John Lachs is a fervent follower of the idea of relativism as is he a devoted educator both in theory and practice. His emphasizing of the benefits of relativism in philosophy on the one hand, and, on the other, stressing the role of teaching philosophy make me think of these two issues, that is ‘relativism’ and ‘philosophical education’ at the same time. I want to rethink of it in the context of the practical implementation with the teaching of undergraduate and graduate students who take philosophy courses (and similar courses: ethics, aesthetics, history of ideas, etc., be it in the classroom or online) within the institutions of higher education (at the departments of philosophy, humanities, the liberal arts, social sciences, and also outside of these). I think that this problem is important because it deals with the types of obligations of the philosophy teachers to provide their students with a responsible guidance as far as their (students’) developments is concerned, though the developments of the teachers are at stake here as well. An important part of this story is how much Lachs’s relativism is limited by his universal claims, and, hence, is it relativism at all. It seems to me that such terms as ‘responsibility,’ ‘obligation,’ and many others: ‘growth,’ ‘happiness,’ ‘critical dialogue,’ and ‘wisdom’ do not seem relative in Lachs’s texts at all, yet they constitute the main substance of his message on philosophy in education.
American and European Values were a series of ten conferences on contemporary philosophy that were held annually since 2004 at the Institute of Philosophy of Opole University, Poland (detailed history of the events here). The main creators of the whole idea were professor John Lachs, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA and dr. Chris Skowronski, Opole University, Opole, Poland.
In 2015 the conference series is being extended into a Berlin edition. Berlin Practical Philosophy International Forum e.V. is proud to organize the event: John Lachs’s Practical Philosophy Conference, August 11-13, 2015.
The question whether there is a place for philosophers nowadays and how much influence they exercise in our everyday life seems as valid as it was 25 centuries ago in the time of Socrates. It will be also the leitmotif of the conference devoted to the practical philosophy of John Lachs (presently leading American pragmatist), during which academic world meets everyday life. If you want to listen to philosophical debate about values, the art of acting ethically, relativism, the state of being in love with life or you just wish to challenge your theoretical mind, it is the place to be.
About the comming conference on the radio (in Polish): Funkhauseuropa – RECORDING.