Movements that remain movements alone cannot save the universe: Prof. Furio Cerutti

Interview by: Nasrin Pourhamrang, Kourosh Ziabari


He talks composedly and serenely. Having been a student at the Heidelberg University and the Frankfurt University for several years, he speaks English with an acute German accent and there’s no trace of the special Italian sounds in his speech. He prefers to look at the text of each of our questions for a few minutes first, and then we pose the question verbally and finally get his response. He apparently tries to evade the questions which have a merely philosophical substance and favors taking the discussion to some contemporary issues and current affairs. He considers Iran a very suitable place for observing the diversity of cultures, languages and the miscellany of races and ethnic groups. He is evidently fascinated with his first experience in Iran as an academic, and of course as a tourist. He frequently asks questions about the different aspects of the living of Iranian people, especially the women, and seems to have been surprised at finding Iran a different place than what he had seen on the mainstream media.

Prof. Furio Cerutti is an Italian political philosopher. He was born in Genoa and is 77 years old. You cannot find the signs of oldness and weariness in his hands and face. He is a Professor of Political Philosophy Emeritus at the Department of Letters and Philosophy, University of Florence. He has been a visiting Professor at the Harvard University, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the University of Manchester. Among his main areas of study are Marxism and the Western critical theory. He has published dozens of books and scholarly papers and his current research work is focused on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and global warming and the impacts of these phenomena on the international relations. On this subject, he wrote a book in 2007 entitled “Global Challenges for Leviathan: A Political Philosophy of Nuclear Weapons and Global Warming.” Prof. Cerutti is honored to have been supervised by the renowned contemporary philosopher Jurgen Habermas at the Frankfurt University. However, he considers himself and his fellow scholars the students of Max Weber.

In the following interview which was conducted in early January at the lobby of Hotel Espinas in Tehran, Prof. Cerutti talked about his attitude towards the opinions of postmodern philosophers and his opposition to them, reflective modernity and modern identities. He puts a special emphasis on his being an Italian and European, and categorically denies that the European citizens have a willingness to join the terrorist group ISIS, ruling out that they are the ethnic Europeans who are being recruited by this militant group. He says that these Europeans are the offspring of Arab immigrants to Europe who join the “Islamic State” because of their poor economic conditions and their incapability to adapt to the Western culture. However, at the same time as highlighting his Western identity, Furio Cerutti says that the idea of the superiority of culture over economy is immensely “Eurocentric”, because as he says, it’s economy that can save millions of lives from starvation and death. We had a two-hour-long conversation with Prof. Cerutti who was accompanied by his wife, Renatta in their first trip to Iran.


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