Dialogue and Universalism

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2/2022

TWO PROBLEMS OF DIGITILIZATION—VIRTUAL NEGOTIATIONS AND 4TH SPACE

 

EDITORIAL

 

Guest Editors: Daniel Hardegger, Peter Boltuc

VARIA

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232224

   The present issue of Dialogue and Universalism consists of two parts. The first is entitled Two Problems of DigitilisationVirtual Negotiations and 4th Space, with Daniel Hardegger (ZHAW School of Management and Law, Switzerland) and Peter Boltuc (Warsaw School of Economics, Poland, and University of Illinois, Springfield, USA) as its guest editors. The second part—Varia— features papers on a variety of topics.

   There are three reasons why Dialogue and Universalism decided to publish the Two Problems of DigitalizationVirtual Negotiations and 4th Space collection. First, in publishing this block of texts, we are pursuing the fundamental role of philosophy. Contrary to some common beliefs, philosophy’s task is to explain the human world, which is dynamic and not frozen into one, single form although—it is believed—founded upon a constant ontic basis. Thus, philosophy is a vivid intellectual participant in the world and its meanders, a truth that has also been emphasised in the programme of the 13th ISUD World Congress.

   The two here-discussed digitalisation aspects—virtual negotiation and 4th space—are in their development phase, with only initial research carried out on them so far in philosophy. Basing on their observations of social praxis, the authors of the presented papers claim that the rapid evolution of virtual negotiation is an effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. As for the new idea of 4th space, which is related to the extended space conception, they claim it embraces the new dimension of the human world that has been created by digitalisation. This view is different from the one that says digitalisation has not only added a new dimension to the world, but has transformed the existing world in all its dimensions and throughout all its regions. However, both these rivalling theories must be approached with caution as the 4th space concept is only in its formation phase, with scholars split on the exact meaning of the term. In fact, there currently exist no one clear idea as to the true sense of “4th space.” Especially as this conception has no single, approved theoretical basis, because intuitions are dispersed and vague, and their transformation into conceptual systems and theoretical constructs—different. Consequently, current studies of the 4th space idea are ambitious interdisciplinary contributions which reveal its importance and inspire to further pursuit of the 4th space project, especially in philosophy.

   Secondly, although virtual negotiation and the 4th space idea (as well as the 4th space itself, if we agree with its propagators’ claim) are recent developments, both have from the very start functioned in the epicentre of the changes taking place in the world and have been in the foreground of the forces that are building the world’s future. The examination of both contributes to broader studies of the digitalisation of the human world, and, in a wider sense, to inquiries into the character and importance of the civilizational changes taking place today.

   Digitalisation progressively penetrates into more and more spheres of human life. It radically changes individual and collective awareness and individual as well as social life, and generally has induced a civilizational leap seen as revolutionary. Whereby digitalisation itself still remains in statu nascendi, gradually increasing and deepening its role and influence in the human world. This gives rise to the questions of importance not only to philosophy: How deeply has the digital revolution influenced the human world? Has it penetrated into the essence of the human being, pulled down its to-date form and created a new kind of man—transhuman or posthuman? Could the changes brought about by digitalisation be only seemingly fundamental, but in fact rather superficial— restricted to the form and instruments of human activity like individual conduct, social organisation, etc., and without transforming human nature or the nature of the human world into new, digital versions? One may especially ask if the virtual realities created with the help of computers are not constructs of the same general type as the realities found in novels, or in the myths handed down by word of mouth from generation to generation and embedded in the collective awareness of social communities, peoples and cultures from the dawn of humanity. Are the earlier fictitious and immaterial worlds created in books, myths, sagas and tales not also virtual worlds, only encoded and distributed by means of other instruments than computers (word of mouth, art, writing)? Could it not be that one and the other are simply immaterial realities, ideas created by human individuals or human groups that have gained autonomy by “freeing” them-selves from their creators, only constructed with the help of different means? Generally speaking, studies and further development of the 4th space idea are an important contribution to the reconnaissance and evaluation of the present changes in the human world.

   The third reason for launching the Two Problems of Digitalization… collection is that negotiation (one of its leading themes) is related to dialogue, and the study and the propagation of dialogue is the main objective of Dialogue and Universalism and its affiliate ISUD. Thus, because of its kinship with dialogue, negotiation has also found itself in our focus.

