On Monday, May 4, Professor Dr Jan Bransen (Radboud University) will give a lecture entitled “Knowledge, love and diplomacy” at the Netherlands Institute at Athens, at 7.00 p.m.

One of the legacies of the Enlightenment is the recognition of “knowledge” and “love” as two distinct capacities that each in their own way contribute to human flourishing. Even though it might seem obvious to appreciate both “knowledge” and “love” and to think of them as complementary capacities, Professor Bransen will argue that it is a striking feature of modern society to favour knowledge. Apparently, modern society expects most from the growth of knowledge. And rightly so, one might think. After all, humanity is thriving thanks to the extraordinary successes of modern science and the technological progress it made possible.

Yet, according to Professor Bransen this one-sided endorsement of knowledge to the detriment of love has some serious drawbacks. In his view, one very general disadvantage is that we have come to believe that it is completely self-evident that education is about knowledge, not about love. We teach our children academic skills, but we hardly teach them how to develop their capacity to love.

In his lecture, Professor Bransen will explore the effects of this neglect for one area that is particularly important to human flourishing on a number of different levels: diplomacy. Even though his analysis will be conceptual in character, and will be more about interpersonal affairs than about international affairs, some of its implications will be relevant to Greece’s current position in Europe.

About the speaker

Jan Bransen is professor of philosophy of behavioural science at Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He has published extensively on questions of personal identity, autonomous agency, practical rationality and self-knowledge. At the moment he is working on a larger project about the scientization of contemporary society. He aims to show that the dominance of behavioural science in mental health care and formal education obstructs a proper appreciation of the importance of love in these domains.

The lecture will be given at the Netherlands Institute at Athens, Makri 11. (R.S.V.P.: 210 9210760 or [email protected])