VALUES AND IDEALS. THEORY AND PRAXIS. III
Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
Emporia State University, USA
Chair of the International Society for Universal Dialogue (2016– )
I will forever be grateful for the support given to me by Janusz Kuczyński. After telling him I was interested in researching the history of the development of his philosophy of universalism, he graciously provided the resources and connections to make this possible. After learning of my interest in environmental philosophy, he invited me to attend the “Earth as Human Home” Conference in Warsaw. His encouragement for my work never diminished. He touched the lives of many people through his efforts to promote intercultural dialogue as a means to make the world a better place. We will miss him. The world will miss him.
PhD, former officer and board member of the International Society for Universal Dialogue
Professor Janusz Kuczyński was a rare scholar who both inspired and concretely directed an internationally coordinated effort to scientifically fathom and promote human potential for its own goodness. A successful future is entirely dependent on this task. This is what he means to me.
Rev. Mother Marie Pauline Eboh
Professor of Philosophy
Rivers State University of Science & Technology, Nigeria
THE EXIT OF A PHILOSOPHICAL ICON: JANUSZ KUCZYŃSKI
When beggars die, there are no comets seen; the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.
Professor Janusz Kuczyński was a philosopher king, the indefatigable intellectual giant, and a former editor-in-chief of Dialogue and Universalism. He deserves a glowing tribute. The University of Warsaw will miss him dearly.
The common run of men is to retire and get tired but rare gems are retired but not tired. Janusz Kuczyński was one of such rare gems. When I first met him at the Fourth Symposium of the International Society for Universalism, Polish Cultural Institute, London, May 15–20, 1992 he was not in the best of health. In fact during a tea break his friends were consoling him as he lay on the floor. Much later I learnt that his heart was running on a pacemaker. Someone like that would have had thousand and one excuses why he should not work hard. But Kuczyński worked very hard.
He was an erudite scholar, one of the most prolific writers I have ever met. He left his enviable academic footprints on the sands of time. Age brought out the best in him; he was so academically mature that he could take philosophical criticisms with equanimity. He must have been an ardent believer in the dictum “The best tribute to an author is to criticize his work.” He was an achiever.
Supremacist views are a failed option and here lies the merit of Kuczyński’s call for Universalist ethics.
He had great respect for the sacred, which I found enigmatic. It earned him my deep respect. He avidly read and quoted papal encyclicals, especially those of his compatriot, St. Pope John Paul II. Each time I attended ISUD conferences either in Warsaw or Cracow, Kuczyński booked me into a convent. The Sisters had great regard for him, referring to him as the professor. He equally invited me as a guest lecturer to the Institute of Philosophy of the University of Warsaw and gave me opportunities to guest-edit special issues of Dialogue and Universalism. He was open-minded.
Adieu great mind, adieu noble soul till we meet to part no more in a world where there will be no more sickness and therefore no more pacemaker, a world where there will be no more denial of the existence of God because we shall see God face to face, a world where the quest for truth will cease because we shall face TRUTH itself. You have now attained your real “ENDISM”—end of philosophy, end of metaphysics, end of history, etc. You have joined the ages and you have no more need to seek knowledge of ultimate causes for God, the efficient cause, is all in all. BEING IS ONE. Pan-en-theism—all things are in God.
God has the final say. He is wonderful, great and worthy to be adored. His name is exalted forever. Ad majorem Dei gloriam.
Józef Leszek Krakowiak
Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, the University of Warsaw, Poland
Dialogue and Universalism Deputy Editor
JANUSZ KUCZYŃSKI, A MAN OF DIALOGUE
Over his lifetime Janusz:
— Headed the History of Contemporary Philosophy Department at the University of Warsaw and presided over the university’s informal Centre for Universalism;
— For a decade headed the Philosophical Studies periodical;
— In 1989 co-founded the International Society for Universalism, an international universalist movement seated in Boston, then transformed into the International Society of Universal Dialogue (ISUD). In July of last year ISUD hosted the 11th ISUD World Congress attended by more than 120 foreign delegates from 39 countries on six continents. Janusz did not hear the meeting’s over 140 papers—after initiating and founding ISUD, and heading it for two terms, he retired, remaining an Honorary President.
