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Total Glokal. Stuttgarter Weltgespräche

Limits of Pity?

4 October 2017, 7 - 9:30 p.m.
Evangelisches Bildungszentrum Hospitalhof
Büchsenstrasse 33, 70174 Stuttgart

Every day refugees die when they attempt to reach Europe. In their efforts to find solutions, politicians in Europe feel that they are put under pressure from the right and from the left. In Europe, we see exchanges of recriminations and political manoeuvring instead of solidarity and a fair distribution of the burdens. Which moral duty do we have to act ourselves, and by which emotions are our actions guided?
Since the age of Aristotle, pity is understood as a feeling that is defined by proximity to or at least a vivid presence of the other in our minds. However, in her book "Das Mitleid" ["Pity"] of 1985, Käte Hamburger concludes that pity is an impersonal emotion, and that the suffering of the other is not perceived as one's own suffering. But which role does pity play in the struggle for humane conduct? Since thousands of people have embarked on the journey via dangerous land or sea routes from the South to the North each year, we are directly confronted with the ethical question: What to do? What do we do with the knowledge of the suffering of others? Does the fact that we feel pity not already serve as confirmation of our humanity? Or are the refugees themselves providing Europeans with the opportunity to self-righteously invoke ethics and morals? Ultimately, is this feeling politically reliable, and does it have something to do with whether we will help selflessly? The Indian scholar Nikita Dhawan will address these issues as well as questions regarding the possible continuity between colonialism and current migration regimes in a lecture: Elisabeth Conradi will moderate the subsequent dialogue with the audience.

Nikita Dhawan, Professor of Political Science, University of Innsbruck
Elisabeth Conradi, Professor of Social Theory and Philosophy, Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University

The ifa and the Hospitalhof Stutttgart reserve the right to publish photographic and film documentation of the event in print, online, and audiovisual formats.

This event is a co-operation between ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), the educational center Hospitalhof and the IZKT of the University of Stuttgart. It will take place with the friendly support of the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the city of Stuttgart.

This year ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) is celebrating its centennial. The leading theme in 2017 is 'Cultures of We'.

About 'Total Glokal. Stuttgarter Weltgespräche' (Totally Glocal. Stuttgart Global Talks)

'Total Glokal. Stuttgarter Weltgespräche' is the title of a new event series, which commences in our anniversary year. It addresses current social challenges and reflects, in particular, on the local effects of globalisation.

'Total Glokal. Stuttgarter Weltgespräche' is funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the City of Stuttgart.

A cooperation of

Hospitalhof Stuttgart
Internationales Zentrum für Kultur- und Technikforschung
100 Jahre ifa

Supported by

Robert Bosch Stiftung
Landeshauptstadt Stuttgart