Dialogue and Universalism







Part IV


   This is the fourth 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, on July 11–15, 2016.

   This Dialogue and Universalism issue includes papers on basic cultural forms: religion and myth, art, and science. From a more general perspective, it concerns sophisticated manifestations of human spirit (objective mind). Because it is spirit which seems to be—if one freely follows Hegel’s tradition—a common core of all cultural forms as well as all ethnic, national etc. cultures. In short, cultural forms in a generalized sense.

   The concept of spirit (in German Geist, in English also: non-subjective mind, collective consciousness) that is taken here into account comes from a sustained philosophical tradition, among others from Hegel’s system of objective spirit. Spirit has appeared as a basis of culture in philosophical conceptions in the past. Its apogee seems to be in Hegel’s monumental Phenomenology of Spirit. The concept of spirit was still used at the turn of the century and in the first decades of the 20th century—in impressive considerations on culture by among others Wilhelm Dilthey, Georg Simmel, Max Scheler and Ernst Cassirer. Especially the significance of Cassirer’s now partly forgotten work for the philosophy of culture cannot be overestimated.

   However, nowadays spirit is predominantly regarded as an anachronistic and unfounded philosophical hypostasis. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to claim that this concept might be restored in new contexts, in modified senses, and then it might serve as an enlightened guideline in comprehending culture in a universal way. Spirit as the objective mind may be regarded as a uniting, and at the same time founding, factor for all cultural forms, or, in other words, for all the manifestations of culture. Its drawbacks—when it is detached from a theoretical context—are excessive generality and, in result, partial indefiniteness. So, it would have to be built in a system of thought to gain a more concrete and definite sense.

   In recent decades universalistic approaches to culture have been largely expelled from philosophy and intellectual thinking. In fashionable and prevailing intellectual trends, culture has been (and still is) apprehended mainly as a variety of cultural forms, i.e. as a set of ethnic, national, humanistic, scientific and religious cultures which are different from each other, even incomparable. In studying culture, the focus has been on the differentiae specificae of cultural manifestations, while their common attributes, in fact their essence, have been set aside.

   The highlighting of differences and simultaneous removal of similarities, as well as the common foundation of cultural forms, have serious deficiencies, not only for philosophy but also for collective awareness. They lead, or may lead, to increasing gaps between nations and ethnic, religious, racial, scientific or religious communities—generally speaking, between communities of cultural forms. These gaps, in turn, pose obstacles to intersubjective communication, and, subsequently, to more integration and coexistence between people. While humanity urgently needs a common modus vivendi, and for that a basis of understanding and communicating between different cultural communities. A uniting cultural basis should rather be moved into the foreground—both in collective and individual consciousness and in theoretical investigations. Besides, from a theoretical point of view, only revealing a network of both cultural differences and cultural common features can adequately characterize culture as such, and approach its deepest layer.

   Therefore, it seems that over the years of propagating radical variants of multiculturalism (cultural particularism, as a matter of fact), philosophy could, or even should, try to return to a universalistic perspective, one in which cultural forms constitute a unity, because all they have—as may be maintained against postmodernist beliefs—a common ground. It is the concept of spirit which is a reasonable, or even the best candidate for an integrating common ground. It, of course, also embraces so-called material culture which is founded by spirit.

   However, the concept of spirit—apart from being concretized and filled with a precise content—should be adjusted to contemporary philosophical findings. The point is that spirit—seen as the core of culture—may be now restored in the philosophy of culture only when it “comes down to earth.”

   Culture comes down to earth in two steps: first, by connecting culture with nature, and, second, by immersing culture in the entire human world.

   In general, the intellectual attitude of our times postulates a bond and mutual conditioning between nature and culture. Today culture is no longer considered a pure sphere of transcendence separated from human biological life. Twentieth-century theories of culture, among others those proposed by Scheler, Plessner and Simmel, negate culture’s lack of animality. The mentioned thinkers, and others, regard culture and nature (animality) as two complementary manifestations of humanity connected with each other by the relations of emergence and constitution: nature (animality) co-constitutes culture and culture emerges from nature. So, the pair culture-nature has been negated as a pair of opposites, and instead is accepted as a complementary unit.

   In the second step, culture comes down to earth by connecting it with all human activity. On one hand, cultural forms are penetrated by praxis. Praxis, in turn, co-forms art and science, and strongly influences religious systems. Culture deals with all the social and individual spheres of human life. It cannot be treated as an isolated land in the human world; it is its omnipresent layer, affected by, and affecting, the whole human world.