— Founded, and since 1973 headed, the Dialectics and Humanism periodical, since 1994 published as Dialogue and Universalism. Three hundred issues of this interdisciplinary English-language journal appeared, often in double volume at the time when it was an annual. Human life has meaning when it leaves something behind—the ISUD companion periodical Dialogue and Universalism is quite certainly a valuable Janusz Kuczyński legacy.
— Authored 21 books, including three in English.
— During the German Occupation he was a soldier of the Home Army.
How Janusz worked:
Janusz was not only a theoretician, but also a tireless practitioner of dialogue between cultures and ideologies. Here I want to focus on his activities in Poland, which he pursued simultaneously with his international exploits. Janusz helped promulgate the thoughts of more than a thousand eminent theorists. Over forty years, he first held frequent editorial meetings, then, for twenty, hosted fortnightly debating sessions at Warsaw University’s informal Centre for Universalism. In this Socratic way Janusz successfully propagated the most valuable thoughts of Poland’s leading personages—including leading politicians, outstanding sociologists and historians clerical luminaries and Christian thinkers of different hues, philosophers, oriental scholars, biologists and physicians, physicists, technology researchers and ecologists.
With all those figures Janusz, a veritable institution, spoke in about three hundred dialogue meetings, with some more than once. Quite often such sessions would be opened by two speakers representing different study fields or with widely differing religious or ideological beliefs. The fruit of these sessions is contained in thirty publications, including five in English, by the International Library of Universalism under Venant Cauchy,1 head of the Federation Internationale des Societes de Philosophie.
How Janusz understood universalistic involvement:
A universalist is someone who visits the graveyards of past ideas and images not only to light candles on the graves of his relatives and people he knew well, but also to dialogue with “deceased” of other provenance and from other eras. Thus, the universalist consciously and practically feels himself a citizen of a “state of dialoguing persons”—persons open to the never-ending quest for, and co-creation of, universal values, to building bridges between different cultures in the quest for their common, uniting essence. This is the not-only-private hope of the universalist.
Janusz Kuczyński never ceased in his efforts to reinforce this synergy, to bring to awareness the universalistic traits present in Polish past and present events and philosophical ideologies. Here he employed a dialogical method of interpreting contemporary writings by John Paul II.
Janusz Kuczyński sought after common, uniting and universal—but not absolutistic—human values, and was driven by an indomitable desire to “build bridges.” Through the praxis of dialogue he taught how to work together towards integrating sciences,2 cultures and civilisations. And accompanying all this was his mounting ecological awareness, his knowledge that in the globalisation era Earth, humans and life in general could only be salvaged by the collective, above-national efforts of the world’s gardeners3 and guardians.
Janusz and I totally agreed with the view expressed by Husserl in The Crisis of European Culture: “… man is a rational being (animal rationale) only insofar as the entire human community he belongs to is a rational community.”
It was precisely this collective rationality—not just in small groups, but also large societies, including the human race as such—that Janusz was most concerned about. And for him concern was what it had been to Jacob: As the body is dead without spirit, so is also faith dead without deed. Janusz’s deeds and their intended and intersubjective meaning was what I was speaking about here.
Janusz! By continuing your lifework we will uphold your being-in-the-world, a world whose recent only passive existence failed to please you.
Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Millsaps College, USA
Former President of the International Society for Universal Dialogue
JANUSZ KUCZYŃSKI: THE PHILOSOPHER I KNEW
Janusz Kuczyński was a philosopher, a universalist, and a moral activist. He was a philosophical mind par excellence. His knowledge of the history of philosophy is panoramic and his comprehension of the basic philo-sophical concepts and questions is deep, provocative. But more importantly, he was not a student or an advocate of a philosophical tradition or school but an independent philosophical thinker. He never shied from criticizing or commending philosophers regardless of their views of the world and the meaning of human life. His primary allegiance was to the truth the way he understood it. He stood stubbornly on this ground and he never left it until you made him leave it, and the only you could make him leave it was sound argument.
