World philosophers to meet in Istanbul

World philosophers to meet in Istanbul

The International Institute of Philosophy (IIP) will hold its International Philosophy Days gathering in Istanbul this year between Sept. 6 and Sept. 9.  

The theme of this year’s event is “Value, Values and Meaning.” It will be hosted by Maltepe University, Kadıköy Municipality, the Marmara Education Foundation and the Kuçuradi Philosophy and Human Rights Foundation. 

I would like to share with you part of the “Introduction to the Theme of the Conference” by Professor Ioanna Kuçuradi, the president of the International Institute of Philosophy. 

“Did you ever reflect on why a young man or woman becomes a suicide bomber? We have to reflect in depth on this fact of our times and try to explain it. The number of suicide bombers is increasing exponentially and spreading across the world. We have to explain why, at this historical moment, people don’t hesitate to kill people at random and to die at the same time.

“I shall try today to communicate to you certain results of my reflection on this issue − results that led me to formulate the title of this congress as ‘Value, Values and Meaning.’ 

“To put it simply and straightforwardly, I see the reality of suicide bombers mainly as an expression of the search for meaning by conceptually confused people.

“Allow me to go back in time a little: In 1976, exactly 40 years ago, in a paper that I wrote and presented at the First Afro-Asian Philosophy Conference, held in Cairo, I asked: ‘What has the 19th century transmitted to the 20th? And if no radical change intervenes, what will the 20th century transmit to the 21st?’ I gave the following answer: If we try to consider these two questions on a global scale, the word ‘revolt’ could be very likely to answer both. The 19th century transmitted the idea of the necessity of revolt to the 20th century and this idea gradually became a reality, to the point where murderous revolt – rebellion − has become the tradition of the age.

“The 20th century will transmit this tradition to the next century - if radical changes do not take place in international politics.

Revolt against what? And what for?”

Kuçuradi then discusses the answers suggested by Nietzsche and Marx and tracks the course of their echoes. She focuses on the causes of terrorism and concludes: “This revolt, coupled with the ‘anything is permitted’ principle drawn from nihilism and the ‘anything goes’ principle drawn from postmodernism, has allowed a murderous revolt – terrorism – to put its stamp on the age.”

“Without forgetting that we should avoid generalizations in human affairs, I claim that the main factor creating the mental state of many of the suicide bombers and leading them to kill and be killed is the search for meaning.”

The aim of philosophy, which seeks to find the push factor behind current incidents as well as aspects that feed problems, obliges us to reflect on this.