future of Philosophy
June 29, 2005
18:30-19:30, conference: 19:30-22:15
please visit the online
Prins Bernhardplein 200, Amsterdam [next to Amstelstation], free parking.
Ticket information: http://www.clubofamsterdam.com/ticketcorner.html
The conference language is English.
should you attend?
It has an impact on reality, which cannot be. Philosophy is first
of all an agora where ideas and frameworks of thinking meet; it contains
a timeless treasure of possible and impossible thoughts about existing
and non-existing worlds.
- Overestimated, although the influence
cannot be subscribed in a causal way. You can state that the logical
positivist framework had a deep impact on society, but it is possibly
not an influence according to this theory.
- Old ideas can become new ideas, after
new ideas have lost their power. The variety of ideas in the world
of philosophy probably contains all possible ideas now and in the
future. Or as Whitehead stated: "all philosophy are but footnotes...
on the theory of Plato".
- The practice of philosophy is a reflection
movement: "What am I doing, what am I thinking, what am I feeling?"
These questions are universally relevant, but each individual has
to work these questions through; just as every individual needs to
learn values (although we already know which are important).
- Reflection is the key to happiness;
we have to know ourselves in order to know our real needs and desires.
But the search for self-knowledge is the most difficult one, because
you have to deal with different parts of your self. The more intelligent
you are the more intelligent you can hide yourself for your reflection
- Culture is a framework of experience
and thoughts; it passes through gestures, acts, ideas, feelings and
above all meaning. So we need culture in order to give meaning to
inner experience. Learn yourself is to give meaning to yourself.
- Inner experience is not a subjective
domain; it is the intersubjective domain of us all. By cultural meanings
we connect innerworlds to common worlds. Innerworlds then become objective
- The focus on facts of the outside world
or stating that the facts are the only objective parts of the world
is the most anti humanistic event in history.
- Focus on facts denies the force of the
soul of the human being. It is not witchery: you are a spiritual being
with material aspects. The force of the innerworld to create or annihilate,
to deny or confirm, to value or devaluate is endlessly stronger than
the matters of fact.
- Human beings are cultural human beings.
So they are dependent of the context with one another. We think we
are dispositional but we are not! People are constantly creating better
contexts in order to feel better, or even to be better. With real
good friends you feel yourself a better person. With nice rhythm and
structure you can move elegantly. With real good rules of behaviour
the same. Most fights in relations are about reproaching the other,
making bad contexts.
- In Holland we have lost the feeling
for the relevance of culture, we believe too much in facts. But facts
do not exist on their own. We have lost the connectedness between
human beings, acting as if we are isolated atoms. In fact we are not!
But in this way we are powerless to create meaning!
- The future of philosophy is to bind
people not by a new ideal philosophy (because philosophy cannot cover
the deep experience of richness of existence), but to give them reflection
via common procedures on values, experiences, dreams, and sciences.
- The Socratic discourse training (and
the EuroLAB method) and other philosophical methods are strong procedure,
which gives an innovative context for inventing new cultures of meaning.
- We can invent new cultures by making
ideal scenarios of the future in a common context of open understanding.
- You have to connect yourself to yourself
(self reflection), to the other (dialogue reflection) and to society
- Philosophy contains the tools and some
wisdom to perform this practice of reflection. See different philosophies
as different attempts of inventing cultures!
- It is spirituality stupid: reflections
give you the highest and most beautiful satisfaction.
- Ethics is all about aesthetics!
Mathijs van Zutphen:
In classical Socratic style John and
Mathijs confront some central problems around tonight's main subject.
Philosophy as dialogue, as a dynamic process departing from given
insights, developing towards acceptable truths.
Thought itself is often more of a deceiver than a harbinger of truth.
The inertia of many intellectual thought processes underlines the
need for the critical disposition that is essential to philosophy.
In order to think out of the box you have to know that you're inside
one, philosophy helps you determine whether this is so. Yet philosophy
has allowed itself to be fragmented into specialized doctrines and
withdrawn into the ivory tower of academic discourse.
Philosophy can be of great value in its ability to transcend the domain
of antagonism and specialism. Yet philosophy has frustrated its own
application by cloaking its insights in obscure terminlogy and incomprehensible
idiom. It can integrate different dimensions of knowledge by asking
the fundamental questions, but in order to do that it must also connect
itself to context and strive to be meaningful. It must make sense
in a way that is obvious both for philosophers and layman alike.
Every question that starts with 'why' is fundamentally a philosophical
question, and with this simple precept we can all become philosopher
whenever we wish. Philosophy should make sense and deserves to be
taken seriously in a wider context than is currently believed.
With an appropriate amount of wit and profundity the two philosophers
aim to show that philosophy is action as much at it is thought.
