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International philosophy powwow brainstorms in China for first time
Philosophers from all over the world are attending a gathering of minds in Beijing to discuss major issues confronting the development of global civilization.
It is the first time that the World Congress of Philosophy, held every five years, has taken place in China.
The first congress was held in Paris in 1900 and has become one of the largest philosophical events in the world.
Themed "Learning to be Human", the one-week event kicked off on Monday and includes plenary sessions, symposia, lectures and roundtables, according to the Chinese Organizing Committee of WCP 2018.
More than 6,000 philosophers and academics from 121 countries and regions were invited to attend the event, which is co-organized by the International Federation of Philosophical Societies and Peking University this year.
Chen Baosheng, minister of education, said traditional Chinese principles of "harmony in diversity" and "establishing oneself by helping establish others" will provide a more open and inclusive space for the development of world philosophy.
China has a long, continuous history of philosophical studies, and has made an extraordinary and enduring contribution to the world in the discipline, he said.
Over the millennia, China has absorbed and adapted foreign philosophical concepts, including Buddhism making its way to China from India, and has developed specific local forms. Marxism also has a unique history and developmental trajectory in China, Chen said.
Lin Jianhua, chairman of the Chinese Organizing Committee of WCP 2018 and president of Peking University, hopes that dialogue between Chinese and overseas philosophers will help enhance global understanding, build consensus and bridge gaps between China and the rest of the world.
Luca Maria Scarantino, secretary-general of the International Federation of Philosophical Societies, said it is time for the international philosophical community to give proper value and recognition to the contribution of Chinese philosophy to ancient, modern and contemporary thought.
Dermot Moran, president of the International Federation of Philosophical Societies, said relations, with one another and with the natural environment and the cosmos as a whole, are challenged by problems of such an enormous scale that no single country, no single language-community, no single knowledge economy, can address these challenges alone.
"No group or community can live in isolation as we now live in a mutually interdependent world," he said.
The congress will hopefully have an enduring impact on international cultural relations outside the discipline of philosophy, and promote mutual understanding and respect for traditions and trust around the world, Moran said.
"Learning to be Human" has to be understood to include learning how to be a better human being through self-improvement, self-rectification, self-critique and also through communal learning in order to improve the human race, he added.
"New intercultural dialogue will be initiated, new international academic partnerships will be formed and hopefully new philosophies will emerge," he said.
Xinhua contributed to this story.
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