VALUES AND IDEALS. THEORY AND PRAXIS. II
VALUES AND IDEALS. THEORY AND PRAXIS
DIALOGUE ON THE ISSUES OF THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD.
PHILOSOPHICAL IDEALS FOR A MORE DECENT WORLD
This is the second of a series of issues of Dialogue and Universalism featuring a selection of peer-reviewed materials submitted to the 11th World Congress of the International Society for Universal Dialogue, held in Warsaw, Poland, July 11–15, 2016.
The papers in this issue deal with two problems: dialogue on the issues of the contemporary world, and philosophical ideals for a more decent world, the first two sub-themes of the 11th World Congress theme: VALUES AND IDEALS. THEORY AND PRAXIS.
The essays included in this Dialogue and Universalism issue demonstrate philosophy’s extensive commitment to the human world. Philosophy plays here the role of intellectual advisor and guide. In both thematic collections the authors investigate problems which are important, or even crucial, for the human world today and/or in the past; frequently they have universal cores or aspects. Almost all the essays not only diagnose the status quo, but also propose ways to build a more decent world. Some papers draw from sociological research, and are seemingly on the border between philosophy and sociology. In fact, however, their characteristic only reveals an essential feature of philosophy: non-isolation. In its considerations, especially its direct involvement in the problems of the world, philosophy adopts findings from other knowledge fields without losing any of its autonomy or identity.
There are many ways of changing the world, and, more generally, of coping with it. They all flow from one source—they are founded on thinking. In general, the human mind, which is the subject of thinking, continually creates and transforms the spiritual, non-material sphere of the human world. By thinking human beings explain the world’s problems, extend and project human reality, and in consequence free or enslave themselves by transforming their consciousness. Besides, thinking is the foundation of actions in the material sphere. Thus, thinking plays a dual role in processes which alter the world—it is a basis of both the spiritual as well as the material and social domains of the human world. All civilizations, all human creations, all human past legacy are founded on the achievements of the human mind. Thinking is a crucial human capability, the very fundament of specific human existence, and the main means of human survival. The extensive category of thinking (rarely examined or even referred to in epistemological investigations) includes reasoning, conceptualising, imagination, intuition, building mental pictures, etc. In thinking human beings create ideas, values, norms, images of reality, project new sociocultural and techno-logical structures, systems of beliefs, trends in art, deal with their emotions, etc.
Philosophy with its amazingly sophisticated ways of thinking has tremendous power to cope with the world and to change it. Philosophy is free from technical and practical interests, and is constituted upon the pursuit of removing—from a highly distanced and neutral perspective—falsehood, prejudice, mental, cultural, religious and social slavery. So it gives hope for the emancipation of human beings in Jürgen Habermas’s sense, as well as for an alteration of the world, first spiritual, and then material. It frequently focuses on problems which are not noticed outside it.
Philosophers do not only contemplate the world; from its beginnings, philosophy has participated in building it over and over again by proposing visions and projects—both comprehensive and concentrated on particular fields or problems. Karl Marx’s famous 11th theses on Feuerbach: “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it”2 claims, in fact, that philosophy only contemplates the world, is a passive spectator. This omits the vast creative activity of the philosophical mind, and its impact on the human world. The influence is indirect, multiphased, sometimes implicit, difficult to identify for non-philosophers. Unfortunately, it is too weak today, because philosophy is being marginalized by political authorities in many countries, as well as by the anti-intellectual climate of the recent era. Some intellectuals and philosophers have even announced the death of philosophy. Philosophy, however, has so much to offer to the present and future human world. I hope the content of this Dialogue and Universalism issue confirms this belief.
Dialogue and Universalism Editor-in-Chief
ESCAPING FROM EXCLUSION. KAREN BARAD’S METAPHYSICS OF ENTANGLEMENT AS AN ANSWER TO THE PROBLEM WITH OPPRESSIVE MIND
Inspired by Karen Barad’s views I search for an answer to the question: how can we include without excluding at the same time? This question brings into view the aporia of the discourse on exclusions, which manifests that struggle against violence invariably causes a violence of another kind. Barad takes the metaphysical point of view, according to which the world is a whole rather than composed of separate objects. From the perspective of category of “entanglement” she proposes to rethink some fundamental dichotomies: nature–culture, object–subject, body–mind, and, perhaps, to change our understanding of the mechanisms of exclusion.
Keywords: metaphysics, matter, discourse, entanglement, exclusion, agential cut.