It is, I think, reasonable to say that Janusz Kuczyński was the author of philosophical universalism, in the sense that reality is an ordered whole, that it is a dialectical process, that this process is purposeful, and that humanity is its highest emergent. This is the nucleus of the vision of universalism I gleaned from my conversations with him and from the works which were translated into English. This vision is the basis on which I cooperated with him for many years. For him, humanity is intrinsically valuable. On more than one occasion he remarked to me that the recent emergence and gradual development of globalism in the domains of economic, politics, morals, art, and culture reflect the validity of this vision. He tried to analyze and articulate the basic principles in the spheres of government, education, ethics, economics, and social life from the standpoint of this vision.
Unlike many philosophers who thought and wrote in some ivory tower, Janusz Kuczyński never lost sight of the relevance of philosophy to practical life, to the need to translate philosophical insight and understanding into principles and modes of action. One of the basic ideas he emphasized and analyzed in detail was praxis. His preeminent concern, when I met him in the middle of 1980s, was world peace. Soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, his focus expanded and included the conditions under which a decent world order, namely, justice, freedom, peace, and prosperity, can be established. He did not only offer Dialogue and Universalism, then known as Dialectics and Humanism, as a forum for the analysis and development of these and related ideas, he also founded, along with a group of enthusiasts, The Society for Universal Dialogue. Janusz Kuczyński was a living torch of the human spirit.
This is, in a few sentences, the Janusz Kuczyński I knew.
Professor Emeritus of Government and Legal Studies, Bowdoin College, USA
Former President of the International Society for Universal Dialogue (2007–2009)
Janusz Kuczyński: I first got to know him on a visit to Warsaw, and to his office, in the early 1990’s. I was thrilled by his open-ness to my ideas and with his philosophical understanding of the enormous importance of ecology to contemporary affairs and to the advancement of dialogue as a prime source for human survival. We’ve been good friends ever since.
He has been, and is, a lion of critical thinking and probing insight, a beacon of hope. I regret the loss of his voice among us but realize as well how much his spirit and his words will sustain and enliven us as we carry on the struggle to save the planet, our species, our families, and our-selves.
Western Michigan University, USA
President Emeritus of the International Society
for the Comparative Study of Civilizations (2007–2013)
A huge loss, not only to his family but also to us, Professor Janusz Kuczyński’s friends and academic associates.
We have lost the greatest contemporary Gardener of the World—a Polish Plato, whose vision of a universal human world based on tolerance and dialogue appears to be the only rational way to bring today’s world out of its chaos and ideological idleness.
Janusz pursued this vision tirelessly, passing it on to very many (thousands, in fact) people worldwide. The best proof of this are his creations—the Dialogue and Universalism journal and the International Society for Universal Dialogue, whose July 2016 Congress in Warsaw showed what great esteem its founder enjoyed.
Professor Kuczyński inspired me to develop a universal theory of truth, and enabled me to publish many articles on the subject in Dialogue and Universalism. For this he has my extreme gratitude.
Janusz Kuczyński had a difficult life—the war, the Home Army under-ground, the Stalinist years, then the thaw, the transformation to democracy and its corrections—all this called for attention and response. A true philosopher, he was not an onlooker locked in an ivory tower during all those years. He always saw well what was happening, and responded Platonically to the various deviations in social life.
I bid my friend farewell in sadness.
VALUES AND IDEALS. THEORY AND PRAXIS
PHILOSOPHICAL IDEALS FOR A MORE DECENT WORLD CULTURES — THEIR IDEALS AND VALUES
IDEALS AND VALUES IN SOCIAL AND POLITICAL LIFE — FROM THEORIES TO PRAXIS
This is the third in a series of Dialogue and Universalism issues featuring a selection of peer-reviewed materials submitted to the 11th World Congress of the International Society for Universal Dialogue,1 held in Warsaw, Poland, July 11–15, 2016.
A connection between values, ideals and universalism is worth considering here. Some philosophical views assert that there are fundamental values and ideals which are not restricted to one culture, religion, social system or nation, and, in a legitimate generalization, common to all humankind. These values and ideals appear in the human world in propitious conditions and vanish when self-ishness, greed, particularisms, localisms, and religious or ethnic separatisms come to the fore. They are often hidden and passive in such a sense that they do not participate in forming the real human world—most people are not even aware of their existence. But they do exist in the world of ideas, in some human minds and in humankind’s spiritual legacy, and can be called back to the real human world as the instruments of its forming.
