In this article I consider how we might suitably define the concept of culture where we take seriously the possibility of inter-cultural dialogue. I reject the idea of mutually-separated bits of culture characterised by certain typical values (Asian, Euro-Atlantic, African etc). It is necessary to refuse the reification of partial cultures, both for theoretical and for practical reasons. The concept of eternally-existing portions of culture ultimately serves only to limit the free behaviour of people interpreted as members of such cultures. The idea of a certain portion of culture, or of cultural value, is defensible only as an ideal type which provides an interpretational key to the discovery or construction of facts, to their organisation and to understanding them. More important in dialogue is seriousness and equal respect towards each cultural situation from which individual people emerge, and the systematic openness of society to the acceptance of the original cultural situation of each person as an opportunity for widening and enriching the common culture (understood at the level of the relation of the origin of a family of immigrants and the integration into the national culture of the relevant national state). As regards the discussion about inter-cultural dialogue in relation to the extent of globally-recognised human rights, I emphasise the occurrence of the political implementation of such rights in constitutional republics, and I show that without state power human rights cannot be secured against the threat of religious fanaticisim, the despotic power of families or customary norms. Dialogue about human rights at the global level will not be maintainable without the Kantian ideal of a world civil society as a community of constitutionally-regulated states.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.