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1. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Małgorzata Czarnocka Editorial
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past philosophy for the present and future
2. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Kevin M. Brien Toward a Critical Synthesis of the Aristotelian and Confucian Doctrines of the Mean
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This paper is the second phase of a project that was begun more than three years ago. The first phase culminated in the publication of a paper working toward a critical appropriation of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.1 Therein Aristotle famously argues that human wellbeing (eudaimonia) is constituted by “activity of the soul in accordance with moral and intellectual virtue.”2 This earlier paper brought into focus all the main lines of Aristotle’s theoretical web in the N. Ethics: including the nature of the soul, intellectual virtue, moral virtue, etc. That paper went on to give a developed critique of Aristotle’s theoretical web, and against that background it argued for a very different way of thinking about intellectual virtue, and it prepared the ground for different ways of thinking about moral virtue. This current paper explores the various conceptual understandings of “the mean” in Aristotelian and in Confucian thought. It begins with an explanatory sketch of “the mean” as understood in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, and then in a second section goes on to explore “the mean” as presented in classical Confucianism. The third section of this paper offers some reflections oriented toward a tentative formulation of a modified conception of “the mean” as it might be construed from a humanistic Marxist perspective.
3. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
T. Brian Mooney, Damini Roy Politeness and Pietas as Annexed to the Virtue of Justice
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“Politeness” appears to be connected to a quite disparate set of related concepts, including but not limited to, “manners,” “etiquette,” “agreeableness,” “respect” and even “piety.” While in the East politeness considered as an important social virtue is present (and even central) in the theoretical and practical expressions of the Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist traditions, (indeed politeness has been viewed in these traditions as central to proper education) it has not featured prominently in philosophical discussion in the West. American presidents Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington all devoted discussion to politeness within the broader ambit of manners and etiquette, as too did Erasmus, Edmund Burke and Ralph Waldo Emerson but on the whole sustained philosophical engagement with the topic has been lacking in the West. The richest source for philosophical investigation is perhaps afforded by the centrality of the concept of respect in Immanuel Kant.However in this paper we will instead draw on the writings of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas to defend the centrality of “politeness” as an important and valuable moral virtue. Starting with an analysis of the broader Aristotelian arguments on the virtues associated with “agreeableness,” namely, friendliness, truthfulness and wit I will argue that “politeness” should be thought of as an important moral virtue attached to social intercourse (and by extension the vice of impoliteness). I then move to identify an even broader and more important account of politeness, drawing on the work of Aquinas, as intimately connected to the notion of pietas (piety) as a fundamental part of the virtue of justice.
4. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Robert Elliott Allinson The Problem of the External World in René Descartes, Edmund Husserl, Immanuel Kant and the Evil Genius: A Perennial Problem for Philosophers?
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The need to prove the existence of the external world has been a subject that has concerned the rationalist philosophers, particularly Descartes and the empiricist philosophers such as John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume. Taking the epoché as the key mark of the phenomenologist—the suspension of the question of the existence of the external world—the issue of the external world should not come under the domain of the phenomenologist. Ironically, however, I would like to suggest that it could be argued that the founder of the phenomenological school of thought, Edmund Husserl, also did not avoid the question of the existence of the external world. What I would like to suggest further is that Immanuel Kant grants himself illicit access to the external world and thus illustrates that the question of the external world is vital to the argument structure of the first Critique.
5. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Dávid Kollár, József Kollár The Art of Shipwrecking: The Information Society and the Rise of Exaptive Resilience
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We argue that the epistemological, ontological, locality and social structure of the world have undergone radical changes over the last decades. The greatest riddle of the information age is whether we can domesticate the “unstable chaos” to “productive anarchy.” We argue that this results in the appreciation of the creative use of the “we do not know that we know” type of knowledge that we conceptualize as exaptive resilience. We briefly clarify the difference between exaptation and adaptation, and we compare the concept of adaptive resilience with that of exaptive resilience. Our results will show that the effectiveness of complex systems in the information age depends on the capacity of adaptive and exaptive resilience.
6. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Mitchell Atkinson III Parsimony and Ontological Control: Quine and Wittgenstein on the Size of the World
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In this paper, I argue that philosophers, while developing ontologies, can be classed as misers or profligates. I develop the categories of ontological miserliness and ontological profligacy and supply explanatory examples. I explore the theoretical motivation of both misers and profligates in terms of thought-time and inquiry scope. In brief, misers prioritize thought-time over inquiry scope; vice-versa for profligates. I examine the extent to which conservation of thought-time is an active concern for misers and provide a miserly taxonomy for ontologies; ontologies may be cheap, expensive or impossible. I argue that profligates countenance the generative character of the ontological enterprise at the expense of exclusion and limitation. The works of Willard Van Orman Quine and Ludwig Wittgenstein provide canonic examples of miserly and profligate ontologies. I argue that Quine is an ontological miser par excellence, and that Wittgenstein is profligate in his later period and evinces an intermediate position in his early period. Finally, I discuss the theoretical stakes involved in this entire discussion, provide brief contemporary examples, and explore the extent to which the distinction between miserliness and profligacy is illusory.
7. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Andrey I. Matsyna “Natural Work” as Self-capability: Remaining Human in the Era of Turmoil. In Memory of Grigory Savvich Skovoroda
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A great wandering humanist philosopher, enlightener and outstanding poet Grigory Savvich Skovoroda’s work pertains to a difficult period in the life of the 18th century Eastern Ukraine. Against the background of growing injustice and evil, the decline of spiritual values, an authentic practical philosophy of individual opposition to a self-serving world steeped in vice was born. Skovoroda’s philosophy completely lacks the intention to consider proprietary interests as the driving force of human development. Its key principle of human development is self-examination within one’s own energy-activity-object-related space. The call for self-examination from the perspective of the authentic idea of “natural work” is revealed dynamically as the process of bringing the objective world into harmony with the nature of an individual. “Natural work” is a process of individual’s constant creative self-overcoming on the ascent to subject identity; total communion of man with the universal whole.
philosophy and current human problems
8. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Omer Moussaly The Lessons of Gramsci’s Philosophy of Praxis
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For many intellectuals, including the philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis, the historical destiny of Marxism-Leninism has discredited the philosophy of praxis. It can no longer serve as a source for radical political thought. Analyzing the theoretical contributions of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, we argue that a renewal of Marxism is both possible and needed. After more than forty years of neoliberal capitalism, a revitalized Marxism can contribute to the critique of contemporary forms of economic exploitation and statist domination. We propose that it is the concepts developed by Castoriadis that need to be translated and adapted to this reformed philosophy of praxis.
9. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Shuang Zhang Critique of Capital in the Era of Globalization
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Globalization does not only embrace economy, but also politics, culture, climate, military affairs, and so on. Its most important aspect is capital; the concept of capital is the key to analyzing and understanding the today world. Today capital has turned from primitive accumulation into “accumulation by dispossession,” extending its ruling logic to all fields and levels of the world. What we should do is to minimize the capitalist ruling logic in globalization; the very globalization is an imminent trend.
10. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Stanisław Czerniak Around Richard Münch’s Academic Capitalism Theory
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The author reviews the main elements of Richard Münch’s academic capitalism theory. By introducing categories like “audit university” or “entrepreneurial university,” the German sociologist critically sets today’s academic management model against the earlier, modern-era conception of academic work as an “exchange of gifts.” In the sociological and psychological sense, he sees the latter’s roots in traditional social lore, for instance the potlatch ceremonies celebrated by some North-American Indian tribes and described by Marcel Mauss. Münch shows the similarities between the old, “gift exchanging” model and the contemporary one with its focus on the psycho-social fundamentals of scientific praxis, and from this gradually derives the academic capitalism conception. He concludes with the critical claim that science possesses its own, inalienable axiological autonomy and anthropological dimension, which degenerate as capitalism proceeds to “colonise” science by means of state authority and money (here Münch mentions Jürgen Habermas and his philosophical argumentation).The author also offers a somewhat broader view of Münch’s analyses in the context of his own reflections on the problem.
11. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Necip Fikri Alican Rawls’s Justification Model for Ethics: What Exactly Justifies the Model?
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This is a defense of Rawls against recent criticism, ironically my own, though it is also a critique insofar as it addresses a problem that Rawls never does. As a defense, it is not a retraction of the original charges. As a critique, it is not more of the same opposition. In either capacity, it is not an afterthought. The charges were conceived from the outset with a specific solution in mind, which would have been too distracting to pursue in the same article. This is that solution. It also highlights the problem.The original charges were that Rawls’s decision procedure for ethics does not justify his own moral principles, namely his principles of justice, and that the underlying problem may well keep the decision procedure from justifying any moral principles whatsoever, or at least any normatively useful ones. The underlying problem was, and still is, the model’s inherent universalism, which is built into the decision procedure through design specifications precluding relativism, yet only at the cost of limiting the relevant moral principles to generalities that are already widely accepted, thereby rendering the procedure at best redundant and very likely vacuous as an ethical justification model.These difficulties are manifested in the work of Rawls as the dogmatism of championing a distinctive conception of justice, a liberal one as he himself calls it, through a justification model that is too universalistic to permit such a bias and possibly also too universalistic to permit any substantive conclusions at all. The solution contemplated here is to position the decision procedure as a dynamic justification model responsive to moral progress, as opposed to a static one indifferent to such progress and equally open to all moral input, thus removing the inconsistency between the universalistic design and any distinctive or controversial principles, including the ones Rawls himself recommends, so long as they are consistent with moral progress.
12. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Henryk Krawczyk, Andrew Targowski A Universal Theory of Wisdom: A Mind-oriented Approach
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The purpose of the paper is to synthesize the issues of human wisdom in terms of minds which create knowledge-based judgment. We form a transdisciplinary, big-picture view of the wisdom of humans. Findings: Wisdom is the right judgment and choice in the context of the art of living. Practical implications: Wisdom can be developed within the set of minds. Social implications: To pursue wisdom in thinking and action, one must extend education to embrace more knowledge and practicing gaining better skills in decision-making. Originality: This approach offers a new understanding of the wisdom of humans, which cannot be identified as a synonym of knowledge.
13. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 30 > Issue: 1
Jonathan O. Chimakonam Are Digital Technologies Transforming Humanity and Making Politics Impossible?
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My question in this paper is whether digital technologies transform humanity and make politics impossible. Digital technologies, no doubt, are revolutionary. But I argue that what they have done in the Post-Cold War era are: (1) to further contract the spaces between politicians and the people; (2) transform actors from subjects to objects, such that we may in addition to social identities, talk about digital identities; (3) relocate the public sphere from squares to ilosphere where individuals are granted enormous expressive powers but at the same time become vulnerable to large scale manipulations; (4) and escalate the tools of politics. My argument will be that digital technologies in a subtle way are transforming humanity in the digital space and that this might have costly moral consequences not only in politics generally but specifically in liberal democracy. However, I will contend that this transformation of humanity does not make politics impossible; it only escalates it with troubling consequences like those we saw in the 2016 American presidential election.
editorial
14. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 29 > Issue: 3
Małgorzata Czarnocka Philosophy in an Age of Crisis: Challenges and Prospects, Part III
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on dialogue
15. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 29 > Issue: 3
Pablo Oyarzun R. Ways to Deal with Contingency Violence and Dialogue
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In this paper contingency is estimated as an essentially identifying trait of the (modern) world emerging from the radical upheavals of the late 18th century and the beginnings of the 19th century. If contingency is the mark of the (modern) world as world, the question arises how human beings should, or merely could deal with it. For the purpose of discussing this issue, the usual alternative of violence and dialogue is considered. Nevertheless, the intention is not merely to oppose violent to rational conduct. Taking recourse to two authors who had a particularly acute sense of contingency, Heinrich von Kleist and Paul Celan, the aim of this paper, on the one hand, is to discuss a concept of violence that is not merely instrumental, nor attributable to merely subjective intentions, but that has the significance of the principle of overcoming contingency by way of absolutely forcing order or absolutely renouncing to it. On the other hand, it involves discussing a concept of dialogue that is essentially different to what may be called the institution of Western dialogue, characterized by the disembodiment of the word, and therefore to suggest the concept of a radically embodied dialogue as a way to positively deal with contingency.
16. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 29 > Issue: 3
J. Chidozie Chukwuokolo, Victor O. Jeko A Hermeneutic Understanding of Dialogue as a Tool for Global Peace
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The problem of threat to international politics and global peace has undermined the effectiveness of the power of dialogue. The world seems to be in the condition of will to power derivable from the mutually assured destructive (MAD) tendencies. Is it possible to extend global peace? How can this be achieved? In this paper, we posit that dialogue is a fundamental medium for conflict resolution and peaceful coexistence in a diverse world. We contend that monologue in international politics understood in terms of might is right undermines the effectiveness of dialogue and often leads to violent conflicts within and between countries. Our world today is at a crossroads. Dialogue, however, foregrounds the medium of conflict resolution and the social consciousness of human communication. We present a hermeneutic understanding of dialogue that follows from relevant works of Hans Georg Gadamer and Jűrgen Habermas. This paper espouses the power of dialogue as a basis for the normative foundation of an emancipated social global order. The dialogical sequence has a cobweb of social interconnectedness and the ethics of global peace. We present a literal and philosophical understanding of dialogue and a contextual understanding of dialogue within the hermeneutic tradition.
17. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 29 > Issue: 3
Muk Yan Wong Emotion as a Language of Universal Dialogue
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Despite globalization and the rapid development of information technology, cross-cultural dialogue did not become any easier. The physical and non-physical confrontations are intensified by the differences in basic values and interest of cultures, which can be seen by the increasing number of wars, extreme localism, and mistrust between people. Rationality, which has long been regarded as the best and the only common language among different cultures, fails to facilitate communication and collaboration. Rationality’s limitation was revealed among others in Alasdair MacIntyre’s Whose Justice? Which Rationality? Unlike what ancient Greek philosophers suggested, there is not a single type of supreme rationality that everyone will and should follow. The only consensus perhaps is about the instrumental rationality suggested by Max Weber, which is futile in promoting cross-cultural dialogues as it addresses the various means rather than the ends of different cultures. In this paper, I argue that emotion is a better language for universal dialogue than rationality in two senses. First, the psychologists and anthropologists provide solid evidence to prove that certain emotions are basic and universal among all human beings. For instance, based on his study of facial expression of the Fore people in Papua New Guinea, Ekman (2003) proposed that anger, fear, surprise, disgust, sadness, and happiness are six basic emotions that are universally shared. Other evidence includes studies conducted by Tomkins (1962), Arnold (1960), and Frijda (1986). These basic emotions might serve as the foundation of cross-cultural dialogue because we are evolved to understand the causes and expressions of these emotions in others despite the cultural and social differences. Second, unlike instrumental rationality that focuses solely on how to achieve one’s end, certain emotions are non-egocentric by nature. For instance, compassion is “another-oriented emotion elicited by and congruent with the perceived welfare of another person” (Batson 1991). Chinese philosophy expresses a similar idea with the aid of the concept of Ren, which is the essence of human being, according to Confucianism. Love is another non-egocentric emotion that is constituted by care and concern of the well-being of one’s beloved for his or her own sake. That is, I love you not because loving you makes me happy, instead, it is because loving you makes you happy. Such non-egocentric emotions (other examples include sympathy, empathy, trust, etc.) might encourage and motivate crosscultural dialogue despite the conflict of interest between cultures. While facing multifaceted contemporary problems and crisis, we do not lack rational and intelligent solutions. We lack mutual understanding, reciprocal tolerance, and sustainable collaboration. The role of emotion in establishing a platform of cross-cultural dialogue should not be overlooked.
18. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 29 > Issue: 3
Iwona Krupecka The Order of Body: The Embodied Subjectivity as a Quasi-Universal Foundation of Dialogue?
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This text focuses on the possibility of acquiring universal knowledge (especially about values) by individual subjective consciousness as determined both corporeally and culturally. Along with the appearance of the “question” of the cultural Other (and with the cultural relativism as its other side) the attempts of European philosophers to establish a kind of a universal sphere—intellectual basis for an intercultural dialogue—became more intensive, but still often limited by their relation to the values and ideas of the only one culture. In other words, the attempts to search the community of human kind in an intellectual sphere often led to the universality being the “universalized particularity” (Wallerstein), maintained by the empty signifiers (Laclau). But there is also another philosophical tradition, in which the “universality” of ideas, concepts or values is being perceived as a quasi-universality or pluri-versality, mediated by human organic and cultural interactions, and is being derived rather from “beyond”—from the condition of embodiment—than from “above,” the pure intellectual cognition. I focus on three instances of moving from the order of body towards the quasi-universal values: on Bartolomé de Las Casas’s posing a problem of the universal values in the context of intercultural dialogue, on Michel de Montaigne’s reflections on human nature and Walter Mignolo’s naturalistic foundation of the comparative studies. I chose these examples, because they offer a clear and expressed attempt to reformulate the very idea of possible universality in the context of the desired intercultural dialogue, but within the optics of the embodied subjectivities.
19. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 29 > Issue: 3
Martha C. Beck Conservative Women: Bridging Divides through Meaningful Dialogue
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In response to the rise of conservative women, the author engaged in a long and meaningful Socratic dialogue with two self-identified conservative women. The paper describes the conversation (approved by participants), then analyzes it according to various political trends, Jungian and other psychological theories, the author’s dialectical teaching methodology, the value of a traditional liberal arts education and the failure of the intellectual elite in the past 50 years to create and sustain meaningful friendships with fellow citizens from all social sectors and educational levels. Athenian democracy also degenerated into authoritarianism because of the professional elite’s corruption and/or detachment.
new trends in art
20. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 29 > Issue: 3
Paula Sibilia The Digitalization of Life: A Genealogy of the Body-Machine
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The metaphor of machine has been very fertile throughout modernity: it served not only to think but also to design strategies for intervening objects as diverse as cities and the solar system, going through such basic institutions as the school or the factory. The human body also was caught in this movement that insists on identifying all life with some sort of mechanism. Even though that gesture has remained current since the beginning of industrialism, it has suffered significant alterations, especially in recent decades. We will attempt to unravel some senses of the historical transformations that are reconfiguring the fusion of life and machines, in synch with the rapid advances of digital technology.