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101. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
William Slaymaker The Green Color Line: African American Environmental Philosophy
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Academic African American philosophy is a specialized sub-discipline of American philosophy as it is taught in institutions of higher education. As a sub-discipline, it has its preferred topics of research which do not include (possibly have excluded) environmental philosophy, a larger sub-discipline and field of study as well as a pedagogical approach practiced by academic philosophers. Environmental philosophy has grown exponentially in size, scope and popularity in the past 25 years. In its poverty of interest and research in environmental philosophy, African American philosophers are not reflective of African American interests and investments in Black cultural concerns relevant to environmental issues. With a few exceptions, African American philosophy has exhibited in its research agendas, ethical positions, and cultural arguments, a general disregard for significant Black ecojustice scholarship, sociopolitical movements and popular, mediated manifestations of Black environmentalism. However, this academic vacuum is collapsing as the next generation of African American graduate philosophy students begin to research, write, and teach environmental philosophy.
102. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Sirajul Islam Siraj Buddhism and Ecological Crisis: Challenge and Promise in Global Perspective
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Buddhist religious teachings are nature and environment based, holistic and pragmatic in approach. Its environmentalists extend loving-kindness and compassion beyond people and animals to include plants and the earth itself. Hence, in Buddhism, both animate and inanimate objects are similarly important because they are reciprocally interlinked and interdependent. Existentially, buddhists affirm that all sentient beings share the fundamental conditions of birth, old age, suffering, and death. Buddha himself decides to share this existential insight into the cause and cessation of suffering which is regarded by the tradition as an act of universal compassion (karuna) and friendliness (maitree). Buddhist environmentalists assert that the mindful awareness of the universality of suffering produces compassionate empathy for all forms of life, particularly for all sentient species. Buddhist environmental movement suggests Buddhism to be an effective force for maintaining environmental poise, the traditional buddhist emphasis on individual moral and spiritual transformation must be adjusted to address more forcefully the structures of oppression, exploitation, and environmental degradation. It recognizes the value of all things/objects, which seems a very vital and necessary component in recognition of ecological articulation for human development. Buddhist ecological outlook is not only a retreat from the world but a place, where all forms of life, human, animal, and plant, live in a cooperative microcosm of a larger ecosystem and as a community, where humans can develop an ecological ethic. Such an ethic highlights the virtues of restraint, simplicity, loving-kindness, compassion, equanimity, patience, wisdom, nonviolence, and generosity. These virtues represent moral ideals for all members of Buddhism which are equally efficacious for all animate and inanimate species of the world. Many other points relevant to the topic will be discussed in the full paper.
103. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Mingming Wan What We Owe to Each Other: On Global Climate Justice
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The key to global climate justice is how to define or distribute greenhouse-gas (sometimes abbreviated GHG) emissions rights in different countries. Three questions are to be answered: First, what does global climate justice distribute? Second, on what principle does it distribute? Third, what is the moral foundation of the principle? The thesis analyzes the peculiarity of GHG emissions permits as a global public resource and its consequent ethical issues. On the ground of egalitarianism, it proves the basic principle of distributing GHG emissions permits required by global climate justice, and the basic ethical ground of global climate justice accepted by international community.
104. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Larisa Tronina Ecological Reality as a World of Senses
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The process of human alienation from the natural world has led to the current crisis of the system “Man-Nature”, expressing a fragmented worldview that is information oriented and pragmatic. To overcome this alienation, people should realize that they exist in a particular reality, which is described as the ecological world. This world has knowledge of the opportunities provided by living creatures. Extracting this information is an active process of direct perception of the environment. Disclosing meanings of nature, man forms an environmentally oriented consciousness which determines its place in the natural existence. Environmental consciousness is an orientation focused on understanding the unity of existence, including the environment and people.
105. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Harun Tepe Philosophical Ecology and Anthropology: Does Ecology Need Philosophical Anthropology?