   The concept of negotiation is hazy. Some believe it to be a special kind of communication reserved for businessmen, others claim that it is a form of dialogue. According to the most widespread interpretation, negotiation is not dialogue, but neither is it restricted to business talks. Negotiation functions in a variety of other spheres, e.g. in politics, sometimes in courts, or in schools, and although two of the three accepted meanings of the term “negotiation” do not identify it with dialogue, they do postulate a relationship between the two. The disclosure of this relationship—including the differences between negotiation and dialogue—would certainly help in revealing their true nature.

   The main aim of negotiation is to secure the interests of the negotiating sides, and it is typically a platform where such interests collide (the interests of the negotiating sides are not identical and their simultaneous fulfilment is impossible, otherwise there would be no need for negotiation), putting the sides in rivalry. Whereas dialogue bases on an interest-free understanding between the sides, respect for their equal rights and the values they adhere to, and their readiness to fulfil the other’s needs. This is not the case with negotiation. Negotiation does not aim at true, well-intended compromise. Here, the compromise is imposed by the stronger side, and often—though usually covertly—reached in an atmosphere of bad faith. This kind of compromise is nothing but an ornament used to cover up the true intentions of the negotiating parties. Is, therefore, negotiation a battle despite the sides’ declarations of pursuing a collaboration? A battle in which there is a winner and a loser? The praxis of negotiation is moving away from the officially-professed principle that the negotiating sides are equal and should respect their mutual interests, because this runs against the self-interest that is the true driving force of negotiation.

   In the today’s communication praxis negotiation prevails over dialogue both in the public and private spheres. Although it must be said that this is most visible in Western culture, which, to further complicate the issue, is not a monolith and has its cultural outsiders. The transition from dialogue to negotiation is mainly the result of culturally-driven changes in human relations. Empathy is on the decline and seen as naïve, unrealistic, unproductive and contrary to natural survival laws. Also on the wane is the need to form truly egalitarian human communities. Instead of these seemingly outdated values, modern-day life is determined by competition and rivalry patterned on biological darwinism, and by a misguided individualism which becomes nothing but blatant selfishness. Negotiation is much better suited to contemporary values than dialogue. Does this mean dialogue is doomed to a marginal, sideline existence and ultimate demise amidst the civilisational changes that are taking place?

   Humanity has pursued interests from its very beginnings. Today, however, the pursuit of interests has either been largely excluded from the official value system, or the value system has become an instrument in the service of interests. It would be too one-sided and simple to say that the increasing presence of negotiation in everyday life and the progressing disappearance of dialogue from communication are the effect of the economisation of life imposed by capitalism, and especially the neoliberalism of the recent decades with its omnipresent rivalry, which has spread from the economic sphere to the entire collective awareness, through which it imposes individual lifestyles. I believe it would also be too simple to seek the reason in the presently dominating Western value system and its pragmatism, or, more precisely, neoliberal leanings. In fact, the atrophy of dialogue is the effect of not one, but several different factors.

   There is the urgent need for a philosophical conception of negotiation, one that would also examine the relation between negotiation and dialogue and the reasons why the first has become so widespread. There exists no such full theory at the moment despite the broad availability of non-philosophical literature devoted to negotiation which could serve as a good starting-point for philosophical discourse. At the moment negotiation studies are located somewhere on the fringes of philosophy, and are mainly focused on the internal problems of negotiation and negotiation techniques.

   The Dialogue and Universalism team hopes this issue, along with the valuable contributions in the Varia part, provides pleasure and intellectual inspiration to our readers.

Małgorzata Czarnocka

Full Professor of Philosophy,

Institute of Philosophy and Sociology,

Polish Academy of Sciences

Dialogue and Universalism editor

 

 

 

JOHN RENSENBRINK FRIEND, COLLEAGUE, AND MENTOR

 

JOHN RENSENBRINK: LIFE AND WORK

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232216

   In sadness, the International Society for Universal Dialogue (ISUD) remembers the passing of John Rensenbrink. John passed away peacefully on July 30th, 2022. He was 93. John was one of ISUD’s founding members and served as President of ISUD from 2005–2007.

   His many contributions to ISUD included writing the first draft of its constitution. His clear and precise articulation of ISUD’s core values continue to guide the Society.

   John’s accomplishments include a PhD in political science from the University of Chicago, governmental service for the U.S. Agency for International Development, and research on the early days of the Solidarity movement in Poland. While in Poland, John became acquainted with the rising success of European Green Parties and subsequently became Co-Founder of both the Green Party in the state of Maine (the first of its kind in the United States) and the U.S. Green Party. In 1996 he ran for the U.S. Senate on the Green Party ticket.

