• Fred Dallmayr
Part of the Culture and Religion in International Relations book series (CRIR)


The year 2001 was not just any random year on the calendar: as the beginning of a new millennium it marked a kind of threshold in the historical development of humankind. As is well known, the approach of this year was accompanied in many places by a good deal of anxiety and apprehension. For some, the shift between millennia occasioned fears of grand technological mishaps or debacles; for many others—inspired by dark scriptural passages—the shift stirred up intense millennarian and even apocalyptic expectations. As it happened, none of the anticipated debacles came true— until much later in the year when calamity struck on a major scale. The calamity occasioned not only havoc in New York and huge losses of human lives (surely horrible effects); it also dimmed the more hopeful visions of human life on this planet. For, quite apart from nervous doomsday scenarios, the approach of the new millennium had also been greeted by many people around the world as the advent of a better future—a future profiled against the dark contours of a twentieth century marked by world wars, holocausts, and grim episodes of ethnic cleansing. It was in this hopeful spirit that the General Assembly of the United Nations had designated 2001 as the “Year of Dialogue among Civilizations.” It was in the same spirit that 2001 was inaugurated on the first day of January by a “World Day of Peace,” at which time Pope John Paul II urged people everywhere to foster the dialogue between cultures for the sake of a “civilization of love.”1


Europe Income Recent Century Pyramid Arena 
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  1. 1.
    See United Nations General Assembly, Resolution 53/22 of November 4, 1998; also “World Day of Peace Message,” January 1, 2001, as reported in Catholic Worker 21 (Jan.-Feb. 2001): 1, 5–6. For the text of the UN Resolution and also for the text of a parallel Declaration adopted by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) in Tehran, May 3–5, 1999, see Victor Segesvary Dialogue of Civilizations: An Introduction to Civilizational Analysis (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2000), pp. v–vii, 99–105.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Martin Buber, I and Thou (New York: Scribner, 1970), and Between Man and Man (New York: Macmillan, 1965). As Maurice Friedman aptly notes in his “Introduction” to Between Man and Man: “To say that’ all real living is meeting’ is not to say that one leaves one’s ground in order to meet the other or that one lets oneself get swallowed up in the crowd or trades in one’s individuality for a social role” (p. xv). Another prominent defender of the dialogical principle in recent history is the linguist Mikhail Bakhtin; see especially his The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays, ed. Michael Holquist (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981); alsoGoogle Scholar
  3. Tzvetan Todorov, Mikhail Bakhtin: The Dialogical Principle, trans. Wlad Godzich (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984). Regarding Gadamer see alsoGoogle Scholar
  4. Richard Shapcott, “Conversation and Coexistence: Gadamer and the Interpretation of International Society,” Millennium 23 (1994): 57–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 4.
    Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989), p. 520. On the issue of modern boundaries or demarcations see alsoGoogle Scholar
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  7. Erazim V. Kohák, The Embers and the Stars: A Philosophical Inquiry into the Moral Sense of Nature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984). Compare alsoGoogle Scholar
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    Charles Taylor, “Two Theories of Modernity,” Public Culture 11 (1999): 162–163. Compare also my “Modernity in the Crossfire: Comments on the Postmodern Turn,” in John Paul Jones III, Wolfgang Natter, and Theodore R. Schatzki, eds., Postmodern Contentions: Epochs, Politics, Space (New York: Guilford Press, 1993), pp. 17–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    In Dussel’s words, a philosophy of dialogue is necessary “as part of a philosophy of liberation of the oppressed, the excommunicated, the excluded, the Other.” See Enrique Dussel, The Invention of the Americas: Eclipse of the “Other” and the Myth of Modernity, trans. Michael D. Barber (Newark: Continuum, 1995), p. 12.Google Scholar
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    Compare in this context especially Elmer Bender, The Rise and Fall of Paradise: When Arabs and Jews Built a Kingdom in Spain (New York: Dorset Press, 1983). For a more general discussion compareGoogle Scholar
  12. Osman Bakar, Islam and Civilizational Dialogue: The Quest for a Truly Universal Civilization (Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press, 1997).Google Scholar
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    The accusation is raised in Edward W. Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979), especially pp. 154, 167–168. On this point, I find persuasive the judicious statement by the late Wilhelm Halbfass who writes: “What he [Goethe] did had nothing to do with ‘Orientalizing the Orient’ or ‘Occidentalizing the Occident.’ On the contrary, it was meant to neutralize and supersede any potential reification and essen-tialization of Orient and Occident.” SeeGoogle Scholar
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    These lectures have not yet been published; however, Ruth Abbey offers some glimpses in her Charles Taylor (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), pp. 195–212. At an earlier point, Taylor observed tellingly: “It is impossible in our days to be a Christian, atheist, or anything else, without a degree of doubt. Our situation is characterized by its instability, much more than by the idea that secularism has swept away religion.” See his “From Philosophical Anthropology to the Politics of Recognition,” Thesis Eleven 52 (February 1998): III; also his “Modes of Secularism,” in Rajeev Bhargava, ed., Secularism and Its Critics (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 31–53.Google Scholar
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    See “Sunyata East and West: Emptiness and Global Democracy,” in my Beyond Orientalism: Essays on Cross-Cultural Encounter (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1966), pp. 175–199; “Humanity and Humanization: Comments on Confucianism,” in my Alternative Visions: Paths in the Global Village (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998), pp. 123–144; also “Liberation Perspectives East and West” and “‘Return to the Source’: African Identity (After Cabrai),” in the same text, pp. 17–103,169–190. Compare also my “Nothingness and Sunyata A Comparison of Heidegger and Nishitani,” Philosophy East and West 42 (1992): 37–48; and “Tradition, Modernity, and Confucianism,” Human Studies 16 (1993): 203–211. For additional literature see, e.g., Eliot Deutsch, Introduction to World Philosophies (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997)Google Scholar
  17. Ninian Smart and B. Srinivasa Murthy eds., East-West Encounters in Philosophy and Religion (Long Beach, CA: Long Beach Publications, 1996)Google Scholar
  18. J.J. Clark, The Tao of the West: Western Transformations of Taoist Thought (London: Routledge, 2000)Google Scholar
  19. Chenyang Li, The Tao Encounters the West: Explorations in Comparative Philosophy (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999)Google Scholar
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  21. 12.
    For Hölderin’s poems and Heidegger’s comments, see Martin Heidegger, Erläuterungen zu Hölderlins Dichtung, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann (Gesamtausgabe, vol. 4; Frankfurt-Main: Klostermann, 1981), pp. 38–40,123–124.Google Scholar
  22. Compare also, e.g., Michael A. Sells, Mystical Languages of Unsaying (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994)Google Scholar
  23. David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World (New York: Vintage Books, 1996).Google Scholar

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© Fred R. Dallmayr 2002

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