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Though ecology is mainly regarded as a sub-discipline of biology, today ecological problems are dealt with by different kinds of scientific and philosophical studies. As one of the new sub disciplines of philosophy, philosophical ecology tackles ecological problems from an ethical point of view and puts man’s responsibility for ecological disasters into question. Ecological analyses include not only human beings, but also animals and plants as well as the inanimate components of the environment such as soil, rocks, and water. On the other side, philosophical anthropology is concerned with human being as its object, putting aside other components of nature. Criticizing the so called conventional ethics which takes only human being as valuable, philosophical ecology tries to combine the ecological and anthropological perspectives and shed light on the ecological problems of our age. In this paper, I will try to show that an anthropocentric point of view cannot prevent ecological disasters without recognizing the ecological cycle in which each part can survive only connected with other parts but also that an ecological perspective cannot reach its aim without realizing the central position of human being in nature.
106. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Tipsatree Tipmontree, Pratumtip Thongcharoen Climate Change and Future Generations
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The majority of people acknowledge the change in the world following a law-like reality that has appeared not only in the human life cycle but also in other creations and non-creations, according to their ontological perspective. However, studies have shown that the climate has changed whether people acknowledge it or not, following an epistemic perspective in philosophy that brings to light information of our modern world. Effects from climate change include disasters and other phenomena such as El Nino, La Nina, global warming, and the greenhouse effect. It is clear that both nature and humans are important actors influencing climate change. Increasing populations in many countries, along with the effects of capitalism, are major factors that lead to climatic change. Consequently, scholars have at least two serious concerns: Do we have responsibilities towards future generations? In addition, do future generations have a right to a sustainable environment? This article encourages answers to these questions. A “safety valve” may be an effective way to reach the elusive sustainability in conjunction with the four noble truths of Buddhism and the philosophy of the “sufficiency economy”. Not only older but also younger people need to take the responsibility to work together in order to preserve and protect the environment.
107. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Jack L. Weir Monism or Pluralism in Environmental Ethics?
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This paper argues that moral pluralism is the best theory of environmental ethics. Pluralism has been widely used in legal and medical ethics, but not in environmental ethics. Current theories of environmental ethics make two errors: (a) attempting directly to derive non-consequential obligations (duties, rights, respect, and justice) from values, and (b) failing to explain and resolve indecision and disagreement. This paper argues that moral pluralism does not make the two errors. In addition, pluralism is theoretically justified by giving a complete account of the depth, particularity, and diversity of human moral experience, including non-consequential duties to the environment. Pluralism is not arbitrary moral relativism. Rooted in the way the world actually is, moral pluralism is like the sciences in that lower-level generalizations (basic principles) rest on particular facts, events, and cases in the world. Because pluralism’s moral principles are derived from facts about cases, the principles are inductively warranted, confirmed, and revisable. What is needed today is an ethical theory that will empower decision-makers, legitimize tolerance, and peacefully resolve problems, either by producing agreement or by explaining the reasons for the continuing disagreements. Pluralism is that theory.
108. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Xiaona Yao Ch’eng as an Environmental Virtue
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Environmental virtues are the proper disposition or character for human beings to live well with nature. Ch’eng (sincerely, realness, integrity), a classical concept in Chinese philosophy, can be specified as an environmental virtue. Ch’eng is the law of nature and can be regarded as the virtue of nature (cheng zhe tian zhi dao ye). Ch’eng is the requirement for humans to respect and obey nature, is the approach to realize the harmony of human and nature, is the way to be a perfection or integrity person of virtue. Be human of the virtue of ch’eng, one should consummate oneself and nature. That means a person of virtue not only have the virtue of human relationship but also have the virtue of environmental virtue.
109. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Jeanette L. Yasol-Naval On the Ethos of Rice and Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and Aesthetics
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This paper presents a narrative on the Ethos of Rice based on the study of the local farming practices in one of the central rice granaries in the Philippines. It tackles the endless debate of the economics of rice production and how it impacts the farm and the farmers’ relation with the land. While it is seen as inevitable and necessary, because rice is the saving grains of the family, their local farming practices and valuation has shown respect to the land that is akin to the land ethic of Leopold. At the same time, the author argues that the aesthetic of the land, which presupposes an ecological conscience and sensitivity to the ‘finer beauty’ of the farm as it becomes the extension of the farmers’ lives, their completeness and fulfillment, may also help facilitate a lasting relationship with land. The appreciation of the its value is therefore a matter of understanding the ecology of the farm and the dynamics of emotions, predilections, valuations, dispositions and the whole breadth of relations that are there. The seasoned farmers of Nueva Ecija have learned this difficult subject of land ethics and aesthetics through their intimate commune with their rice farms, and from there a vision of conservation may be glimpsed.
110. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Xueqin Wu Analysis of the Negotiations of the International Climate Changeand Environmental Justice
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Since the Club of Rome published “Limits to Growth” in 1972, the environmental problems have received the attention of people around the world and have become a global issue. The international community has also organized special meetings to promote the study of environmental issues. One of the most important meetings is the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held every year since 1972. The most important issue is on how to deal with climate change, which has become an international mainstream issue. From the perspective of environmental justice, the paper is a brief analysis of the negotiations on international climate changes, based on the opportunities of the 2009 Copenhagen Summit, the 2010 Cancun Summit and the 2011 South Africa Bender Climate Summit.
111. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Mira Sultanova Homo Sapiens and His World
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The ancient saying Nosce te ipsum (“Know thyself”), inscribed on the pediment of Apollo’s Temple in Delphi, has been stirring mankind for centuries. Even in the third millennium, who could claim to know themselves or to have understood what human being or his mind is? If human conscious-ness could be explored, the secret of human nature may have the chance to be revealed as well as the human controversial acts. Many philosophers, scien-tists and writers call the human being a genius, a unique creature in the Uni-verse. Indeed, humanity did create a new world, a new civilization on Earth. But philosophers, scientists and writers devote no less attention to the cur-rent environmental and anthropological crises, stating that civilization itself is becoming an increasing threat to people and nature. In this situation, the anthropological issue becomes critical. What the human being is? What are we all? Where did we come from? Where we are going? The great ancient Greek philosopher Socrates would reply, “I know that I know nothing.” In this paper I express the concerns I share especially with two eco-philosophers from the US and Russia, about mankind destroying itself and nature, its own world, for false and unworthy causes.
112. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Marina F. Bykova On the Interpretation of Geist in Hegel
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The paper explores Hegel’s notion of Geist how it appears in his philosophical system. Critically analyzing a recently resurgent interpretation of Geist as a supernatural or divine principle determining the development of the system and guiding human civilization and history, the author shows its interpretive mistakes and shortcomings. Rejecting the divine interpretation of Hegel’s account of Geist as erroneous, the author provides a more accurate reading of the above concept which does justice to intended meaning of the term and also allows adequately understanding and appreciating Hegel’s insights into social philosophy, especially the importance he attached to universality and fundamental universal elements within his system. What Hegel designates “Geist” is our collective effort of a social being. Thus the exposition of self-development of Geist reveals the communal nature of humanity.
113. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Jeremiah Alberg Reading Kant: From Rousseau to Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason
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This paper extends Richard Velkely’s interpretation of the influence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant by examining it in the light of the concept of “scandal.” Kant himself saw the “scandal of ostensible contradiction of reason with itself” as what drove him to a critical examination of reason. My own research has shown that Rousseau’s system is rooted in scandal, so the task it to connect these two facts. First, the exact meaning and nature of scandal has to be determined through a close reading of Kant’s Remarks in the Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime. Next, one must trace the connection between Kant’s reading of Rousseau and the problem that eventually becomes known as the antinomy of pure reason.
114. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Richard Feist Warfare and Ethics: Toward the Idea of War’s Influence on Philosophy
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I argue that warfare, typically seen as essentially and solely destructive, should be seen as essentially destructive, but accidentally creative. This view of war is then applied to the relationship between philosophy (ethics) and warfare. The argument is made that the nature of warfare has been an influence on philosophy. This argument is made by considering the Athenian experience in the conflict at Delium where Socrates is known to have taken part.
115. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Rodica Croitoru Platonic Idea and Transcendental Idea as Investigation and Opening to Life
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Thinking of the system of rational ideas as extensions of conceiving, Kant deemed as necessary to pay his respects to Plato, the first who mapped out the philosophical career of those instruments of rational investigation. From the view of his transcendental idealism, he appreciated two elements: the utilization of ideas as a cognitive instrument distinct from senses, as well as the involvement of the human reason in their operationalization. Kant does not attach himself to the supra-individual force represented by the prototypes of things, because every source of knowledge excepting human faculties is deemed as devoid of any real ground. In consequence, the human faculty of reason is the one which gave Kant the opportunity to conceive the ideas of reason as investigations through systematic reflection, but also as an opening to three philosophical disciplines, which means three life options; among them especially the last one, aiming at the express orientation of life towards the moral faith, is a character modeler.
116. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Marco Duichin A Neglected Episode in the History of Nineteenth-century Ideas: Marx and Engels Facing Phrenology
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At the end of the 18th century, the German physician and anatomist F.J. Gall founded Schädellehre, a new discipline – better known today by the name “phrenology”, popularized by his disciple J. C. Spurzheim – designed to show the functional connections between psychic faculties, areas of the brain, and the shape of the skull. In contrast to Gall’s belief that the individual’s moral and intellectual endowments were biologically innate, and could be measured by cranioscopy, 20th century Marxism took a critical view of phrenology, branding it as a “pseudoscientific”, “vulgar-materialistic”, and “reactionary” doctrine, the preserve of “spiritualists” and “charlatans of every stripe”. Up until today it has seldom been pointed out that – in spite of this harsh judgment by the Marxist literature – also Marx and Engels make an unexpected appearance amidst the varied array of 19th century supporters of phrenology. During his stay in Manchester (1842/44), the Young Engels, who had recently turned atheist, carried out cranioscopic experiments in order to disprove the claims made by the “Christianizing phreno-mesmerist” S.T. Hall that there was a specific cerebral organ of religiosity and faith in God; and even in his ripe age he was not above, having a phrenologist examine him to assess his aptitudes for business and foreign languages. As for Marx, after his early discovery of Schädellehre through reading Hegel’s works, he consolidated his knowledge of the subject during his long exile in London (1849/83). While in London, he read books on medicine and phrenology, watched anatomical demonstrations, made friends with some German refugees who were followers of the doctrines of Gall and Spurzheim, and used the cranioscopic method to make a personal selection of the militants of the Communist League. This paper aims to draw attention to a little-known and unexplored episode in the history of philosophical and scientific ideas of the 19th century.
117. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Vasiliki Grigoropoulou The Stoic Aspect of Spinoza: Oikeiosis in the Stoics and conatus in Spinoza
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In France and the Netherlands, between 1580 and 1620, an age of religious and civil wars, Neo-Stoicism made its appearance, with Justus Lipsius, Guillaume du Vair and Pierre Charron as its key representatives. The Neo-Stoics sought to counter the irrationality and acrimony of wars by recourse to reason and especially to Stoic theories of nature and Logos. Yet, since the ideas of the Stoics were widely held as incompatible with Christian theology, Lipsius (1547-1606) sought to wed them with Christian teachings, as it were, to ‘Christianize’ them, a policy also adopted by Gassendi for the propagation of the Epicurean philosophy. Translations of works by the Stoics had appeared during the Renaissance period and they were disseminated widely. The first text we shall examine comes from the seventh volume of the works of Diogenes Lærtius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers [Vitæ Philosophorum], which was devoted to the Stoics and was translated into Latin in 1433 by Ambrogio Traversari in Florence. The work of Diogenes Laertius was a basic source of Stoic philosophy and another source was the work of Cicero, whose writings were studied uninterruptedly throughout the Middle Ages. In this paper, I will quote and focus on certain passages on oikeiosis in Cicero’s De finibus, which was one of the key points of reference for philosophers in the 17th century. Spinoza’s library included the Letters of Cicero [Ciceronis Epistolæ], as well as the Εnchiridion and the Discours [Dissertationes] of Epictetus, in the 1595/96 bilingual Greek/Latin edition of Hieronymo Volfio, with a commentary by Simplicius. In his library there were also three editions of the works of Seneca, including the Moral Letters to Lucilius, which had been published by J. Lipsius and J. F. Gronovius (1649), and his Tragedies. Spinoza very rarely mentions other philosophers, yet explicit references to the Stoics are found in his writings, but for raising objections such as against their theory of the soul, their conception of the will, and the suicide of Seneca. The most important references, in my view, are implicit; yet, as I’ll attempt to demonstrate, above all it is these very places that reveal his affinity with the Stoics. I propose to focus first on the concept of oikeiosis, drawing on relevant citations in the texts of Diogenes Laertius, in Cicero’s De finibus and in Seneca’s Letter 121. I will then proceed to examine Spinoza’s notion of conatus. Oikeiosis, which is a core notion for the moral theory of the Stoics, has been rendered via a variety of words, such as “appropriation”, but also “love”, “familiarization”, “affinity”, “affection”, “endearment”, “being dear”. It has become accepted that it is an untranslatable term that, as it were, resists rendition through a single word. Oikeiosis is connected with three terms: oikeion, meaning familiar or dear, constitution of a being, and συνείδησις, meaning consciousness or sense of