An-Institut der Stiftung Weltethos
an der Universität Tübingen

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Building on Hans Küng’s Legacy of Basic Trust in Life

On Friday, July 27th, 5 p.m. the Weltethos-Institut was venue for the book discussion of "From Global Ethic to World Ethos – Building on Hans Küng’s Legacy of Basic Trust in Life" with Author Dr. Jonathan Keir. Approximately 50 people attended the discussion of "Basic Trust in Life" (z. dt. "Lebensvertrauen" oder "Grundvertrauen") proposed here as Hans Küng’s legacy for the Global Ethic Project to build on for the future. 

Dr. Keir openly shared both his acadamic and personal insights on the matter, suggesting that one should maintain the dialogue not only between the two spheres but foremost with people lacking Basic Trust in Life. Because the latter – so Keir’s take on Küng – seems to be the fundament for ethical behavior in any sense. The audience engaged in a lively discussion and were handed out books for further reading.

About the Book:

Beyond his widely publicised attempts to reform Vatican politics in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, Swiss theologian Hans Küng (1928-) is best known as the architect of the Declaration Toward a Global ethic (Erklärung zum Weltethos), signed by religious leaders from around the world at the Parliament of World’s Religions in Chicago in 1993.

Twenty-five years on from this historic event, Küng’s Weltethos project has fallen from the radar of international concern. This book returns to the roots of Küng’s vision, to the development of what he calls ‚Basic Trust in life‘ (Lebensvertrauen or Grundvertrauen). ‚Without this Basic Trust‘ Küng boldly claims, ’no one can behave ethically‘.

Echoes of this theme are then recovered from the annals of World Literature, with a view to reorienting the conversation around Küng’s legacy away from legalistic definitions of a ‚Global Ethic‘ – a list of ethical principles for the entire world – and towards a ‚World Ethos‘ – a spirit of concern for the meaning of one’s life as a whole.

About the Author:

Jonathan Keir (1982-) was a Research Fellow at the University of Tübingen’s Weltethos-Institut from 2014 to 2017.
The cosmopolitan postdoctoral literature scholar, who came to Tübingen to further his studies on Hans Küng, has since only amplified his ambition for perpetuating intercultural dialogue on Global Ethics both academically and in practice.

Be it as "International Ethics Project Coordinator" of the Karl Schlecht Stiftung or as lecturer at the Weltethos-Institut, Dr. Keir’s eloquent, well-informed and multilingual dedication towards a more ethical intercultural exchange will be greatly missed in Tübingen as his journey will soon lead him to Beijing, China. 

There he will undoubtedly continue his passionate endeavour working under Tu Weiming, Chair Professor of Humanities and Founding Director of the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Peking University.

Free Entrance / Notification welcome:

Text: Dr. Jonathan Keir/ Anna Tomfeah
Foto: Weltethos-Institut