Ibn Rushd Fund for Freedom of Thought

Ibn Rushd Lecture 9. May 2018: Freedom? On the philosophy of liberation according to M Aziz Lahbabi

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Freedom. Each language has its own special connotations vibrating along with this value, such as the famous French 'liberté' or the American 'freedom', and since the Arab revolutions the time has come to reflect on the contemporary and historic meanings resonating with the Arabic 'hurriyah'.

The Moroccan philosopher Rachid Boutayeb and the German theologian, philosopher and Islamic scholar Markus Kneer will be reflecting on this in their joint lecture on the Philosophy of Liberation according to Mohamed Aziz Lahbabi.

In the introduction to the topic, Rachid Boutayeb sheds light on the current philosophical discussion on freedom in European discourse. In the age of neoliberalism, freedom is a negative freedom, a freedom without a counterpart, a freedom that seeks to absorb the other, to absorb it into the totality of obedience. Emmanuel Mounier, a central figure of personalism and one of the great influences on Lahbabi's philosophy, turned against this freedom addicted to conquering and instead spoke of freedom as a liberation.

Subsequently, Markus Kneer will talk about precisely this concept of liberation in the philosophy of Mohammed Aziz Lahbabi.

That "nations" fight for their independence and free themselves from the yoke of colonialism is emphasized in many memoranda to the struggle for freedom in the Middle East and North Africa (eg in the texts of Frantz Fanon regarding Algeria). But does national liberation also necessarily entail the individual and personal liberation of individuals? This was clearly denied with the fight for individual rights that flared up in the Arab Spring of 2011.

What political, economic and cultural conditions do people need to become free? Which subjective conditions are necessary for them to exercise their rights? As early as 1956, the year of Morocco's independence, Lahbabi sets his philosophy for the liberation of human individuals against the widespread discourse of the liberation of the nation. Even before Latin-American and European Christian philosophers and theologians developed the concept of a "theology of liberation", he laid the foundations for a "philosophy of liberation" in a critical discussion of the thinking of the French philosophers Henri Bergson and Jean-Paul Sartre. Given the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa, the approach he develops in his book Freedom or Liberation? A critical essay on freedom in Henri Bergson*, is still pathbreaking/still is of a pathbreaking character.

Lecture in German, questions and contributions to the discussion are also possible in English and Arabic and are interpreted by us to the best of our ability

On the author:
Mohamed Aziz Lahbabi (1923-1993), studied Philosophy, Physics and Arabic Studies at the University of Caen, the Sorbonne and the École Nationale des Langues Orientales vivantes. In 1959 he became the first Moroccan professor of philosophy at the newly founded Mohamed V University in Rabat , founded the Moroccan Society of Philosophy, the Maghrebian Writers' Association, the cultural club "Rives méditerranéennes" and various magazines. From 1969 to 1974 he taught in Algeria, then in Morocco and participated in many international conferences. Publications: De l'être à la personne. Essai de personnalisme réaliste (1954), Liberté ou libération? (1956), Du clos à l'ouvert (1961), Le personnalisme musulman (1964), Ibn Khaldun (1968), Le Tiers Monde accuse (1980), La crise de modèles (1987).

The lecturers:
Markus Kneer studied Catholic theology in Paderborn u. Maynooth / Ireland, Philosophy and Islamic Studies in Münster, PhD in Catholic theology on the relationship of anti-Judaism and rationality in Paderborn, was from 2009 to 2016 diocesan representative for the Catholic-Islamic dialogue in the Archbishopric of Paderborn, and has since 2011 a teaching assignment for Islam at the Philosophical-Theological University of Münster.

Rachid Boutayeb, born in 1973 in Meknes / Morocco, studied Arabic and Islamic Studies in Rabat / Morocco from 1992 to 1998, and Philosophy, Sociology and Political Science in Marburg from 2000 to 2006. In 2012 he received his doctorate in Frankfurt / Main on the Critique of Freedom, the ethical turnaround in Levinas. He is a lecturer in philosophy in Frankfurt / Main and works as a publicist and translator.

Moderated by Cora Josting, Ibn Rushd Fund

* published in 2018 by Klaus Schwarz Verlag, translation by Markus Kneer

Ibn Rushd Lecture in cooperation with Klaus Schwarz Verlag

Pictures from the event