Reason and Embodiment – In Intercultural-Philosophical Perspective (An African Approach)

International Interdisciplinary Conference

September 27th-29th 2018
University of Tübingen, Germany
Forum Scientiarum, Lecture Hall

Dr. Niels Weidtmann, University of Tübingen, Germany
Prof. Dr. Chibueze Udeani, University of Würzburg, Germany
Dr. Christiana Idika, IWM, University of Sankt Georgen, Germany

In co-operation with the Society of Intercultural Philosophy.

Philosophy up to today most often is understood to mean an intellectual enterprise independent of fleshliness. However, a philosophy built upon this dichotomy does not recognise the multiple dimensions of the human person and her reality and therefore will stay blind to the richness of different cultural life-worlds and philosophies expressing the experiences underlying these life-worlds. Cultural experiences are driven by their fleshliness, thus they cannot only be grasped by mere cognitive-intellectual endeavour.

However, so far no research on the embodiment of reason has been done from an intercultural perspective. This is particularly striking with respect to the African context since in the early times when the reflection on an African identity just started many attempts have been made to characterise African reason as being emotional – the most prominent example for this is the Négritude movement but we find other examples in many ethnophilosophical pieces. While these attempts obviously went wrong in differentiating a rather rational form of reason which was attributed to the West from a more emotional form of reason thought to characterise African cultures, it is still quite astonishing that there has not been any intensive research done on the embodiment of reason with respect to the African context.

Studying the embodiment of reason per se draws attention to the concrete bodily mediated life. It cannot refer to texts and intellectual insights only (be they from Africa or elsewhere) but has to take different kinds of bodily enabled experiences into account, i.e. as many different dimensions of the human life-world as possible. To mention just few examples which we will discuss at the conference: Orality, sage philosophy, music, dance, communality, and others.

The conference will discuss the impact which any of these dimensions has on the embodiment of reason. It will do so not only but with particular regard to the African context. However, all these dimensions can be found in any other cultural context as well even though they may be of less importance and even have another meaning within that context. The conference will also allow philosophy-unaffiliated researchers on music, dance, and orality to broaden their disciplinary perspectives and to correlate their own research to philosophical insights. Not least does the conference introduce an intercultural perspective to different disciplines.