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101. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 15
Amos Yong Personal Selfhood(?) and Human Experience in Whitehead’s Philosophy of Organism
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The focus of this paper is personal selfhood and personal identity in the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. Whitehead’s theory of human personhood is formulated within the fabric of his highly original western metaphysical vision. Rejecting the Aristotelian doctrine of substantive being, Whitehead embraced instead an ontology of becoming that sought to categorize the things of this world within a naturalistic continuum. His understanding of human selfhood was therefore explicated in terms of this continuum and avoided both the rhetoric and conceptualization of substance philosophy. Thus, human selfhood is better understood in Whitehead’s system as a continuously developing series of events or actual occasions, rather than in terms of a substantive soul. After detailing the main lines of Whitehead’s doctrine of self and personhood, three detractors of his theory are introduced: A. H. Johnson, Peter Bertocci, and Rem Edwards. Their primary objections revolve around the human experience of self and personal identity and Whitehead’s highly controversial epochal theory of time. The primary question that arises is whether or not Whitehead was finally able to do justice to the most profound insights and experiences of human beings regarding personal identity, and it is on that score that his understanding of personal selfhood is tested and found wanting.
102. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 15
Mark Zuss On the Futures of the Subject
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This paper is intended as an inquiry regarding contemporary critical assays of subjectivity. In response to the contemporary politics of representation, both in expressions of essentialist identity politics and in versions of social constructivism, and their implication of all pedagogical practices in transfers of power, I wish to project the question of the subject’s futures. I choose to discuss the limits of the interior, monadic subject for consideration not only its historical and contemporary effects in the politics of representation, but also for the possibility of thinking beyond it. In the spirit of Foucault’s ethical project only a special kind of curiosity and a thinking ‘otherwise’ could, if luck and wit permit, allow us as individual subjects to go beyond ourselves. Thinking otherwise, when possible, could also suggest going beyond ourselves collectively in the creation of provisional critical pedagogical and ethical community.
103. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
María G. Amilburu Understanding Human Nature: Examples from Philosophy and the Arts
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Ours is not the first time philosophers have looked to art for examples to illustrate their arguments. One example would be Kierkegaard, who turned to Mozart's operas in an attempt to expose what he called the aesthetic realm of existence. I hold that if Kierkegaard lived today, he would consider the main character of Nikita Mikhalkov's Dark Eyes (1987) as a prototype of the aesthetic way of existence. In order to support my thesis, I first discuss Kierkegaard's theory of the three spheres of existence. I look especially at what he considers to be the main feature of the aesthetic stage, as well as the figure of Don Giovanni in Mozart's opera. Second, I will look at the character of Romano Podroni in Dark Eyes. Finally, I will point out what makes these two characters prototypes of the aesthetic existence: the inhuman way in which they live the temporal dimension of human existence.
104. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
Carol Collier The Body as Teacher: From Source of Knowledge to Object of Knowledge
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I look at two ways of seeing the body during the Renaissance: the first, illustrated in the Essais of Montaigne, focuses on the body as a source of knowledge about the self; the second, illustrated in the developing science of anatomy, focuses on the body as an object of knowledge that is increasingly available only to specialists. In looking at the science of anatomy as it developed in the Renaissance, I show that the transformation of the body from a source of knowledge of both body and soul to an object of a mechanical science did not happen easily and reflects contradictory approaches to the self that continue to this day.
105. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
Nancy du Bois Vico’s Orations on Paideia and Humanitas
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This essay on the themes of paideia and humanitas in Giambatista Vico's inaugural orations is excerpted form a chapter of a larger study on Vico and Plato. I focus on Pico della Mirandola's Oration of the Dignity of Man because it illuminates Vico's humanistic ideals. For Vico, self-knowledge is the axis of the sphere of the liberal arts. Self-knowledge for human beings is twofold. The divinity of the human mind is a central theme in Vico as well as Pico, and human dignity is strongly stated. So one aspect of self-knowledge establishes confidence in human abilities. The other side is the recognition of human ignorance and misery. How does Vico reconcile the divinity of the human mind with the observation that most human beings are fools? The same way Pico does. Humanitas is the goal of paideia, not a given. Education makes us into human beings. We become who we are through the cultivation of virtue. Vico inspires in his students the confidence to undertake the heroic effort to rule their passions and dispel ignorance. This confidence in human potential Vico learned from Renaissance thinkers such as Pico. Vico is most impassioned when he treats educational themes, and his words are inspiring today for students and teachers alike.
106. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
Duan Dezhi On the History, Theoretical Difficulties and Prospects of the Western Subjectivity Thought
107. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
Ingvar Johansson Impossible Descriptions, Superfluous Descriptions, and Mead’s “I”
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Some kinds of utterances which have an indicative grammatical form seem, for different reasons, to be unable to say something true of the world. Logical contradictions are only the prime example of something the author baptizes impossible descriptions. So-called performative contradictions (e.g., "I do not exist") make up another kind, but there are at least two more such kinds: negating affirmations and performatives which cannot be explained within the philosophy of language. Only philosophical anthropology can explain their feature of "impossibleness," and a distinction between unreflective and reflective consciousness is central to the explanation. Particularly important here is G. H. Mead's distinction between two aspects of the self: the "I" and the "me." Each of the four kinds of impossible descriptions distinguished has its own contrary opposite. These are, in turn, logical tautologies, performative tautologies, affirming negations, and omissive performatives. The last three types as types have not received the philosophical recognition that they deserve. All four fit a general characterization which is given as a definition of the concept of superfluous description.
108. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
Chin-Tai Kim The Nature and Possibility of Philosophical Anthropology
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Philosophers cannot avoid addressing the question of whether philosophical anthropology (that is, specifically philosophical inquiry about human nature and human phenomenon) is possible. Any answer must be articulated in the context of the nature and function of philosophy. In other words, philosophical anthropology must be defined as an account of the nature of the subject of philosophical thinking. I argue that if philosophical thinkers admit that they are beings in nature, culture, and history, then the possibility of a uniquely philosophical theory of human nature and human phenomenon should be discarded. Rather, philosophy's catalytic and integrative role in human cognition should be stressed.
109. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
Sabina Kruszynska The Human Nature and Freedom: Re-interpretation of the philosophical thought of Benjamin Constant
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The liberal French thinker Benjamin Constant develops a conception of human nature which shows the triplicity of being human. Such triplicity manifests itself in the close connection between emotion, rationality, and animality. He also develops an idea of liberty which treats it only as a real, historically conditioned minimalization of external limitations. Liberty thus understood enjoys metaphysical rootedness in human nature.
110. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
Claudia Márquez Pemartín The Feeling of Pain: A Metaphysical Interpretation from Thomas Aquinas
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The metaphysical concepts of act and potency that are central to the Thomistic tradition can help us solve the problem of understanding pain, sorrow and grief. Human beings, as natural creatures, are composed of act and potency. If rightly understood, these concepts can give a rational explanation to the reality of pain-without having recourse to religious beliefs-by accepting it as a natural derivation of our natural limits.
111. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
E. Meinberg Environmental Destruction: A Philosophical-Anthropological Perspective
112. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
Elizabeth Murray Morelli Ressentiment and Rationality
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This paper is an investigation of the condition of ressentiment. It reviews the two most prominent philosophic accounts of ressentiment: Nietzsche's genealogy of ressentiment as the moral perversion resulting from the ancient Roman/Palestinian cultural conflict and giving birth to the ascetic ideal; and Scheler's phenomenology of ressentiment as a complex affective unit generative of its own affects and values. A single sketch of the typical elements of ressentiment is drawn from the review of these two accounts. One element in particular, the exigency of rationality, is highlighted. The rationality of ressentiment is found to be essential to the phenomenon as a whole and to its constitutive parts. Curiously, while their accounts imply and suggest the role of rationality, neither Nietzsche or Scheler make the centrality of rationality to ressentiment implicit.
113. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
Vassily M. Pivojev Luctis Cogitatio and Noctis Reflectio as the Forms of Consciousness and Human Exploration of the World
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The task of philosophy in the modern world consists in the construction of a methodology of self-consciousness and self-development in the person-the method of human knowledge. I suggest a binary approach to the development of human reason which is able to understand both the world and the place of the person in the world. This allocates two spheres and two forms of consciousness: 'day time' (practical) and 'night' (spiritual). The basic functions of the former are: cognitive-explanatory; service of the practical, economic, and industrial activity; praxis; methodological for engineering and technology; critical-reflecting control of mind; the blocking of 'night' consciousness and the curbing of irrational instincts; safety and preservation; establishment of norms. Functions of the former include elements related to axiology, teleology, creativity, understanding and mythology. Both forms of consciousnesses differ yet supplement each other and should therefore cooperate systematically through a shared educational dialogue.
114. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
Sami Pihlström Narrativity, Modernity, and Tragedy: How Pragmatism Educates Humanity
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I argue that the modernist notion of a human self (or subject) cannot easily be post-modernistically rejected because the need to view an individual life as a unified 'narrative' with a beginning and an end (death) is a condition for asking humanly important questions about its meaningfulness (or meaninglessness). Such questions are central to philosophical anthropology. However, not only modern ways of making sense of life, such as linear narration in literature, but also premodern ones such as tragedy, ought to be taken seriously in reflecting on these questions. The tradition of pragmatism has tolerated this plurality of the frameworks in terms of which we can interpret or 'structure' the world and our lives as parts of it. It is argued that pragmatism is potentially able to accommodate both the plurality of such interpretive frameworks-premodern, modern, postmodern — and the need to evaluate those frameworks normatively. We cannot allow any premodern source of human meaningfulness whatsoever (say, astrology) to be taken seriously. Avoiding relativism is, then, a most important challenge for the pragmatist.
115. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
Eugene S. Poliakov Lord, What is Man?
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In this essay, philosophical anthropology is considered from the viewpoint of biblical exegesis. Our summons to self-knowledge is discussed in the light of immanence of the Kingdom of God in the human being. Humanity is argued to consist of a three-fold structure: outer, inner, and divine.
116. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
Beata Stawarska The Self, the Other, the Self as An/other: A Reading of Early Sartre
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This article critically examines the way in which Sartre dealt with the problem of alterity in his early works, proposing that Sartre presented an unsatisfactory account of alterity in his first philosophical work entitled The Transcendence of the Ego, though his study of imagination offers ample opportunities to re-examine the question of alterity and to arrive at a more adequate formulation of the way in which the self relates to the other. I therefore begin by demonstrating that the Transcendence of the Ego perpetuates the Cartesian tradition where the self is defined primarily in terms of thinking-that is, self-consciousness and immanence. Next, I turn to the Sartrean Psychology of Imagination to find another way of conceptualizing the problem. I inquire into his general theory of the imaginary consciousness defined as a 'picture consciousness' and argue that it reduces the alterity of the imaginary object to sheer absence. As such, the theory of imagination does not allow us to bring the fundamental character of alterity to light. Still, we uncover a more adequate way of dealing with alterity in the context of the imaginary life. I show that the notion of the 'picture itself' allows us to conceptualize alterity as the radical withdrawal of the other. Finally, I make evident that the imaginary subject is necessarily divided between itself and itself as another and due to that internal split, can grasp the alterity of another person.
117. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
Lioudmila Tchernaya Philosophical-Anthropological Approach to Historic-Cultural Research
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This approach holds that the problem of humanity determines the history of culture. On the basis of theory developed by Max Scheler, I try to work out the main characteristics of cultural process, the typology of culture, and the periodization of culture. The humanities in Russia are in the midst of a methodological crisis now, and I hope that this approach will help us obtain a fuller understanding of culture.
118. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
Dieter Wandschneider Autonomy in Determinism
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There are good reasons for determinism — the option for pure freedom of will proves to be a non-tenable position. However, this collides with the everyday experience of autonomy. The following argument will attempt to show that determinism and autonomy are compatible. (1) A first consideration going back to MacKay makes clear that I myself cannot foresee in principle my own determination; hence fatalism has lost its grounds. (2) From the perspective of physical determination, I show that quantum-physical indetermination is not at all in a position to explain autonomy, while from the perspective of systems theory physical determination and autonomy is well-compatible. (3) The possibility of knowledge denotes a further increase of such autonomy. From this perspective, acting is something like designing-oneself or choice-of-oneself. (4) Consciousness of not being fixed in principle now becomes a determining condition of my acting, which appears to be determined by autonomy. This explains the ineradicable conviction that freedom of will is essential for human beings. (5) I conclude that the autonomy of acting is greater the more that rational self-determination takes the place of stupid arbitrariness.
119. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
Joseph Waterman The Life, Work and Death of Self-Consciousness in Hegel’s Master-Slave Dialectic
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As presented in the Phenomenology of Spirit, the aim of Life is to free itself from confinement "in-itself" and to become "for-itself." Not only does Hegel place this unfolding of Life at the very beginning of the dialectical development of self-consciousness, but he characterizes self-consciousness itself as a form of Life and points to the advancement of self-consciousness in the Master/Slave dialectic as the development of Life becoming "for-itself." This paper seeks to delineate this often overlooked thread of dialectical insight as it unfolds in the Master/Slave dialectic. Hegel articulates a vision of the place of human self-consciousness in the process of Life as a whole and throws light on the role of death as an essential ingredient in the epic drama of life's struggle and Spirit's birth.
120. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 16
Dennis M. Weiss Human Nature and the Digital Culture: The Case for Philosophical Anthropology
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Within contemporary Western philosophy, the issues of human nature and our place in the cosmos have largely been ignored. In the resulting vacuum, the various subcultures that have grown up around the digital computer (the so-called "digital culture") have been actively defining and shaping popular conceptions of what it means to be human and the place of humanity in the digital era. Here one finds an implicit view of human nature that includes recurrent themes such as: an emphasis on mind as information independent of the physical body, the obsolescence of the human body, the elimination of human particularity, the malleability of human nature, and the logic and orderliness of the computer as a metaphor for the cosmos. This view of human nature shares important characteristics with Cartesian and Christian views of human nature long rejected by philosophers. A renewal of the philosophical anthropology movement — devoted to the issues of human nature and humanity's place in the cosmos — permits us to see the inadequacy of the conception of human nature implicit in the digital culture.