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While empathy breaks down the barriers of borders, ethnocentrism – the supposed superiority of one’s own cultural world – is addressed at strengthening them, and if possible, at raising new ones.

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The Armenians

The Armenians descend from Indo-European populations who, between the 7th and 6th century B.

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Ethnic Violence

Many of the conflicts or mass violence of recent decades have been characterised by the adjective “ethnic”. This means that the leading players were groups opposing one another on the basis of identitarian, religious, linguistic or more generally cultural assertions..

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Civil Society

From the mid-1980s to the present, civil society has been a key category of democratic politics, increasingly in a genuinely international setting.

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After the Nineties of the 20th Century tolerance returned to the centre stage in political thought, returning to fashion a concept that has certainly been central within the framework of political thought in modern times, but that appeared to have become a closed book with the French Revolution that...

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A month of ideas.
Giancarlo Bosetti Editor-in-chief
Association for dialogue and intercultural understanding

Philosophy and Religion


The case of Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd

Abdou Filali-Ansary

From our archive - At the end of the day, we find ourselves, again, in a familiar position. Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd held a moral high ground and commanded respect from most scholars, but was prevented from being heard by those who needed to learn from him. The artificial polarisation and tension around him prevented even serious criticism from those who could assess his work with expertise. The motives alleged to justify his ordeal will always sound ridiculous. (This article was published on Reset-DoC in August, 2010)

IT AR Philosophy and Religion

Mohammed Arkoun, the «demystification» of the Qur'an

By Giancarlo BosettiArkoun possessed a rhetorical passion capable of enchanting his listeners. He powerfully laid claim to the internal resources of a tradition he never ceased to belong to, such as the Muslim and Arab humanism of the golden age of Islam (12th century) that could have flourished and produces its own Enlightenment in the sciences, the arts and critical thought, if it had not been destroyed at birth by political circumstances.

IT Women

Shirin Ebadi, battling for rights

By Nicola MissagliaJurist and Nobel Prize winner Ebadi took the lead in sponsoring an International Women’s Day in Iran, as well as a series of protest events against Iranian family law. In addition to having published numerous books, among them, Iran Awakening, A Memoir of Revolution and Hope (Milan 2006), as well as The Golden Cage, Three Brothers, Three Choices, One Destiny (Milan 2008), Ebadi founded the Defenders of Human Rights Centre in Iran and the Society for Protecting the Child's Rights. These two organizations are NGOs for the defence of human rights, which focus on strengthening the legal status of women and children in Iran.

IT AR In memory of Nasr Abu Zayd and Mohammed al-Jabri

Opening the Doors of Ijtihad

Fred Dallmayr, University of Notre Dame

From Reset-DoC's Archive - «Is it possible to grasp the ‘objective’ historical meaning of a text? Or is the process of textual understanding intrinsically connected with the role of the interpreter? This is the core question of hermeneutics. And it is precisely this question which – in different formulations – permeates the Arabic-Islamic tradition, ever since the beginning of Qur’anic interpretation and of ta’wil. Thus, the guiding question of the Mu’tazilites was: Is it possible to understand the divine meaning of the Qur’an without having a pre-understanding of justice or the unity of God? If we approach the Qur’anic text starting from the presumption of its divine nature but without having an intelligible pre-understanding of divine truth, how can we know that this text is not a lie or falsehood??» Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd

IT AR Nasr Abu Zayd

A pioneer for democracy

Fred Dallmayr

What was his offense? He had not directly rebelled against or attacked the government. But he did something much more far-reaching: he claimed the right of the free interpretation of scriptures (not arbitrary, but free and responsible interpretation).

Philosophy and Religion

Al-Jabri’s exegetic methodology and the presentation of the Qur'an

Mariangela Laviano

The intellectual project undertaken by the Moroccan thinker and philosopher Muḥammad ‘Ᾱbid al-Ǧābirī, better known as Mohammed Abed al-Jabri (1935-2010), considered one of the greatest Arab intellectuals of the century, would not be entirely “explored” if one did not also take into account his work involving a discourse on the Qur'an. So far, studies on his work emphasise the originality of his ideas that have proved to be decisive for the development of Arab thinking, for example the discovery of the three “cognitive orders” (bayān, ‘irfān and burhān), which have contributed significantly to the formation of Arab reasoning; just like the epistemological critique of Arab-Islamic cultural traditions (turāṯ) which resulted in a totally new perspective, thanks to an original approach in engaging with the past. The Muslim world was encouraged to reread, review and therefore also better understand its own cultural traditions so as to relate to modernity. But how could Islam’s relationship with modernity be re-established through the Koran and all the religious tradition gravitating around it? What is known of the “Koranic phenomenon”?

Philosophy and Religion

The Question of Ethics: Taha Abderrahmane’s Praxeology and Trusteeship Paradigm

Islamic Philosophy III

The previous two pieces (Islamic Philosophy I and II) presented some reflections on the past and present conditions and themes of Islamic thought, philosophy in focus. The present piece, based on two forthcoming papers[1], introduces a voice that aims at regrounding (i.e. reconstructing) not only Islamic philosophy but philosophy in general, and the way philosophers pose philosophical questions. It sketches out some major aspects of the project of Taha Abderrahmane (b. 1944, Morocco), a leading logician and ethicist in the Arab-Islamic world.

IT Philosophy and Religion

An Intellectual Chart of Islam in Change

Giancarlo Bosetti

The crux of the relationship between Islam and its journey to modernity, between the orthopraxy of this religion, with its judicial rules (shari’a) and the creation of democratic and pluralist systems, will soon become apparent. Ranging from the Egyptian Constitution to civil law, much must be rewritten, from family law to the policies needed to protect the rights of women. All of these issues are already on the agenda. Work can but start again from here to address the controversial issues that have fueled the work of the authors ResetDoc discusses here. 

Philosophy and Religion

Mohsen Kadivar, Reform Against the Velayat

By Nicola MissagliaBorn in 1959 in Fasa, Iran, the ayatollah and philosopher Mohsen Kadivar is a aggressive supporter of the need for democratic and liberal reform in Iran. Educated  in theology, mysticism, philosophy, fiqh (law) and tafsir (interpretation of the Koran) in Qom, he also studied under the great reformist ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, who died in 2009.

Philosophy and Religion

Ali Abderraziq, Spirituality versus Power in Islam

By Nina zu Fürstenberg and Giancarlo BosettiThe Egyptian theologian Ali Abderraziq (1888-1966) owes his importance to the fact that he was one of the most authoritative authors in the Muslim juridical and theological field who set out the basis for a separation between the spiritual-religious dimension and the temporal characteristics of power.

IT Women

Nawal al-Saadawi, the power of women

By Nina zu FürstenbergA doctor, psychiatrist, author, and human rights activist, Egypt’s Nawal al-Saadawi, born in 1931, is in the front lines of the human rights battle. Al-Saadawi specifically speaks out against genital mutilation of girls, which she herself suffered as a child, as well as on many other topics of Arab feminism.

Philosophy and Religion

Mohammad Khatami, Reformism from ‘Within’

By Nicola MissagliaSeyyed Mohammad Khatami, famous for having been the fifth president of the Islamic Republic of Iran between 1997 and 2005, is an Iranian Shiite intellectual, philosopher and theologian who belongs, without doubt, to the varied world of Islamic reformism.

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