Dialogue and Universalism









    This Dialogue and Universalism issue comprises two thematic parts. The main one presents Henryk Skolimowski’s philosophy. The second part gives an account of the International Society for Universal Dialogue Meeting Dialogue among Cultures as a Philosophical Way of Life which was held at the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy, Athens 2013.



   The part devoted to Henryk Skolimowski’s philosophical achievements contains a collection of his texts, the list of his publications, and other authors’ discussions on his ideas.

   Skolimowski is known as a founder of eco-philosophy. Since the seventies of the 20th century, when he proclaimed his eco-philosophical manifesto, ecophilosophy has been developed in one of the mostly drawing attention philosophical field. Meanwhile, its goals, investigated problems, scope and applied philosophical methods have become diversified. Eco-philosophy is now being divided into two basic groups: 1) fundamental philosophical investigations Tenzing to form metaphysical systems, and 2) more specific philosophical studies on various distressing aspects of the contemporary condition of the world and humankind. Skolimowski’s views are situated in both the groups. On the one hand, he creates a universal ecological-metaphysical image of reality; on the other hand, he opposes basic deformations of the contemporary Western civilization. First of all, he fights against science and technology. He is also a severe critic of contemporary philosophy, mainly the analytical movement. In his opinion, this philosophy is a “deluge” distorting the philosophy proper mission which has been forgotten or/and degenerated. For Skolimowski, as, among others for Karl Marx, the mission of philosophy lies in the changing of the human reality. According to Skolimowski, the ecological attitude (in his apprehension— anti-scientific, anti-technological, in a large extent opposing the Western civilization) is a necessary condition of humankind’s survival.

   Skolimowski’s main concern, especially since nineties, was the ever larger deepening of philosophical thinking on ecology. His critical analyses of the Western civilization seem to serve him as impulses stimulating and legitimatizing the constructive project. In short, he was tending to find an ultimate foundation of the ecological attitude. Skolimowski indicates this foundation in the ontological level of all the reality. His ontological conception called lumenology is of extended metaphysical kind—it comprehends being, man and values. Skolimowski relates values not only with man but also with all the kosmos which he treats as the ultimate source of values. Reality is for him a spiritually saturated and endowed with values (love, beauty, truth) system of nature and man, created and unified in an oneness by the metaphysical principles of light and evolution. Skolimowski uses the terms “light” and “evolution” in complex senses: the commonsensical and scientific senses of those two words are coupled with the projected by him clearly metaphorical senses. Skolimowski’s ecological metaphysics has—as his interpreters reveal—diverse founding sources, including Indian philosophy, ancient myths (e.g. the myth of Gaia), Teilhard de Chardin’s views, and Socrates’ thinking. Skolimowski’s method of philosophizing is partly esoteric. He ascertains that the communicative possibilities of language are too narrow for philosophy’s purpose. Owing to that, extralinguistic forms of communication should be added, e.g. art works and feeling, Skolimowski proclaims.



   The ISUD actively participated in the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy together with the mostly influential philosophical societies of the world. The ISUD presence at the Congress manifests the potency of the society and its continued commitment in dialogue transcending the borders of societies, groups of interests, nations, and cultures. The second part of the D&U issue presents the lectures delivered during the ISUD Meeting held at the Congress.

   The lecturers, who are all the ISUD members, demonstrate—by investigating concrete problems—that all past and present human culture is a system of mutually interconnected elements, differing one from another in some respects and similar in others. The lectures show that cultural affinities are associated with cultural diversities in dynamic syntheses. Such dialectic nets of the diversities and similarities allows for inter-cultural communication, and for enriching each part of dialogues if the diversities are respected and preserved in modified forms. The lecturers investigate the following cases of interconnections between cultures: similarities between ancient Greek and old Indian philosophies (Hope Fitz), the ancient Greek roots of now eligible conceptions of men (Christopher Vasillopulos), a clash of Plato’s thought with modern poetry (Panos Eliopoulos). Lilian Karali presents the changes of the terms “culture” and “art” through history; the changes are relevant for the problem of intercultural dialogue. Those studies, together with Jean A. Campbell’s considerations on global stewardship, accentuate once again the importance of the ISUD mission.

 Małgorzata Czarnocka






Andrzej Kiepas


   The article presents Henryk Skolimowski’s standpoint on the civilizational role of technology in the context of his eco-philosophy concept, it also reviews the changes underway in science and technology and the challenges posed on their rationality. Despite its evident historical anchoring, Skolimowski’s position appears to contain many currently important ideas and solutions.

Keywords: Henryk Skolimowski; eco-philosophy; technology.


Affiliation, Institute of Philosophy, University of Silesia, ul. Bankowa 12, Katowice, Poland

Email: andrzej.kiepas@us.edu.pl




Krystyna Najder-Stefaniak


   The article refers to the fact that the eco-systemic paradigm of thinking gives new possibilities to understand and evaluate beauty. The paper analyzes the understanding of beauty proposed by a founder of eco-philosophy, Henryk Skolimowski. Moreover, it refers to the conceptions of the relationship between beauty and creative human activity in the writings of Plotinus, Henri Bergson, and Edward Abramowski. Inspired by their reflections on beauty, the paper presents author’s own justification of the value of beauty obeyed the paradigm of eco-systemic thinking.