   John served as international roving ambassador for the Green movement, helping to forge links between Green Parties in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. John worked tirelessly to promote international and intercultural dialogue on all things political until his death. His efforts were guided by his life-long belief that politics, i.e., shared deliberation and dialogue for the common good, was a noble and uplifting activity.

   John continues to be an inspiring model for his belief that theory and practice are inseparable; that the role of a “public intellectual” demands action and not simply theory. He was a local, national, and global activist for many organizations that promoted a more peaceful and humane world, environmental justice, and equal justice for women and minorities.

   In his 2017 book, Ecological Politics: For Survival and Democracy, he charts a path for the overcoming of the “tragedy” of contemporary (and degraded) forms of politics to a transformational and elevating form of politics rooted in an ecological vision. John argues that much needed values of peace, justice, and environmental integrity are both idealistic and realistic.

   Over the years that I was fortunate enough to know and work with John, it became clear that a great number of people from many different “walks of life” have been inspired by John and held him in high respect for all the right reasons. The world is a better place because of John Rensenbrink. He will be missed.

Charles Brown

***

Tony Affigne

PhD, Professor of Political Science, Providence College

Email: affigne@providence.edu

MEMORIES OF MY FRIEND JOHN RENSENBRINK, HIS PASSION AND PRAXIS

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232217

   John Rensenbrink’s long life was an adventure, an exploration, a mission of leadership and service to humanity—and the Earth. Guided by passion for knowledge, for understanding, for wisdom, shaped by deeply humanist morality, my dear friend John lived in, and helped create, a world of thought and action, an ecological praxis of resistance, exuberance, and love.

   John and I first met in the midst of the political and economic crises of the 1970s. At home in the U.S., mass movements were defending Black, Indigenous, Latino, and Asian peoples, advocating women’s equality, and opposing U.S. wars abroad. Internationally, decolonization was underway, a powerful anti-apartheid movement threatened white nationalist regimes in southern Africa, and insurgencies and counter-insurgencies (funded by the U.S.) kept Latin America in turmoil. Salvador Allende had been overthrown and assassinated in Chile, at U.S. direction, just two years before. Domestically, both major political parties were enmeshed in the Cold War, and the left had largely been purged from both the Democratic Party and the labor movement. In the post-Watergate era, the Republican Party was well down a reactionary path toward Ronald Reagan’s coming assault on the postwar consensus. A growing environmental movement was battling both industrial pollution and nuclear power. Economically, American communities were struggling to recover from the 1973 oil crisis, from wholesale deindustrialization, and from corporate attacks on hard-won labor agreements.

   Against this backdrop, John and I first crossed paths at a national meeting of radical scholars convened at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. In his keynote lecture to a hundred peers including such irrepressible souls as Betty Zisk, Frances Fox Piven, Richard Cloward, Murray Bookchin, Christian Bay, Joan Roelofs, Murray Edelman, Stanley Aronowitz, Morton Schoolman, and many others, John delivered a rousing call for personal courage and political action, at a time when political science in particular (the profession we shared for more than three decades) had come to seem a timid and soulless enterprise. John was president of the group which organized the conference, known as the Caucus for New Political Science. His fire-and-brimstone speech that day demanded action, not just theory, from his colleagues whose intellectual work, while empathetic, creative, and insurgent, sometimes became unmoored from the lived experiences of the world’s people.

   Those who’ve worked with Rensenbrink will recognize this: for him, the hard intellectual work of understanding where humanity has gone wrong, and the practical work, the action to make things right, were equally important. In other words, John’s passion for social and ecological change embodied a deep praxis, where transcendental thought guides transformational action. He was inspired by a distinctive vision, but knew how crucial it is to work in concert with others. For John, praxis wasn’t an empty or abstract word. It was a way of life.

   For many years, John’s praxis revolved around the creation and nurturing of Green political parties in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. After standing with John at just a few of his historic contributions to Green political history, I’ve seen firsthand how deeply his understanding of both people and the Earth shaped his political work. In 1992 John helped establish the Green Politics Network, which gave rise to the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP), which then became the Green Party of the United States.

