Cfp: Philosophy of "Unity" in Kuwait

Thorsten Botz-Bornstein's picture
February 7, 2019 to February 9, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Chinese History / Studies, Architecture and Architectural History, Classical Studies, Humanities, Philosophy

"Unity" between East and West: Organic Totality from Muhammad Abduh to Post-Structuralism


An organic concept of “unity” or “totality” has been expressed by philosophers at all times and in all geographical regions. In the Timaeus, Plato outlines a “supreme originating principle of Becoming and the Cosmos” (Timaeus 29e) and concludes that the Cosmos “resembles most closely that Living Creature of which all other living creatures, severally and generically, are portions” (30c). The idea of an organic unity appears in Plotinus (divine simplicity) and in Spinoza. The Romantic quest for an immanent spirituality, which saw nature as the mirror of a human-centered cosmos evokes still another idea of unity. Philosophical descriptions of unity are also very much present in non-Western philosophies. The Arab notion of tawhid or the Oneness of God has been a main topic from Avicenna to Muhammad Abduh. In Japan, Nishida Kitaro’s basho (place) is an organic phenomenon holding together the manifold. Some of the most straightforward elaborations of this thought come from Russian philosophers living circa 1900 who established complex philosophies around the idea of “All-Unity” (vseyedinstvo) or also that of sobornost (spiritual community). Further, one can mention Bergson’s durée pure,  hermeneutic ways of dealing with the individual and the general, or Derrida’s concept of play.

The conference is of strictly philosophical and not theological nature. Parallels between traditions and the relevance of older philosophies for the contemporary world should be emphasized. Every presentation should be understandable for philosophers from other fields because the purpose is to establish communications between different traditions.

The organizers will select the most relevant contributions and pursue a book publication.

Possible Sections

  • Structures and rhizomes: unity and fragmentation in (post-)structuralism
  • Unity in ancient Greek philosophy
  • Plato an organicist?
  • Unity in the social sciences
  • Unity across philosophical cultures (comparative perspectives: East Asian, Arab, Russian…)
  • Organic alternatives in aesthetics
  • Unity versus totality. The danger of totalitarianism
  • The Philosophy of Whitehead
  • Gadamer and “organic hermeneutics”
  • Organicism and “deep ecology” 
  • The idea of unity in bioethics and health science
  • Organic theories of state

At GUST (Kuwait), February 7-9, 2019.

Email: (use this address also for inquiries)

Abstracts (300 words) due on Oct. 15, 2018

Scientific Committee: Thorsten Botz-Bornstein (GUST), Kenneth Pak (GUST), Jean-Etienne Joullié (GUST), Marco Zuccato (GUST) M.A.R. Habib (Rutgers/GUST), Andrei Zavaliy (American University of Kuwait).

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