Affiliation: Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Nowy Świat 72, 00-330 Warsaw, Poland.
INQUIRY INTO THE FORMS OF INTERSUBJECTIVITY IN KANT’S PRACTICAL PHILOSOPHY WITH A VIEW TO THE COSMOPOLITAN IDEAL
My aim in this paper is to argue that the pursuit of the cosmopolitan ideal grounded on the subject’s absolute power of self-determination, which is inherited from the Enlightenment, is a futile project because this idea of subjectivity in its different forms cannot provide the self-other relation which allows the unconditioned openness to and responsibility for the other in its particular individuality, a necessary condition to originate the universal community of world citizens. With this aim, I will elaborate on three different forms of intersubjectivity in Kant’s practical philosophy which I take to be forming three different models of cosmopolitan community in accordance with the Enlightenment principles: the kingdom of ends, the just society and the league of nations.
Keywords: Immanuel Kant, cosmopolitanism, dignity of humanity, intersubjectivity, league of nations, city of refuge, the kingdom of ends, moral cosmopolitanism.
Affiliation: Ondokuz Mayıs Universitesi, Department of Philosophy, Korfez mah. Kurupelit Kampusu Fen Edebiyat Fakultesi 55270 Kurupelit/SAMSUN, Turkey.
Ruth A. Burch
ON JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU’S IDEAL OF NATURAL EDUCATION
The aim of this contribution is to critically explore the understanding, the goals and the meaning of education in the philosophy of education by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In his educational novel Emile: or On Education [Emile ou De l’éducation] (1762) he depicts his account of the natural education. Rousseau argues that all humans share one and the same development process which is independent of their social background. He regards education as an active process of perfection which is curiosity-driven and intrinsic to each child. Rousseau’s educational goals are autarky, happiness and freedom.
Keywords: Jean-Jacques Rousseau; education; natural man; nature; culture; science, voice of conscience; freedom; equality.
Affiliation: an independent scholar and translator.
Jean A. Campbell
WHAT DOES THE GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE MEAN?
The genesis of the notion of “global” is reviewed. Actual programs of global actors are considered, including Alexander the Great as well as corporate initiatives for a “New World Order.” What motivates and drives the adoption of a global orientation? The power of the example of Polish civil society to throw off communism is examined. The imperative of global international mutual support and sustainable future cocreation rather than models of competition and domination is the resulting conclusion.
Keywords: global, civil society, capital, sustainability.
Affiliation: Seton Hall University, NJ, The New School University and Pace University, New York.
Karolina M. Cern
QUESTIONING EQUALITY FOR SELF-REFLEXIVE SOCIETIES
The article focuses on the issue of equality with regard to the process of European integration. Firstly, the change of the legal paradigm in the European legal culture is characterised, secondly, the notion of self-reflexive societies is introduced, and eventually the paper deals with the issue of equality set as a complex problem, especially with regard to the social dimension. The chief concern of the paper is to develop the concept of the public power of judgement, to unveil the role of moral-discursive competencies, and to explain in what sense the theoretical premise of rationality potentials released in the discourse may overburden an ordinary citizen’s participation in processes of democratic law legitimation.
Keywords: Constitutionalisation, self-reflexive polity, social injustices and inequalities, empowerment.
Affiliation: Department of Philosophy, Adam Mickiewicz University, 60-568 Poznań, Szamarzewskiego 89c, Poland.
GANDHI DARSHAN: A PANACEA TO THE EVIL OF POLITICAL CORRUPTION IN INDIA
Corruption is the greatest pitfall of Indian democracy; it gradually erodes the faith of the Indian citizens in parliamentary democracy. Another disconcerting trend is the criminalization of politics which has emerged as a natural corollary to political corruption. The failure to deal with political corruption and criminalization has led to the depravation of political morality in India. It is against this backdrop that the article would examine the issues of political corruption and criminalization of politics in India. The article would end by providing the “Gandhian” solution to this problem.
Keywords: corruption, criminalization of politics, Aparigraha, Sarvodaya.
Affiliation: Department of Political Science, University of Kalyani, Near Kalyani Ghoshpara Railway Station, District Nadia, Kalyani, West Bengal 741235, India.
