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Lecture Series on Global Philosophies

Dec 17, 2011

"Gandhi and the Philosophical Roots of Violence" was the theme of a lecture by Prof. Akeel Bilgrami (Columbia University) on 15 December 2011 at the Karl Jaspers Centre. The talk was part of the series "Global Philosophies? Reflections and Challenges between Asia and Europe" organised by Prof. Birgit Kellner (Chair of Buddhist Studies).

In his lecture titled "Gandhi and the Philosophical Roots of Violence", Prof. Bilgrami discussed the philosophical aspects of nonviolence in a radically different historical constellation – that is, in its modern appropriation by Gandhi. In particular, he expounded why Gandhi thought of violence in much more than physical terms and present Gandhi's genealogical and philosophical account of its basis. Gandhi, the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement, was a pioneer of satyagraha, or resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience — a philosophy firmly founded upon ahimsa, or total nonviolence. (CV)

Prof. Akeel Bilgrami is Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, New York City, USA. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago after writing a dissertation, "Meaning as Invariance", on the subject of the indeterminacy of translation and issues concerning realism and linguistic meaning. In 1985, he joined the Department of Philosophy at Columbia University and later became its chairman. From 2004 to 2011, he was also Director of the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. His two relatively independent sets of intellectual interests are the Philosophy of Mind and Language, and in Political Philosophy and Moral Psychology especially as they surface in politics, history, and culture.

The lecture was part of the Cluster’s lecture series "Global Philosophies? Reflections and Challenges between Asia and Europe" organised by Prof. Birgit Kellner, Chair of Buddhist Studies. The list of speakers includes Dr. Ori Sela (Tel Aviv University), Prof. Jens Halfwassen (Heidelberg University), Prof. John Taber (University of New Mexico), Prof. Akeel Bilgrami (Columbia University), Prof. Parul Dave Mukherji (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and Prof. Edward Slingerland (University of British Columbia). All lectures take place from 6 to 8 pm in room 212 of the Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, Voßstraße 2, Building 4400, Heidelberg.

Visit the lecture series’ website for further information  


  • Key visual created by Franziska Koch