World Congress of Philosophy

The World Congress of Philosophy (originally known as the International Congress of Philosophy) is a global meeting of philosophers held every five years under the auspices of the International Federation of Philosophical Societies (FISP). First organized in 1900, these events became firmly established after the Second World War. Each World Congress is sponsored by one of the member societies in a different country, which assumes responsibility for the organization of that Congress. The purpose of these events is to contribute to the development of professional relations between philosophers of all countries, promote philosophical education, and contribute to the impact of philosophical knowledge on global problems. The 24th World Congress of Philosophy was held in Beijing in August 2018. The 25th World Congress of Philosophy will take place in Melbourne in July 2023. It will be hosted by the Australasian Association of Philosophy.[1]

List of congresses

#Date congressCountryHost
1st1900, 1 Aug - 5 AugParis,  France
2nd1904, 4 Sep - 8 SepGeneva,   Switzerland
3rd1908, 31 Aug - 5 SepHeidelberg,  Germany
4th1911, 5 Apr - 11 AprBologna,  Italy
5th1924, 5 May - 9 MayNaples,  Italy
6th1926, 13 Sep - 17 SepBoston,  United States
7th1930, 1 Sep - 6 SepOxford,  United Kingdom
8th1934, 2 Sep - 7 SepPrague,  Czech Republic
9th1937, 31 Jul - 6 AugParis,  France
10th1948, 11 Aug - 18 AugAmsterdam,  Netherlands
11th1953, 20 Aug - 26 AugBrussels,  Belgium
12th1958, 12 Sep - 18 SepVenice,  Italy
13th1963, 7 Sep - 14 SepMexico City,  Mexico
14th1968, 2 Sep - 9 SepVienna,  Austria
15th1973, 17 Sep - 22 SepVarna,  Bulgaria
16th1978, 26 Aug - 2 SepDüsseldorf,  Germany
17th1983, 21 Aug - 27 AugMontreal,  Canada
18th1988, 21 Aug - 27 AugBrighton,  United Kingdom
19th1993, 22 Aug - 28 AugMoscow,  Russia[2]
20th1998, 10 Aug - 15 AugBoston,  United States[3]
21st2003, 10 Aug - 17 AugIstanbul,  Turkey[4][5]İoanna Kuçuradi  Turkey
22nd2008, 30 Jul - 5 AugSeoul,  South Korea[2]Peter Kemp  Denmark
23rd2013, 4 Aug - 10 AugAthens,  Greece[6]Konstantinos Boudouris  Greece
24th2018, 13 Aug - 20 AugBeijing,  China

The first International Congress of Philosophy was held in Paris in 1900 on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition. Among the participants were Henri Bergson, Maurice Blondel, Moritz Cantor, Louis Couturat, Henri Poincaré, and Bertrand Russell. The second International Congress took place in Geneva in 1904; the third was held in Heidelberg in 1908 (with Josiah Royce, Wilhelm Windelband and Benedetto Croce). The First World War interrupted the sequence of these events after the 4th International Congress in Bologna in 1911.

Thereafter these congresses were held in Naples (1924), Cambridge, USA (1926), Oxford, UK (1930), Prague (1934), and Paris (1937). The next International Congress of Philosophy was held in 1948, and these events have been held every five years under FISP sponsorship ever since. Recent congresses have taken place in Brighton (1988), Moscow (1993), Boston (1988), Istanbul (2003), Seoul (2008), and Athens (2013). The event became known as the World Congress of Philosophy in 1973.[7]

The 20th World Congress

Thousands of philosophers from dozens of countries participated in the week-long event in Boston sponsored by the International Federation of Philosophical Societies. An edited selection of the papers presented were published as The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy in twelve thematically organized volumes by the Philosophy Documentation Center, in cooperation with the Congress's American Organizing Committee. All papers are available online at the Paideia Archives.[8] The topics of the volumes include:

  1. Ethics;
  2. Metaphysics;
  3. Philosophy of Education;
  4. Philosophies of Religion, Art, and Creativity;
  5. Epistemology;
  6. Analytic Philosophy & Logic;
  7. Modern Philosophy;
  8. Contemporary Philosophy;
  9. Philosophy of Mind;
  10. Philosophy of Science;
  11. Social and Political Philosophy;
  12. Intercultural Philosophy.

