The main purpose of research at the DHI is not philosophical–historical work, but systematic philosophy and the search for truth.
The DHIP sees itself as a training center for young or older philosophers and has retained the motto of the International Academy for Philosophy in Texas and the Principality of Liechtenstein, whose Founding Rector is Professor Josef Seifert: Diligere veritatem omnem et in omnibus (Love all truth and love it in all!). The sentence of St. Thomas Aquinas, which goes back to Aristotle, also serves as the guiding principle of DHIP:
The study of philosophy does not aim to know what people’s opinions are, but the truth of things.1
Philosophical historical studies at the DHI are to serve exclusively one’s philosophizing on one’s own, which is to be “learned” at the DHIP. As Thomas says elsewhere:
If listeners only learn what different authorities mean, and not the truth about being and the truth itself, they are left empty.
And Augustine already asked passionately:
Because who is so stupidly curious that he sends his son to a school to find out what the teacher thinks? But the teachers explain through words all the sciences that they profess to teach and also the science of virtue itself and wisdom. Then those who are called disciples look inside at whether what has been explained to them is true, looking at that inner truth and seeing it to the extent that they are capable of it. So they learn, and when the inner truth tells them what truth they have been told, they applaud, but without noticing that instead of clapping to teachers, they applaud learners; when teachers really know what they are saying […].2
Philosophizing on the “Island of the Blessed”
Besides the conscious return to the truth about the things themselves, the DHIP also returns to the original form of learning philosophy, as Socrates and Plato offered it in their dialogues and Aristotle in the peripatetic school and as it has become rare at large universities. The learning to philosophize at the DHIP happens – during the preparation of a master’s or doctoral thesis or habilitation, or when a student or professor takes a break from studying or teaching at a standard university – in one’s own philosophical questions, cognition, and thematic research strengthened by being exposed to peer critique. The DHIP offers upper level students private lessons and at the same time a direct and personal exchange with one or more philosophers, as it will also be welcome for colleagues during their sabbatical year.
In a way, the DHIP can be described as an “elite school of philosophy”. Although research performance is evaluated, it is not a question of listening to lectures and taking exams or acquiring CTS credits, nor of getting to know the opinions of famous philosophers, but of intensive doing philosophy under the guidance of, and in conversation with, one or, as soon as the DHIP’s grows, several philosophers.
The DHIP does not see itself in contrast to standard universities, as long as they are committed to the search for truth and have not succumbed to the crumbling scepticism and relativism, but as an important complement to these during one or more semesters or a sabbatical year, as it were as spiritual renewal and recreation on a philosophical “island of the blessed”, as Hildebrand called this type of philosophy studies decades ago, introduced at the Universities of Salzburg and Dallas and later at the International Academy of Philosophy in the Principality of Liechtenstein and at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and the IP-IFES in Granada, as well as recently at the HP in Steubenville, OHIO.