   This founding feature of culture, i.e. its bonding with human social problems, is seen in most of the papers included in this Dialogue and Universalism issue.

Małgorzata Czarnocka
Emily Tajsin






Martha C. Beck


   This paper links the claims of neuroscientist Antonio Damasio to the civilization of the Ancient Greeks. Although Damasio’s book, Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow and the Feeling Brain, makes the argument for the connection between Spinoza and neuroscience, he says that he prefers Aristotle’s model of human flourishing, but he does not describe Aristotle’s model. I explain Aristotle’s model and connect neuroscience to Aristotle and to the educational system underlying Greek mythology, Hesiod, Homer, tragedy and other aspects of Greek culture, including the role of the arts, religious rituals and the institutions of Greek democracy.

Keywords: neuroscience, wisdom, Spinoza, Aristotle, neural mapping, brain, mind, homeostasis, happiness, salvation, God, spiritual experiences, spiritual leaders, intellectual love of God, archetypal psychology, Jung.

Affiliation: Lyon College, 2300 Highland Rd, Batesville, AR 72501, USA.

E-mail: martha.beck@lyon.edu




Giovanni Boniolo, Mattia Andreoletti,
Federico Boem, Emanuele Ratti


   In the last decade, robustness has been extensively mentioned and discussed in biology as well as in the philosophy of the life sciences. Nevertheless, from both fields, someone has affirmed that this debate has resulted in more semantic confusion than in semantic clearness. Starting from this claim, we wish to offer a sort of prima facie map of the different usages of the term. In this manner we would intend to predispose a sort of “semantic platform” which could be exploited by those who wish to discuss or simply use it. We do this by starting from a core distinction between the robustness of representations, which is a philosophy of science issue, and the representations of robustness, which instead pertains to science. We illustrate our proposal with examples from biology, physics and mathematics.

Keywords: robustness, representation, robustness of representations, representations of robustness, scientific terminology.


Giovanni Boniolo — Università di Ferrara, Via Fossato di Mortara, 64a, 44121 Ferrara, Italy.
E-mail: giovanni.boniolo@unife.it
Mattia Andreoletti — European Institute of Oncology (IEO), Milano, Italy.
E-mail: mattia.andreoletti@ieo.eu
Federico Boem — University of Milano.
E-mail: federico.boem@gmail.com
Emanuele Ratti — Science and Human Flourishing University of Notre Dame, 130 Malloy Hall, 46556 Notre Dame, Indiana, USA.
E-mail: mnl.ratti@gmail.com




Małgorzata Czarnocka


   My reflections focus on the ideal of science and the contemporary condition of science. I believe the distinction between the ideal of science and praxis of science is essential in inquiries into what science is today, what its position is and should be in the human world. I analyse the critical stance towards science that is so widespread in contemporary philosophy. It is demonstrated that today’s ever-widening chasm between the ideal of science (its nature, established anthropically already in ancient times) and its contemporary praxis is the main problem hampering the science of our day and a problem for the entire human world, present and future. In the paper it is proved inter alia that main philosophical arguments against science (first of all, arguments about the instrumentalisation of the reason by science and the oppressive role of science in today’s world) arouse serious doubts.

Keywords: ideal of science, practice of science, instrumentalisation of the reason, oppressive role of science.

Affiliation: Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences; Nowy Świat 72, 00–330 Warszawa, Poland.

E-mail: mczarnoc@ifispan.waw.pl




C. E. Emmer


   Examining the images of war displayed on front pages of the New York Times, David Shields makes the case that they ultimately glamorize military conflict. He anchors his case with an excerpt on the delight of the sublime from Edmund Burke’s aesthetic theory in A Philosophical Enquiry. By contrast, this essay considers violence and warfare using not the Burkean sublime, but instead the beautiful in Burke’s aesthetics, and argues that forming identities on the beautiful in the Burkean sense can ultimately shut down dialogue and feed the lust for violence and revenge.

Keywords: Aesthetics, anger, beautiful, beauty, Candida Moss, Charles Brown, Christianity, dialogue, Edmund Burke, forgiveness, Friedrich Nietzsche, identity, just war theory, martyrdom, peace, persecution, revenge, religion, sublime, sublimity, sympathy, violence, warfare

Affiliation: Emporia State University, 1 Kellogg Cir, Emporia, KS 66801, USA.

