten kognitivistischen Ansatz
und den Einbezug anderer Denktraditionen. 

06.05.2021, 18:30 (6:30 pm CET)
via zoom

Darrel Moellendorf (Goethe University, Frankfurt)
The Anthropocene: A Realistic Utopia.

Homo Sapiens survive by altering their environment. However, it was
natural climatic alterations that characterized the Holocene epoch
that allowed Homo Sapiens to settle into agriculture communities and
not only to survive but eventually to thrive, producing great
civilizations around the world. Progress in culture, science, and
technology ensued. The Industrial Revolution ushered in unrivaled
prosperity, evidence by various measures, and not only in today's
industrial societies. Social and economic theorists foresaw the
possibility of generalized prosperity. But massive impact on Earth
systems was a side-effect of these developments. Increasingly now in
the natural sciences, this impact is recognized as responsible for a
new epoch, the Anthropocene. The disruptive character of the impact
on Earth systems threatens not only the gains of the Industrial
Revolution, but also the stability of planetary systems that have
made human flourishing in the Holocene possible. The result could be
a world even more divided between rich and poor. Indeed, there is the
possibility ofvast regions of the planet consigned by disrupted
planetary systems to misery, and contained by the global rich so as
not to threaten their own prosperity. Because this would be a world
of human-made misery and injustice, I refer to it as "the
Misanthropocene." Avoiding the the Misanthropocene is one of the
biggest challenges of our era. In order to motivate that effort
positive visions can provide the basis of hope. Employing a phrase
from John Ralws, I call these visions "Realistic Utopias." I explore
the merits of two such Realistic Utopias, the Arcadian and the
Promethean Anthropocene.

27.05.2021, (6:30 pm CET)
via zoom

Richard Sťahel (Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava)
The Roots of Slovak Critical Environmentalism. 

The foundations of Slovak critical environmentalism laid with his
work Juraj Kučírek (1955 – 2000), who is also the author of the first
ever monograph focused on the philosophical reflection of the causes
and possible consequences of the global environmental crisis in
Slovakia. Kučírek pointed out the need to combine reflection on
subsequent solution of the global environmental crisis with the
problems of social inequality and oppression. In the context of the
Slovak public discourse of the 1990s, this unconventional approach
itself termed environmental anthroponcentrism. Thus, he took a
critical stance on biocentric concepts, which gained a dominant
position in the Slovak environmental discourse. His work was followed
by Ivan Dubnička (1961 – 2014), who extended Kučírek´s position to
include cultural, political, and religious aspects of the causes of
environmental devastation. His research was focused on the
relationships of sociobiological and sociocultural determinants that
shape human behaviour as a result of biological and cultural
evolution. Based on evolutionism and anthropocentrism, he developed
the concept of environmental pragmatism. By combining the reflection
of the environmental crisis with the reflection of socio-political
inequalities and injustices and also sociocultural determinants, they
both significantly exceeded the too narrowed direction of Slovak
academic as well as political environmentalism, focused mainly on
environmental ethics. This focus did not allow an adequate response
to industrialism, consumerism and economism as the dominant
narratives legitimizing the post-1989 regime. Thus, it significantly
contributed to the marginalization of the Slovak Green Party as well
as non-governmental environmental organizations in Slovak public
discourse. The devastation of the environment has thus reached an
unprecedented extent in the last 30 years, even though the green
movement has been an important part of the opposition to the
Communist former regime.

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