Limits - Borders – Boundaries: Philosophical, Political and Cultural aspects

Conference languages: German and English


The 8th International Conference of PPA, SFCP and GSP was held at the Bildungs-und Tagungs Zentrum der Heimvolkshoshschule, Springe near Hannover in Lower Saxony in August 2019.

The Conference attracted delegates from 17 countries who attended at least one part of the three aspects of the Programme:  Socratic Dialogues, Lectures and Workshops.


The topic of “borders” is particularly acute at this time. Large groups of people, often under life-threatening difficulties from the political, social and economic conflict areas of our world, are trying to overcome borders of seas, walls, fences and hostility to reach wealthy and democratic countries.

In nearly all areas of life and society boundaries play a central role including in   health, education, habitation, ecology and economics. 

In addition, the German term “Grenze”, as alluded to in the title of the Conference, translates to a variety of different meanings in the English language: boundary, limit, border. “Grenzen” can be natural or constructed by humans, they can be limits of understanding and of insight, boundaries of language and dialogue, limits of tolerance and acceptance, individual or collective boundaries, internal and external borders.

The conference was first and foremost a conference of citizens.

Participants were not only practitioners of politics and philosophy, socially active groups or institutional bearers of responsibility, but they are also part of the general  public. The Conference offered opportunities to communicate in many ways and from different angles about the range of meaning and significance of “Grenzen”.

The Participants 

Of the 93 attendees, 47 delegates came from Germany, 8 from The Netherlands and 7 from the United Kingdom. There were 5 delegates from Italy, 4 from each of the Czech Republic and Ukraine and 3 from Bulgaria.

Two delegates represented each of the following countries: Belgium, Israel, Finland and Belarus with  one delegate from Denmark, Spain, Turkey, Japan and Norway and one person from Taiwan currently resident in the UK.

The Programme

The conference consisted of thematically connected, but independent parts.

PART A – Socratic Dialogues:  offered participants the opportunity to discuss philosophically the topic of borders, boundaries and limits by means of Socratic Dialogues. Previous philosophical knowledge was not necessary. Each discussion group was led by two moderators who generally had competence in a third language besides English and German.

Of the seven Socratic Dialogues offered, 4 were in English and 2 in German while one invited participants to speak in their mother tongue or ‘free language’.

Topics included a Maths Dialogue, two Dialogues directly addressing Borders, and others with the question looking at faith, emotion, tolerance and responsibility. Each Dialogue was facilitated by two people, each from a different country. 

PART B – Presentations and Workshops


Twenty two Workshops were offered, 7 in German and 15 in English. Four related to Keynote addresses given at the Conference and one was a presentation from the three successful candidates in ‘The Tamsyn Imison Essay Award’.

Brief details of the Workshops can be found by following this link.                                                             


Seven Presentations addressed different aspects of the Conference themes. Click here for details.