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W.L. van der Merwe

African Philosophy is related to the need for the self-reflective contextualisation of philosophy in a multicultural society. African Philosophy, understood as a family name for all the diverse articulations of philosophy from within and for the cultural contexts of Africa, is significant in this regard as it exemplifies in a paradigmatic way the historical and cultural contingency or con-textual particularity of philosophy. It is argued that a similar, though more complicated self-reflective contextualisation of philosophy is what is called for in present-day societies. By analysing the logic of modernity it is argued that modernisation and the increasing globalisation of modern culture does not mean increasing cultural homogeneity, but the extension of cultural differences and multiculturalism to a common feature of societies. In conclusion a few preliminary remarks are made about the impact of multiculturalism on philosophy and how philosophy may contribute towards the self-understanding and well-being of multicultural societies.

Series:

Ronald A. Kuipers

Privatization, the liberal political strategy for handling religious differences, has been criticized for hegemonically privileging a secularist worldview and for refusing to provide full public scope to the plurality of religious traditions that exist in contemporary democratic societies. For these and other reasons, it is important to explore alternatives to privatization that do not thereby neglect the importance of maintaining citizen solidarity in these societies. This essay explores the potential that amor mundi, a fundamental theme of Hannah Arendt’s political philosophy, has for addressing this vexing issue. In doing so, it also asks whether Arendt’s thematization of the human position between past and future, amidst the demise of tradition, holds any lessons for contemporary Christians. What would it mean for today’s Christian to love a world that has, for both good and ill, become what it is, from out of a past that remains to be discovered, in its full plurality and natal potentiality? Can Christian faith, at the end of the day, do without amor mundi?

Series:

André Droogers

Beginning with Western Europe, the world has changed in the last two centuries in a way unprecedented in human history. We must view not only the secularization process but also religious resurgence and pluralism against this background. Modernization is the basic cause of a dramatic transformation in many areas of life, including religion. It encompasses and nourishes other processes such as urbanization, migration, individualization and the media revolution, all of which have consequences for the religious situation. In this article, the map and geology of the current religious landscape in modern Europe are explored. The perspective is that of social science or, more specifically, the cultural anthropology of religion. It is suggested that current believers have to find their way through a series of repertoires that provide models or schemas for their meaningful place in modern culture and society. The range of views and options is sketched briefly. The unique and ambiguous nature of our era is reflected in present signification processes and their outcome.

Series:

Connie Aarsbergen

This contribution will explore the moral and philosophical problems corporations meet when, in a pluralist world, they want to stimulate intrinsic motivation for moral behaviour in their employees. The aftermath of the financial crisis especially shows that extrinsic motivation alone is not enough. To face the many complex moral challenges in business, employees also need to be internally inspired to do the good. But most methods for moral training do not transcend the level of sanctions and rewards. The main reason for this restriction is that corporations also want to meet the requirements of a free society. The source of intrinsic motivation originates from one of the many (religious or secular) worldviews. In a pluralist organisation such ideals cannot be imposed on employees with different ideas. The leading question in this contribution will be if it is possible to include intrinsic motivation in moral training while respecting the requirements of a free and pluralist society. I will examine contemporary strategies for integrity management such as compliance, corporate governance, religious and spiritual ways, value-oriented approaches and competence management. I will conclude by giving some suggestions for changing moral attitudes in an intrinsic way.

Series:

Christa Anbeek

Throughout the centuries Buddhist-Christian dialogue has been characterized by many different attitudes, such as mutual interest, enmity, feeling a common challenge. In this essay four approaches to Buddhist-Christian dialogue are discussed, in which interest in the other is a common attitude: the philosophical-theological, the practical-spiritual, the narrative-existential and the ecosophical. A survey of a Buddhist-Christian initiative on the practical-spiritual level is then presented. Seventeen Dutch and Belgian monks and nuns involved in the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue programme were interviewed. The main focus of the survey was the question in what way this twenty-five-year ongoing exchange programme has influenced the experience of spirituality in the participating Christian communities. After going into some details of this research, the conclusion is drawn that the four approaches of interreligious dialogue mentioned above complement and need one another. All should be involved in attaining the final goal of interreligious dialogue: a more peaceful and just world.

Series:

Edwin Koster

Can Christian practices be considered “reasonable”? This contribution raises this question with respect to the religious practice of black churches in America during the early 1960s and that of the contemporary Roman Catholic Church in Europe. The essay first explores the views of Daniel Dennett and Richard Swinburne who understand “reasonability” as “rationally justified.” It will be shown that they approach the complex phenomenon of religion as a variant of scientific or theoretical thinking. The claim of this chapter is that the question of the meaning of religious practice has to precede any epistemological research. This essay then argues, inspired by the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein, that it is better to use the concept of “credibility” rather than “rational justification” regarding the question of the reasonability of religious traditions.