self, which in the text of Diogenes is not defined. Nevertheless, both the particular constitution of a living being and its consciousness evolve and can be perfected, which implies that the same may be true for oikeiosis. It is a complex notion, indeed, and it cannot be conveyed by a simple proposition. It is a fluid concept suspended amidst a web of other concepts, which are added to and influence each other’s meanings. Even though the meaning of oikeiosis cannot be conveyed through a single word and a simple proposition, it can be rendered through a system of propositions, which, as we shall see, is also the case in the exposition of conatus in Spinoza. Oikeiosis is a fundamental concept in the anthropology and the ethics of the Stoics. Its influence extends into the 17th and 18th centuries. The contribution of the Stoics, and also of the Epicureans, to 17th century thought, is in no way tangential, because it was that era that saw the introduction of new theories of nature, of natural laws and of human nature that differ from those in the Scholastic tradition. Oikeiosis is a source of inspiration for a number of thinkers, such as Grotius, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, and for Spinoza, as we shall examine. Numerous studies have focused on oikeiosis in the Stoics, and indeed on conatus in Spinoza, and an affinity between them has already been identified. Nevertheless, in my view, the problem of defining both concepts is still open. Moreover, Stoic philosophy is not the theory of just one philosopher and the conception of oikeiosis is not just one and unique among the Stoics. If a source of inspiration for Spinoza’s theory of conatus is to be found in oikeiosis, it remains to be investigated to which philosopher he refers and which account of oikeiosis he has in mind. In my view, in his exposition of conatus Spinoza reformulates the concept of oikeiosis, in the context of his own, ordine geometrico system and in the web of its terms, in an implicit dialogue with the Stoics and also with his contemporaries.
118. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Paola Giacomoni Antonio Damasio about Descartes and Spinoza on Passions and the Body
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This paper focuses on Antonio Damasio’s recent reinterpretation of Descartes’s and Spinoza’s philosophy. Damasio underlines, from an interdisciplinary perspective, the relevance of philosophical conceptions of the mind to current, neurological research on emotion. His main thesis affirms that some 17th century philosophical concepts can be useful within the framework of contemporary research on the human brain and the emotions. Damasio’s work is also an effort to foster dialogue between the humanities and natural sciences within the field of scientific research on human emotions. The thesis expounded in several of Damasio’s works is the necessity of overcoming the mind-body dualism. While Damasio’s evaluation of cartesian philosophy is superficial and underestimates Descartes’s last work, Les passions de l’âme, his approach to Spinoza’s philosophy is more accurate. His interpretation of the concept of “conatus” in terms of homeostatic self-regulation of the organism seems interesting also for a reappraisal of the XVII century’s philosophical debate and its use in a contemporary scientific context.
119. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Robert Greenberg Kant’s Causal Theory of Action and the Freedom of the Will
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This paper presents an interpretation of Kant’s understanding of the concept of an action of a subject as an instance of a causal way he has of understanding certain other concepts as well, including his concept of appearance and that of event. I will call this way of understanding a concept “a causal theory” of the object so conceived, e.g. a causal theory of an action, an appearance, or an event, because the indicated concept logically requires the existence of an object as the cause of the existence of the object so conceived. The argument is that the theory I am attributing to Kant as his causal theory of action provides the basis for an interpretation of his theory of the freedom of the will that is integral to his moral philosophy. The paper thus starts with a general way of understanding his use of causal theory, continues with his understanding of the concepts of appearance, event, and action, thence to his theory of freedom, and concludes, briefly, with his theory of morality.
120. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Qinghai Guo The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity
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The rational subjectivity principle, which is a distinguishing characteristic of philosophical discourse of modernity, is not only the foundation of certainty of scientific knowledge and epistemic truth, but the resource of modern consciousness as well. Rational subject, established by speculative philosophy, contradicts with and separates from otherness while self-regarding and self-defending. Ironically, rationality, which was centered on subject, transformed into a myth of ration in the tendency of self-absolutization. Therefore, rationality pushed forward its self-orientation, and built up its dialectic self-denial.