Istanbul Seminars 2014
Bilgi University

7th Istanbul Seminars | 15-20 May 2014
Philosophers Bridge the Bosphorus

Venue: Istanbul Bilgi University

The title of the Istanbul Seminars ‘14 is The Sources of Pluralism – Metaphysics, Epistemology, Law and Politics. The Seminars are going to analyze the relationship between these varieties of pluralism. Particular attention will be paid to the fathers of contemporary pluralism – from Mahatma Gandhi to Isaiah Berlin, from Max Weber to Ludwig Wittgenstein – and to the historical sources and major traditions of pluralist thought – from the Edicts of Ashoka and the Ottoman Empire to American pragmatism. Case studies on political Islam after the Arab Spring and on pluralism in Turkey after Gezi Park are going to complete the conceptual analysis of the The Sources of Pluralism.


İstanbul Bilgi University | Santral Campus
Kazım Karabekir Cad. No: 2/13 – İstanbul
Conference Room: E1-301

Thursday, 15 May

10.00 am – 10.15 am
Giancarlo Bosetti, Director of Reset-Dialogues, and İlay Örs Romain, Vice Rector of Bilgi University: Introduction

10.15 am – 12.15 pm
Richard Bernstein: Pragmatic Perspectives on Pluralism
Alessandro Ferrara: Democracies in the Plural: A Typology of Democratic Cultures
Chair: İlay Örs Romain

12.30 pm – 1.30 pm
Ulrich K. Preuss: Law as a Source of Pluralism?
Chair: Cemil Boyraz

2.30 pm – 3.30 pm
İlay Örs Romain/ Ömer Turan: The Manner of Contention: Pluralism at Gezi
Chair: Devrim Kabasakal

3.30 pm – 4.15 pm

Seyla Benhabib
(on video): The Sources of Pluralism: From Max Weber to John Rawls

Chair: Volker Kaul

4.15 pm :Workshop with Discussion Groups


Friday, 16 May

10.00 am – 12.15 pm

Ramin Jahanbegloo
: Two Concepts of Pluralism: A Comparative Analysis of Mahatma Gandhi and Isaiah Berlin

Avishai Margalit
: Isaiah Berlin on Home and Homeland

Discussant and Chair: Roberto Toscano

12.30 pm – 1.15 pm
Khaled Abou El Fadl (Keynote lecture on video): Is Everyone Right or is Everyone Wrong? The Epistemology of the Truth in Modern Islam

Chair: Nouzha Guessous

2.15 pm – 4.15 pm

ROUNDTABLE: Pluralism Within Islam

Karen Barkey
: On the Ottoman Empire
Markus Dressler: Politics of Doxa, or How the Alevis became ‘Heterodox’ Muslims
Syafiq Hasyim: The Council of Indonesian Ulama in Indonesia
Saskia Schäfer: The Ahmadiyya and Shia in Indonesia
Chair: Ferda Keskin

4.15 pm: Workshop with Discussion Groups


Saturday, 17 May

10.00 am – 11.45 pm

ROUNDTABLE: Pluralism and the Constitutional Order after the Arab Spring
Ferida Abidi
, Amr Hamzawy (on videoconference), Jonathan Laurence, David Rasmussen
Chair: Patrizio Fondi

12.00 pm – 2.00 pm
Alberto Melloni
: Changing the View on Religious Freedom: Vatican II and Roman Catholicism
Murat Borovalı
/Cemil Boyraz: All Quiet on the Secularist Front?

Chair: Karen Barkey

3.00 pm: Workshop with Discussion Groups


Sunday, 18 May

10.00 am – 11.00 am

Sara Silvestri
: title tbc

Chair: Meysam Badamchi

11. 15 pm – 1.15 pm

Paolo Costa
: Realism, Relativism and Pluralism: An Impossible Marriage?

Maurizio Ferraris
: Positive Realism: How Plurality Emerges from Reality

Chair: David Rasmussen

2.15 pm – 4.15 pm

Engseng Ho
: How Did Pluralism Become a Problem? From Port-City Familiarities to National Jealousies and Back

Rajeev Bhargava
: The Roots of Indian Pluralism: A Reading of Asokan Edicts

Chair: Asaf Savaş Akat

4.15 pm: Workshop with Discussion Groups


Monday, 19 May

10.00 am – 12.00 pm

Karuna Mantena
: Pluralism, Political Conflict, and Gandhian nonviolence
Volker Kaul: What Makes a Fundamentalist? Metaphysics, Morality and Psychology

Chair: Murat Borovalı

12.15 pm – 1.15 pm

Julian Baggini
: The Populist Threat to Pluralism

Chair: Giancarlo Bosetti

2.15 pm – 4.15 pm

Final Presentations of the Discussion Groups
(1) Pluralism in the PUblic Sphere, (2) The Sources of Value Pluralism, (3) Turkey: Between the Burden of Nationalism and the Challenges of Pluralism, (4) Islam and the Sources of Pluralism


Tuesday, 20 May

10.00 am – 12.00 pm

ROUNDTABLE: Resources and Shortcomings of Pluralism in Today’s Turkey
Speakers: Cengiz Aktar, Mustafa Akyol, Nilüfer Göle, Fuat Keyman

Chair: Giancarlo Bosetti

12.15 pm – 1.15 pm

Chakravorty Spivak: Cultural Pluralism?
Chair: Nilüfer Göle

1.15 pm
Murat Borovalı, Vice Rector of Bilgi University: Closing


The program may be subject to change.  Please check for updated information.

The Seminars are free and open to All

Please check our website regularly for updates concerning the speakers and the program.

Young Scholars:
Young scholars are going to have the possibility to get enrolled in one of four working groups and present the results of the group work consisting in preliminary readings and workshops during the Seminars to the audience. Two working groups are going to deal with the philosophical presuppositions of pluralism, one with pluralism in Islam and another with pluralism in Turkey. Before the seminars, young scholars will be provided with working and reading materials. More details and application forms will be soon available online.



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