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A Phiosophical Conference in Addis

The Embassy of Mexico in association with the Addis Ababa University is organizing a conference on “Theology, philosophy, Thought, Ethics and Responsibilitiy” on Tuesday March 11, 2008 at 4,00 PM at Social Sciences Faculty room G-17.

The lectutre would be given by Gerardo Martinez Cristerna, Mexican writer and essayist.  

It is interesting and heartwarming to have this conference here in Addis.

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Categories: Rendez-vous
  1. Alethia
    March 9, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Hi Arefe:

    Good to hear that there is such a conference to take place at AAU soon. Will you please share some summaries of the talk and how the event went if you get a chance to attend the event?

    Thanks,

    Cheers,

    Alethia

  2. Arefe
    March 13, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Hi Alethia, I did go to the conference which, for the record, took place at another venue than was previously stated. So I had to do some running to find the new room as some other particpants did.
    And another fact (an inconvenient one for me) was the language in which the lecture was given- Spanish. Most of us had to rely on a translator,who seemed to have average knowledge of the language but was having difficulty trying to convey some words and terms and names of philosophers. At times, the Mexcians in the audience had to intervene in finding the right words and terms. So some theatrical scenes in the room.But I sympathized wit hthe guy as mastering the lingo isn’t enough. Somehting more is required for the such difficult task. So something must have lost in translation! (It is a beautiful language, though)
    The speaker, Gerardo Martinez Cristerna is a delightful scholar and philosopher. He is very enthusiastic and ardent about his subjects. As I stated in my post the title of the conference was Theology and dialogue: Philosophy, thought, ethics and responsibility.

    Some of the high points were:
    -an interpretation of the structure of theology
    -the character of theological dialogue
    -the origin of dialogue in the West
    the interaction and connection between the parties
    -establishment of theoloical dialogue

    So, some details.
    The guest spoke of his interest is in bringing us closer to experiences in relationship to what theology has made possible, experiences that have perhaps passed unperceived by the affiliation of theology with an omniscient and divine foundation. With a reminder that doesn’t mean to remove God from the field of theology, or if it were possible to separate them.
    He talked about it is becoming hard to speak about what we consider good as no one believes anymore that it is possible to live in harmony. There fore he says it is necessary to unravel the ways that make dialogue possible between the different traditions.
    He spoke passionately about the influence of Plato who he said is the first philosopher to write a treatise to transmit truths. He said Plato used a form that has no used before-dialogue with a desire to transmit truth.
    He also talked about the Platonic reference to dialogue which he says has never been trivial nor free.-the structure through which different entities connect, interact or associate.
    He also did some explanations on Edmund Husserl’s intentionality of thought. Which is the relationship between thought and the thing thought about. How the thought is intentionally directed toward something that is not itself, it “opens” to think about a distant reality. And Husserlian’s description of the structures of consciousness bases its meaning on where consciuosness is seen disabled by a phenomenon that modifies its structure.
    There was emphasis on the dialogue for which he ascribed as the source of all good in this world, though with admission that the inevitablity of bad.
    Another issue raised was the question of dialogue in theology with regards to Aristotelian thought, the imperceptible duality in the relationship between ontology and theology in Aristotel. The conclusion –if metaphysics is derived from ontology and theology is metaphysics, then philosophical thought from its beginning in Aristotle is onto-theo-logy.
    As he pus it the position of being, in theology, is then radically what “puts” us in the world, something that we can’t deny, because it is. That way, theology recovers its ontological character and with it we designate it to be distinct from historicity.
    Then he jumped to the middle ages with Saint Thomas of Aquino, continuing with what was said is considered to be the best reader of Aristotle. He also outlined the Neo-Platonist medieval tradition that takes wholeness of the number as a model, understanding that wholes represent the possibility of apprehension of the phenomena-because they are quantifiable –and such quantification possesses things through its own sign.
    As concluding remarks, the panelist said that faith is no longer opposed to knowledge, in theology they will be complements, as it is necessary to explain the word of God.The knowledge to which man aspires, its safety, has beliefs of epistemological order not found separate from religious beliefs: theology is forced to give reasons for religious beliefs. Knowledge and faith, religion and man, are two acts of a single movement from the science of God, that is from theology.
    The rest of the conference was very intellectual droll and sharp yet fascinating comments and exchanges between the speaker and then questions from audience.

  3. Alethia
    March 13, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Hi Arefe

    Thank you very much for sharing your wonderful summary of the talk, which sounds a great one!

    Given the inconvenience of having to depend on a translator, what you shared seems to be a really job. If you did not say anything about the issue of having to depend on a translator I’d not suspect that anything like that had happened at all.

    Now from what you shared with us the speaker seems to be a great scholar, someone who is at home with what he does. He touched on most issues that are familiar with someone who’s read the issues he talked about. I was wondering whether he had an intention to separate God and theology but then you shared the qualification he also gave as he reminded the audience. That was not his intention.

    His talk about Plato and Aristotle and Aquinas sound good and interesting things. And also, his talk about intentionality from the work of Husserl sounds interesting. Intentionality and consciousness are among widely discussed and debated issues and it’s good to hear that they came up in the talk.

    The following thought is fascinating: “Another issue raised was the question of dialogue in theology with regards to Aristotelian thought, the imperceptible duality in the relationship between ontology and theology in Aristotle. The conclusion –if metaphysics is derived from ontology and theology is metaphysics, then philosophical thought from its beginning in Aristotle is onto-theo-logy”. I’m curious to hear how the speaker gets from ontology to metaphysics and then identifies metaphysics with theology and then concludes philosophical thought is onto-theo-logy. If he’s argued that God is metaphorically (i.e., meaning, ontologically prior) the source of all beings that exist and if thinking about beings (including God as the ultimate source of beings) amounts to thinking about God, somehow, one might grant his conclusion about onto-theo-logy. Would you elaborate on this, please?

    Other interesting points you shared from the speaker are in the following quote : “faith is no longer opposed to knowledge, in theology they will be complements, as it is necessary to explain the word of God.The knowledge to which man aspires, its safety, has beliefs of epistemological order not found separate from religious beliefs: theology is forced to give reasons for religious beliefs. Knowledge and faith, religion and man, are two acts of a single movement from the science of God, that is from theology.” I assume these controversial views generated some serious debate.

    Thanks again for sharing these thoughts from the speaker and keep up what you’re doing friend!

    Cheers,

    Alethia

  4. Alethia
    March 13, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    P.S.
    Typo: In the sentence that starts, in my comment above, “If he’s argued that God is metaphorically…. “, metaphorically was meant to say, metaphysically. Sorry for this typo.

    Cheers,
    Alethia

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