|School|| Continental philosophy |
| Hermeneutics |
Philosophy of law
| Phenomenological realism |
Antagonistic relationship of power and law
Cultural self-comprehension of nations
Hans Köchler (born 18 October 1948) is a retired professor of philosophy at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and president of the International Progress Organization, a non-governmental organization in consultative status with the United Nations. In his general philosophical outlook he is influenced by Husserl and Heidegger, his legal thinking has been shaped by the approach of Kelsen. Köchler has made contributions to phenomenologyand philosophical anthropology and has developed a hermeneutics of trans-cultural understanding that has influenced the discourse on the relations between Islam and the West.
In his student years, Hans Köchler was actively involved as a Board Member of the European Forum Alpbach and established contacts with leading European intellectuals and philosophers such as Manès Sperber, Hans-Georg Gadamer and Rudi Supek of the Praxis school who he invited to his lecture series that he organized from 1969 onwards.At the beginning of the 1970s, he had joined the team around Otto Molden, the founder of the European Forum Alpbach. These were his formative philosophical years; he initially developed an interest in existential philosophy, transcendental philosophy and phenomenology. In particular, he undertook an epistemological critique of Husserl's transcendental idealism and interpreted Heidegger's philosophy of Being in the sense of social critique, opening up—in the Cold War era—a dialogue with humanist philosophers of the Praxis school in Yugoslavia and in Czechoslovakia. As a doctoral student, he also had met in Alpbach with Ernst Bloch, Arthur Koestler and Karl Popper.
In 1972, Köchler graduated at the University of Innsbruck with a doctor degree in philosophy (Dr. phil.) with highest honours ("sub auspiciis praesidentis rei publicae"). In the years following his graduation he expanded his scholarly interest to philosophy of law and later political philosophy.Since the early 1970s he has been promoting the idea of inter-cultural dialogue which—since the last decade—has become known under the slogan of dialogue of civilizations. Köchler first outlined his hermeneutical philosophy of dialogue and his concept of cultural self-comprehension in lectures at the University of Innsbruck (1972) and at the Royal Scientific Society in Amman, Jordan, in March 1974 and discussed that notion in a tour around the world (March–April 1974) for which he got support and encouragement from Austrian Foreign Minister Rudolf Kirchschläger (later to become President of Austria) and in the course of which he met with intellectuals and political leaders on all continents. Among his interlocutors were Yussef el-Sebai, Minister of Culture of Egypt, Prof. S. Nurul Hasan, Minister of Education, Social Welfare and Culture of India, Mulk Raj Anand, Indian novelist, Prince Subhadradis Diskul of Thailand, Charoonphan Israngkul Na Ayudhya, Foreign Minister of Thailand, Prof. Ida Bagus Mantra, Director-General for Culture of Indonesia, and the President of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor. In recognition of his contribution to the dialogue among civilizations he received an honorary doctor degree (Doctor of Humanities honoris causa) from the Mindanao State University (Philippines) (2004). In 2012 he received an honorary doctor degree from the Armenian State Pedagogical University.
In 1982 he was appointed as University Professor of Philosophy (with special emphasis on Political Philosophy and Philosophical Anthropology) at the University of Innsbruck. From 1990 until 2008 he has served as Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck (Austria). In 2019 he joined the team of Berlin University of Digital Sciences.At Innsbruck University, Professor Köchler also has acted as Chairperson of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Wissenschaft und Politik (Working Group for Sciences and Politics) since 1971. He was a member of the Doctoral Grants Committee of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (2000–2006) and is Life Fellow—since 2010 Co-President—of the International Academy for Philosophy. Since 2010 he is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Indian Yearbook of International Law and Policy.