   John’s international role was also historic. Greens from 70 countries came together in Canberra, Australia, at the Global Greens Congress 2001, to approve a Global Green Charter and unify the international Green party movement. At that first-ever gathering, John led the effort to ensure that somewhere in the new global organization, would be a place for broad, grassroots participation. John’s campaign culminated with a unanimous vote to authorize a Global Green Network (GGN), including representatives from every national party, as “a means of effective worldwide communication among Green parties and Movements.” Without John’s perseverance the only formal structure of global Green cooperation to emerge from the 2001 Congress would have been a small leadership body, the “Global Green Coordination,” dominated by the powerful, well-resourced Greens of Western Europe. Instead, the role of the 12-person Coordination became balanced, if unequally so, by the broader, two delegates per country, Global Green Network. Again, John’s vision of a participatory movement, accessible to the global South and East as well as the West, found its way into Green history because he was willing to actively engage, as leader of the U.S. Green Party’s International Committee, and as U.S. delegate to the Global Greens.

   Through more than forty years, it was my pleasure to walk some of this path with John, finding inspiration in his leadership, and an example in his life of service. For many years, we traveled together as Green Party representatives, including a road trip to Ottawa in 2000 as guest speakers at the Green Party of Canada’s National Convention. John’s speech explained the difficult electoral environment we face in the U.S., and mine addressed developing relationships between U.S. Greens and Indigenous sovereignty and sustainability campaigns. In 2001 we were together at the first Global Greens Congress in Australia. In 2004 we traveled to Rome, Italy, in the U.S. delegation to the founding congress of the European Green Party. We drove together to Quebec City in 2008, for the hemispheric meeting of the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas, where FPVA welcomed new parties from Guatemala, Bolivia, and French Guyana; established the Young Greens of the Americas; established the FPVA Women’s Commission; and voted to oppose the resurgence of nuclear power around the world.

   At the 2014 state convention of the Maine Green Independent Party—commemorating yet another of John’s many founding roles—his fellow Mainers invited me to speak, to bring greetings from Rhode Island and to remind his closest neighbors of the special place John holds in the hearts and minds of Greens around the world. At his 90th birthday party in 2018, John’s lifelong partner, his wife Carla, and his daughters Kathryn, Greta, and Liz, invited me to do the same, but from the warmer, less formal perspective of one who’s been both friend and political ally. As I did on both occasions, it’s my great pleasure to share these memories with you, with respect, admiration, and love; to affirm again, to his friends and compatriots in the International Society for Universal Dialogue, that John Rensenbrink was one of our world’s very best. He was an inspiration, an example of just what a well-lived, fully-engaged life can be, and a challenge to us all, to rise above the despair the modern world invokes, to think broadly and deeply about what we must do to survive, as a species and as a planetary ecosystem, and above all, to keep faith that our human purpose is greater than we’ve seen so far. We can be better, we can do better, and fortunately for us all, John Rensenbrink’s lifelong, passionate praxis showed the way.

   (Portions of these reflections were previously published in Green Horizon Magazine, Winter/Spring 2020.)

***

Charles Brown

Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professor, Emporia State University, USA

Email: cbrown@emporia.edu

JOHN RENSENBRINK AND THE PROMISE OF POLITICS

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232218

   I first met John in Warsaw, Poland where we attended an environmental conference hosted by the Polish Senate. We met again at the biannual conferences of the International Society for Universal Dialogue; a society dedicated to philosophical dialogue across differing cultural traditions. John was later elected President of that organization. His impact was strong and lasting. His love for constructive political dialogue was matched only by his love and commitment to Green politics. I got to know John better when he visited my university to lecture on the positive role of third parties. We found time to drive across the last great stand of never-plowed Tallgrass Prairie in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Plenty of time to talk about politics, ecology, and dialogue.

   I was honored when John asked me to review and comment on his manuscript, subsequently published in 2017 as Ecological Politics: For Survival and Democracy. Like many timely books Ecological Politics reminds us of what we already know while shaping a new vision of how to better make sense of what we already know. John argues that “big action” is needed to change the current direction and destiny of our species and planet. This sort of “big action” requires an inclusive and communal deliberation for the common good, i.e., politics. John argues that the promise of politics continues to fall into cynicism and hopelessness by ever-more jaded sections of the population. Rather than a noble and shared pursuit of the common good, politics has become a tragic source of conflict.

   John reminds us of the cultural and ecological consequences of this now degraded form of politics—a politics that glorifies and magnifies our individuality, our uniqueness, and our separateness at the cost of concealing our communal nature, our sameness, and our togetherness. The glorification of competition, conflict, struggle, winner take all economics, and radical individualism (all underwritten by what John calls “the ontologies of separation”) too often appear as virtues rather than the social pathologies they are. Our degraded political world increasingly matches our degraded ecological world as the state of each is continually “normalized” in rhetoric and practice.