They are surrounded by values and ideals of another kind, namely particular ones—generated by the particular interests of social groups, individuals, nations or religions. Particular values overrun or even flood the fundamental ones. Today the fundamental values and ideals are disappearing from human reality as it becomes more and more dramatically displaced by particular interests, which demolish the sense of social, national, cultural as well as individual security, and divide people into the poor and rich, the privileged and subordinated or even excluded, into the “worse” and “better.” In a general sense one can say that a subset of particular values and ideals—opposed to the fundamental ones—are setting barriers to building a more decent world.
Fundamental values and ideals are not given in the common sense or on the surface level of lifeworlds. Moreover, they are not recreated again and again; much rather, they are an ahistorical, invariant core of humanity, and must be exposed in the process of dissociating particular values and ideas from the whole axiological sphere. To this end the subject of exposure should take the neutral perspective of the citizen of the world, or the human being as such, and mentally rid itself of its specific cultural, political, social and religious peculiarities. This task is hardly attainable, because to realize it the subject would have to resign its own identity, go beyond itself. Philosophers are especially competent to cope with this undertaking as the essence of philosophy commands a distanced and objective approach to the deepest levels of reality. These basic regions are also where fundamental values and ideas reside.
As common to all humankind, fundamental values and ideals are universal. It is claimed in various philosophical doctrines that their source lies in: 1) human nature, but only upon the assumption that it is the same in all human beings, and not co-formed by e.g. social conditions, 2) in an immaterial spiritual sphere of values, or 3) in the basic constituting layer of all cultures.
This group of views is a noteworthy variant of universalism that can be called axiological universalism. Axiological universalism embraces all kinds of values—moral, social, cognitive etc. It has nothing in common with the idea of globalization, which it is substantially in opposition to. Most notably, it does not negate the pluralities of cultures, social organizations, religions and life-styles. It only claims that fundamental values and ideals, the very core of being human, should be discerned and respected by all humankind. Here lies the basis of intersubjective communication and, hopefully, agreement. Axiological universalism does not at all postulate to build one human society (i.e. a kind of modern global village), one culture, religion etc. In general, it admits differences in all spheres of the human world, apart from the collection of universal values and ideals. In consequence, it maintains that the people of the world could live in peaceful coexistence in spite of their differences. More clearly, according to axiological universalism, the removal of existing pluralities in the human world is by no means a necessary condition of building a decent world—as the proponents of globalization persuade.
It is universal values and ideals which would be able to unite people in spite of cultural, social, political and religious differences. People all over the world would preserve their ethnic cultures, religions, social organizations, etc. and be unified only by respect for fundamental values and ideals. Instead of the globalization idea (which, in fact, is a conception leading to the flattening and destruction of a vast part of the human heritage), an entirely different image appears: a union in diversity, or, in other words, a union in spite of plurality. Universal values and ideas are also the ground and beginning of authentic intersubjective communication.2
This Dialogue and Universalism issue features papers which examine worri-some problems of the contemporary and past world—general as well as particular, e.g. connected with one continent, religion, culture, or social aspect. Universalistic tones are observed in all of them, albeit sometimes indirectly: their authors refer to the fundamentals of the investigated questions, therefore they also approach fundamental values and ideals.
full professor of philosophy
Dialogue and Universalism Editor-in-Chief
SECURITY AS A POLITICAL AND SOCIAL VALUE
Security can be defined as the process of support of a satisfactory control by the subject over harmful effects of the environment. In this aspect it is a political and social value of the same type as justice, democracy and freedom. Following the analysis of the existing conflicts in the world today, we conclude that the notion of security in its neoliberal interpretation has collapsed and it could be rejected and defended successfully only as a communitarian value.
Keywords: value, security, globalization.
Affiliation: St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Turnovo, 2 T. Turnovski str., 5003 Veliko Turnovo Bulgaria.
METHODOLOGICAL LUDISM AS A COGNITION-DENYING PARADIGM
The article attempts to analyze methodological ludism—an approach developed by André Droogers, a Dutch scholar studying religion. Droogers relies on Johan Huizinga’s conception claiming that culture (and, consequently, science) is of game-like nature. Game as a methodological principle has two levels: noumenal and phenomenal. The supposition is stated that at the noumenal level (the designatum level) ludism coincides with pantheism. At the phenomenal level (the signifier level) methodological ludism may be compared with its parts: methodological atheism, methodological agnosticism, and methodological theism; also, these components may be compared with one another.