Questioning the value of philosophy is
not new. In many cases, the debate about the role of philosophy has
centered around the age old battle between philosophy and literature,
wherein literature is considered to be the domain of direct, daily
life experience and feeling, and philosophy that of pure reasoning.
This battle continues to be fought in the realm of contemporary ethics,
as in the works of Martha Nussbaum and Michael Cunningham, and has
also been introduced in the field of medical ethics. For example,
in the discussion concerning the legalization of euthanasia in The
Netherlands, it has been argued that novels can give a greater insight
in the complex and ambiguous way in which doctors and patients alike
deal with questions concerning 'artificial death'. The question, however,
is what does a novel show us exactly? How can it relate to daily life
experience and how can it help us making decisions that we consider
to be the right decisions?
A question above the rest, is whether we may make such a sharp division
between philosophy and literature. Since the nineteenth century many
philosophers have devoted much attention to literature, because both
philosophy and literature, they argue, are concerned with the knowledge
of concrete reality. One of the exponents of that opinion is Maurice
Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961). According to Merleau-Ponty the task of
the writer is no different from that of the philosopher: both are
focused on the experience of the world, as it originates before the
thinking about the world.
Merleau-Ponty emphasizes that his philosophy is a method, which like
literature expresses the pre-reflective experience, i.e. the experience
on which all analyses are based. This method can help us not only
determine the value of literature within ethical discussions, but
also help us determine the value concerning the status, meaning and
importance of abstract, strictly rationalistic reasoning within the
realms of politics and science.
17:30 - 19:00
18:30 - 19:30
& Reception with drinks, snacks,
networking & great music featuring Russian singer
Nicolai and her band 'Some Lovely Girls'!
by our Moderator
Heida, Promedia, Member of the Club of Amsterdam Round
Mathijs van Zutphen:
Soeting: Philosophy - a method for returning to reality
Panel with the Speakers
and our Moderator
The panel is followed by an open discussion.
Mathijs van Zutphen
Huib Schwab was born 1953 in Surabaya (Indonesia). He now lives in
Amsterdam and in Spain (province Girona).
Huib Schwab studied physics and philosophy at the University of Amsterdam,
he worked at the Montessori Lyceum Amsterdam, the Gerrit Rietveld
Academie and at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam.
He designed a philosophy method for high and higher education and
published on several aspects of education.
He was the driving force behind parliaments approval in 1998, of the
introduction of philosophy in the Dutch high school system.
An innovative training course for teachers was designed and executed
by Huib Schwab at the University of Amsterdam.
He developed several philosophy techniques like the value brainstorm,
concept analysis, differential analysis, assumption analysis and think
tank teaching method. He adjusted the Socratic discourse for educational
He co-designed the philosophy curriculum for the Dutch high school
He trained several organisations in reflection on mission and ethics,
and advised governmental and other organisations on cultural affairs.
In the annual festival of philosophy he acts as "stand up philosopher".
He is chair of the Kalos society, which aims to improve the presence
of intellectual youngsters in the public domain.
Huib Schwab has developed the EuroLAB method, in which the Socratic
discourse and the future scenario method are synthesized in a training
format in which participants reflect on their position here and now
by looking into a designed future. The participants combine all their
knowledge to make different, challenging scenarios.
The EuroLAB is also a learning method in which students from different
countries participate to brainstorm on urgent European matters. They
produce an advice for the European government on the chosen subject
(migration, water politics, media etc.). They learn by producing.
Also they acquire international experience. In the Pyrenean area in
Girona (Spain) the EuroLAb is developing steadily into a real virtual
Learning in an urgent context, and innovate educational systems is
his main target now.
Systems Thinker, ICT Generalist, Technology
Affectionado, Change Agent and Principal of Digital Knowledge
While studying psychology (language-orientation)
at the Free University in Amsterdam, John worked part-time as a computer
operator. Combining both activities in 1981 he joined a large social
security orgisation in the Netherlands with a department created to
introduce state of the art on-line database processing. In 1984 he
joined the Dutch subsidiary of a US consultancy company as a systems
architect, involved in the most research intensive projects building
leading edge applications such as graphical user interfaces to large-scale
administrative systems, integration of administrative and manufacturing
systems, dedicated portable hardware/software to decentrally monitor
critical components in chemical plants, and a logistical tracking
and planning system using state of the art satellite communication
and localisation. In 1990, with two colleagues he founded a consultancy,
but left that after three years to join a large Dutch ICT Consultancy,
where as a business architect he did many projects involving business
process re-engineering, exploiting emerging information technology.
In 2000 he joined an e-Business Architect which collapsed when the
'New Economy' bubble burst. In 2001 he started Digital Knowledge (www.digital-knowledge.com)
dedicated to developing and introducing new business concepts and
approaches in medium scale organisations. Currently he is involved
in several projects using web-based semantic technology, helping companies
to leverage the value of their unstructured information. Recently
John teamed up with VISH (www.vish.nl).
