As the recognition of the need for dialogue and attention to others and their rights and needs has become increasingly critical in a world of fast paced globalisation and remapping of world orders, the call for dialogue has become ubiquitously urgent from international relations down to the local groundlevel. While there has been critical development in current philosophy and critical theory to rethink dialogical thought in a contemporary key, the significance of this move has largely remained unnoticed. This conference responds to this situation. It offers a critical state of the art exchange between those who work historically and/or systematically on dialogical thought to showcase how a theoretically sharpened understanding provides a critical concept of dialogue as ethical and political commitment that goes far beyond the popular view of dialogue as token affair. Comprehending the historical and theoretical specificity of the contexts in which modern dialogical thought has been developed in the last hundred years provides the critical parameters to attend to the promise made by offering dialogue but that has at the same time too often been betrayed by a practice that erodes the very ethics of dialogue.
The conference coincides with the tenth anniversary of the death of Hermann Levin Goldschmidt, a proudly unaffiliated champion of "Dialogik." A contemporary of Martin Buber, Theodor Adorno, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jacques Derrida among others, he resisted as a German Jew linguistic exile and neither complied with Jewish nor non-Jewish institutional and ideological expectations during the cold war and after. His own thought and critical vision—just as the continuing and lasting significance of the German Jewish Legacy he recognized as a prime example and model for a dialogic experience— remain unsurpassed in their significance for the agenda of contemporary thought. In 1990, he and his wife created the foundation Dialogik. (For more information on Goldschmidt visit www.dialogik.org)
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