Keywords: Methodological ludism, methodological atheism, methodological agnosticism, methodological theism, neutrality.
Affiliation: Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of Far Eastern Federal University, Sukhanova, Primorskiy Kray, 690091 Vladivostok, Russia.
METAGOODS, METAVALUES AND METANORMS IN POLITICS
The paper proposes a metaaxiological political framework, which is the ground for the thesis that the central idea that underlies politics is well-being and its improvement. Every political activity relies on certain goods, values and standards forming its operational framework. The aim and essence of politics is to ensure the realization of consti-tutive values. These values include the normative concept of the human being and constitutive values underpinning the functioning of the state and political community (i.e. good life, justice, freedom, security, peace, identity, unity, rule of law, representation, sovereignty, legitimacy). On the one hand, the normative values represent preconditions that have to be present in every political sphere. On the other, they serve as ideals pursued by states and political systems. They are investigated by means of normative typological categories.
Keywords: goods, values, metavalues, norms, man, perfection, state, good life, conditions, presuppositions.
Affiliation: Higher Vocational State School in Kalisz, Poland.
CULTURE, IDENTITY AND HUMAN VALUES IN AFRICA
Without glorifying any cultural standpoint I argue that the best model that accounts for the interests and aspirations of Africa cannot be that which promotes and emphasizes traditional ideas since such a model would be unnecessarily insular and prevent us from engaging the aspects of our cultures which are needed in coping with Africa’s challenges. I contend that this does not amount to an imposition of any form of metanarrative but rather to critically engage those forces that are detrimental to survival and social stability.
Keywords: Culture, identity, human values, tradition, Africa.
Affiliation: Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, P.M.B. 4000, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Nigeria.
PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY AND HETERODOX MARXISM AS VALUE CRITIQUE.
A RECONCILIATION BEYOND HISTORICAL MATERIALISM
We would like here to contribute to lower the fracture between orthodox Marxism and heterodox Marxism, which means grosso modo: between historical materialism and the critique of value. There, of course, would be for the former a high price to pay, that of an important redefinition of the philosophy of history. But the latter also should recognize that a philosophy of history is an inseparable presupposition of Wertkritik, that one has long, among heterodox Marxists, thought capable of prancing autonomously from the former.
Keywords: Marxism, critique of labour value theory, philosophy of history.
Affiliation: Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 50, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium.
E-mails: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
COSMOPOLITAN CULTURAL CITIZENSHIP AS AN EDUCATIONAL STRATEGY
The recent civilization transition generates sociocultural challenges for humanitarian policy. How to learn to live in a multicultural world in the face of increasing globalization, integration and the information revolution which multiply differences? What cultural concept can be the basis for the transformation of education and humanitarian policy? The article deals with the dynamics of the comprehension of cultural strategies by applying the concepts of interculturality, multiculturality and transculturality. It is concluded that the concepts of transculturality and transversality are descriptively and normatively suitable to form a new educational policy and, in result, a global cultural citizenship.
Keywords: culture, transculturality, transcultural education, globalization, transcultural identity, cosmopolitan cultural citizenship, hybridization of cultures, transcultural competence, transversal competences, transgression, dialogue of cultures.
Affiliation: Institute of Higher Education at National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine, 52-A, Sichovykh Striltsiv Street, Kyiv, 04053, Ukraine.
THE VALUES OF “CONTRADICTION” IN THEORY AND PRACTICE IN CULTURAL PHILOSOPHY
A Different Way for Overcoming the Contradiction in the Non-occidental Philosophy:
The Principle of Absolute-Contradictory Self-Identity by NISHIDA (Kyoto School)
This article examines contradictions between the theory and practice of comparative philosophy in a global world. Aristotle and Plato had different approaches to these “contradictions” that show a “discrepancy” between these two classical thinkers. The topic unaddressed by Plato is taken up in the topos of Nāgārjuna, the great ancient logician of ontology in Mahāyāna Buddhist philosophy (the 3rd century AD). The “contradiction” is a principle that have/had profound influence on creative thought in East Asia. Nishida, the founder of the Kyoto School (20th century), established his philosophy through the principle of “Absolute Contradictory Self-Identity.” This principle may stimulate reflection upon our digitally connected contemporary global world, and the chaos it has to face.