These Proceedings were edited by Jaakko Hintikka, Robert Cummings Neville, Ernest Sosa, and Alan M. Olson. Notable contributors include Pierre Aubenque, Evandro Agazzi, Karl-Ott Apel, Natalia Avtonomova, Arindam Chakrabarti, Chung-ying Cheng, Daniel Dennett, Fred Dretske, Jorge J.E. Gracia, Marjorie Grene, Adolf Grünbaum, Jaakko Hintikka, Ted Honderich, Ioanna Kucuradi, Hans Lenk, Alasdair MacIntyre, C. Ulises Moulines, W. V. Quine, Gunnar Skirbekk, Vyachevslav Stepin, P. F. Strawson, Olúfémi Táíwò, Georg Henrik von Wright, Linda Zagzebski, Ernesto Gustavo Edwards, and Alicia Mónica Pintus.[9]

The 21st World Congress

The 21st World Congress was held in Istanbul August 10–17, 2003 and had the theme "Philosophy Facing World Problems". There were symposia on:

  • Inequality, Poverty and Development: Philosophical Perspectives
  • Violence, War and Peace
  • Democracy and its Future: Citizenship and Civil Society
  • Human Rights: Concepts, Problems and Prospects
  • Philosophy in Turkey

Edited selections of the papers presented at this meeting were published by the Philosophical Society of Turkey. These Proceedings include the following 13 thematic volumes:

  1. Ethics;
  2. Social and Political Philosophy;
  3. Human Rights;
  4. Philosophy of Education;
  5. Logic and Philosophy of Sciences;
  6. Epistemology;
  7. Philosophy and Culture(s);
  8. Philosophy of Religion;
  9. Philosophical Anthropology;
  10. Ancient and Modern Philosophy;
  11. Contemporary Philosophy;
  12. Philosophical Trends in the 20th Century; and
  13. Philosophy Facing World Problems.

The collections is accessible online in cooperation with the Philosophy Documentation Center.[10]

The 22nd World Congress

The 22nd World Congress took place in Seoul, South Korea from July 30 to August 5, 2008 at the Seoul National University. The main theme of the conference was "Rethinking Philosophy Today, and there were four plenary sessions:

  • Rethinking Moral, Social and Political Philosophy: Democracy, Justice and Global Responsibility
  • Rethinking Metaphysics and Aesthetics: Reality, Beauty and the Meaning of Life
  • Rethinking Epistemology, Philosophy of Science and Technology: Knowledge and Culture
  • Rethinking History of Philosophy and Comparative Philosophy: Traditions, Critique and Dialogue

The International Program Committee was chaired by Gilbert Hottois.[11] Over 1,200 paper were presented at this Congress, and the Korean Philosophical Association published all of the contributed papers as an eBook in DVD format edited by Prof. Myung-Hyun Lee.[12] This collection is notable for its inclusion of papers in the seven official languages of the congress: English, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Korean, French, and German.[13] It has also been made available online in cooperation with the Philosophy Documentation Center Invited papers were published separately as a special supplement to the Journal of Philosophical Research.[14]

The 23rd World Congress

The 23rd World Congress took place in Athens, Greece August 04–10, 2013 at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. The main theme of the conference was "Philosophy as inquiry and way of life", and there were four plenary sessions:

  • Philosophical Method:

Chair: Evandro Agazzi (Italy/Mexico) Speakers: Souleymane Bachir Diagne (Senegal/USA), Dagfinn Føllesdall (Norway), John McDowell (South Africa/United States)

  • Philosophy and the Sciences:

Chair: Maria Carla Galavotti (Italy) Speakers: Susan Haack (USA), Alberto Cordero (Peru/United States), Keiichi Noe (Japan)

  • Philosophy as Practical Wisdom:

Chair: Juliana González (Mexico) Speakers: Alexander Nehamas (Greece/USA), Chen Lai (China)

  • Philosophy and Public Life:

Chair: Hans Lenk (Germany) Speakers: Seyla Benhabib (USA), Abdussalam Guseinov (Russia), Abdolkarim Soroush (Iran)

A selection of invited papers from this Congress was published in 2015.[15]



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