THE WORLD UNION OF
CATHOLIC PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETIES
Beginning in the 1960s, and in response to both the Second Vatican Council and the process of decolonization and search for equal participation by people throughout the world, the World Union expanded its activities. The natural evolution of its work has led it to build bridges of cooperation not only within the community of Catholic philosophers, but with those of other traditions also concerned with the philosophical foundations of human dignity and social progress. This has been done in cooperation with the International Society for Metaphysics (ISM) and The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (RVP), and under the guidance of George F. McLean, omi.
A series of world conferences was initiated through the ISM, beginning in 1976, treating successively the human person, society and culture. In 1978, for example, a World Union conference was hosted by Cardinal Wojtyla (later Pope John Paul II) in Krakow, Poland. This was an occasion for a scholarly discussion of the philosophy of solidarity which soon thereafter blossomed into a movement which dramatically changed the complexion of the region. The volume of papers from the Krakow conference, The Philosophy of Person: Solidarity and Cultural Creativity: Polish Philosophical Studies I, was published then in samizdat form and, in 1994, by The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy in Washington and by Paideia Publishers in Bucharest.
Since 1977, joint colloquia have been organized with the Academies of Science in several countries of Central and Eastern Europe and, since 1987, with the Academies of Science in Beijing and Shanghai and with Peking and Fudan Universities. These have provided a systematic bridge for joint philosophical reflection and exchange between East and West, and a series of volumes from these colloquia have been brought to press. In 1980, in order to enable in-depth work beyond the possibilities of the single annual general conferences, African member philosophers developed an approach through research teams. Each is based in a distinct university center, thereby enabling continued substantive cooperative reflection and critique and leading to volumes of essays on a specific theme.
With the ISM and the RVP, the World Union has drawn on a committee of leading philosophers from all cultures to identify human issues in need of philosophical reflection, has brought together the needed personnel, and has published the results of their research. Over 40 volumes of collected essays have been published thusfar, and an annual journal, Philosophy, Culture, and Traditions, has been established
The World Union continues to cooperate with the RVP in the organization of annual 10 week seminars in Washington, DC, which bring together 10 representatives of these research teams from all regions of the world, along with an equal number of scholars from other disciplines, for interdisciplinary and intercultural studies of such crucial contemporary issues as "Relations between Cultures', "Freedom and Choice in a Democracy" and "Civil Society and Social Reconstruction", and from each of which a volume is published.
The World Union currently sponsors or co-sponsors biennial conferences, symposia concurrent with the quinquennial meetings of the World Congress of Philosophy, a twice yearly Bulletin (in both print [ISSN 1607-4815] and electronic [ISSN 1607 - 4823] format), and an annual journal, Philosophy, Culture, and Traditions (which also publishes in print [ISSN 1609-2392 ] and electronic [ISSN 1609-2406] format).
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