Keywords: problem of contradiction, theory and praxis, Plato, Aristotle, Nāgārjuna, Nishida’s “absolute contradictory self-identity” (Kyoto School).
Affiliation: Department of Philosophy, University of Vienna, A-1010 Wien, Universitätsstr. 7, Austria.
FROM MEANING OF HISTORY TO MEANING IN HISTORY: ERIC VOEGELIN’S NON-IDEOLOGICAL PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY
The paper intends to examine Eric Voegelin’s philosophy of history, distinguishing its several stages. The main thesis of the paper is that Voegelin’s philosophy of history is atypical when compared to the famous representatives of the genus. For Voegelin “meaning of history” is a perverted, ideological concept, obscuring the real relationship between man and history because man cannot grasp its “meaning” from a vantage point. Voegelin attempts to provide history rather as a “web” endowed with a “noumenal depth,” rather than the linear, “historiogenetic” history, subdued to chronology. The main characteristic of history is no longer its chronological structure but its structure of an “experience of an encounter.”
Keywords: Voegelin, ideology, philosophy of history, order.
Affiliation: Universitatea de Vest “Vasile Goldis”, Arad, Bulevardul Revolutiei 94.
THE THEORETICAL AND PRACTICAL LOGICS OF SOCIAL ADVANCEMENT PROMOTED BY IDEOLOGICAL INNOVATION
This paper claims that behind each social advancement in the history of human civilization, there has always been an ideological innovation, an “invisible hand.” If social advancement is promoted by the joint force of politics, economics, culture, life as well as the spiritual, ideological innovation will be the engine of the joint force. In the process where social advancement is promoted by ideological innovation, theoretical and practical logics come into being. These two logics have four implications: First, theoretical logic is a theoretical exploration which is based on rational thinking and aims at establishing a thinking paradigm. Practical logic is a series of trial-and-error experi-mental process which is based on practical rationality. Secondly, theoretical logic is oriented to human’s cognitive framework of the world, whereas practical logic to their social practices and their ways of life. Thirdly, theoretical logic is meant to explain the world, whereas practical logic to solve problems. Fourthly, theoretical logic starts from “what it ought to be …,” pointing out with the inherent logical strength of a theory the path that social advancement should follow and the result that will inevitably come about. Practical logic starts from “what the fact is …,” always relying on facts and oriented to existing problems.
Keywords: ideological innovation, social advancement, theoretical logics, practical logics.
Affiliation: Shanxi Academy of Social Sciences, China,116 Bingzhou South Road, Taiyuan 030006, China.
TRANSITIONAL SOCIETY: (RE) EVOLUTION OF VALUES
This article examines the attributes of the existence and the transformation of values in transitional society (eclecticism). Also the possibilities and limits of the relativistic application of the concepts of revolution and evolution in defining the processes of transformation of values in a transitional society are discussed.
Keywords: transitional society, values, eclecticism.
Affiliation: National Pedagogical Dragomanov University Kyiv, Pyrohova St, 9, Kyiv, 02000, Ukraine.
Elizabeth Chinwe Okeke
EDUCATION: A MECHANISM FOR THE SUSTAINABLE CULTURAL INTEGRATION OF PERSONAL AND SOCIETAL VALUES AND IDEALS IN THE ERA OF GLOBALIZATION
As individuals/groups strive to achieve successful integration in the globalizing world, personal/societal values and ideals seem to be seriously destabilized, resulting in different magnitudes of conflict, the lack of cooperation, insecurity, etc. Reactions and observations uphold that successful integration, particularly in a multicultural environment, includes the identification and development of personal/societal values, ideals, and interests. Consequently, relying mainly on Emile Durkheim’s perspective on education and social integration as well as Lev Vygotsky’s social development theory, the author upholds that education is capable of identifying, selecting and developing synergy between personal and societal values and ideals for successful integration.
Keywords: Integration, sustainable culture, values and ideals, education, globalization, conflict.
Affiliation: University of Port Harcourt Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
WOMEN’S PERENNIAL QUEST IN AFRICAN WRITING:
IDEALISTIC, REALISTIC OR CHIMERICAL?
