RIYADH: Under the theme “Unpredictability,” the Riyadh International Philosophy Conference will ponder important topics related to modern reality such as ethics and morality, scientific advancement, and the rapid acceleration of technology.
The three-day event, which began on Dec. 8, is organized by the Ministry of Culture’s Saudi Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission. During his opening remarks, the commission’s CEO, Dr. Mohammed Hasan Alwan, said that he was honored to welcome delegates and guests to the first conference of its kind in the Kingdom.
They are at the event for the same reason philosophers have gathered throughout the ages, he said, which is to help develop “a world that is clearer, and when it is clearer, our power to change it is greater. And when these positive changes take their effective form, we all get out of the blame that Karl Marx once (applied) to philosophers when he said: ‘They have interpreted the world in different ways only, while the goal is to change it.’”
The attendees include experts in philosophy and its theories and those with an interest in its modern-day applications worldwide. The event targets an audience with diverse interests, experiences, and academic and professional backgrounds.
The aims of the conference, which is planned to be an annual event, include discussions of the latest developments in philosophy and its contemporary applications. Organizers say it will also support multidimensional philosophical dialogue and build bridges of cooperation among institutions active in the field of philosophy globally, and help to advance scientific and academic research.
The commission described the conference as a historic moment in the ongoing transformation of the Kingdom, attracting youthful, ambitious and talented people who are keen to develop a mindset that will enable them to shape their future. It aims to help provide Saudis with the intellectual tools to embrace rapid change and an unprecedented future.
Joseph Cohen, a professor of philosophy at University College Dublin in Ireland, told the audience that he strongly believes in philosophy and the responsibilities of all philosophers to gather and meet each other despite their differences.
“I believe this is precisely what will materialize itself this evening and the next few days of the International Philosophy Conference,” he added.
“The great philosopher Jacques Derrida once told me never to settle for what is just possible, and to expect to demand, to strive for the impossible. His phrase resonates with me today. It resonates because by striving toward what is unpredictable, toward what seems impossible for us today, we can together stretch the boundaries of possibility and care for our world.”