Marie Pauline Eboh
DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THEORY AND PRACTICE: THE BANE OF THE HUMAN WORLD
Theory and practice are interconnected and analogous to each other. Theory gives rise to action, and action precipitates or begets new theories which may lead to further actions and so on, even though, some people try to force reality to fit into their preconceived theories. Discrepancies between theory and practice, word and action have caused disaffection, rifts and conflicts. Matching words with action inspires trust just as duplicity, i.e. saying one thing and doing another, generates bad blood. The problem of the world is the discrepancy between theory and practice or between the spoken word and action. When people (all over the world) begin to match word with action there will be peace, harmony and resounding success in global affairs, especially international relationships. The bridging of the gap requires the concerted efforts of one and all. In this paper, we shall take a critical look at the interrelatedness of theory and practice. We will seek also how to enable philosophy to transform the human world just as science transforms the physical world.
Keywords: Discrepancy, theory, praxis, allegory, dualism and discrimination.
Affiliation: Rivers State University of Science & Technology. Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
SEXUAL MINORITIES IN INDONESIA: THE CLASH BETWEEN MUSLIM FUNDAMENTALISTS AND LIBERALS
The social acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) is recently widely debated. Although some Western countries have taken a more favourable course towards these minority groups, we still see a certain level of resistance to same sex marriage and discrimination against LGBT even in normally regarded liberal societies. Islam, which is often believed to clash with so-called Western values, regards LGBT as abhorrent and even apostate. However, we see a new endeavour of LGBT people in the most Muslim populous country in the world, Indonesia. This paper explores the treatment of these minorities in Islam, including the possibility of co-existence of all humans in a future. For this purpose, we consider the activities of this Islamic school in Indonesia and the life history of the students. We also examine both the pro and con of the religious standpoint of the ulamas. We especially pay attention to some of the ulama’s attempts to create a new fiqh (a legal standard for religious rituals and obligations) to accept LGBT.
Keywords: Islam, Indonesia, LGBT, fundamentalism, fiqh.
Affiliation: Chuo University, Faculty of Policy Studies, Bld. 11, 742-1 Higashinakano Hachioji-shi, Tokyo 192-0393, Japan.
METAETHICAL CONSENSUS AS A CONDITION FOR INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE
This paper argues that disagreement and free-spirited exchange on normative issues, together with an attachment to what Ronald Dworkin has called “the independent reality of value,” are the twin features of healthy human civilisation. Broadly speaking, this entails a simultaneous commitment to the idea of moral truth independent of our temporary brain states and desires, as well as a principled open-mindedness regarding the actual content of the Moral Law and a willingness continually to seek out ‘the best that has been thought and said in the world’ in order to face the ongoing normative challenges of every age.
Keywords: metaethical consensus; Weltethos; spiritual humanism; counter-theology.
Affiliation: Weltethos Institut, Tübingen University, Germany.
Katarzyna Anna Klimowicz
NEW SOCIAL AND POLITICAL MOVEMENTS AND THE DEMOCRATIC IDEALS
In response to the political and economic crises, new political and social movements appearing in mature liberal democratic countries (such as United States, Italy or Spain) call for “real democracy” and create strategies for more participatory politics. Groups of academics together with the third sector activists around the world elaborate, test and introduce new forms of participatory mechanisms which allow bottom-up, direct decision-making. Recent massive social movements try to change the dominant, but clearly obsolete model of democracy based on elite groups of political representatives by promoting a new paradigm of inclusive citizen-centered politics. What are the ideological and philosophical bases for political activity of these movements and how their democratic ideals translate into political practice? What does it mean “real democracy”? Why direct participation of citizens in decision-making is so important for the new movements? How technological tools can be used to support participatory processes and democratization of public governance at different levels? How should the new democratic model of doing politics look like? These are several questions on which the paper will try to answer.
Keywords: crisis of representative democracy, citizen-centered politics, participatory democracy, collective decision-making, network parties.
Affiliation: Philosophy of Politics Department, Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw, Poland.
Victor J. Krebs
POISON AND REMEDY. SOME NOTES ON THE PERILS AND POTENTIALS OF THE DIGITAL MEDIA
The Digital Revolution is transforming the way in which we interact with one another and relate to experience. The superabundance and superfluity of the virtual world, the fleeting moment and instantaneous pleasure it provides, begin to prevail as a cultural value and determine an attitude of detachment and indifference that extends to all aspects of our life. For Søren Kierkegaard this is a “demoniacal temptation” that leads to a life devoid of spiritual depth. In the midst of the undeniable bounties of technology, reflection on this paradoxical nature of the technological in our lives becomes an urgent task.
Keywords: Digital Revolution, time, metaphysics, mortality, human existence.
Affiliation: Department of Humanities at the Pontifical Catholic University of Perú, Av. Universitaria 1801, San Miguel Lima 32, Peru.
