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1. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Note from the Editorial Board
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2. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Dan Goodley Challenging Transhumanism: Clutching at Straws and Assistive Technologies
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This paper cautiously ponders the offerings of transhumanism. We begin the paper by introducing the transhumanist movement and related transdisciplinary thinking before giving space to the emergence of critical disability studies. We argue that the latter field has the potential to ground a critical and reflexive analysis of transhumanism– not least through a consideration of the contributions of posthuman and green disability studies. Drawing on these two perspectives, two specific areas of transhuman contemplation are offered. First, we consider (in the section titled, ‘The Ban on Straws: Disability prosthetics and the complication of eco-politics’) the relationship between disability advocacy politics and the potential ableism present in popular eco-political discourse. Second, we explore mainstreaming assistive technologies and e-waste collateral. These analytical thematics highlight the complexities of a critical transhuman disability studies, not least, in relation to the clash of disability and green politics. We conclude the paper with some considerations for future theory and research that trouble an uncritical acceptance of transhumanism in the area of critical disability studies.
3. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Antonio Maturo, Margaret Shea The Quantified Self or the Marketized Self?: How Data and the Drive to Optimize Lead to Neoliberal Performance Culture
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We show how interest in “human enhancement” and "optimization” is rooted in a broader social phenomenon – the medicalization of life – and argue that the push to enhance and optimize human beings has a distinctively neoliberal character. Indeed, human enhancement and optimization practices reflect a growing tendency to apply market concepts and logic to individuals, who increasingly conceive of themselves as performative subjects. The Quantified Self is, we suggest, the Marketized Self. Moreover, the Quantified Self is not merely a symptom of the marketization of individuals but serves also to perpetuate that marketization: the Quantified Self threatens to become that concept which defines who the individual “really” is. We argue that this metaphysically weighty idea affects how we think about what is good for human beings.
4. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Sorin Hostiuc Procreative Autonomy Versus Beneficence in Assisted Reproductive Technologies
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Since its beginning, healthcare has focused its attention on helping patients become healthier and live longer. One of the areas in which medical technology has made impressive strides is assisted reproductive technologies. Some bioethical issues are common to most or all of these newer reproductive technologies. The uncertainty of long-term risks posed by reproductive technologies generate potential challenges to the values of beneficence and non-maleficence and strain the already divisive dichotomy between procreative autonomy and procreative beneficence. Procreative autonomy and procreative beneficence are both important values that physicians and prospective parents ought to evaluate when considering the use of assisted reproductive technologies. However, the moral prescriptives associated with each value may diverge and conflict with one another; when this occurs, minute arguments may shift the balance between them. For physicians, prioritizing the value of procreative autonomy or procreative beneficence mainly influences the way in which they choose to present information–that is, whether they are directive or non-directive when consulted about family-planning options. Assisted reproductive technologies have dramatically increased the range of choices available to prospective parents, and this breadth of choice may lead to potential ethical conflicts between the competing values of procreative autonomy and procreative beneficence. In the following article, we will address this friction, focusing our attention on normative considerations related to medical risk management and the telos of the prospective child.
5. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Vassil Vidinsky (Post)phenomenological Approach to Homo Sapiens Technicus
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In this paper I use a (post)phenomenological approach to clarify the objective cultural expansion of our technology. Thus, I establish a conceptual analogy between two different philosophical analyses of human–machine relations – one historical and one phenomenological. I develop the analogy between them and their corresponding concepts in several steps. (1) First, I present the Homo sapiens technicus tendency and then the phenomenological differentiation between body schema and body image. All of these elucidate our involvement with machines. (2) Then, I conceptualize the term ‘context’, coupling its structural stability with the idea of distextaulity in order to achieve a better empirical understanding of our technological contradictions. (3) I continue to develop and enrich the analogy by illuminating the functional similarities – fluid boundary, automation, complexity – between contextual structures on the one hand and body schemata on the other. (4) Finally, I explore a deeper causal and narrative connection between those strands, shedding light on an interesting twofold circularity: a circular causation and a double narrative within Homo sapiens technicus.
6. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
George Gherjikov Transhumanism and the Western Monotheistic Traditions
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The article offers an overview of the (dis)continuities between the major Abrahamic religions (especially Christianity) and transhumanism, as well as some possibilities envisioned by scholars for their ongoing dialogue. Important points that come up along the way include: ecology vs. space exploration; the neglect of injustices suffered by past generations; the importance of bodily and mental imperfections for the development of culture; and our all-too human expectations for what posthumans may desire.Also presented is a review of various possible criticisms against wildly ambitious projects, such as Frank Tipler’s attempt to fuse transhumanism with Christian eschatology. It is argued that process theology and James Gardner’s “Biocosm hypothesis” offer a more intriguing view: a salvation which is not predestined but merely possible, and whose details are being negotiated through specific historic events and even through our day-to-day decisions and deliberations. Such a view overcomes Nietzsche’s notion of eternal recurrence by stressing the importance of rethinking, redaction, and creating variations of what already exists.
7. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Ruslan Klymenko Artificial Evolution in Transhumanism
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Transhumanism is a contemporary philosophy based on the belief that human nature is evolving over time not only because of Darwin's natural evolution, but also because of the impact of social movements and technical innovations. The philosophy has been shaped by many historical forerunners, for example, Nietzsche's famous idea that the human being is a mere rope tied between animal and posthuman (i.e. Übermensch), or Fedorov's reflections on the possibility of immortality.In this article, the author will show that – from a current technological perspective – in the not-so-distant future humans will be able to choose their own personal way to evolve, “upgrading” themselves with electronic or organic devices that will modify, improve, or simply introduce new forms of sensation and experience to their being . Included in the analysis of this potential are the historical preconditions of such revolutionary social and technological change.
discussion
8. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Milenko Bodin Multiculturalism and (Neo)liberalism
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Questions related to the politics and practice of multiculturalism remain hotly debated, even though it is unclear what generally is meant by the term “multiculturalism” and how multiculturalism fits into the politics of liberalism. To many proponents of identity politics movements, ‘normative multiculturalism’ represents an unquestioned good, and collective identities are seen as a primary subject of democratic deliberation and national policy. Liberal activists, however, may be justifiably concerned that this interpretation of multiculturalism impinges on the foundations of liberalism itself, including the core value of perfect equality between autonomous rights-bearing subjects.We respond to these concerns by interrogating the philosophical nature of liberalism and multiculturalism, respectively, and fleshing out the complex relationship that exists between these concepts. Using discourse analysis we find that the discourse of normative multiculturalism corresponds to the broader concept of liberalism – neoliberalism. We argue that the discourse of neoliberalism integrates the model and empirical sense of the classical concept of liberalism and that the goal – normative neutrality towards cultural and other identities – is more efficiently achieved..
articles
9. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Franz Riffert Consciousness: The Point of View of Process Philosophy and Genetic Structuralism: A Critical Comparison and Some Consequences
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First a sketch of the current state of the debate of the phenomenon of consciousness is provided; based on it David Chalmer’s distinction between the weak and the hard problem of consciousness will be introduced. It will be indicated that Whitehead’s process philosophy is able to offer a promising basis for solving the hard problem by showing how the concept of consciousness is anchored in his metaphysical theory. In the remaining parts of the paper the so-called weak problem of consciousness will be addressed in more detail by comparing Whitehead’s speculative account with Piaget’s empirical research results concerning the phenomenon of consciousness. By showing that Whitehead’s and Piaget’s positions on consciousness overlap widely a kind of indirect empirical support of Whitehead’s philosophical position will be achieved. At those points where the two positions deviate – that is in only two points – there are indications that Whitehead holds the more plausible position. So this investigation confirms William Seager’s suggestion that more attention should be drawn to Whitehead’s process philosophy when trying to solve the hard, as well as the weak problem of consciousness. In order to substantiate this claim two topics are discussed from the point of view of Whitehead’s position of consciousness: (a) learning and consciousness and (b) artificial consciousness.
10. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Martin Zach Conceptual Analysis in the Philosophy of Science
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Conceptual analysis as a method of inquiry has long enjoyed popularity in analytic philosophy, including the philosophy of science. In this article I offer a perspective on the ways in which the method of conceptual analysis has been used, and distinguish two broad kinds, namely philosophical and empirical conceptual analysis. In so doing I outline a historical trend in which non-naturalized approaches to conceptual analysis are being replaced by a variety of naturalized approaches. I outline the basic characteristics of these approaches with illustrative examples, arguing that recent developments in the philosophy of science show that in order to achieve a more adequate understanding of scientific endeavour we need to prioritize the naturalized accounts of the method.
11. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Maja Malec Newton’s Bucket (Thought) Experiment
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The bucket experiment in Newton’s Principia is quite simple. Nonetheless, physicists as well as philosophers and historians of science are still debating its purpose and success. I present two interpretations found in the literature. According to the first, Newton tries to prove absolute rotation and thus the existence of absolute space. According to the second, he tries to provide a definition of absolute rotation as it is used in his mechanics. Closely connected to this is his rejection of Descartes’ explanation of rotation and of motion in general. I conclude with a short discussion on whether the bucket experiment can be classified as a thought experiment.
12. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Serghey Gherdjikov Language Relativity
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We produce language forms via their relations in coordinate systems: languages. That is virtual language relativity. Languages are related to phenomena and work in the real life of communities. That is real language relativity. We use languages via symbolic behaviors, living in human communities. Relativism collapses at the level of successful exchange of experience between humans belonging to distant cultures. Relativism is a stance of not recognizing the real relatedness of all languages to one and the same human form and world. Absolutism (Universalism) is a stance of not recognizing relativity as definiteness, that is, the virtual interrelatedness of all languages. Languages are shaped by human life processes. We follow the path from “local languages,” which are analogous to ‘inertial systems’, (this represents ‘virtual relativity,’ which is analogous to special relativity in physics) to living people talking about one shared sensual world (this represents ‘real relativity’).
13. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Andrei Mărăşoiu Mathematical understanding and “What if things had been different?” questions
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According to Grimm (2014), we only understand a phenomenon if we know what other phenomena it depends on, and we identify dependencies according to how we answer “What if things had been different?” questions. I argue that this view meets with mathematical counterexamples. For, in mathematics, things couldn't have been different. I consider three replies Grimm may make, and argue they do not succeed.
14. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Costin Popescu Notes on the expressive status of photography
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With a history spanning almost two centuries, during which technological advancements on the one hand, and the fluidity of social life on the other, have constantly posed new challenges, photography keeps redefining its place among visual artifacts, and its functions among self-regulatory societal mechanisms.As a widespread practice, photography has generated analyses and commentaries from many theorists of various fields, as well as from more than a few working photographers. Arguments and judgments on the status of photography with regard to its expressive possibilities, adhere to vastly different and often divergent points of view, and most importantly, raise considerable difficulties that prevent these discussions from relying on any methodological coherence.The present text presents some of these arguments and judgments. It aims to provide grounds for more orderly future debates on the artistic quality of photography and especially on the methods of investigating photographic artifacts.
15. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Irina Zhurbina Interpreting The Concept Of Politics In Terms Of Prefixation
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The article analyzes the revision of the concept of politics caused by the exhaustion of the ideological paradigm. In modern philosophy politics acquires new meanings through prefixing, resulting in the emergence of such concepts as archi-politics, para-politics, ultra-politics, trans-politics, or bio-politics. These new concepts close the philosophical source of politics laid by the Greek tradition. The departure from philosophy as the source of politics is completed with the idea of police, in which prefixing as a way of conceptualizing politics reaches the linguistic limit. However, modern philosophy encompasses a more positive attitude, which is linked to the hermeneutic tradition of philosophizing of Heidegger and Gadamer that focuses on the preservation of thought and language in the source of political existence.
discussion
16. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Plamen Makariev Liberal Democracy And Cultural Diversity – Between Norms And Facts
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This article has been written in response to the texts by Richard Robson (“In What Sense is Multiculturalism a Form of Communitarianism”), and Slobodan Divjak (“Communitarianism, Multiculturalism and Liberalism”) with which the Balkan Journal of Philosophy (vol. 10, no 2, 2018) started a discussion on the theme Liberal Democracy and Cultural Diversity. I try to contest the position of these two authors–that multiculturalism and communitarianism belong to one and the same paradigm in political philosophy–by pointing out essential liberal normative elements in multiculturalist theory. My main thesis is that in order to clarify the relation between multiculturalism and communitarianism, we have to differentiate between descriptive and normative communitarianism. The latter is guided, in my opinion, by values, which stand in stark contrast with the liberal ones, whilst this is not the case with multiculturalism.
book reviews
17. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Denitsa Zhelyazkova Logical Atomism: A Hundred Years Later
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18. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Rossen Stoyanov A Review of the book De Regt, Henk W. Understanding Scientific Understanding
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19. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Note from the Editorial Board
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articles
20. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Phillip Cole Principled Toleration and Respectful Indifference in the Liberal Polity: A Conceptual Landscape
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This paper examines toleration at two levels. At the first level, liberal individualism is concerned that the individual must be as free as possible to pursue their own goals and lifestyles. At the second level, liberal political theory is concerned with the value of liberal political culture and institutions and how to maintain and protect them. I argue that we can learn a great deal about the exercise of toleration and respect at the level of the liberal polity by examining them at the level of the liberal individual. Both tolerance and intolerance at the level of the polity must be principled. Principled tolerance and intolerance have the following features. First, the judgment whether to tolerate a particular belief or practice must be based on the value of toleration itself, not pragmatic political requirements. Second, it should be an issue of setting aside moral principles and convictions rather than dislikes, prejudices or fears. Third, it should respect the distinction between the public and the private, and should only recognise an issue as one of toleration if there is a public impact at stake.