Review of the symposium, Kiril Trajchev
The first International Philosophical Dialogue EAST – WEST was held from September 2nd to September 4th 2015, organized by the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the International Slavic University “G. R. Derzhavin” Sveti Nikole – Bitola and the Philosophical Society of Macedonia. The symposium being on the theme Science and religion.
This event resulted from the previously established cooperation and the signed agreement between the International Slavic University “G. R. Derzhavin” Sveti Nikole – Bitola and the Philosophical Society of Macedonia along with the great support and understanding of the significance of the gathering given by the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts. A large number of participants were invited, however, despite their interest, they could not register their participation due to objective disability.
The program was divided into three days. The opening and the first day were on the premises of Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts on September 2nd. The second day, on September 3rd, two work sessions were held in the conference room of the International Slavic University “G. R. Derzhavin” in Sveti Nikole. The third and last part was held in Hotel Garden in Ohrid on September 4th.
The first working day started with the opening of the gathering at the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts. The president of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, academic Vlado Kambovski officially opened the gathering, followed by the General Director of the International Slavic University “G. R. Derzhavin” Borce Serafimovski, MA. The last to speak was the President of the Philosophical Society of Macedonia Ljupco Mitkovski. The first session of the program was led by Ana Dimishkovska, PhD.
The first quest was from Great Britain, Nicholas Waghorn, who gave a speech on “Nothingness at the Intersection of Science, Philosophy and Religion”. He argued about the consequences that examining the term nothing has to do with our understanding of the relationship between science and religion. His attention was focused on the support that science is believed to give to atheism, so much so that is ostensibly shows that God’s invocations to understand the world are superfluous. This exceptional presentation arousedgreat interest and initiated a longer discussion among the present listeners.
Tatjana Sergeevna Pronina from Russia with her paper on “Religious Revival in Post – Soviet Russia” revealed some aspects of the religiosity of modern Russians and the problems of the religious identity. Through the results of a survey, she presented the difference between the level of declared and active religiosity. This article was followed by a substantive discussion. Professor Ljubomir Cuculovski performed as the third and last with his speech entitled “Skepticism and Apology”. He pointed out several important differences between science and theology then elaborated on them extensively. This was followed by a general discussion in which various aspects and topics related to the presentations from the first session.
The second and third sessions were on the second day of the program. The second session was led by Assoc. Trajce Stojanov, PhD. The first participant in this session was a quest from Russia, Igor Ivanovich Evlampiev with his paper entitled “The concept of religious experience in Russian philosophy from the early 20th century”. He referred to the most influential tradition in Russian philosophy of this period, the tradition of the philosophy of unity. The pivotal figures of this philosophy were mentioned as well as their predecessors. This article was followed by a discussion.
Mikolaj Slavkovski – Rode from Great Britain was the second to give a speech, his speech was entitled “Religious belief, scientific knowledge and human experience”. He talked about the claims that religious belief and scientific knowledge offer us two different views of reality, from which we need to choose. He offered new insights into this choice. His rather extensive presentation was followed by a discussion.
The last one to give a speech at the second session was a quest from Croatia, Marija Selak, she spoke on the topic “Creativity versus creation: theology of human perfection”. In her speech, Selak questioned the consequences of trying to replace or upgrade human creativity through the power of creation included in the idea of human bio – medical improvement. She pointed out that today, through bio – medical interventions on human nature, man is trying to usurp the rights and powers that have traditionally been attributed to the Creator. After the presentation, a discussion started.
The third session was led by Nevena Foteva, MA. This session was opened by the domestic participant Risto Solunchev with his paper on “Religious Existence and Death of the State”. In his paper, he stated that The State is the dead god I it (The State) dies where it is born, in theology. After Solunchev’s speech followed an interesting discussion.
Marija Todorovska’s paper on “Knowledge and/or belief – the possibilities of science about religion” was presented due to her physical absence. In the text she discusses the difficulties of the methodology of religion: The problem of (non) reconciliation of reason and faith, the indefiniteness of the sacred, the inexpressibility and inability to convey subjective psychological religious experiences, etc…
The last to give his speech was the Briton Samuel Hughes with his paper entitled “Religious experience and selfness”. In his presentation he offered an explanation to the possibility of understanding the two features of religious experience: the sense of disintegration of the selfness and the fact that religious experience is often said to involve an intense awareness of something valuable or sublime. The speech was followed by a discussion.
According to the program, on the third day there were four participants. The leader of this session was prof. Mirko Gjoshevski, PhD. The first participant to deliver her speech was Ana Dimishkovska with her paper entitled “Metaphysics of Possible Worlds: Ontological Assumptions and implications of modal logic as a formal science”. In this article, Dimishkovska attempts to identify and analyze some of the fundamental ontological assumptions and implications of the discourse of contemporary modal logic, with an emphasis on the concept of
“possible worlds” and its various interpretations. This very inspiring presentation was followed by a discussion.
Next was Ralph Stephen Weir from Great Britain with his paper on “Physical Science and the Soul”. He explained the thesis that physical science poses a significant challenge to the traditional soul – body dualistic picture of human personalities.
The discussion that followed was by Trajche Stojanov’s paper entitled “The Russian religious Philosophy and Contemporary Science: Some Analogies”. The main point of the presentation was that most Russian thinkers believe that the new philosophy can not be built otherwise, if it does not follow the path of reconciliation of faith and reason. He pointed put that on the path of reconciling faith and reason, many of these thinkers have come to the results that can be inspiring and fruitful for science and scientific knowledge.
The program was completed by a young guest from Serbia, Janko Nesic. He tried to show us how seemingly contradictory scientific and religious teachings can be reconciled through a version of Russell’s panpsychism. His interesting paper entitled “Selfies: The view of Panpsychism” was a challenge for a discussion. At the end, a general discussion followed, which ended the working part of this gathering. The papers of the participants who were present at this event, as well as those who participated with their submitted texts will be published in a separate collection.
This whole event generally ended with the signing of the Declaration on dialogue, understanding and tolerance, signed by the organizers and participants of the symposium, and it was sent to the UN. It must be noted that this gathering itself was of high quality and passed in constructive atmosphere and with excellent organization. The participants expressed satisfaction with their involvement in the symposium and expressed a desire to participate again in one of the next gatherings planned as part of the INTERNATIONAL PHILOSOPHICAL DIALOGUE “EAST – WEST”