Philosophy in the Desert
Conference organized by the AUD School of Arts and Sciences

The School of Arts and Sciences at AUD organized a conference titled “Philosophy in the Desert” from April 7-8, 2017 on campus. The conference allowed academics in the field to be better acquainted with each other’s research and help develop a better synergy of philosophical conduct among them.
In a joint statement, the organizers of the conference, Dr. Jay Hetrick – Coordinator of Humanities and Associate Professor of Cultural Studies, Dr. Sandra Alexander – Assistant Professor of Humanities, and Dr. Loulou Malaeb – Assistant Professor of Humanities, commented “We are delighted to have successfully organized the first-ever event held at AUD focused on bringing together philosophers and scholars active in philosophy research and teaching from around the world.”
Themed “Comparative Philosophy at the Crossroads: the possibilities for comparative discourse today”, the 2017 conference brought together philosophy educators, researchers, and practitioners from around the world and provided an inclusive platform for the discussion of comparative or ‘cross-cultural’ philosophy, its methodologies, vision, and challenges.
“We intended for the conference to raise debates regarding the very possibility (or, perhaps impossibility) of engaging in meaningful comparative philosophical discourse in today’s world, and it was a great achievement.”
The conference keynote speakers included Dr. Jad Hatem, famed Lebanese philosopher, poet and writer and Dr. Tamara Albertini, renowned scholar on Renaissance and Early Modern Philosophy, Islamic Philosophy, and Feminist Issues in Philosophy.
The organizing team concluded, “Building on the debates launched during the 2017 conference, it is our intention that the event become a yearly occurrence and establishes an engaged network of active regional philosophers. Likewise, it is our hope that this event will confirm the status of the AUD School of Arts and Sciences as a leader in such symposia and debates.”
The Role of the Finite in the Self-Manifestation of the Infinite - Abstract, Jad Hatem
The infinite is not the finite, but it is susceptible of existing through the finite. The word existence here means manifestation. However, it must be pointed out that, if existing through the finite implies the opening of the field of concrete actuality, it might as well also mean that the infinite can only exist through the finite, since a self-revelation is only possible within reality. Hence Schelling’s clarification: “Finite beings must exist so that the infinite exhibits its reality in effectivity.”
The self-engendering of the infinite accomplishes itself solely in its unfolding within the finite.  But this is possible in two ways: (i) either the finite is revealed, in phenomenal temporality, as the full realization of the infinite, which is hence forced to pass by individuation, and, thereby, through a concrete multiplicity, (ii) or the finite frees and accomplishes one single essential potentiality of the infinite. Schelling deals with both proceedings in turn, first in Philosophy and religion, then in the Philosophical Investigations into human freedom.
Comparisons, Bricolage, and Fusion: Will There be a Comparative Philosophy in the Future? – Abstract, Tamara Albertini
Commonly, “bricolage” is seen as an inferior modus operandi in that it suggests an approach that is merely supplying, replacing, or repairing. The image that comes to mind is of a workshop where a skilled craftsperson ably adapts or recreates pieces needed to get a machine to work. The opposite of the “bricoleur” is the “engineer” who presumably not only builds from scratch but also creates the tools needed to accomplish the task. The “bricoleur-engineer” opposition originally postulated by Claude Lévi-Strauss to describe the difference between the “savage” and the “scientific mind” has been challenged by French philosopher Derrida who claimed that the engineer is a mere fiction invented by the bricoleur and that no one is truly the sole originator of their ideas.
My paper will use this critique to address most recent developments within comparative philosophy. Are we still comparing nowadays, are we merely “tinkering,” however creatively, or are we moving toward a new horizon by building the foundations of fusion philosophy? The examples I discuss to determine the current state of affairs within comparative philosophy come from both Western and Islamic thought.
Presenters - read the abstracts by clicking here.
Dr. Anupam Yadav - Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Rajasthan, India
Dr. Anirban Mukherjee - North Bengal University, Siliguri, India
Dr. Thorsten Botz-Bornstein – Gulf University, Kuwait
Dr. Chenyang Li - Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Dr. L Anthony Savari Raj – Manipal University Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
Dr. Huang Yong - The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Dr. Sevket Benhur Oral - The Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Dr. Sangeetha Sreedevikuttyamma - Academic Visitor, University of Oxford, UK
Dr. W. Julian Korab-Karpowicz – Zayed University, Dubai, UAE
Dr. David Landes and Dr. Summer Loomis – American University in Dubai, UAE
Mr. Edward McDougall - University of Durham, UK
Dr. Zoltan Somhegyi – University of Sharjah, UAE
Dr. Woodman Taylor – American University in Dubai, UAE
Dr. Jonathan O. Chimakonam - University of Calabar, Nigeria