Albert Schweitzer Int. Summer School 2015 : International Albert Schweitzer Summer School: MYSTICAL MOMENTS OF MODERN ETHICS Cross readings in Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) and Martin Buber (1878-1965)
Call For Papers
The year 2015 commemorates the demise of two great figures of humanity: Albert Schweitzer and
Martin Buber. The first, being 1952’ laureate of the Nobel Price for Peace, is world widely known for his life-ethics and his charitable medical project in Lambarene (Gabon). The fame of the other is due to his reactualisation of Chassidism and his dialogical philosophy. Both men respected each other profoundly. They were both attached to the Rhine-land: Schweitzer was born in the French Alsace, Buber lived for a while happily in the German village Heppenheim.
Their philosophies and praxis might be very different, one aspect affiliates the two giants of intellectual history: their shared conviction that a true realization of human liberty is more than rational decision-making. Both utopian thinkers and doers, they nourished their ethical engagement with a sane, religious sensibility. Where Schweitzer transformed Biblical eschatology into the Lambarene experiment, Buber’s Chassidic humanism made him into a critical sojourner in Zionism. Their spirituality was undogmatic, written in a light key and might be considered to be a typical modern, that is minimal and non-speculative mysticism.
Both Schweitzer and Buber felt akin to Enlightenment and yet they felt the need to transcend its techno-scientifically reductions. No wonder than that their sense for mysticism became a driver for their analyses in the various aspects of human life. A form of rational-mysticism provoked both Schweitzer’s principle Reverence for Life and Buber’s dialogical principle. But not in ethics, also in esthetics – music for the first, visual and literary arts for the other – and in their utopian ideals this driver can be detected.
The purpose of the Third International Albert Schweitzer Summer School is to explore systematically and critically the meaning and importance of the mystical moment in the respective enterprises of Schweitzer and Buber, in order to clarify their self-imposed quest for a deeper foundation of modernity. Of what kind of mysticism motivates them? How does it relate to more traditional, religious mysticisms? How to articulate the affinity between the dialogical and reverence-for-life principles? Could Schweitzer and Buber be advanced as representing a new modernized paradigm of mysticism and spirituality?
Call for participations and contributions
The Third International Albert Schweitzer Summer School welcomes all interested non-academics and as well as advanced students and scholars to participate in its meeting in Gunsbach (France), the village where Albert Schweitzer lived in his youth and founded his European office (now museum and archives).
Participation is possible in two ways:
1. Attending participants
Auditors, eager to learn more about Schweitzer and Buber, but also ready to engage the (informal) discussions of presentations and studied text fragments. No specific philosophical or theological knowledge, neither about Schweitzer nor about Buber, is required.
2. Contributing participants
Participants are invited to present a short 30 minutes paper, that will be reviewed by the organizing scientific staff members. The papers should address the question of modernity and mysticism in the work of Schweitzer and/or of Buber. Presentations analyzing analogies and differences between the two authors have priority. By outstanding contributions, the organizers will strive for publication.
- Shared intellectual horizons (neo-Kantianism, philosophy of life, expressionism)
- Esthetics, mystical experience and the enigma of life experiences
- The future of spirituality and the end of modernity
- Eschatology, messianism and utopism
- Mystical experience: an indispensable ethical complement?
- The decline of culture and its philosophical therapy
- Two vision of Jesus: one way of believing?
- Dialogical and ethical philosophy and the limits of rationality
- Academic philosophical resistance to Schweitzer and Buber
- Schweitzer's Mysticism of the Apostle Paul and Buber's Ecstatic Readings