When African female writing commenced in 1966, it proffered a vista of female protestation of the individuality of woman. The clarion call for a revision and deconstruction of patriarchal values became sonorous and distinct in the politics of gender. Various tools have been employed in this radical political act. Iconoclasm in the bid to destroy the emblems of patriarchy has served as a rude awakening to the dire need for a drastic change of cultural values. In the same vein, utopian devices have opened up a gateway to possibilities of a better world of the evaluation of integrity, probity and development hinged on creativity. There is also a reversal of the hegemonic mode of power where the power process is revaluated and deconstructed. This paper examines the varied thoughts of African female writers and theorists who seem to be entangled in a cultural bind immanent in a measure of ambivalence. It concludes that the female perennial quest for freedom may in point of fact be only chimerical.
Keywords: ambivalence, utopia, cultural values, iconoclasm, chimerical.
Affiliation: Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Olatunji Alabi Oyeshile
DEMOCRATIC ELEMENTS IN TRADITIONAL YORUBA SOCIETY AS A BASIS FOR THE CULTURE OF DEMOCRACY IN AFRICA AND THE GLOBAL SOCIAL ORDER
The paper examines democratic concepts or elements in traditional Yoruba society and their implications for the culture of democracy in Africa and the social order at the global level. One of the major problems confronting African states is the problem of governance. Political crises have metamorphosed into problems of ethnic conflict, war, corruption, economic stagnation, social disorder and paucity of sustainable development in Africa and these crises have also resulted in global disequilibrium. This paper revisits traditional Yoruba society, with a special emphasis on the democratic elements. It adopts as its theoretical framework some aspects of the traditional Yoruba socioethical values to underscore the importance of democratic elements based on communal values. Such concepts as ifowosowopo (cooperation), agbajo owo (solidarity), amumora (tolerance), and ilosiwaju (progress) are examined to point up their roles in addressing the crisis of (democratic) governance. The paper establishes that the inbuilt democratic elements, based on social ethical values, helped to sustain governance in traditional Yoruba society. It is concluded that democratic elements are much more important than democracy itself.
Keywords: Democratic elements, governance, traditional Yoruba society, Africa, social order.
Affiliation: University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.
HOW TO BUILD A JUST SOCIETY: IN THE DEFENCE OF COMMUNITARIANISM
This paper analyses and critically compares three approaches to social and political values: utilitarianism, liberalism and communitarianism, which postulate different views on justice and on ways to make society better. We can establish a justified approach to the promotion of justice as a principal value of the collective life on the basis of public debates and democratic civic pressure: we can build a just society based on communitarian values such as solidarity, mutual aid and respect for the values and ideals of each community.
Keywords: communitarianism, just society, liberalism.
Affiliation: St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Turnovo, 2 T. Turnovski str., 5003 Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria.
PARTICIPATIVE REASON AS A BASIS OF A DECENT HUMAN WORLD
Mikhail Bakhtin’s term “participative reason” (uchastnoe myshlenie) means “reason that acts”—a way of thinking in which a person participates because it is not indifferent to the fate of the Other. The article considers two main trends in the understanding of participative reason. The first is connected with the co-being of I and the Other, the second develops the idea of obligation and non-alibi in being. The article aims to show that the unity of these two interpretations could make “participative reason” a basis for a more decent human world.
Keywords: participative reason, responsibility, non-alibi in being, philosophy of the act, Mikhail Bakhtin.
Affiliation: Higher School of Economics; Krivokolennyy per., 3а, 101000 Moscow, Russia.
BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY OF THE GLOBAL MIND FOR SUSTAINABLE PEACE
While violence and conflict are the main problems that must be tackled for a peaceful world, they are caused and sustained through our own thoughts. Though external causes must not be ignored, the most fundamental problem is an epistemological one—our way of knowing and understanding the world. Since its beginning, Buddhism has deepened its analysis of the dynamics of the human mind, both as a root cause of suffering and as a source of harmony. This paper explores how Buddhism’s analysis of the human mind can be applied to conflict dynamics, conflict resolution, and building a sustainable peace.
Keywords: Buddhism, the conditioned mind, conflict resolution, non-dualistic peace.
Affiliation: Kumamoto University, 2-39-1 Kurokami Chuo-ku Kumamoto, 860-8555 Japan.