During the 1970s, he co-operated with Cardinal Karol Wojtyła of Kraków, later to become Pope John Paul II, within the framework of the International Society for Phenomenology.He published the first comment articles on the future Pope's anthropological conception. During the 1980s he engaged in a critique of legal positivism (Philosophie—Recht—Politik, 1985) and developed a theory according to which human rights are the basis of the validity of international law (Die Prinzipien des Völkerrechts und die Menschenrechte, 1981). He also dealt with the applicability of democracy in inter-state relations (Democracy in International Relations, 1986). Legal theory led him to questions of political philosophy, and in particular a critique of the representative paradigm of democracy. During the 1990s Köchler got increasingly involved in questions of world order—including the role and philosophical foundations of civilizational dialogue—and in what he has called the dialectic relationship between power and law. Köchler's bibliography contains more than 700 books, reports and scholarly articles in several languages (Albanian, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Spanish, Serbo-Croat, Turkish). His publications deal with issues of phenomenology, existential philosophy, anthropology, human rights, philosophy of law, theory of international law, international criminal law, United Nations reform, theory of democracy, etc. He acts as editor of the series Studies in International Relations (Vienna), Veröffentlichungen der Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Wissenschaft und Politik (Innsbruck), and as member of the Editorial Board of the international academic journal Hekmat va Falsafeh (Wisdom and Philosophy), published by the Philosophy Department of Allameh Tabatabaii University, Iran.
Köchler has served in several committees and expert groups dealing with issues of international democracy, human rights and development such as the Research Network on Transnational Democracy sponsored by the European Commission;the Council of Europe's Expert Group on Democratic Citizenship (1998–2000); and the Asia-Europe Foundation’s expert meeting on Cultural, Religious and Social Conceptions of Justice in Asia & Europe (Singapore, 2004).
Köchler calls in his research paper "The “Global War on Terror” and its Implications for Muslim-Western Relations " presented during the International Roundtable Conference at the University of Sains Malaysia, Centre for Policy Research and International Studies (CenPRIS) Penang, Malaysia, during 13–14 December 2007, the "official narrative" of 9/11, told by the American authorities, an "official conspiracy theory".Moreover, he claims that the Western establishment refuses to investigate what really happened on 9/11 and this is part of a collective denial process.
Köchler is the Founder and President (since 1972) of the International Progress Organization (I.P.O.), an international non-governmental organization (NGO) in consultative status with the United Nations and with a membership in over 70 countries, representing all continents. He was the founder and Secretary-General (1973-1977) of Euregio Alpina (Study Group for the Alpine Region), a transnational planning structure for the Alpine region and predecessor of the new concept of the "Euro Regions" in the framework of the European Union. During the 1970s and 1980s Köchler participated in the international phenomenological movement and organized several conferences and colloquia on the phenomenology of the life-world; he was the organizer of the Eighth International Phenomenological Conference in Salzburg (1980) and is the co-founder of the Austrian Society of Phenomenology. Other activities or functions:
Köchler has been the organizer of major international conferences in the fields of transnational co-operation, democracy, human rights, terrorism, and conflict resolution, among them the "International Conference on the European Vocation of the Alpine Region" in Innsbruck (1971), which initiated transborder co-operation in Europe and the development towards the "Euro Regions" within the EU; the "International Conference on the Question of Terrorism" in Geneva (1987); and the "Second International Conference On A More Democratic United Nations" (CAMDUN-2) at the Vienna headquarters of the United Nations (1991). In 1996 he acted as Chairman of the final session and co-ordinator of the Drafting Committee of the "International Conference on Democracy and Terrorism" in New Delhi. In March 2002 he delivered the 14th Centenary Lecture at the Supreme Court of the Philippines on "The United Nations, the International Rule of Law and Terrorism." On 1 September 2004 he delivered the Foundation Day Speech at Mindanao State University, Islamic City of Marawi, on "The Dialogue of Civilizations and the Future of World Order."
Through his research and civil society initiatives, Professor Köchler made major contributions to the debate on international democracy and United Nations reform, in particular reform of the Security Council. This was acknowledged by international figures such as the German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel in 1993. In 1985, he organized the first colloquium on "Democracy in International Relations" on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the United Nations in New York. With Irish Nobel Laureate Seán MacBride he initiated the Appeal by Lawyers against Nuclear War, which set in motion an international campaign that eventually led to a General Assembly resolution and the issuing of an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice.As President of the I.P.O. he dealt with the humanitarian issues of the exchange of prisoners of war between Iran and Iraq and with the issue of Kuwaiti POWs and missing people in Iraq. Since 1972, UN Secretaries-General in their statements subsequently acknowledged Professor Köchler's contribution to international peace.
