Project presentation

We are always East or West of another culture. What happens when cultures meet? What happens when a Chinese person encounters a European line of thought or speech, the structures of which have been built and developed over centuries? Similarly, what happens when a Western individual encounters a Chinese idea, born out of a Chinese culture that has also been built and developed over centuries? Is it enough to know the language? Is it enough to have lived in the other’s environment? On a broader level, what is involved in thinking and communicating in a particular culture, a religious tradition, a certain milieu and how do these acts of thinking and communicating interact with their counterparts in other cultures and traditions?

Ever present in our contemporary globalized world, that experiences the pressure of cultures interacting with each other, these questions are of primary importance as much in theological research as in many other disciplines, starting with political science. For if communication is supposed to bring people together and build bridges for mutual understanding, it is conversely true that conflicts based on different worldviews are ever increasing.

The subject is not entirely new. Very different disciplines have been concerned, from philosophy to sociology, through anthropology, linguistics and history, seeking to determine the consequences that could result in the encounter of various “rationalities”, and for some studies, what would be the terms of a constructive dialogue.

However, there are few major collective publications corresponding to the dual need to cross, on the one hand the approaches and the disciplines, and to take into account the diverse cultural and religious areas on the other.

Moreover, the question posed is seen mainly in terms of cultural encounter, very little in terms of religious meeting – except if religion is regarded as a single category of culture. Theology has little tackled the subject even if it has been thrust upon it is for a long time: hermeneutics, inculturation, evangelization, to name a few as many fields as this dynamic work in depth.


Proceedings of the Congress

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Italian: link

Spanish: link

Croat: link

Affiliated university of the research group - Country
Institut Catholique de Paris / France
Research approach and methodology / Research area

The work of “Dialogue of rationalities ” reverses the fairly common position which consists in relying on common thoughts to develop a dialogue for the unity of mankind. Research induced by ICP and their partners mainly takes as its starting point the cultural differences with their singular and irreducible aspects, not as obstacles but as assets and a need for a genuine dialogue. For it is when everyone welcomes the other’s logo, including when it is opaque, that otherness is fully taken into account and the encounter becomes true.

It is therefore necessary to set up a platform where reflection can rethink the “Dialogue of rationalities” by adopting the following guidelines:

  1. A multidisciplinary approach , combining humanities, social sciences, religious studies and theology;
  2. A multicultural and a most wider multi-religious openness.
Research group leader
Emmanuel Pisani

PISANI Emmanuel

Directeur de l'Institut de Science et de Théologie des Religions (ISTR) - Institut Catholique de Paris.
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Working language of the group