Keywords: beauty; ecosystem thinking; beauty evolutionary; creativity; life.


Affiliation: Warsaw University of Life Sciences, ul. Nowoursynowska 166 02–787 Warszawa, Poland

Email: krystyna_najder_stefaniak@sggw.pl




Panos Eliopoulos 


   In Charles Baudelaire’s poetry there is only one direct reference to Plato. The French poet juxtaposes the joy of the senses to the ascetic, as he perceives it, pursuit of the Platonic Good. This juxtaposition is taking place not only with the aid of ethical terms, but principally through their transformation into aesthetic ones. For Baudelaire, the absence of the metaphysical or symbolical light is tautological to beauty, but also a firm ground where the poet stands upon for his artistic creation. Human existence without light, although bordering to the cold safety of death, is also an affirmation of its emptiness when without pleasure and passion.

Keywords: aesthetic; light; beauty; darkness; evil; love; poetry; Baudelaire; Plato.


Affiliation: Department of Philology in the University of Peloponnese, University Campus, Rio, Patras 26504, Greece.

Email: ksatriya@tri.forthnet.gr




Lokesh Chandra


   In the paper it is shown that Henryk Skolimowski’s ecophilosophy is a special one. It differs from secular ecologies, being a united insight in life, nature, and values. It is also shown that Skolimowski’s conception is in a close relation both with ancient Greeks religion beliefs and with the Indian metaphysical-religious worldviews.

Keywords: ecophilosophy, secular ecology, Indian metaphysical-religious worldview, Henryk Skolimowski.


Affiliation: Indian Council for Cultural Relations

Email: president.iccr@nic.in




Ignacy S. Fiut


   The paper analyses the meaning and implementation of the notion of sustainable development from the viewpoint of Henryk Skolimowski’s eco-philosophy. The Polish thinker initiated his eco-philosophy 35 years ago, formulating a radical criticism of the Western civilisation with its dominating forms of rationality and the resulting technological implementations. They are accompanied by the definite utilitarian axiological system which emphases efficiency and profit in the sphere of human activities, i.e. typical utilitarian values. In Skolimowski’s opinion, this system is a source of imbalance both in the nature and social life of people in the global scale, which results in various types of crises occurring in this civilisation. They threaten with annihilation not only of human species but also of all natural space on Earth. They can also affect negatively evolutionary changes in the cosmic scale.

   We will pay attention particularly to the theoretical proposals formulated by Skolimowski in his The Genius of Light and Sanctity of Life. In this work he refers to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s vision of evolutionary philosophy, enriched with his own original philosophical ideas, well justified in numerous fields of contemporary science, also in evolutionistic research tradition. De Chardin distinguishes three key breakthroughs in the evolution process on our planet and in cosmos, namely, the vitalisation point, psychisation of matter and emergence of spiritual and rational creation, i.e. noosphere. Skolimowski particularly emphasises the emergence of the photosynthesis phenomenon, and subsequently logo- and theo-synthesis in this process. He claims that these are the forms of light condensation whose laws of development control our planet as well as the whole cosmos. The human species participates in this process in a specific way, taking part in the evolutionarily developing possibilities of transcendence and self-realisation. A relative balance in all transformations of this kind has its source in the metaphorical “physics and metaphysics” of condensing light which controls teleologically the process of evolutionary changes in the universe. This “great light” uses human reason which genetically derives from the nature and should be friendly to it, perceiving it religiously as a shrine.

   As Skolimowski suggests, the process of self-realisation and transcending should manifest the character of the conscious self-limitation of man in his relations and interactions with nature and society. The idea of cosmic ethics developed by him is to serve this purpose. It has an imperative character: on the one hand, it inspires man to creative transcendence in the name of sacred values in his life environment (habitat), and, on the other, it imposes upon him the obligation of self-limitation and reverent attitude towards other man, other living creatures and their common life perceived as sacred being.

Key words: sustainable development, eco-philosophy, environmental and universal ethics, ecological justice.


Affiliation: University of Mining and Metallurgy (AGH), Cracow, Poland; Department of the Humanities, Division of Cultural Sciences and Philosophy, A. Mickiewicza Ave. 30 30–059 Kraków, Poland

Email: isfiut@uci.agh.edu.pl




Henryk Skolimowski


   In his five texts arranged in a system Henryk Skolimowski presents his philosophical views, also in the processes of their emerging and transforming. He gives an account of all the phases of his philosophical accomplishments—from the initial version of eco-philosophy to the latest conception of lumenology which is a deep metaphysical grounding of eco-philosophy. Henryk Skolimowski shows how the emergence of his philosophical ideas was conditioned by the contemporary state of the world, by his own personal life’s experiences, and how those ideas challenge the 20th-century philosophy, first of all the analytical movement, and its faulty goals.