E-mail: cemmer@emporia.edu




Tetiana Gardashuk


   Three definitions of bioart are analyzed in the paper: bioart—as a part of science art, as the creation of some new exciting artworks, and/or as the visualization of certain stages of biomedical and life science research. Bioart is an in vivo practice which produces “living artworks” and creates a new reality. It represents the dialogue between art, science and technology and between academic and amateur science. It promotes the dialogue aimed at rethinking the phenomenon of life. It blurs the boundaries between natural and artificial and the limits of human manipulations with the fundamentals of life.

Keywords: dialogue, science art, bioart, art-science-technology intersections (reapprochement), living artworks, visualization.

Affiliation: National Academy of Science of Ukraine.

E-mail: gardashuk@gmail.com




Manjulika Ghosh


   The problem investigated in this paper is that of the value of art in terms of its autonomy. The value of art does not reside in the imitation of life nor does it consist in its representational function. This idea is as old as Plato. Art’s autonomy wherein we locate its value, is actually the autonomy of the artist. The artist is not merely free to choose his subject matter, he is also free to bring about the contrasts and the syntheses among the diverse constituents of the work in a particular medium. Artist’s function in this regard is one of problem-solving. To the aesthetic mind problem solving suggests finding for the line, arrangement of mass, colour, shape, etc., a support which passes through them and goes beyond itself to the less definable. If this autonomy of the artist is compromised, art becomes causally determined and is made to serve some ideological agenda. There are, indeed, great works of art which have inspired the human mind and enabled it to withstand unabashed inhumanity; in which man has taken refuge in suffering and death. It may promote inter-cultural understanding. Yet, the value of art is not to be judged by ends extraneous to it. It is not given antecedently nor is it an established property of things. The value of art is intrinsic to it unfolding the inexhaustibility of the aesthetic spirit.

Keywords: value of art, art’s autonomy, inter-cultural dialogue, aesthetic spirit.

Affiliation: University of North Bengal, Darjeeling-734013, West Bengal, India.

E-mail: mghoshnbu@gmail.com




Anna Ivanova


   Discussions on the trustworthiness of science concern scientific objectivity. Scientific products, methods, and institutions are objective in three different senses. In each case, the notion of objectivity is applied to the outcomes of the scientific enterprise. This interpretation neglects the human side of objectivity. The trust in science is rational only when it is not grounded in an impersonal view of knowledge. Since trust is a value that connects people, society places its credence not in a system of propositions, a methodology, a tradition, or even—an institution, but rather in the living people that practice science today.

Keywords: scientific objectivity, epistemic values, trustworthiness of science.

Affiliation: St. Cyril and St. Methodius University, 5003 Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria 2 T. Turnovski str., Bulgaria.

E-mail: ivanovabg@gmail.com




Artur Ravilevich Karimov


   In this paper we interpret and examine critically John Locke’s ideas on cognitive (intellectual) virtues and values presented in his The Conduct of the Understanding (1697). We believe that the cognitive subject’s virtues discussed by Locke are universal. We believe that knowledge and understanding must and can be guided by the pursuit of truth. But this concerns only the motivation component of knowledge, and not its success which is ultimately determined by the epistemic environment.

Keywords: epistemology, intellectual virtue, cognitive value, knowledge, John

Affiliation: Kazan Federal University, Kremlyovskaya str., 18, Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia, 420000

E-mail: arrkarimov@kpfu.ru




Maria Kli


   The ethical constitution of the subject in Michel Foucault’s work relies on the way truth is perceived, and on the way the knowledge of truth is produced. Foucault understands subjectivity as constituted socio-historically by means of particular techniques, which he refers to as “Technologies of the Self.” The main focus of this paper is to present the way in which two different kinds of approaching the truth, the modern scientific and the ancient Greek one, develop different kinds of technologies as ways of forming the subjectivity. It is maintained that the ancient technology of the care of the self can be especially meaningful in contemporary society from an ethical and political perspectives.

Keywords: subject, care of the self, technologies of the self, ancient Greek philosophy,
spirituality, ethics, science, politics, freedom.

Affiliation: Philosophy and Comparative Religions at the University of Nalanda, Nalanda University, Rajgir, Nalanda 803116, India.

