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SPECIAL ISSUE of the Balkan Journal of Philosophy for 2019

“TOLERANCE AND ITS LIMITS”

Different people often have different opinions about which actions, beliefs, and practices are appropriate, and when they have to live together, their ideas of what is right or wrong may clash. Tolerance is an attitude of acceptance of—or at least non-interference in—other people’s attitudes and actions. The person or group exercising tolerance refrains from interfering and constraining even when they deem a practice wrong. But tolerance has limits: some practices are such that the reasons for interference seem stronger than the reasons for acceptance. Where does the boundary lie between practices and beliefs that one deems wrong but is willing to accept, and practices and beliefs that one rejects and takes action against?

Concrete instantiations of this question have recently been the subject of public debate in a number of European countries. Typically issues get media attention when practices that are deemed intolerable are outlawed. A court in the United Kingdom has ruled against gender-segregated education in religious schools. Austria and certain Swiss cantons enforce a burka ban for Muslim women. France implements secularity by banning teachers in public schools from wearing religious symbols, and many private companies enforce the same policy. The Hungarian government decided not to tolerate charities that receive support from abroad. The list could be continued.

These measures raise questions. In each concrete case one can ask whether the decision taken is the right one. But these specific questions point to a larger issue: on what grounds should certain practices be deemed intolerable? Are there principled ways to draw the boundary between what is tolerable and what is not? At what point is the transition from “informal” rejection at a personal level to prohibition by law justified? In dealing with these questions, a particular feature of a shared public practice of toleration plays a pivotal role: when organized through the state, tolerance is often supposed to be reciprocal. This supposition seems to imply that one cannot tolerate those who are intolerant. If this supposition is correct, does it give liberals a blanket licence to clamp down on intolerant ideologies like Neo-Nazism and Islamism? If it is incorrect, does it mean that movements displaying a persistent lack of tolerance while themselves benefitting from others’ forbearance have to be tolerated? This special issue aims to bring together papers that reflect on these issues.

Submitted papers should not exceed 8,000 words (including references, a short abstract of about 150 words, and a short list of keywords). Papers should be sent to the journal’s email address at: [email protected].

Deadline for submission: November 30, 2018.

This special issue will appear in 2019.


SPECIAL ISSUE of the Balkan Journal of Philosophy for 2020

“HUMAN NATURE IN THE AGE OF RADICAL BIOTECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES”

The broad notion of human enhancement refers to a widening array of biotechnological interventions – existing, emerging, and visionary – which can bring improvement (or alteration) to human capacities and characteristics, or even create new ones. This situation is unique since it challenges many key concepts, norms, and values usually taken for granted, as well as political and cultural visions for our future communities. For the first time in human history the technological progress seems to really promise to set us free (or to set some of us free) from the fundamental constraints imposed by our shared human nature –susceptibility to disease, the standard set of cognitive capacities, sensory equipment, emotional states, and even our mortality. Briefly, we may be at the threshold of a new age, one in which we will be capable of designing, modifying, controlling, and manipulating ourselves and the future generations.

Discourse on enhancement is split according to the varying degree of its acceptance: some loathe such a future and warn that it threatens our dignity, values, and authenticity; others enthusiastically embrace it, firmly believing that this is not only the single path towards the survival of humanity but that it promises less human suffering. These diverse reactions and the broad pro and con ideologies resting upon them notwithstanding, the enhancement is already here and is likely to stay. And it faces us with a whole range of new issues in diverse fields – science, philosophy, social and political science, bioethics, future studies, law, etc. The metaphysical, political, social, and moral contradictions that beset the enhancement project and its repercussions have made it a current hotly debated topic and one of the most significant areas of philosophical interest.

This forthcoming issue of the Balkan Journal of Philosophy strives to provide an opportunity for further discussion of the following issues:

  • Physical enhancement: merging man and machine?
  • Cognitive enhancement: thinking out of the head
  • Mood enhancement: personal identity and authenticity
  • Moral enhancement: preventing the ultimate harm?
  • Human enhancement and AI: the singularity is near?
  • The boundary between enhancement and therapy: sustained or abandoned?
  • The social implications of human enhancement: dignity and equality
  • Achieving immortality: is living longer living better?
  • Transhumanism: dangerous idea or the new anthropological ideal?
  • Technopolitics: enhancement as a political stake

Submitted papers should not exceed 8,000 words (including references, a short abstract of about 150 words, and a short list of keywords). Papers should be sent to the journal’s email address at: [email protected].

Deadline for submission: November 30, 2019.

This special issue will appear in 2020.


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