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51. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
George Teschner The Humanities and Telecommunication Technology
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Contemporary technology in the form of electronically managed interactive telecommunications is compatible with the goals and values of the humanities. Computerized communication (especially that of bulletin board technology) inverts the relationship between the degree of communicative interaction and the number of communicants. It is both mass communication and individualized participation. From the point of view of a theory of discourse, the bulletin board system is unique in that the ratio between the number of participants and the individualized nature of the interaction is directly proportional. One person’s voice does not inhibit or repress the voice of another. It is the technological embodiment of the ideal speech situation of Habermas that allows for the maximum of democratic participation and which, by allowing everyone to have a voice, allows for the greatest amount of dissensus and dialectic.
52. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Robert Cummings Neville Humanity and the Natural World: Reconceiving Knowing, Learning, and Living
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A key existential problem for paideia in the modern Western world—and perhaps for much elsewhere—is to build up the continuum of engagement from the subtle signs of contemporary scientific, artistic, and imaginative society down through the depths of nature. That continuum has been prevented by the modern creation of a fake culture of artificial self-sufficiency within which nature appears only tamed and cooked, and which deflects interpretive engagements of deeper nature except where leakages occur. What can be done about learning for humanity and the natural world? In what follows, I put forth three suggestions.
53. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Chung-ying Cheng Classical Chinese Philosophy in a Global Context
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I discuss several areas of classical Chinese philosophy such as Confucianism, Daoism, Yijing philosophy, and the Mingjia, in terms of their global relevance for humankind today. I contend that despite the critique of 4 May 1919 and Great Cultural Revolution of 1965–1976, these philosophical schools have remained latent in the consciousness of the Chinese people. I argue that classical Chinese philosophy is very relevant for the present worldwide rebirth (renaissance) of human civilization. It is, in fact, crucial to the development of a “global” humanistic philosophy needed for the survival of the human species, the resolution of cultural crises, the improvement of the quality of life, and the axiological enrichment of community living.
54. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Chad Hansen How Chinese Thought “Shapes” Western Thought
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I begin this paper with some autobiographical reflections of my own journey in Chinese languages and philosophy not only in order to demonstrate how Chinese philosophy can change one’s attitudes toward Western philosophy, but also to suggest that the shift in philosophical perspective that occurs—when viewed through a Chinese lens—is reasonable. The second half of this paper consists of interpretative hypotheses about the content of Chinese philosophy vis-à-vis the West. I reflect more specifically how the different structure of the Chinese language seems to have worked in Chinese philosophical reflection and contrast that with the way intentional idioms did in Western philosophy. Looking mainly at theory of language, the key similarity between the two traditions is expressed in the current “pragmatic” view that “meaning” is irreducibly normative. The differences that attend to this formulation between Chinese and Western thought will also be discussed.
55. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Arindam Chakrabarti Truth, Recognition of Truth, and Thoughtless Realism: Nyāya Without Fregean Fetters
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Witnessing the fate of the various definitions of truth, Donald Davidson has recently called the very drive to define truth a “folly.” Before him, Kant and Frege had given independent arguments why a general definition of truth is impossible. After a quick summary of their arguments, I recount several reasons that Gangeśa gave for not counting truth as a genuine natural universal. I argue that in spite of defining truth as a feature of personal and ephemeral awareness episodes, the Nyāya ya realists such as Gangeśa could maintain that truth is independent of recognition of truth. In the course of my argument, I also show that Roy Perrett’s alleged proof against realism does not succeed. I conclude that realism does not need nonmental atemporal truth-bearers (propositions) which are eternally wholly true (or wholly false), and that knowledge-independence from truths and things can be shown without admitting the existence of unknowable things or truths.
56. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Guy Newland “Will This Potato Grow?”: Ultimate Analysis and Conventional Existence in the Madhyamika Philosophy of Tsong kha pa Lo sang drak pa’s Lam Rim Chen Mo
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In this paper, I discuss the problem of how empty persons can make distinctions between right and wrong within the two-truths doctrine of the Buddhist tradition. To do so, I rely on the teachings of the fifteenth- century founder of Tibetan Buddhism, Tsong kha pa Lo sang drak pa. I summarize Tsong kha pa’s exposition of the Buddhist tradition on this question, and then show how he held that profound emptiness, the ultimate truth found under scrupulous analysis of how things exist, must be understood as complementing and fulfilling, rather than canceling, the principles of moral action, based as they are, primarily, on valid conventional distinctions. Along the way, I highlight Tsong kha pa’s major contribution to the history of Tibetan philosophy, namely, that conventional realities are not obviated by their profound emptiness of essence but have their own kind of validity; I then outline his criteria for saying that something exists conventionally.
57. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Barry Smith On Forms of Communication In Philosophy
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In previous work, I have drawn attention to certain systematic differences among philosophical traditions as regards to the literary forms that are prevalent in each. In this paper, however, I focus on the commentary form. I raise the question of why the use of commentaries abounds in most traditions except those transmitted in the English language and suggest that problems of translation are central to this issue. I argue that the appearance of commentaries in a philosophical tradition is a criterion of such untranslatability that emerges in a broader cultural, economic, political, and religious context. Features of the relation between language and forms of communication in the history of philosophy are here explicated, concentrating especially on the German case.
58. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Natalia Avtonomova On the (Re)creation of Russian Philosophical Language
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Russian philosophy has always lived on translations. Difficulties in the process of creating a conceptual language used to be overcome gradually, one by one. Now, in the post-Soviet period after all of the locks had been opened, the accelerated development of Russian culture often causes us to assimilate deconstructivism before constructivism and some newer versions of phenomenology before Husserl. It brings about a cultural paradox which cannot be solved by habitual philosophical means. My point here is that Russian philology is able to contribute toward finding a way out. The paper aims to justify this idea.
59. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Evert van der Zweerde The Normalization of the History of Philosophy in Post-Soviet Russian Philosophical Culture
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The notion of ‘philosophical culture’ can be defined as the totality of conditions of philosophical thought and theory. Among these conditions is an awareness of the historical background of the philosophical culture in question. This awareness, which plays an important cognitive and normative role, often takes the form of a relatively independent discipline: history of philosophy. Over the last decade, Russian historians of philosophy have been attempting to make the repressed past accessible to contemporary philosophy, often modifying their earlier, Soviet work. This can be illustrated with a survey of late Soviet and post-Soviet literature on the Russian philosopher, Vladimir Solov’ëv.
60. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Edward M. Swiderski Philosophy in Russia Today and the Legacy of Soviet Philosophy
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In a comment to Richard Rorty, Andrzej Walicki underscored the contextual difference between philosophy in a society like the USA and in post-communist countries. Citizens of democratic societies live best with a sense of contingency, situational embeddedness, plural rationalities, and relative truth. In East/Central Europe (ECE), the demand is for epistemological and moral certainty. Walicki did not say how philosophers in ECE are meeting this demand. How do philosophers in post-communist societies respond to the demand for ‘objective and universal standards’ when the prevailing sense is that they have as great a need for clear horizons as the cultures to which they are called on to contribute foundations? In this setting, many philosophers seek to go beyond reflection to ‘reflexivity’—to ascertain the socio-cultural and moral prerequisites of “philosophizing.”