E-mail: mkli.sbs17@nalandauniv.edu.in




Marshall Steven Lewis


   If we wish to increase peace in the world, we must reduce religious intolerance. Potentially, the way we learn about religion and conceive religion can be a strategy toward this goal. How might we design and continually improve learning about religion if our intention is specifically to reduce religious intolerance? This requires experimentation to determine demonstrably effective solutions. In this paper, I briefly unpack the challenge at hand, describe an approach toward collaborative experimentation, and outline a set of mutually-supporting hypotheses with which to design solutions.

Keywords: religion, religious education, intolerance, conflict, violence, empathy, exclusivism, engagement, worldviews, religious constructivism

Affiliation: Religious Studies at the University of Otago, 362 Leith St, North Dunedin, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand.

E-mail: lewma212@student.otago.ac.nz




Stefan-Sebastian Maftei


   The theory of aesthetic cosmopolitanism is a part of a new trend in cultural sociology. In recent years, varieties of cosmopolitanism surfaced in cosmopolitanism theory, one such version IS the aesthetic cosmopolitanism. Inspired by the new cosmopolitanism theories, sociologists and philosophers translate the difference between normative cosmopolitanism and “lived” cosmopolitanism into the aesthetic realm, arguing that the aesthetic cosmopolitanism which can be found in the perceptual qualities brought to light by the contemporary artworks is a version of the lived cosmopolitanism accepted by cultural sociology today. Our study will try to shed light on the elusiveness of the notion of sensus communis which lies at the heart of contemporary aesthetic cosmopolitanism.

Keywords: cosmopolitanism, cultural cosmopolitanism, aesthetic cosmopolitanism, sensus communis, distribution of the sensible.

Affiliation: Department of Philosophy, str. Universitatii 7–9, Cluj-Napoca 400084, Romania.

E-mail: maftei.stefan@ubbcluj.ro




Elçin Marasli


   By observing the mediating role of Pomarańczowa Alternatywa (Orange Alternative), the Polish artistic-activist formation of the 80s and 90s, this paper aims to determine the properties, values and ideals that make a piece of art a public act that can engage people from different social groups in play, and can allow them to reveal their self-determining agency in light of social change. Within the system of varying degrees of social permission, art should allow for the transition from the realm of the “unofficial” to the realm of the “forbidden,” and should facilitate a transformation from the realm of thought to the realm of action. Art introduces an element of play into the sphere of collective behavior, and is a bridge over dichotomous social and political forces.

Keywords: Orange Alternative, play, agency, performativity, performance art, the public sphere, social activism, values and ideals in art.

Affiliation: Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Nowy Świat 72, 00-330 Warsaw, Poland.

E-mail: elcinmarasli@gmail.com




Mikhail A. Pronin


   The paper proposes an idea of explicating the invariant universal structure of dialogue through the mathematics of knots and braids, which is relevant, both for the development of particular models of communication and/or dialogue, and for constructing a general theory of dialogue, or the theory of utterances. The possibility of modeling dialogue with the help of the mathematics of braids and knots—categories, entities and their attributes—is shown by use of some well-known examples such as parts of the sentence in grammar. Entities and their attributes can be considered as knots, either right or false. The idea is to visualize the chains of these entities: to formalize them not to keep in mind, neither in the text, but to work with them graphically. Nodes, as final structures, and braids that generate them, allow to reveal paradigmatic anomies, conflicts, logical and ethical disagreements, etc., and vice versa: “synonimies,” mutual understanding, unanimity, in a fundamentally new format of perception and understanding of the context of genesis (braids) and results (knots) of dialogue. The visualization of verbal utterance on the basis of the knot and braid mathematics is a significant step towards formalizing the theories of dialogue, both in general theoretical and purely practical plans. The latter is analyzed by the example of the person’s inner dialogue with herself/himself in making decisions: rational and/or irrational (emotional), which allows conducting a specific work with clients of psychotherapy, coaching, management consulting, mediation, etc.

Keywords: dialogue, braid, knot, logic, ontology, visualization.

Affiliation: Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, 12/1 Goncharnaya Str., Moscow, 109240 Russia.

