Press release. February 3rd, 2016
Freedom of expression. The case of professor Örsan Öymen
Örsan Öymen is a professor of philosophy at the Isik University, Instabul (Turkey), who in an article published on April 9, 2015 in the national newspaper Aydinlik criticized the Turkish President Erdogan for the repeated violations of basic rights and the arrests of writers and intellectuals. The Turkish President considered that such a criticism against him were a personal insult and, for this reason, professor Öymen risks four years in prison in a trial that will begin on February 4th.
Philosophers, since the origin of humanity, have prodded with their questions the society they live in, for the wellbeing of the whole community. In any democratic society, such criticism must remain free.
For this reason, the IASC is concerned about the case of prof. Öymen and, more in general, for all the situations in the world where freedom of expression is seriously jeopardized.
Freedom of expression is a resource. Always.
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories.
Controversies are the engine of intellectual progress in philosophy, science, theology, the arts, and other domains. It is in controversies that the human powers of criticism are put into action. It is by confronting actual – rather than imaginary – opponents that theories are tested against the strongest and most unexpected objections.
Controversy is an ubiquitous phenomenon in human theoretical and practical life. It manifests itself in various forms, ranging from virulent polemics to polite and well-ordered discussion. It may make use of invective, subtle rhetorical persuasion, logical argumentation – or a combination of all of these. It may express conflict, lead to irreconcilable conflict, or pave the way to conflict resolution. It is in discussing with others that we form, sharpen, and assess our own ideas and positions. Wherever it occurs, controversy sharpens critical thinking and prevents mental and social stagnation.
In the wake of several years of collective work in the study of scientific, philosophical, and other kinds of controversies, it was decided to institutionalize our efforts, by creating in 1995 the International Association for the Study of Controversies (IASC), a voluntary association devoted to the study of actual controversies, as well as to developing appropriate tools for controversy analysis and management.
The association is not limited to theoretical concerns, but actively seeks to apply the results of its studies to conflict management in practical activities, as well as to the development of a theory of controversy.
IASC organizes yearly workshops devoted to the analysis of the discursive, argumentative, historical and contextual aspects of controversy in several domains. The study of controversies is inevitably interdisciplinary, requiring the cooperation of practitioners of controversy as well as of researchers in conflict resolution, mediation, diplomacy, communication, linguistics, logic, rhetoric, history, philosophy, anthropology, psychology, and other fields.
The activities of IASC are organized by members of the Association in cooperation with other institutions, and are coordinated by the IASC executive committee.
IASC has members in all continents (so far 120 members from 26 countries), from several disciplines. They share a keen interest in the phenomenon of controversy, be it as directly relevant to their own discipline, as an object of research, or as due to its importance in human life.
Membership is open to whoever is engaged or interested in study, research or other forms of contribution to IASC’s aims. To become a member of IASC, please fill the inscription form.
If you want to support IASC philosophy and activities, you can make a donation. Thank you.
An executive committee is elected at assemblies of the IASC members, which usually take place in conjunction with congresses or workshops where a significant number of members take part.