When poetry becomes suspicious – On the need for philosophical activism for global governance

[Lecture done during the Philosophical Activism workshop on the 15th of February 2013 in Ghent, Belgium]


Activists react against dominant political, economic or social power structures they perceive unfair. They do so by denouncing, subverting, sabotaging or damaging public emergences or institutional representations of these power structures or, in less extreme modes, by occupying their symbolic places. In the perspective of this lecture, the focus of philosophical activism is not directed towards the tangible manifestations of presumed unjust power and profit structures but to the rationales they use to justify themselves. In this sense, philosophical activism inquires into how these rationales make use of knowledge and value references to validate their relevance to the general societal interest.  Looking back on (experiences from) the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20, the lecture will identify and discuss apparent but questionable political and cultural ‘boundary conditions to sustainable development’ and argue that fair and effective global governance would require for every human the possibility to become a philosophical activist in his own sense, and this by providing him ‘the human right to be responsible’.

See the presentation slides here.

See the introduction to the workshop, the programme and the other presentations here.


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