Columbus N. Ogbujah
IDEALS AND VALUES: PIVOTS TO MEANINGFUL INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE
Humankind’s natural disposition for social engagement makes the acquisition of interrelationships imperative. Life without ideals and values would utterly be brash and garbled like the cacophony of a “broken record.” This paper highlights the centrality of ideals and values within the spectrum of interactions between peoples, and demonstrates that intercultural dialogue is neither possible nor purposeful without some ideals and values acknowledged by all.
Keywords: Ideals, values, intercultural dialogue, tolerance, culture.
Affiliation: Philosophy Unit of the Institute of Foundation Studies, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Box 75, RSUST Post Office, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
CAN JUSTICE BE REALLY ETHICALLY NEUTRAL? BARRY ON IMPARTIALITY AND PERFECTIONISM
In the first part of the article author discusses some objections to Brian Barry’s interpretation of justice as impartiality, in particular those regarding freestanding position of principles of justice. In the second part author offers his own critique of Barry’s conception, according to which Barry does not distinguished two senses of impartiality adequately, conflating impartiality as non-discrimination and equal opportunity with impartiality as neutrality between conceptions of the good. Impartiality as the equal treatment of persons regardless of their characteristics or belonging to groups is compatible with neutrality in the sense of equal respect and acknowledgement of the right of persons to form and pursue their own conceptions of the good. However, it is also compatible with non-neutrality as the unequal treatment of conceptions of the good, insofar as some of them are unreasonable, that is, only reasonable conceptions are considered as relevant in public deliberation.
Keywords: Brian Barry, liberalism, neutrality, impartiality, perfectionism.
Affiliation: Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, Kraljice Natalije 45, Belgrade, Serbia.
OVERVALUATION: AN OBSTACLE TO DIALOGUE
This paper offers a critical analysis of an obstacle to dialogue—“overvaluation.” Drawing on Immanuel Kant’s analysis of religious fanaticism as a contradictory and irrational attempt to access the supersensible by sensible means, this paper argues that overvaluation can, at its extreme, suppress prudential reasoning and other-regardingness and render dialogue impossible. Dialogue is an ideal of philosophical discourse that counters the negative prospects of extreme overvaluation. Dialogue is sustained by respect for others; it affirms self-regard in human relationships; and it resists absolutist thought, which is finally overvaluation detached from reasonableness, by being open to change and to the possibility of new understanding.
Keywords: Values, dialogue, love, passion, overvaluation, fanaticism, Immanuel Kant, John Locke, Santayana, R. M. Hare, mysticism, religious extremism, terrorism, passive illumination.
Affiliation: Religion Studies, University Chaplain, Director Dialogue Center/Lehigh Prison Project, Lehigh University, 661 Taylor Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015 USA.
THE SEVEN SAGES ON THE ISSUES OF UNIVERSAL DIALOGUE: A MESSAGE TO THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD
The Seven Sages (Seven Wise Men) of Plato and Plutarch may well be considered the first symbol of universal dialogue, if not the universal dialogue itself, which seems quite feasible. Not always remaining “seven,” these philosophers who lived in the VII–VI centuries B.C. teach us today the ethics, themes, and goals of the shared general dialogue. Though legendary to a high extent as to the time and locality, their discussions, mainly on philosophical issues, serve quite a realistic and useful example of how communicators, each of which comes from different “city-state,” can bring together people of multiple social and cultural traditions.
Keywords: Symposiacs, Seven Sages, universal dialogue, Plutarch, Plato.
Affiliation: Kazan State Power Engineering University, Department of Philosophy, 420066, Krasnoselskaya, 51. Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia.
HOW TO BECOME A DECENT PERSON IN THE MODERN WORLD. ON AGNES HELLER’S PHILOSOPHY OF MORALS
This paper explores Agnes Heller’s theory of morals. A widespread belief claims that Europe has been in a general spiritual crisis and cultural anxiety since the 20th century. A number of thinkers in Central and Eastern Europe contributed to theoretically dealing with this crisis; they intended to reconstruct and so change European culture. They reflected modernity from the standpoint of cultural criticism with deep moral concern and a high sense of historical responsibility. Among them, Heller deeply analyzes the human condition and dilemma of morals in the modern world, and in effect proposes an ethics of personality.
Keywords: moral philosophy, Agnes Heller, decent (good) person, personality, responsibility.
Affiliation: Heilongjiang University, Xuefu Road 74, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China.