In the framework of his activities as President of the International Progress Organization, he co-operated with numerous international figures such as the Founder President of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor, on the issue of civilizational dialogue; Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan and Cardinal Franz König of Austria on Islamic-Christian understanding;Leo Mates, Secretary-General of the first Non-Aligned summit in Belgrade in 1961, on the principles and future of the non-aligned movement (NAM); Field Marshal Abdul Rahman Sowar el-Dahab, former Head of State of Sudan, on matters of POW exchange and international humanitarian law; Indian President Gyani Zail Singh on issues of international peace; and Sir Thomas Dalyell, former British MP and "Father of the House of Commons," in the case of the criminal investigation into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
During the Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy, he wrote in a commentary: "In his lecture preaching the compatibility of reason and faith, Benedict XVI, the scholar, deliberately overlooks the fact that the insights of Greek philosophy – its commitment to the λόγος – have been brought to medieval Christian Europe by the great Muslim thinkers of the Middle Ages. What he calls the 'encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought' ... was, to a large extent, the result of the influence of Muslim philosophers – at a time when European Christians were totally ignorant of classical Greek philosophy."."
Köchler is also an outspoken critic of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and has condemned its inception and practice by citing provisions of international law.
He came to prominence in the world of international politics when he was nominated, on 25 April 2000, by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as an observer at the Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie) bombing trial.His critical reports on the trial and appeal proceedings contributed to a global debate on the politicization of international criminal justice.
Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl was a German philosopher who established the school of phenomenology. In his early work, he elaborated critiques of historicism and of psychologism in logic based on analyses of intentionality. In his mature work, he sought to develop a systematic foundational science based on the so-called phenomenological reduction. Arguing that transcendental consciousness sets the limits of all possible knowledge, Husserl redefined phenomenology as a transcendental-idealist philosophy. Husserl's thought profoundly influenced the landscape of 20th-century philosophy, and he remains a notable figure in contemporary philosophy and beyond.
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher and a seminal thinker in the Continental tradition of philosophy. He is best known for contributions to phenomenology, hermeneutics, and existentialism.
The Clash of Civilizations is a theory that people's cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world. The American political scientist Samuel P. Huntington argued that future wars would be fought not between countries, but between cultures. It was proposed in a 1992 lecture at the American Enterprise Institute, which was then developed in a 1993 Foreign Affairs article titled "The Clash of Civilizations?", in response to his former student Francis Fukuyama's 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man. Huntington later expanded his thesis in a 1996 book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.
Hermeneutics is the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature, and philosophical texts. Hermeneutics is more than interpretive principles or methods we resort to when immediate comprehension fails. Rather, hermeneutics is the art of understanding and of making oneself understood.
Phenomenology is the philosophical study of the structures of experience and consciousness. As a philosophical movement it was founded in the early years of the 20th century by Edmund Husserl and was later expanded upon by a circle of his followers at the universities of Göttingen and Munich in Germany. It then spread to France, the United States, and elsewhere, often in contexts far removed from Husserl's early work.
The International Progress Organization (IPO) is a Vienna-based think tank dealing with world affairs. As an international non-governmental organization (NGO) it enjoys consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and is associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. The organization aims at promoting peaceful co-existence among all nations, in particular the dialogue among civilizations; a just international economic order; global respect for human rights; and the international rule of law. The IPO has members in more than 70 countries on all continents and organizes conferences and expert meetings on issues of conflict resolution, civilizational dialogue, international law, and United Nations reform. The organization publishes the series Studies in International Relations and monographs in the field of international relations theory.
Hans-Peter Dürr was a German physicist. He worked on nuclear and quantum physics, elementary particles and gravitation, epistemology, and philosophy, and he has advocated responsible scientific and energy policies. In 1987, he was awarded the Right Livelihood Award for "his profound critique of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and his work to convert high technology to peaceful uses."
