CFP: Reconciliation and Justice (Vienna, May 20-22, 2015)

CFP: Reconciliation and Justice (Vienna, 20-22 May 2015)

Reconciliation and Justice
5th Intercultural Interdisciplinary Colloquium

polylog: Forum for Intercultural Philosophy
In cooperation with the Institute for Science and Art (IWK – Vienna),
the Viennese Society for Intercultural Philosophy (WiGiP),
the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Vienna,
and the Forum Scientiarum at the University of Tübingen

Vienna (Austria), 20–22 May 2015
Deadline for abstracts: 15 January 2015

From 20 to 22 May 2015, polylog: Forum for Intercultural Philosophy is organising its 5th Intercultural Interdisciplinary Colloquium on the topic of Reconciliation and Justice, hosted at the Institute for Science and Art in Vienna.

Since the 1990s, there has been a notable reception of the notion of reconciliation in political theory. While before it was conceived primarily as a moral and eschatological dimension in religious contexts, as well as it represents, on an individual level, a well-established concept in psychology, today the interest focuses more on its political potency; not least because of the implementation of a whole series of truth and reconciliation commissions, from Chile to South Africa, from Morocco to Sri Lanka and on to East Timor. The experiences gained there did not only change political practice, but also stimulated theoretical reflection. With this, the notion of reconciliation becomes situated in a new semantic context: for example, it is understood, beyond the personal level, as a way of coping with the past or as a method of conflict resolution with a national scope.

Crucial for this idea is the focus on the role of the concrete acting subjects, in their immediate concerns, social entanglements and ethical responsibilities, as persons and also as groups. As a kind of social cement for public welfare, person-oriented reconciliation is then undeniably superior to case-oriented justice, which is concerned with balancing divergent interests. As for the Western context, there exist few approaches to this notion of reconciliation in personal and communitarian orientation, particularly in some formulations of Jewish political thought, for example with Hermann Cohen or Hannah Arendt. Nevertheless, as of now reconciliation continues to be a less reflected upon concept. This is made painfully and impressively manifest, for instance, by its absence in many philosophical dictionaries.

There are plenty of open questions which demand clarification with regard to the possible role of the notion of reconciliation in political theory, especially in its relation to diverse conceptions of justice. Is it possible and does it make sense to expand local models of social community to society as a whole? How can reconciliation succeed on a national level? In the end, is reconciliation actually the right way? When might it possibly wrong to initiate an attempt at reconciliation? What preconditions allow reconciliation? What factors make it impossible? To what extent does the process of reconciliation include matters of justice? Do reconciliation and justice depend on each other, are they in contrast, or do they behave independently? How do political practices of reconciliation and justice differ in an intercultural sense? How relevant are the ideas of conscientisation, reparation and punishment to the processes of reconciliation and justice? What is the purpose of reconciliation and justice under the force of power politics?

The colloquium intends to create a space for the discussion of such issues with an intercultural orientation and it seeks to explore further the dimensions of reconciliation from a philosophical perspective, particularly as interconnected with the notion of justice:

  • The question of justness of reconciliation: reconciliation versus justice?
  • Objectives, conditions and procedures of collective and individual reconciliation
  • Reconciliation, conscientisation, reparation and punishment
  • Truth, responsibility and reconciliation
  • Reconciliation, justice, political participation and democracy
  • Mediation, manipulation, corruption and reconciliation
  • Political potential of religious conceptions of reconciliation (forgiveness, kaphar, ghafara, kṣamā, patisaraniya-kamma, etc.)
  • Social practices of reconciliation in local communities (sumak kawsay, ubuntu, sulha, panchayat, ho’oponopono, etc.)
  • Integration of religious and traditional concepts in the nation-state

Submission of contributions:
Potential contributors working in philosophy and related disciplines are invited to submit a proposal. Please send your abstract (up to 3,000 characters) together with a short biographical note by 15 January 2015 to:

English and German (there will be no translations)

30 minutes (plus 30 minutes each for discussion)

Participation is free; the number of talks will be restricted however in order to ensure that there is sufficient time for fruitful and focused discussions. All presenters are requested to attend the full duration of the colloquium.

Institute for Science and Art (IWK), Vienna

15 January 2015: Deadline for abstract submissions
1 February 2015: Notification of acceptance
20–22 May 2015: Colloquium in Vienna

Unfortunately no funding for travel and accommodation is possible.

Anke Graneß (Vienna), Bertold Bernreuter (Mexico City) and Niels Weidtmann (Tübingen)

Website of the Colloquium:


Dr. Anke Graneß
Institute of Philosophy
University of Vienna
Universitätsstr. 7
A-1010 Wien