Keywords: eco-philosophy; Western civilization; the analytical deluge; cosmo-cracy; light; evolution; lumenarchy; lumenology,


Affiliation: University of Michigan, Department of Philosophy, 2215 Angell Hall, 435 South State Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1003 USA

Email: henryks@umich.edu



Vir Singh


   According to the author of the paper, philosophy serves to nurture civilizations by nurturing human values. It must evoke human consciousness and initiate a revolution indispensable for an ever evolving, creative, vibrant, and sustainable civilization. For the author, philosophy’s first and the foremost attribute should be the sustaining and enhancement of life. The author claims that such philosophy is desperately needed in our world gradually losing grounds for life. In author’s opinion, Henryk Skolimowski’s eco-philosophy sparks a revolution for healing the self, the planet, restoring the ecological balance, and constructing a new reality. Ecological consciousness, eco-ethics, eco-justice, eco-yoga, eco-dharma, etc. are valuable attributes of eco-philosophy conferred on our present civilization. Skolimowski’s philosophy unfolds the potencies of the mind and serves to educate it. It brings out all the elements of human glory and glorifies humans who are in his view custodians of life and of the whole cosmos. He infuses in them a superb sense of responsibility for Earth. Skolimowski’s philosophy reveals creative dimensions of the cosmic light. It attempts to cosmologise human beings.

Keywords: Dancing Shiva; eco-philosophy; Himalayas light; love; Henryk Skolimowski’s philosophy.


Affiliation: Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology Pantnagar-263145, Uttarakhand, India

Emails: sinvir@gmail.com ; drvirsingh@rediffmail.com





David Skrbina


   Unlike conventional ethical theory, environmental ethics—and eco-philosophy generally—have frequently been able to escape the desiccating rigors of analytical thinking. This is due in large part to the nonconforming and creative work of people like Henryk Skolimowski, whose ideas have influenced the philosophical dialogue for nearly 40 years now. The guiding principle of his new worldview, that the world is a sanctuary and not a machine, implies a radically expanded conception of eco-ethics. And his metaphysical stance of noetic monism demands that mind and reality be taken together, as a unit. These ideas fit well with the recent trend in philosophy of mind toward panexperientialist ontologies. Collectively, such notions point toward the concept of universal intrinsic value in nature, and a concomitant form of ethics that I call “universal sympathy.”

Keywords: Skolimowski; eco-philosophy; environmental ethics; panexperiential-ism; panpsychism; intrinsic value; sympathy.


Affiliation: University of Michigan, Department of Philosophy, 2215 Angell Hall, 435 South State Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1003 USA

Email: skrbina@umich.edu



Włodzimierz Tyburski


   Henryk Skolimowski pays particular attention to the problem of ecological culture. He is convinced that only societies characterized by ecological culture are able to cope successfully with the most difficult problem of modernity which is the issue of the environment. The necessary condition for building man’s ecological culture, aside from equipping him with ecological knowledge as well as a system of values along with their normative equivalents, consists in shaping the pro-ecological attitude which manifests itself in particular actions. The objective of the article is to present Skolimowski’s ideas on the essence of ecological culture and on the necessary actions to be undertaken to shape thinking, axiology, individual and social behavior in its light.


Keywords: axiology, ecology, ecological philosophy. environmental ethics, ecological culture, ecological consciousness, ecological attitude


Affiliation: Institute of Philosophy, Nicolai Copernicus University, Fosa Staromiejska 1a, 87-100 Toruń, Poland.

Email: Wlodzimierz.Tyburski@umk.pl




Christopher Vasillopulos  


   Achilles’ dissatisfaction with the heroic code, despite his preeminence, is Homer’s platform on which he demonstrates that the code is an inadequate basis for the emerging polis. The political requires a new kind of man, one capable of love and friendship. For only this kind of man can be a proper citizen, a person capable of more than adherence to a heroic code.

Keywords: Achilles, hero, friendship, political, Iliad, polis


Affiliation: Eastern Connecticut State University, Department of History, Philosophy, and Political Science, 83 Windham Street, Willimantic, Connecticut 06226 USA

Email: VASILLOPULOC@easternct.edu




Zbigniew Wróblewski



   The article presents the typological and conceptual tools used by Henryk Skolimowski to describe and explain the relation between man and nature. Skolimowski claims that the main determinant of this relation is the way man sees nature, i.e., the vision of nature which prevails in his culture and times. In other words, decisive for our relation to nature is cosmology (the cosmological model and the view of nature). The first part of the article outlines the fundamental functions of the cosmological model (the central cosmology category) which are (i) to interpret daily and scientific experiences, (ii) to establish the type of actions which relate to man and nature. The second part concerns the structure of worldview which is based on a cosmological model. The structure of worldview embraces a cosmological model presenting the general structure of nature, eschatology understood as a realm of human life and cosmic goal, and ethics determining human behaviour.

Keywords: worldview; cosmology; ethics; knowledge; eco-ethics; evolution.


Affiliation: Institute of Philosophy of Nature and Natural Sciences, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Aleje Racławickie 14, 20-950 Lublin, Poland

Email: zbyl.wroblewski@gmail.com





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