American Corner Innsbruck

    Symposium in Honor of Hans Köchler with a keynote lecture by Prof. Dr. Fred Dallmayr on “Taming Leviathan: Towards a Global Ethical Alliance“

    Wednesday, June 11, 5 pm – 7.30 pm
    New Orleans Hall, University of Innsbruck, main building (Innrain 52)

     Prof. Dr. DDr. h.c. Hans Köchler is one of the world’s leading scholars in the fields of political philosophy, philosophy of law, hermeneutics, and philosophical anthropology. Since 1982, he has been working as a professor at the University of Innsbruck and between 1990 and 2008 he also served as chairman of the Department of Philosophy. In 1972, he co-founded the International Progress Organization (IPO), which is a Vienna-based international NGO aiming at promoting peaceful co-existence among all nations. The symposium was organized on the occasion of Prof. Köchler’s upcoming retirement and attracted a diverse audience of about 80 people, made up of fellow scholars, students and people with a general interest in political philosophy.

     At the beginning, Vice Rector for Research Prof. Dr. Sabine Schindler welcomed the audienced with some opening remarks, pointing out how much Prof. Köchler is appreciated amongst his colleagues at the University of Innsbruck and how sad they are about him leaving.


    Then, Mag. Christopher Miess from Yale University, gave a speech to honor Prof. Köchler’s extraordinary oeuvre and especially emphasized his contributions to the debate on international democracy and the United Nations reform. Throughout his life, Prof. Köchler has also served in numerous committees and expert groups concerned with human rights and the dialogue of civilizations and in 2000, he was appointed as international observer at the „Lockerbie Trial“ by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Mag. Miess also included some personal anecdotes from his time as a student of Prof. Köchler’s at the University of Innsbruck.


    The main part of the symposium was a lecture by Prof. Dr. Fred Dallmayr, Emeritus Packey J. Dee Professor, from Notre Dame University with a special interest in cross-cultural philosophy and political theory. He took up the Hobbesian idea of the modern state as a sovereign Leviathan, a beast that rules by fear and not by reason. Since one sovereign power cannot be curbed by another, Prof. Dallmayr proposed a different way of taming Leviathan with what he calls a „global ethical alliance“. In order for global society to form such an alliance, however, it is imperative that civil ethics are strenghtened, which he sees as a major task for general education.


    To round up the event, the talks were followed by a reception with some drinks and snacks, where the participants had the chance to ask the speakers some follow-up questions or talk to Prof. Köchler himself in informale surroundings.


    The symposium was organized by the Department of Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck and co-sponsered by American Corner Innsbruck, International Relations Office and Centre for Inter-American Studies (ZIAS) amongst others.

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