Points of attention of the Intercultural Research Group
1. Dominant international discourse and cultural specificities
We recognize that the starting point of the project is the wider context as set out above.
2. Asymmetries of equivalents
(C.E.:) "The philosopher Raimundo PANIKKAR has made it clear that homeomorphic equivalents are not symmetrical. E.g. starting from the European context, one could see in the Indian notion of "dharma" an equivalent homeomorphe of human rights. But if one would start from the Indian context and look for an homeomorphic equivalent of dharma , one would probably end up with religion in Europe."
3. The self, "the other" and the living world around them
Cultural / religious conceptions about the notions of the self, the other and the relationship between the two as well as the (inter)relationship between the human beings and the living world around them, differ. They may be deeply revealing in the sense that they provide a more (if not the most) fundamental understanding of responsibility in human communities around of the world.
4. Responsibility and power
(C.E. :) The dominant international lingua franca being English, the importance of intercultural dialogue is also to make power centres in the world aware that this language and all it carries with it, tends to impose foreign elements not necessarily understood or appreciated. The international predominant worldview and language also hides the other world visions and creates an illusion of universality.
For those in the power centres it is often unthinkable that there may be other horizons to make sense out of one’s life and to organize society. And when difference is thinkable, very often it is only interpreted in something which has to be eradicated in order to achieve "progress" : difference - if not ignored- is often constructed as "inferior", as "something from the past", which may have had its relevance but is not relevant any more in the world of today, where globalisation is equalled to the realisation of a "global dream" of a global village with (good) governance, democracy, development etc.
Therefore : another in-road to our reflections should be added : what are the political stakes linked to the notion of Responsibility and their equivalents in various cultures ? These are not only linked to semantic fields but are matters of power. The whole ideology of the World Bank about "good governance" advertises a "responsible participation" of civil society. But what does that mean exactly ?
5. Duty as distinct from responsibility
Attention should be given to the difference between "duty" and "responsibility" in the three circles given the fact that we admit that the starting point is the notion of responsibility as distinct from duty.
6. Analysis of discourses (religious, political, commercial, legal and human rights discourse, popular everyday discourse…)
Finally, a question to be looked into is whether there are differences in the use of Responsibility in the various discourses , in what they address and …what they do not address.