   The “big action” needed to change the direction and destiny of our species requires an overcoming of this tragedy of politics. Serious reflection on the great issues of our times and our seeming inabilities to constructively deal with these issues leads many to pessimism and hopelessness. Ubiquitous pollution, mass extinction, rising seas, climate disaster, growing economic inequality, and pernicious forms of ethnic and exclusionary nationalism too often lead to despair and the withdrawal from public life.

   Unlike some others, John expresses no sense of gloom or despair but rather a confident optimism that a new and transformational politics can be cultivated as an instrument of thriving and healing. John gave us reason to believe that a politics built on community, care, cooperation, and a shared sense that we are all in it together is still within our reach. John argued that this radical possibility (of a transformational politics) arises from an ecological way of looking at the world. He argued that an ecological way of seeing the world has the power to teach us that our constant pursuit of self-interest depends on a world already structured by shared, interrelated, and mutually beneficial cooperation.

   An ecological way of looking at the world teaches us that our pursuit of private self-interest it is only possible (and sustainable) when our shared interests, the common good of all, is recognized, respected, and cultivated. An ecological way of looking at the world has the power to shape and inspire a politics rooted in meaningful and constructive dialogue; a form of politics desperately needed to overcome the Hobbesian roots of our current ecological, cultural, and political condition.

   There is little doubt that the world is a better place because of John Rensenbrink and that he will be remembered, admired, and respected for all the right reasons.

***

Michael H. Mitias

PhD, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi

Email: hmitias@gmail.com

JOHN RENSENBRINK, THE MAN I KNEW

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232219

   John Rensenbrink was one of the early, founding members of the Society for Universal Dialogue who exemplified its humanistic spirit and ideals in the way he thought and lived: enlightenment, peace, dialogue, justice, freedom, cooperation, and especially respect for the natural environment. During my active years in the Society, I noticed that John was not physically visible much during the social and formal activities of the Society, but he was an active, productive, caring, and loyal presence in its work. I frequently, and whenever I could, read his contributions to Dialogue and Universalism.

   In a long conversation I had with him in the early days of the Society, he told me that he retired early as a professor of philosophy and decided to devote the rest of his intellectual life to the promotion of the ideas of the Green Movement and the ideals of humanism. He viewed the Society as an intellectual community in which he could speak, write, and associate socially as an intellectual and as a citizen. I was moved warmly by his spiritual posture and devotion to wellbeing of society! He retired early as a professor of philosophy, but he remained an active and productive philosophical presence in the life of Society to the end of his life. He was a true example of social and intellectual activism to the very end.

   I say with a deep feeling of sorrow that John’s death will be a great loss for the Society. But this loss will be temporary because the impact of his writings and the vital role he played in the life of the Society will linger for quite a long time.

***

Betsy Garrold

President, Board of Directors, Food for Maine’s Future

Email: mainefood55@gmail.com

REMEMBERING JOHN RENSENBRINK

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232220

   I met John during my first run for the legislature. He came to my house and sat at my kitchen table eating blueberry muffins with me, Jonathan Carter and some others. Checking me out as a candidate and a person. He became one of my most cherished political mentors, gave me an autographed copy of Against All Odds, made me laugh, made me cry, praised my ethics, and pointed out my mistakes. I will miss him.

***

Steven Welzer

Co-editor, Green Horizon Magazine

Email: stevenwelzer@gmail.com

REFLECTIONS AND APPRECIATION FOR JOHN RENSENBRINK

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232221

   It was my privilege to jointly edit and publish Green Horizon Magazine with John Rensenbrink over a span of twenty years. John was the one who conceptualized and initiated this distinctive publication—a print magazine covering the international Green politics movement from the perspective of this country’s state-based ecological parties. Readers of and contributors to the magazine appreciated John’s unerring guidance. They also were aware of his lifelong commitment to the movement, within which John wore many hats and played many roles. Those were featured in a tribute issue of the magazine published two years ago and available upon request from: Green Horizon Foundation, PO Box 2029, Princeton, NJ 08543.

***

Albert A. Anderson

Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Babson College

Email: aaacirrus@gmail.com

SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT JOHN RENSENBRINK AND ISUD

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232222

   John Rensenbrink was a long-time member of the International Society for Universal Dialogue, serving as president of the society for two years (2005-2007). His distinguished career in higher education included positions at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine (from which he retired as full professor in 1989), Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts where he taught political science. He was co-founder of the Green Party in the state of Maine (the first of its kind in the United States). In 1996 he ran for the U.S. Senate on the Green Party ticket. More information can be found on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_ Rensenbrink

   My purpose for writing about John in this context is to express my gratitude for his friendship and to remember his special contribution to ISUD. His unique perspective was shaped by early spiritual nurture at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan; a Ph.D. in political science at University of Chicago; governmental service for U.S. Agency for International Development; first-hand research on the Solidarity movement in Poland prior to the collapse of the Berlin Wall; and as an activist for organizations that promoted peace, the ecological movement, and equal justice for women and minorities.

