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philosophy and current human problems
61. 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.
62. 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.
63. 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.
64. 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.
65. 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
66. 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.
67. 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.
68. 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.
69. 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.
70. 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
71. 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.
72. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 29 > Issue: 3
Kathia Hanza The Contemporary Antithesis between Art and Beauty
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This article examines the antecedents and background of the antithesis between art and beauty. It also considers if this confrontation, typical in modern aesthetics, provides necessary conceptual categories to comprehend the situation of art in the communication era, characteristic of a generalised aesthetisation. Departing from the ideas posed by Yves Michaud, Mateu Cabot, Didi-Huberman and Mario Perniola, the author dismantles the false opposition between art and beauty; she proposes a strategy to avoid an antithetical position and exhorts the readers to recover a different experience from beauty.
faces of the world today
73. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 29 > Issue: 3
Marie Pauline Eboh Philosophy in an Age of Crisis: Challenges and Prospects
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Crisis means “decisive moment,” a dangerous time when action must be taken to avoid a complete disaster. In the digital age, the influx of information is extremely rapid. Many people lack the wisdom and prudence to process data correctly and to take timely moral decisions. Too much information is driving people crazy as increase in knowledge goes with an upsurge in crime rate, particularly cybercrime. This historic period is an era of multiple crises, especially crisis of human values, particularly moral ones. What is so special about the crisis of this age? Why does increase in knowledge not correspond to a rise in civility and economic power for all? Is knowledge no longer empowering? Can humans co-exist in tranquility without moral values? This paper will critically reflect on the concerns raised, the challenges and prospects of the digital age, ask seminal questions and proffer invaluable solutions. And also assert the functional role of philosophy, which is needed in order to stem the moral and social crises of the information age.
74. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 29 > Issue: 3
Ọmọ́táyọ̀ Ayọ̀dèjì Ọládèbóa Globalization and the Question of African Cultural Identity: A Defense of Complementarism
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This paper engages in the debate between cultural modernists and cultural traditionalists concerning the importance of cultural fidelity as faced by African people via globalization and its alleged homogenizing tendency. Central to this debate is the issue of cultural truths and its use, that is, development. The paper therefore argues that African peoples do not need to “essentialize” their cultures. This is because the “truths about reality” with which they intend to employ in this quest for development are not exclusive to any particular cultural society. The implication of the foregoing is the paper’s insistence that Africans adopt a complementarist attitude in their determination for cultural fidelity. It maintains that this attitude will make Africans avail themselves of ideas from elsewhere. Ultimately, the paper posits that this new disposition of Africans to their cultures and those of non-African societies will set her beleaguered states on a solid developmental trajectory.
75. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 29 > Issue: 3
William H. Harwood The Canary in the Gold Mine: Ethics, Privacy, and Big Data Analytics
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This paper offers a sketch of the complicated conflicts which arise—and metastasize seemingly daily—in the era of Big Data. Given the public’s ubiquitous-yet-ostensibly-voluntary data surrender, and industry’s ubiquitous-yet-ostensibly-anodyne collection of the same, inaction is not an option for any near-just society. By revisiting the philosophical basis for Panoptic apparatus (via Bentham and Foucault), sketching the tumultuous history of US contract law trying to protect the public from itself (from Lochner to Carpenter), and comparing existing industry codes for similarly-situated—read: terrifyingly invasive—fields (e.g., physicians, therapists, attorneys, accountants), the paper will provide a preliminary framework for identifying and confronting the galaxy of problems associated with data analytics.
76. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 29 > Issue: 3
Laura Dev Healing in the Chthulucene: Becoming beyond Human with Medicinal Plants
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The term “Anthropocene” is frequently used to refer to the present planetary epoch, characterized by a geological signature of human activities, which have led to global ecological crises. This paper probes at what it means to be human on earth now, using healing as a concept to orient humanity in relation to other species, and particularly medicinal plants. Donna Haraway’s concept of the “Chthulucene” is used as an alternate lens to the Anthropocene, which highlights the inextricable linkages between humans and other-than-human species. Healing can be viewed as a type of embodied orientation or engagement with the world, which has the potential to reach across boundaries of the skin, blur distinctions between self and other, and allow for both transpersonal and trans-species reconciliation. I focus my attention on Indigenous Shipibo healing rituals, and Shipibo concepts of healing that integrate humans within the ecosystem, and traverse species boundaries through communication with and embodiment of plant spirits. These healing rituals offer ways of coming into being within an ecology of selves—both internal and external, human and non-human—through listening and lending voice. I explore the potential for healing and ritual to work as a form of porous resistance through the internal blurring of binaries and hierarchical structures.
77. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 29 > Issue: 3
Renat Apkin, Emily Tajsin Ecophilosophy and the Problem of Monitoring Hazards
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There is a strong interconnection between the social and environmental spheres. The efforts of monitoring and forecasting of disastrous events can illustrate benefits and threats of technicization and science. In ecophilosophy the forecasting of hazards is today extremely needed. It is not about creating theoretical unified structures or practical return to holistic harmony of a primordial man with nature. It is about, as Félix Guattari once held it, the complexity of the relationship between humans and their natural environment. Though the desired maintenance of the conflict between industrial society and natural systems now seems impossible, we still can start moving towards it: theoretically, by developing eco-philosophical ideas, and practically, monitoring and forecasting catastrophes and disasters, to protect human life and health and, as eco-philosophers would say, keep land usable for human purposes. The topic of the earthquakes forecast today is more in demand than ever.
78. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 29 > Issue: 3
Jialing Zhao Quality and Life: A Thesis on the Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
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With the swift development of technology, the distance among people’s hearts surprisingly becomes further and further. Residents living in the congested cities feel more lonely than those who inhabit countryside. The mass media makes them consider ever ything at hand stereotyped. They parrot their designated work again and again, without passion or enthusiasm. Hence facing these social predicaments and interior struggle, Robert M. Pirsig embarks on a trip to cross America by motorcycle, in order to gain spiritual epiphany and freedom. Therefore, he finds quality is the panacea that may solve the present problems. Quality has a long history, which is closely analogous to Plato’s goodness. Quality is one, just as the supreme spirit in the Buddhist Upanishad whose universe and ego are identical. However, modern technology lacks of oneness, so that each time touching it, people only feel cruel and ugly since both the creator and the owner do not have the sense of identity for their innovative or possessive things. The injection of quality into technology may break through the difficulties resulting from the traditional method of dichotomy for the reason that quality spurs technology to melt nature and human’s soul, creating something that exceeds the two. This thesis aims to probe the meaning of quality and the account of modern crisis caused by the absence of quality. The last part points out how to reconcile the conflict between human’s value and technological needs, so as to achieve the ultimate goal that enhances people’s happiness.
79. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Małgorzata Czarnocka Editorial
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80. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Maria Elena Ramos Some Relations between Ethics, Aesthetics and Politics in Contemporary Art in Times of Crisis
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The inclusion of ethics and politics into artistic creation process is for many contemporary creators/artists an essential motivation while they consciously act in an aesthetic space polluted with the realities of a world in crisis. Art, which produces visible and sensible forms, can reveal aesthetic ideas and fundaments through aesthetic objects: drawing, video-installing or poem/poetry. And artists can make someone feel with their creations—whether these are beautiful, sublime, tragic, or ironic—ethical contentions violated by human action or the exertion/exercise of political power. Works of art that are not only guided by the categories signed by beauty, because in artistic languages, violence and suffering also make/create form. And times of crisis are the ideal sphere/dimension for an art that gives a vivid way of seeing/watching the uncertainty, the perversion, the terrible. In bringing these philosophical—ethical, aesthetic and political—topics, I do it from an approach that departs form artistic creations and curatorial research. I try to penetrate the narrow thread between an ethical topic and the plastic form in which it incarnates/embodies itself, or between a political action and the aesthetic structure of language as a creative, expressive consequence.