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181. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 22
Chelsea H. Snelgrove Relation And Responsibility: Drawing The Boundaries Of The Ethical Self
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This paper evaluates some philosophical views regarding the self who is an ethical deliberator and agent-specifically the traditional atomistic individualist self and the expanded biocentric self of deep ecology. The paper then presents an alternative manner of thinking about the ethical self which avoids some of the philosophical difficulties of the foregoing views. This alternative draws on the recent work by Val Plumwood and Donna Haraway. Haraway's cyborg identity is a kind of self-in-relation (Plumwood's term) which allows for ethical deliberations that take relations with others seriously without losing individuality in problematic holism (as deep ecology does). Self-in-relation is defined by the relation of intentional inclusion. This relation is given a functionalist, non-mentalistic interpretation. The notions of ontological foresight and moral foresight are introduced to enable determinations of moral responsibility without falling back into the problematic universalism which otherwise results from the functionalist view of cyborg self-in-relation.
182. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 22
Irina Shirkova-Tuuli On the Concept of Ecological Optimism
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In this paper I want to discuss some problematic issues in contemporary philosophical thought concerning the environment that I consider to be "pessimistic." I state the necessity of finding a new, active and stimulating position regarding the ecological situation that will help to initiate and support a positive outcome. I call such a position Ecological Optimism. I also discuss the scientific and philosophical groundwork underlying this position and develop a brief plan for its implementation.
183. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 22
David Waller From Necessity to Authenticity: An Argument for Environmental Angst
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In this paper I propose to answer the age-old reductio against vegetarianism, which is usually presented in the form of a sarcastic question (e.g., "How do you justify killing and eating plants?"). Addressing the question takes on special significance in the light of arguments which seem to show that even nonsentient life is intrinsically valuable. Thus, I suggest that we rephrase the question in the following manner: When beings (who are biological and thus dependent on the destruction of other forms of life in order to sustain their own) evolve into societies of moral agents are they entitled merely to assume that they retain their license to destroy other life in order to sustain their own? I answer in the negative. I argue that such societies must continually earn that right by engaging in activity that makes up for and augments the values that they destroy. Unlike other biological beings, humans have complete control over what they eat, whether they eat, and whether they reproduce. Hence, the appeals to necessity that are ubiquitous in justifications of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets are inauthentic and must be accordingly forsaken. We will have to appeal instead to the value of particular human activities that are fueled by our consumption of other lives.
184. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 22
Karen J. Warren Environmental Justice: Some Ecofeminist Worries About A Distributive Model
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Environmental philosophers, policy-makers and community activists who discuss environmental justice do so almost exclusively in terms of mainstream Western distributive models of social justice. Whether the issue is treatment of animals, human health or property, wilderness and species preservation, pollution or environmental degradation, the prevailing and largely unchallenged view is that the issues of environmental justice are for the most part distributive issues. I think this wholesale framing of considerations of environmental justice solely in terms of distribution is seriously flawed. Drawing on both ecofeminist insights into the inextricable interconnections between institutions of domination and Iris Young’s work on the inadequacy of distributive models of social justice, I argue for the twofold claim that a distributive model of environmental justice is inadequate and that what is needed is an additional nondistributive model to supplement, complement and — in some cases — take precedence over a distributive model.
185. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 22
Jack Weir Case-Based Environmental Ethics
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Cases have been widely used in medical ethics and law. In both fields, numerous books and articles about cases have appeared, including book-length catalogs of cases. I argue that pluralistic casuistry provides an adequate approach to environmental ethics. It retains the strengths while avoiding the weaknesses of the other approaches. Importantly, it resolves some broader theoretical issues and provides a clear, explicit methodology for education and praxis.
186. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 23
Zekeh S. Gbotokuma Polygyny in Africa: A Male’s Post-Original Sin or Rejection of the Primeval Monogyny and A rmation of Sexual Inequality
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Whereas numerous African creation myths are supportive of cultural practices such as circumcision, there are very few, if any, creation myths that justify polygyny. There are many proverbs about polygamy. However, proverbs do not have the same weight as myths in explaining why certain things should be the way they are. African creation myths suggest that monogyny was the original practice not only among creator-gods, but also among the original humans. The pursuit of immortality through procreation is noble. Nevertheless, its achievement through polygyny discriminate against women. So, polygyny is a sexist cultural practice that has no genuine religious basis. It is a "post-original" sin as well as a culturally and morally controversial issue. It undermines the original gender equality. Consequently, it should be dismantled through education, commitment to and enforcement of human rights laws.
187. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 23
Innocent I. Asouzu Science and African Metaphysics: A Search for Direction
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If one takes the African situation as a case study, one finds that serious efforts are made for the sake of scientific progress and exploration. However, the results attained are not comparable to the energy expended. Lack of progress is often attributed to faulty policy formation and execution on the part of African leaders and governments. This essay attempts to shed light on the source of this problem. The heuristic principle I follow holds that the metaphysical preconditioning of consciousness leads us to approach sensory data in particular ways and, furthermore, influences both our formulation of problems and possible solutions. I note the lapses in African metaphysics and sketch an alternate metaphysics which I hope will inaugurate a new African system of thought.
188. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 23
Teodoros Kiros The Meditations of Zara Yaquob
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Claude Sumner was the first English-speaking scholar to introduce the thoughts of Zara Yaquob to the philosophical world. Sumner undertook the arduous task of comparing Zara Yaquob with Descartes on methods of thinking. For Sumner, modern philosophy began in Ethiopia with Zara Yaquob at the same time as in England and France. In what follows, I will compare Descartes and Yaquob as well.
189. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 23
Gail Presbey Who Counts as a Sage?: Problems in the Further Implementation of Sage Philosophy
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With the recent death of Prof. H. Odera Oruka, founder of the ‘sage philosophy’ school of research based at the University of Nairobi, there is a need to look at some now-problematic issues. I suggest that the original impetus for starting the sage philosophy project-the defense against Euro-American skeptics who thought Africans incapable of philosophizing-has been outgrown. The present need for studies of African sages is to benefit from their wisdom, both in Africa and around the world. I also suggest that the title ‘sage’ has to be problematized. While there were good reasons to focus earlier on rural elders as overlooked wise philosophers, the emphasis now should be on admiring philosophical thought wherever it may be found—in women, youth, and urban Africans as well. In such a way, philosophy will be further relevant to people’s lives, and further light will be shed and shared regarding the lived experience in Africa.
190. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 23
Dirk J. Louw Ubuntu: An African Assessment of the Religious Other
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The decolonization of Africa, of which the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa is the most recent example, has led to a greater recognition of the wide variety of religions practising on its soil. When confronted with this plurality, and the corresponding plurality of claims to truth or credibility, believers often resort to absolutism. The absolutist evaluates the religious other in view of criteria which violate the self-understanding of the latter. The religious other is thus being colonized by a hegemony (i.e., an enforced homogeneity) of norms and values. This paper deals with an assessment of the faith of others which transcends absolutism without resorting to relativism. More specifically, it aims to show that an African philosophy and way of life called ‘Ubuntu’ (humanness) significantly overlaps with such a ‘decolonized’ assessment of the religious other, and that this assessment can therefore also be explained, motivated or underscored with reference to the concept of Ubuntu.
191. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 23
Moses Akin Makinde Whither Philosophy in Africa?
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This paper examines the position of philosophy in Africa from the time African and expatriate philosophers engaged in the debate on whether or not there was a uniquely African Philosophy. I argue that where this debate, prompted by the earlier writings of some colonial anthropologists, was going on, there was serious teaching, although not writing, of Western Philosophy. Major writings focused on the African Philosophy question. However, positive work was done after the publication of positive work on African Philosophy, leading to the abandonment of serious publication on Western Philosophy. In spite of this, the presence of expatriate staff in many departments of philosophy between 1975 and 1984 led to great expectations of the discipline on the African continent, as shown in my published work in 1987. Unfortunately, philosophy in Africa has been deteriorating since the end of the 1980's due to neglect and lack of funding by military governments (e.g., Nigeria). In addition to the bad economic situation which led to an exodus of prominent philosophers from Africa to the West, pioneering philosophers have retired and died. These unfortunate developments leave a bleak future for philosophy in Africa, as there may be no experienced philosophers to supervise undergraduate students, leaving a lack of viable replacements for the older philosophers. While resolution of this problem appears difficult, this paper is written in hope that the World Congress might intervene to counteract this desperate situation.
192. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 24
Douglas L. Berger Illocution, No-Theory and Practice in Nagarjuna’s Skepticism: Reflections on the Vigrahavyavartani
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In verse nine of the Vigrahavyavartani, Nagarjuna gives a defense of his skepticism by insisting that he makes no proposition (pratijna) concerning the nature of reality. B. K. Matilal has argued that this position is not an untenable one for a skeptic to hold, using as an explanatory model Searle’s distinction between a propositional and an illocutionary negation. The argument runs that Nagarjuna does not refute rival philosophical positions by simply refuting whatever positive claims those positions might make, but rather he refuses the very act of making an assertion. From this kind of illocutionary negation, however, a certain paradoxicality arises: for in the negating the act of assertion, the skeptic is barred from asserting his or her own position, for under this condition, if he or she asserts that position, it is falsified! I want to argue that there are certain senses in which it seems that Nagarjuna’s resorting to the illocution we find in the Vigrahavyavartani may not have been necessary for the maintenance of his skeptical position, for he has recourse to prasanga counter-arguments which can always offset the metaphysical and epistemological claims of the Hindu and Buddhist philosophers whom he confronts. There are also places in the Karika itself, where certain pramanas seem to be employed, that give one the impression that this kind of skepticism and the pramanas are only inimical to one another insofar as the latter may lead to the metaphysical, essentialist extremes criticized by the Buddhists. Nagarjuna’s illocution in this light seems an attempt to radicalize his difference from a developing Nyaya extensionalist theory of the pramanas, a theory in which the Buddhists and the Naiyayikas are closer than anywhere else.
193. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 24
Robert W. Adams Nishida Kitarô’s Studies of the Good and the Debate Concerning Universal Truth in Early Twentieth-Century Japan
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When Nishida Kitarô wrote Studies of the Good, he was a high school teacher in Kanazawa far from Tokyo, the center of Japanese scholarship. While he was praised for his intellectual effort, there was no substantive agreement about the content of his ideas. Critics disagreed with the way he conceived of reality and of truth as contained in reality. Taken together, I believe that the responses to Nishida's early work give us a window on the state of Japanese philosophy in the early twentieth century. In what follows, I give evidence for the existence of such a debate about the nature of truth and reality. After a sketch of Nishida's position (in which scientific truth is made subordinate to an all-encompassing divine truth), I outline the positions of two other contemporary thinkers: Katô Hiroyuki and Takahashi Satomi. With respect to Nishida, they offer markedly different takes on the question of universal truth: Katô favors an antireligious, scientific positivism while Takahashi accepts an existentialist notion of radical human finitude, in which human access to any certainty is denied. I conclude that one is confronted with a lively debate by Japanese philosophers inside Japan about the definition of truth and consequently about the nature of reality.
194. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 24
Purushottama Bilimoria Professor Matilal’s Nåvya-Naive Realism vis-a-vis Dummett-Putnam-Mimamsa Anti-Realisms: Some Metaphysical Worries
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The vexed issue of the precise connection between words and things (or objects) has been a major preoccupation over the centuries summoning the resources of metaphysics, philosophy of language, linguistics, ontology and increasingly semiological analysis. Philosophy in India produced a number of different and often conflicting solutions, only to be rivalled by an equally bewildering variety witnessed in the ancient and modern West. I want to bring to the foreground the late Professor Bimal K. Matilal’s development of Nyaya-Vaisesika realist approach to the aporia, and interject the analysis with dissident voices, especially of Mimamsakas and Buddhists. Significantly, it will be the living ghosts of Putnam and Dummett that I will invoke to haunt Matilal’s variation on metaphysical realism (after Davidson). Matilal veered closer to a realist metaphysic, which is inflected in his own formulation of a theory of language appropriate to this ontology, this despite his idealized attraction to phenomenalist-constructivism (especially Buddhist); his flirtations with Bhartrharian holism (even Saussurean semiology) and lately with Derridean deconstruction (after G. C. Spivak) in his epiloquia. But my critique focuses on his famous earlier analysis of Jnana or cognition and his defence of a particular linguistic-ontology within a narrowly circumscribed naturalized epistemology (after Navya-nyaya).
195. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 24
Deepti Dutta Enlightenment and its Attainment: Samkhya-Yoga and Buddhist Perspectives
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Enlightenment is the value par excellence in all Indian philosophical systems except Carvaka. This paper attempts to elucidate some moral and esoteric aspects of enlightenment in the context of Samkhya-Yoga and Buddhism. Analysis of moral aspects of Samkhya-Yoga and Buddhist concepts necessarily refers to various steps and stages of Enlightenment and their affinity. That Yama (the first step of eightfold Yoga of Patanjali comprising Truth, Non-Violence, etc.) is accepted by Jainas, Buddhists and Vedantins irrespective of their creed, is universally agreed upon. Here an analysis is given as to the details of the cultivation of these virtues and the meeting point of the Samkhya-Yogi and the Buddhist Sadhaka. Consideration of ontological and spiritual aspects of Enlightenment also reveals some interesting analogies. In treading the path of Vipassana meditation (of the truth), the Buddhist develops Nirveda (non-attachment) and the Yogi, by unfaltering habitual concentration on the true nature of the matter and spirit, attains supreme detachment (Parama Vasikara) and contrives an effective tool to develop insight at the experiential level.
196. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 24
Leonardo D. de Castro Debts of Good Will and Interpersonal Justice
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A debt of good will (utang na loob in Filipino) is incurred when a person becomes the beneficiary of significant assistance or favor given by another. Usually, the beneficiary is in acute need of the assistance given or favor granted. This provides an opportunity for the giving of help to serve as a vehicle for the expression of sympathy or concern. The debt could then be appreciated as one of good will because, by catering to another person's pressing need, the benefactor is able to express positive dispositions towards the beneficiary. It is not merely the receipt of the assistance or favor that puts the recipient in a position of indebtedness. The indebtedness is created by the benefactor's kagandahang loob (good will). An act can be considered to convey kagandahang loob only if it is done out of kusang loob (roughly, free will); and can only be considered to have been done out of kusang loob if the agent (1) is not acting under external compulsion, (2) is motivated by positive feelings (e.g. charity, love or sympathy) towards the beneficiary, and (3) is not motivated by the anticipation of reward. These conditions entail debt-of-goodwill relationships where the benefactor has no right to demand reciprocity but the beneficiary has a "self-imposed" obligation to repay kagandahang loob with kagandahang loob. Debts of good will are about some forms of justice. But we should not reduce all talk about debts of good will to talk about justice.
197. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 24
Raghunath Ghosh Tatparya and its role in verbal understanding
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I examine the concept of intention (tatparya) and its role in the phenomenon of verbal comprehension (sabdabodha) with special reference to Navya Nyaya, followed by some critical and evaluative remarks. An effort has been made to give an account of the apprehension of intention (tatparya) in four types of sentences: a) the ambiguous sentence b) the non-ambiguous sentence c) the vedic sentence and d) the sentence uttered by a parrot.
198. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 24
Galib A. Khan Philosophy in the South Asian Subcontinent: A Unity in Maladjustment
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Philosophy in the south Asian subcontinent differs from Western philosophy in the following three ways: (1) it is based upon religion; (2) love of tradition becomes an obstacle for philosophical development; and (3) authority is accepted as a source of knowledge. I argue that future philosophical development demands that the above three differences be removed. Furthermore, philosophers from the subcontinent must concentrate on contemporary issues.
199. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 24
Maja Milcinski Impermanence and Death in Sino-Japanese Philosophical Context
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This paper discusses the notions of impermanence and death as treated in the Chinese and Japanese philosophical traditions, particularly in connection with the Buddhist concept of emptiness and void and the original Daoist answers to the problem. Methodological problems are mentioned and two ways of approaching the theme are proposed: the logically discursive and the meditative mystical one, with the two symbols of each, Uroboros and the open circle. The switch of consciousness is suggested as an essential condition for liberation of the Ego and its illusions. Rational logic as well as the sophisticated meditative ways of selflessness and detachment are suggested when treating the Chinese and Japanese philosophical notions, and examples of the discussed topics from the texts given. The instructive seventh chapter of the classical Daoist work, Lie Zi, is analyzed in detail and put into contrast with the answers given to that problem in the Greco-Judeo-Christian tradition.
200. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 24
V. V. Mantatov, O. V. Dorzhigushaeva Philosophical Foundation of Ecological Ethics
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Principles of Buddhist philosophy central to the formation of an ecological paradigm of mentality include a dynamic vision of the world, a system of relative truth apart from dogmas, a moral foundation for scientific knowledge, an emphasis on nonviolence and the absence of repressive scientific methods, and the progressive movement of the intellect to Universal Consciousness which postulates the unity of microcosm and macrocosm. The comparative analysis of laws and principles of modern ecological science and basic Buddhist thought points to their common intentional direction. Buddhist philosophy declares the creative participation of humankind in the united world synergistic process and forms to be the foundation of an altruistically marked ecological ethics.