DIVYADAAN, OCTOBER 20, 2011: The students of Masters in Philosophy together with three members of the staff of Divyadaan: Salesian Institute of Philosophy, Fr. Ashley Miranda, Fr. Nelson Falcao, and Fr. Robert Pen attended the Thirty Sixth Annual Meeting of The Association of Christian Philosophers of India (ACPI) held at Good Shepherd Major Seminary, Kunnoth, Kerala from October 10 – October 13, 2011. The theme of the meeting was "History and Historizing: Philosophical Reflections".
There were all together seventy five participants for the meeting. Twenty one papers were presented in order to delve deep into the issue of historizing. Our professors from Divyadaan: Salesian Institute of Philosophy also contributed to this philosophical endeavour. The first paper, 'Fudging Figures and Twisting Facts – a Reflection on the Philosophy of History' presented by Dr. Ashley Miranda, focused on the fact that historical accounts of past happenings are epistemologically fragile and can be distorted because of little evidence. Some important issues dealt with in this paper included professional and new histories, history- giants and lilliput's, grand narratives and alternate histories, history from below, history versus herstory. The bottom line was to recognize that history is not a straightforward discipline that gives us accurate facts. History is not so much a collection of facts, as it is of interpretations.
Dr. Robert Pen presented a paper 'Mass Mediated History' written by Dr. Frances Arackal which pointed out that the journalist is the primary historian. He focused exclusively on the role of Media on major events like World War I, Media and Rise of Fascism, Media and the Cold War, Media and 9/11 War on Terrorism, Media and rise of nationalism that distorted and manipulated the course of history.
Dr. Nelson Falcao made a lucid presentation on the theme 'Two Worlds Views: The Archaic Vis-À-Vis The Historical'. In this, he focused on the relation between the East and the West, the aim of cross-cultural dialogue, the understanding of the Real, the Mythical Realm and the Universe of Meaning, Mythos and Logos, Myth, Faith and Belief, and different world views: Archaic (Hindu) and Historical (Christian).
The other papers dealt with themes such as History as art or science, History as narrative, History as work of the powerful victors, Subaltern History, etc. Finally all the presentations led to the central statement that 'History is not very straightforward and needs to be critically analysed. The way to address the problem of competing and contrary histories is to view all kinds of historical accounts as legitimate and valid in their own way.
The MPh students were very attentive and were enriched by the papers presented and the discussions made. Their conscientious participation throughout the meeting was appreciated. The brothers took initiatives to animate the get-together, accompany during Mass and other activities. It is indubitable that the students have gained a lot of insights from this ACPI meeting and are eager to prepare themselves and offer themselves in the philosophical pursuit of wisdom that leads to better living.