E-mail: mapronin@gmail.com




Vladimir Przhilenskiy


   An important revolution in modern philosophy consists in postulating that philosophy does not cognize the world, but is able only to study thinking, or, which in this context is the same, to cognize knowledge. This thesis has allowed reorganizing the pattern of interaction between philosophers and the representatives of special sciences. Ancient philosophers created general theories of the world by basing on the principles “revealed by the power of the mind” and then entrusted it as an intellectual weapon to other intellectuals. Nowadays philosophers develop theories of knowledge; transmit the methods built on their basis to the special sciences, and wait for the results of its application. It is assumed that the theories of the animate and inanimate nature, of the humans and society, constructed by using the scientific method, could be generalized, and only on this basis an ontology, i.e. a philosophical theory of being, can be built. Then philosophers must be re-engaged in performing generalization and reflection, which replaces speculation. But today, philosophy is neither speculation nor reflection. Philosophy seems to become “post-theoretical thinking,” which determines the boundaries of a theory, and articulates the use of theoretical knowledge in a variety of intellectual and social practices.

Keywords: visualization, coherentization, construction, interpretation, theoretical, post-theoretical.

Affiliation: Kutafin Moscow State Law University; 123995, Moscow, Sadovaja-Kudrinskaja street, 9, Russia.

E-mail: vladprnow@mail.ru




Robin S. Seelan SJ


   Cultures can be divided into two kinds: exclusive and inclusive. Exclusive cultures are oppressed, vulnerable, and dehumanizing. Inclusive cultures are dignifying and humanizing, and they move towards the ideals of egalitarianism, prosperity, justice, etc. Religion, as part of culture, plays influential roles in the formation and promotion of ideals. This promotion can be located in religious utopias, because almost all religions hold utopias as central to their ideals and chart their ideologies towards these. In the context of exclusion and inclusion, the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, the vulnerable etc. need to be included into the main stream of social life and this requires values such as liberation, justice, compassion, mercy, charity, etc. No authentic culture is possible without the inclusion of the poor. The awakening of such inclusion is offered by religious utopias. Hence dialogues between cultures and religious utopias and also between various religious utopias are essential. This paper seeks to understand how religious utopias can contribute to the dignifying and humanizing of cultures.

Keywords: religious utopia, exclusive culture, inclusive culture.

Affiliation: Loyola College, Chennai, Sterling Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600034, India.

E-mail: sj.robin@gmail.com




Tatjana M. Shatunova


   The subject of the article is the problem of necessity of being beautiful. The beauty of the person is presented as a human value that can be achieved by the person herself/himself. Nevertheless, beautiful people are considered to be guilty of all sins. That is why beauty needs justification. The article provides a number of arguments to protect beauty. Creating beauty is—as it is shown—an anthropological task of the human being. Hence the main thesis of the paper is: We have to philosophize aesthetic virtues, and we are responsible for being beautiful.

Keywords: beauty, justification of beauty, beauty protection, aesthetic virtues.

Affiliation: Kazan Federal University, Department of Social Philosophy, Kremlyovskaya St, 18, Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia, 420000.

E-mail: shatunovat@mail.ru




Ilektra Stampoulou


   In this paper I intend to discuss some notions encountered in Jacques Derrida’s The Truth in Painting (1978) immediately linked to the manner in which the art object is understood and addressed, its limits, what it does/does not include/exclude, what it touches upon—if we can use such formalist terms in a deconstructive framework. These notions have perhaps formed in the past decades the art object, even though there is no frequent reference of Derridean deconstruction in texts regarding art.3 The ones I will mostly refer to are the parergon, the frame and the abyss. I intend to support that Derrida has not just doubted the limits between ergon and parergon but has also illustrated in an almost painterly manner the abyss and the parergon, thus reframing fields of aesthetics, philosophically and visually.

Keywords: deconstruction, aesthetics, parergon, abyss, frame.

Affiliation: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

E-mail: electra.stm@gmail.com




Konrad Waloszczyk


   My contention is to adumbrate three general premises leading to religious tolerance. The first is that emphasis should be laid much more on ethics than on metaphysics. Religions greatly differ in supernatural beliefs but all advocate justice, love, truthfulness, self-control and other virtues. Second, the beliefs about God are not true in their exact meaning, but rather as remote analogies to scientific truth. Religion is more resemblant of poetry than science. Third, real tolerance consists in the readiness to assimilate some of the values of other religions, since no one has expressed the transcendent in an exhausting and perfect way.

Keywords: tolerance, ethics, objective knowledge, world religions, openness for the Other.

Affiliation: The Main School of Fire Service, Słowackiego 52/54, 01-629 Warsaw, Poland.

E-mail: konradw@chello.pl




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