Rudolf Kirchschläger, GColIH was an Austrian diplomat, politician and judge. From 1974 to 1986 he served as President of Austria.
Philosophical anthropology, sometimes called anthropological philosophy, is a discipline dealing with questions of metaphysics and phenomenology of the human person, and interpersonal relationships.
Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami introduced the idea of Dialogue Among Civilizations as a response to Samuel P. Huntington's theory of a Clash of Civilizations. The term was initially used by Austrian philosopher Hans Köchler who in 1972, in a letter to UNESCO, had suggested the idea of an international conference on the "dialogue between different civilizations" and had organized, in 1974, a first international conference on the role of intercultural dialogue with the support and under the auspices of Senegalese President Léopold Sédar Senghor.
Robert L. Bernasconi is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University. He is well known as a reader of Martin Heidegger and Emmanuel Levinas, and for his work on the concept of race. He has also written on the history of philosophy.
Babette Babich is an American philosopher known for her studies of Nietzsche, Heidegger, Anders, Adorno, and Hölderlin as well as for her work in aesthetics, including philosophy of music but also film, television, and digital media, as well as life-size bronzes in antiquity, and continental philosophy, especially the philosophy of science and technology. In addition, Babich has foregrounded the role of politics in institutional philosophy as well as gender in the academy. A student of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Babich also worked with Jacob Taubes and Paul Feyerabend among others. In 1996, Babich founded the journal New Nietzsche Studies, echoing the spirit of the 1974 book, The New Nietzsche, the pathbreaking collection edited by David Blair Allison.
The Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) in Berlin is a civil-law foundation and the founding institution behind the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. It advises the Bundestag and the federal government on foreign and security policy issues. SWP also advises decision-makers in international organisations relevant to Germany, above all the European Union, NATO and the United Nations. SWP is a leading European think tank in international relations.
John Russon is a Canadian philosopher, working primarily in the tradition of Continental Philosophy. In 2006, he was named Presidential Distinguished Professor at the University of Guelph, and in 2011 he was the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute's Canadian Lecturer to India.
Hugh J. Silverman was an American philosopher and cultural theorist whose writing, lecturing, teaching, editing, and international conferencing participated in the development of a postmodern network. He was Executive Director of the International Association for Philosophy and Literature and Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literary & Cultural Studies at Stony Brook University where he was also affiliated with the Department of Art and the Department of European Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. He was Program Director for the Stony Brook Advanced Graduate Certificate in Art and Philosophy. He was also co-founder and co-director of the annual International Philosophical Seminar since 1991 in South Tyrol, Italy. From 1980-86, he served as Executive Co-Director of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy. His work draws upon deconstruction, hermeneutics, semiotics, phenomenology, aesthetics, art theory, film theory, and the archeology of knowledge.
Dermot Moran is an Irish philosopher specialising in phenomenology and in medieval philosophy, and he is also active in the dialogue between analytic and continental philosophy. He is currently the inaugural holder of the Joseph Chair in Catholic Philosophy at Boston College. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Founding Editor of the International Journal of Philosophical Studies.
Fred Reinhard Dallmayr is an American philosopher and political theorist. He is Packey J. Dee Professor Emeritus in Political Science with a joint appointment in Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame (USA). He holds a Doctor of Law from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and a PhD in political science from Duke University. He is the author of some 40 books and the editor of 20 other books. He has served as president of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy (SACP); an advisory member of the Scientific Committee of RESET - Dialogue on Civilizations (Rome); the Executive Co-Chair of World Public Forum - Dialogue of Civilizations (Vienna), and a member of the Supervisory Board of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (Berlin).
Stefan Fröhlich is a German political scientist and professor for International Relations at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg. Emphasis in his work is on German foreign policy, transatlantic relations and US foreign policy, European foreign and security policy, and International Political Economy.
Peter Trawny is a German philosopher and professor at the University of Wuppertal.