Liangkang Ni

A Report from the XIII International Conference of the Max Scheler Gesellschaft

Verona, 27-30th May 2015

Maria Chiara Bruttomesso

The XIII International Max Scheler Conference has just come to end in Verona, Italy, graciously hosted by the University of Verona. Introduced by the Head of the Department of Philosophy, Education and Psychology of the host university, Luigina Mortari, and the President of the Max-Scheler-Gesellschaft, Guido Cusinato, the Conference revealed from the start a new attempt to confront Scheler’s phenomenology with the current debates on the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of emotions.

The main subject was “Ordo Amoris and World-Openness. Philosophy of Emotions and Process of Individuation of the Person” and a major achievement was a new and productive exchange with some contemporary phenomenological approaches on empathy, intersubjectivity and the lived-body (Leib and Leibschema), also thanks to the participation of prominent representatives such as Dan Zahavi (Copenhagen) and Roberta De Monticelli (Milan). As the President of the Max-Scheler-Gesellschaft, Guido Cusinato, highlighted in his talk, this renewal also meant an attempt to shed new light on Scheler’s Philosophy, in particular by proposing an interpretation of his last period, alternative to the one of the metaphysical dualism of Geist und Drang. The direction is that of an Emotional Turn in which the concepts of Bildung of the human being, of the “care of the desire” and of the “cultivation of emotions” and values play a preeminent role in the transformation (Umbildung) of a person and a society as the expressive encounter with otherness.

A special session focused on a comparison between Scheler’s social ontology of feelings and the contemporary debate on collective intentionality, with presentations and discussions by Hans Bernhard Schmid (Vienna), Francesca De Vecchi (Milan), Alessandro Salice (Copenhagen), Emanuele Caminada (Cologne), Íngrid Vendrell Ferran (Marburg). The participants to the other sessions of the conference were prominent speakers from all over the world, such as Joachim Fischer (Dresden), Hans Rainer Sepp (Prague), Michael Gabel (Erfurt), Wolfhart Henckmann (Munich), Eugene Kelly (New York), Michele Averchi (Washington), Søren Engelsen (Southern Denmark, Odense), Roberta Guccinelli (Lucca), Liangkang Ni (Guangzhou), Wei Zhang (Guangzhou), Leonardo Rodríguez Duplá (Madrid), Günter Fröhlich (Ulm), Robert Zaborowski (Warsaw), Matthias Schlossberger (Potsdam), Marco Russo (Salerno), Mikhail Khorkov (Moscow), Zachary Davis (New York).

After three days’ talks, the last phase was devoted to young scholars’ presentations, selected by a call for papers, as it is the Gesellschaft’s aim to encourage new researches on Scheler by young philosophers. Such scholars were Evrim Kutlu (University of Cologne), Friedrich Hausen (University of Dresden), Riku Yokoyama (University of Freiburg), Jiaxin Wang (University of Freiburg), Adriana Alfaro Altamirano (University of Harvard), Alexey Zhavoronkov (Humboldt University of Berlin).

During the Society’s meeting, Guido Cusinato has been unanimously re-elected as President. The Executive Board (Vorstand) has been also confirmed, with Michael Gabel in the role of vice-president and Sabine-Maria Kuchta as the Society’s secretary. The Scientific Board of the Max-Scheler-Gesellschaft was renewed with the election of Zachary Davis (St. John’s University, New York) and Olivier Agard (University of Paris-Sorbonne).

The next International Max Scheler Conference, concerning Scheler’s concept of Ausgleich and interculturality, will be organized by Prof. Dr. Liangkang Ni most probably in November, 2017 and will be held at the SunYat-Sen University, Guangzhou (China).