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How will humans learn to live together in the world?

What can the West learn from the East and vice versa when it comes to being human? Learning to be Human was the theme of this year's World Conference in Philosophy in China.

All the Norwegian universities sent delegations to Beijing. Among these were Lars Svendsen with the post "Being Human", in which he raised questions about the boundaries between people and other living beings, Gunnar Skirbekk with a lecture on global philosophy history, and Oda Tvedt, who writes a doctoral dissertation on Plato's critique of democracy. I myself was invited to the conference of the American Karl Jaspers Society and gave a lecture on the understanding of humanity by philosopher Karl Jaspers and Hannah Arendt – for both of them communication is central to man's success in living together in the world.

Theory and practice

How can we learn to be human? At the Philosophy Conference it was also about what the West can learn from the East – and vice versa. For example, does it make sense to translate the English term "gender" into Chinese? The American philosopher Judith Butler, as the first female speaker for the newly created Simone de Beauvoir Lecture, undertook the task of investigating what happens when the term is exported to the whole world and finds entry into different societies and cultures. Conversely, for many Chinese, it is not a theoretical question of learning to be human: In a country where Confucianism stands strong, it is not uncommon for business people to learn Confucian business ethics.

Several sections had Karl Marx as their theme – remarkably many of these had Chinese speakers. China is a one-party state, and freedom of speech. . .

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