VISH and Digital Knowledge use Vish & Chipz (www.VishAndChips.com)
to explore unconventional societal and business issues. John has entered
the McKinsey new business management contest (www.NewVenture.nl)
twice, once with a knowledge management product for students (memory
bank for students) and recently, with Vish & Chipz, developing a product/service
for emergency situations (escapePod).
John was born in Australia and now lives in the Netherlands.
Philosopher, educator, artist and
creator of VISH
Zutphen is currently involved in promoting and creating a new and
alternative vision on education.
VISH is the front end of
a private research effort dedicated to gaining a better understanding
of reality and our various relations to it through a systems approach.
VISH wants to make sense, educate, and function as an online knowledge
base. Our knowledge-driven modern society is an informational climate
rich in media and communication technology yet poor in meaning and
understanding. Understanding arises from meaningful connections between
ideas and knowledge domains. Innovation and technology drive complexity,
requiring specialization as a way of managing this growing complexity,
but specialization entails fragmentation of knowledge. Philosophy,
rather than being an academic specialism, can be the antidote to this
fragmentation, and has an important role as integrator of disciplines.
Van Zutphen is currently involved in promoting and creating a new
and alternative vision on education.
After studies in the US, at the University of Pennsylvania, and at
the University of Edinburgh's Department of Cognitive Science, van
Zutphen finished his degree in Philosophy at the university of Amsterdam.
A passionate scholar of Philosophy of Science, he studied Thermodynamics,
Logic, Logical Semantics and Philosophy of Language.
Working as a researcher and lecturer at different Universities in
Hungary, he focused on developing educational tools and methods while
exploring the complexities of intercultural communication.
He gained indepth knowledge and experience as a web application developer,
and helped create a succesful Business to Consumer internet company.
More recently he was involved in setting up a business intelligence
desk at a consulting firm in the Netherlands (Pentascope).
Mathijs is an artist
and musician (saxophone),
and lives in Amsterdam.
Philosopher, Editor, Publisher
Monica Soeting, geboren 1955 in Amsterdam
volgde gymnasiaal onderwijs aan het Stedelijk Gymnasium te Leeuwarden
en het Dr. Nassau College in Assen. In 1973 haalde zij het highschool
diploma aan de Kamehameha Highschool in Honolulu, Hawaii, en in 1975
deed zij staatsexamen gymnasium alfa te Den Haag.
Nadat zij een jaar lang gewerkt had in Zuid-Duitsland en Zwitserland,
begon zij in 1977 met de studie filosofie aan de Eberhard-Karls Universität
in Tübingen, Duitsland. Nadat zij daar in 1979 de Zwischenprüfung
met goed gevolg doorstond, studeerde ze twee jaar filosofie aan de
Universiteit van Amsterdam. Deze jaren sloot ze af met het kandidaatsexamen.
Na enkele jaren kunstgeschiedenis gestudeerd te hebben in Tübingen,
haalde ze in1988 haar doctoraal examen wijsbegeerte aan de Universiteit
Soeting werkte als medewerker buitenland bij de Nederlandse Vereniging
voor Woningbouwverenigingen en was hoofdredacteur van het tijdschrift
Surplus. Daarna was zij als recensent verbonden aan Vrij Nederland,
Trouw, Surplus, Biografie Bulletin en de Volkskrant en maakte zij
deel uit van de redactie van de Gids. In 2002 kreeg Soeting een aanstelling
als redacteur bij uitgeverij Atlas in Amsterdam. Tegenwoordig werkt
zij als redacteur bij uitgeverij Ambo|Anthos, is zij hoofdredacteur
van Biografie Bulletin, levert zij bijdragen voor de literatuurbijlage
van Trouw en is zij betrokken bij een project dat uitgevoerd wordt
door de faculteit Ethiek & Filosofie van de Geneeskunde aan de Erasmus
Universiteit in Rotterdam.
Member of the Club of Amsterdam Round Table
Homme Heida is a generalist by heart,
who worked as a journalist for several mass media like Algemeen Dagblad,
Tros Aktua and publishing group VNU. After ten years he started his
own bureau Promedia: company journalism, which slowly changed into
business journalism. Now back again with larger media, he is editor-in-chief
of Global Dutch, a magazine for Dutch entrepreneurs, who are active
in foreign countries.
Homme Heida has a continuing interest in a more philosophical approach
of 'being there'. His views on the future are very much based on new
technologies. "Humans change only slowly by evolution. Technology
will speed it up", he argues. His credo is: 'living body and soul',
which means to him a sportive challenge as well as an intellectual
one. From the Amsterdam marathon till the Club of Amsterdam.
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about the future of Philosophy.