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61. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
James P. Scanlan Main Currents of Post-Soviet Philosophy in Russia
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With the destruction of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Communist Party, Russia in the past few years has experienced a philosophical revolution unparalleled in suddenness and scope. Among the salient features of this revolution are the displacement of Marxism from its former, virtually monopolistic status to a distinctly subordinate and widely scorned position; the rediscovery of Russia’s pre-Marxist and anti-Marxist philosophers, in particular the religious thinkers of the past two centuries; increasing interest in Western philosophical traditions that were neglected or condemned during the Soviet period; and special attention to the philosophy of culture, with particular reference to the role of philosophy in the national culture of Russia. In all of these new directions, a recurring and controversial theme is the widely perceived need for a new “Russian idea,” or something to “fill the ideological vacuum” left by the demise of Russian Marxism.
62. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Carl Becker Philosophy Educating Humanity: From Western to Asian Environmental Ethics
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The twentieth century may be considered the ultimate expression of Western ideals and philosophy: “civilized” man’s attempt to dominate “uncivilized” peoples and nature. The twenty-first century soberingly proclaims the shortsightedness and ultimate unsustainability of this philosophy. This paper shows the limitations of the modern Western worldview, and the practical applicability of ideas to be found in Asian philosophies.
63. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Mikhail Epstein Main Trends of Contemporary Russian Thought
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This paper focuses on the most recent period in the development of Russian thought (1960s–1990s). Proceeding from the cyclical patterns of Russian intellectual history, I propose to name it the third philosophical awakening. I define the main tendency of this period as the struggle of thought against ideocracy. I then suggest a classification of main trends in Russian thought of this period: (1) Dialectical Materialism in its evolution from late Stalinism to neo-communist mysticism; (2) Neorationalism and Structuralism; (3) Religious Orthodox Thought; (4) Synthetic and Spiritualist Teachings; (5) Personalism and Liberalism; (6) Neo-Slavophilism and the Philosophy of National Spirit; (7) Culturology, or the Philosophy of Culture; (8) Conceptualism, or the Philosophy of Postmodernity.
64. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Hamlet A. Gevorkian The Encounter of Cultures and the Philosophy of History: Problems and Solutions
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A general problem of philosophy concerns the possibility of objective knowledge of other cultures (including past cultures), and the adequacy of their reconstruction. The problem of cultural development is also crucial. In this paper, I argue that a culture which has expanded its potentialities in various independent forms is an open culture capable of entering into dialogue with other cultures.
65. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Jay L. Garfield Buddhism and Democracy
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What is the relation between Buddhism and liberal democracy? Are they compatible frameworks for social value that can somehow be joined to one another to gain a consistent whole? Or, are they antagonistic, forcing those who would be Buddhist democrats into an uncomfortable choice between individually attractive but jointly unsatisfiable values? Another possibility is that they operate at entirely different levels of discourse so that questions regarding their relationship simply do not arise. I suggest that not only are Buddhism and liberal democracy compatible, but that they are complementary in a deep sense. Democracy, it is argued here, can be strengthened by values drawn from Buddhist moral and social theory, and Buddhist moral and social theory would gain concrete institutional and procedural specificity when it is articulated through the framework of liberal democratic theory.
66. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Kwang-Sae Lee Justice from an Eastern Perspective: Field and Focus
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I will take David Hall and Roger Ames’s idea of “field and focus”—each unique individual is a unique focus in the communal field—as a central theme of the East Asian way of dealing with the relationship between the community and its constituent members. The pairing of these two concepts suggests the essential mutuality of the communal involvement of every person and the “insistent particularity” of each person. The worth of each individual becomes manifest only if the “egocentered” self yields to the “selfless” self. An East Asian sense of justice thereby acquires the sense of attention to each unique focus (particular individual) in the field (community). Liberty and human rights are thus ineluctably bound up with a sense of communal responsibility.
67. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Chung-ying Cheng Philosophy of Violence from an Eastern Perspective
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In this paper, I discuss Moist, Confucianist, Daoist, and Buddhist views on violence, arguing that this provides a whole spectrum of ways of dealing with violence that should not to be regarded as being mutually exclusive. In fact, I argue that it is actually beneficial to combine these positions for dealing with specific cases of violence, and for preventing violence from ever occurring.
68. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze Democracy in Today’s Africa: A Philosopher’s Point of View
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There are international and so-called “global” forces framing Africa within a larger world, a world structured predominantly by Europe and North America and their needs for raw materials and markets, power, and leisure. This paper therefore pursues questions like, “What does democracy mean for Africans today?” and, “What does freedom mean when colonial liberation has been achieved?” or, to be more precise, “What is democracy in the world today from an African perspective?”. I distinguish between freedom (as the exercise of autonomy and accompanying responsibility), and liberation (as the throwing off of foreign domination). I argue that democracy should be understood as a “concern for freedoms” (religious, economic, or political), and that democratic law seeks, in principle, the most space for the exercise of freedom for everyone. This conception of democracy is quite naturally the “other” face of the independence and liberation movements throughout Africa.
69. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Safro Kwame Philosophy and Social Justice in the World Today: An African Perspective
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From an African point of view, there is no social justice in the world today and, from that point of view, there may not be much difference between the African, African-American, Asian, or even Western perspectives. There may, however, be some difference in the reasons given in support of this perspective or, rather, conclusion. The African perspective is heavily influenced by events such as the trans-Atlantic slave trade, colonialism, and, more recently, by the report of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the bombing of the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The reason, in part, is that all of these events or reports seem to reinforce the belief, which I take to be contrary to the core principle of social justice, that African lives are either worthless or do not count as much as others. Further, they seem to have the effect of cheating Africans or making fools out of them, which, from a traditional Akan point of view, is a violation of the tenets of social justice.
70. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Jaakko Hintikka, Robert Cummings Neville, Ernest Sosa, Alan M. Olson, Stephen Dawson Series Introduction
71. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Stephen Dawson, Tomoko Iwasawa Volume Introduction
72. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
D. P. Chattopadhyaya On the Ways of Knowing What is There: Being and Knowing
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To define knowledge in terms of (i) belief, (ii) justification, and (iii) truth is primarily epistemological and therefore seems to be untenable. What is wrong with the ontological view of knowledge? If objects like dream and shadow could be said to be real and worth investigating, why should knowledge itself not be treated as a knowable reality? Knowability suggests its possibility-like, pursuit-like, gradual disclosive—as distinguished from enclosed or complete—character. Disclosure isself-revealing or, as Indians say, svaprakasa. That is, its justification arises from within.
73. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
E. Jonathan Lowe Abstraction, Properties, and Immanent Realism
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Objects which philosophers have traditionally categorized as abstract are standardly referred to by complex noun phrases of certain canonical forms, such as ‘the set of Fs’, ‘the number of Fs’, ‘the proposition that P’, and ‘the property of being F’. It is no accident that such noun phrases are well-suited to appear in ‘Fregean’ identity-criteria, or ‘abstraction’ principles, for which Frege’s criterion of identity for cardinal numbers provides the paradigm. Notoriously, such principlesare apt to create paradoxes, and the most intuitively plausible ‘Fregean’ identity-criterion for properties is afflicted by this problem. In this case, it may be possible to overcome the difficulty by modifying the criterion in a way which requires an independent account of the existence-conditions of properties, but it appears that such a strategy demands acceptance of the doctrine of immanent realism—the view that a property exists only if it is exemplified by some object.
74. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Sharon Kaye Russell, Strawson, and William of Ockham
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Realism and conventionalism generally establish the parameters of debate over universals. Do abstract terms in language refer to abstract things in the world? The realist answers yes, leaving us with an inflated ontology; the conventionalist answers no, leaving us with subjective categories. I want to defend nominalism in its original medieval sense, as one possibility that aims to preserve objectivity while positing nothing more than concrete individuals in the world. First, I will present paradigmatic statements of realism and conventionalism as developed by Russell and Strawson. Then, I will present the nominalist alternative as developed by William of Ockham.
75. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Jay F. Rosenberg How Not to be Systematic: Three Case Studies
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Philosophy is by its nature systematic in intent. In Wilfrid Sellars’ words, it aims “to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang together in the broadest possible sense of the term.” Philosophical systematicity is thus a matter of both scope and structure. The purview of a philosophical inquiry may encompass more or less of what is of rational concern to us, and such structure as its outcome has will constituted by the fundamental globalcommitments that inform it—realism, nominalism, expressivism, naturalism, pragmatism, or the like. Lack of systematic vision arguably subverts philosophical reflection, but genuine systematicity turns out to be surprisingly difficult to achieve. I offer three brief case studies, which illustrate different, but significantly related, ways of failing to achieve it.
76. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Beth J. Singer Philosophic Systems and Systematic Philosophy
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Apart from scholarly studies of other philosophers, most of my work in philosophy has been confined to the theory of human rights. I have never tried to develop a system in the sense that, say, Whitehead and Santayana did, yet I think of myself as a systematic philosopher. In what sense can I claim that my theory of what I call “operative rights” and my application of this theory are systematic? Is there a difference between a philosophic system and the systematic treatment ofphilosophic topics?
77. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Robert Cummings Neville Eternity and the Time of Education
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Part of the recent neglect of eternity comes from a poor definition of it as static abstraction, as mere form, or even robust form that is not so mere. This, of course, could not be what the ancients such as Origin or Plotinus must have meant when they claimed that God is eternal, and thus more real than things that change. Therefore, my first task here is to develop a contemporary theory of eternity that is worth being an orientation point for time in education. I argue that the importance of eternity for education lies in the fact that true human identity—and the identity of such human affairs as might exhibit the obligations of responsibility—are eternal as well as temporal. Temporally we live day by day, with the date of the present determining the past that is actual and fixed and the future that is open in various structured ways. The temporal structure of life as such is insufficient to account for moral identity with any sense of responsibility for acting through time. In the following, I will illustrate this point and then draw a lesson about eternity from it.
78. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
John F. Wippel Thomas Aquinas, Siger of Brabant, and Their Use of Avicenna in Clarifying the Subject of Metaphysics
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Both Aquinas and Siger were familiar with a fundamental disagreement within the earlier philosophical tradition concerning the subject of metaphysics: Is it being as being, or is it divine being? If Avicenna represented one approach to this issue, and Averroes another, both Thomas and Siger were closer to Avicennathan to Averroes in their respective solutions. Nonetheless, each resolved the issue in a distinct way. Also contested in the earlier tradition was the question of whether it belongs to physics or to metaphysics to demonstrate the existence of God. Again, Avicenna represents one side on this issue, and Averroes the other. Thomas’s personal position continues to be debated by contemporary scholars, and Siger’s seems to fall between those proposed by Avicenna and Averroes.Finally, Aquinas is credited with having developed a new and unique way of accounting for the discovery of being as being, through a process known as separatio; though there are antecedents for this in Avicenna.
79. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Brian Leftow Aquinas on the Infinite
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Both Copleston and Duhem—I believe—claim that for Thomas Aquinas, there cannot be an infinity of anything. In this essay I argue that Thomas allows that there can be an infinity of some sorts of item and, more, that there actually are infinities of some items.
80. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Robert Greenberg The Ontology of Kant’s Theory of Knowledge
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Adopting a Quinean criterion of ontological commitment, I consider Kant’s theory of our a priori knowledge of objects. I am directly concerned with the customary view that the ontology of Kant’s theory of knowledge in general, whether a priori or empirical, must be thought in terms of the a priori conditions or representations of space, time, and the categories. Accordingly, the customary view is accompanied by the customary interpretation of the ontology as consisting of Kantian“appearances” or “empirical objects.” I argue against this view and interpretation. The argument turns on the opposition between the necessity and universality of the a priori and the particularity and contingency of the existent. Its main point is that the a priori can remain necessary and universal only if the existence of objects is kept distinct from it.