43rd Seminar Press Release

43rd ACPI Research Seminar

Kozhikode, 20-23 Oct, 2018 

The Association of Christian Philosophers of India (ACPI) held its 43rd annual research seminar at the Socio-Religious Centre, Kozhikode, from 20th to 23rd October, 2018. The theme of the seminar was “Philosophies of Transformative Practice: Indian Social Movements.”

 

The seminar was designed to relate the discipline of philosophy with the ground realities of Indian social movements and to develop a “Philosophy of Liberation.” We hope to provide those actively engaged in transformative social practice with foundational principles and values which would help support their work intellectually.

 

The Chief Guest at the inaugural function was Bishop Varghese Chakkalakal of Kozhikode. He invited the seminar participants to include three dimensions in their philosophical reflections: comprehensiveness, scrutiny and truth. He challenged the participants to go beyond a narrow and insufficiently critical approach, and to transcend the post-truth attitude which has become popular in current discourse. 

 

The Keynote Address was delivered by Prof. Babu Mathew, of the National Law School of India University in Bangalore, where he is the Director of the Master’s Programme in Public Policy. Prof. Mathew focused on the emancipative potential of the Constitution, which needs to animate social movements in India. Our Constitution is the fruit of the freedom movement, and has been formulated judiciously from different global resources—learning from their strengths and limitations—and keeping in mind the unique nature of our Indian tradition and social situation. The two threats to the Constitution Prof. Mathew highlighted are neo-constitutionalism and neo-liberalism—both of them jeopardizing integral and inclusive development.

 

India has had a rich tradition of social movements over the past century and a half—perhaps the most famous among them being the freedom struggle. These social movements have contributed to improving the life of citizens, especially the more vulnerable ones like the displaced and migrants, people in bonded labor and also those combating climate change and improving tribal welfare. These movements have also contributed to the education of girls, fighting against caste and gender discrimination, workers movements, environmental movements and other salutary causes. Social movements make change happen because of the courage, zeal, vision, sacrifice and commitment of their participants.

 

As an Association of Christian Philosophers of India, we wish to contribute our philosophical reflections in support of the dynamics of social movements by helping to make them emancipatory, humanizing and constructive. We especially support socio-political movements that align with the Constitution and which employ rational and democratic approaches along with constructive activism. We encourage social movements which promote sustainable development and aim for integral and holistic growth.

 Fr. (Dr.) Keith D’Souza, SJ

President, ACPI