   During the time I served as president of ISUD (1996–2001), John was invaluable as an advisor, a colleague, and a seasoned organizer. He joined me in persuading the membership to change the name of the society from “International Society for Universalism” to “International Society for Universal Dialogue,” which we did at our Third World Congress in 1998. Janusz Kuczyński invited the participants who met in Warsaw in 1989 to explore the idea of “universalism” as an inclusive philosophy to unite all people. While retaining the quest for values that are common to all, the name change made clear that our founding principles demand maximum inclusion and an open search for universals as well as the means to implement them. Universal dialogue continues to be the best way to seek rather than propagate the truth. Perhaps John’s most valuable contribution to ISUD was writing the first draft of the ISUD constitution that was adopted at the Third World Congress in 1998. The core principles that he formulated so clearly and precisely remain in the ISUD constitution and bylaws. To review the current document, visitńhttps://www.worldialogue.org/ constitution

   During the past quarter of a century, the history of the ISUD and the history of the Cold war have shown an uncanny similarity. We founded ISUD on the day the Berlin Wall collapsed, feeding the hope for an end to the threat of a fatal nuclear exchange with the former Soviet Union—a reason for exhilaration and celebration. Some even dreamed of an “end to history” and an era of lasting peace and cooperation. Global warming and pollution emerged as a second existential threat to the human species, and ISUD joined that dialogue with John playing a central role as a leader, a scholar, and as an active member. John was also co-founder and editor of Green Horizons, a periodical that publishes articles and opinion on the environmental crisis and possible solutions. One way to remember and honor John’s work is by contributing to that publication: https://green-horizon.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/GHM40_web.pdf

   Unfortunately, the ISUD and world events are not immune to the diseases of vicious conflict, enmity, and mutual destruction. Utopia continues to be “no place,” but John Rensenbrink’s presence and contributions to ISUD continue to offer a glimpse of what is desirable and perhaps even possible both for a scholarly society and for the world as a whole.

***

Kevin M. Brien

Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Washington College, USA

Email: dogenlight@gmail.com

HE WAS A REAL WONDER!!

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232223

   John Rensenbrink was a very remarkable human being, one of the most truly wonderful human beings I have ever encountered. He was a real Wonder!! My first interactions with him go back to the times he was President of the ISUD. What struck me most about him then was the unusual way in which he fully embraced participatory democracy in the ways he interacted with others on the ISUD Board, and with the members of the ISUD at large. When he was Chair of the ISUD he embraced the members of the ISUD as a community of equals, of which he himself was only a temporary figurehead but not a boss.

   As I gradually got to know more about his life, I came to realize that he was a giant figure in environmental politics, as well as one of founders of the Green Party. What also eventually became clear to me was John’s deep realization that we human beings are not separate discrete individuals who are unrelated to one another. Rather, human beings in whatever specific community they might be situated are already related in a myriad of ways. For John it was not a question of whether human beings are related, but a question of how they are related and interrelated.

   Let me refer again to John’s long and extraordinary commitment to his avid wrestling with environmental problems, and the lingering threats they pose for humankind. Perhaps I can do no better here than to bring into focus special discussions between John, Charles Brown, and myself many years ago at a college in St Louis. These discussions were captured by Pawel Kuczyński in his extraordinary documentary named “The Ontological Imperative” — (especially part 4, available on youtube.com).

   John was fully aware that for thousands of years human kind separated itself into contending camps that were at odds with one another, instead of nurturing their actual togetherness in so many ways. Moreover, he was also fully aware many decades ago of the real possibility that the human species could eventually destroy itself.

   John understood that the most viable instrument for offsetting such a catastrophe is genuine dialogue between islands of community. But not the sort of dialogue in which the contending parties are talking at one another. Rather the sort of dialogue in which people are talking with one another. Short of this, John says that such dialogue is just vapor.

   At this juncture in human history, threats of myriad sorts confront us all, no matter where we might live on planet Earth. Think of what has been happening in the United States for some years. Think of the fractures that have taken place in our body politic in very recent years, and the divisions which now loom in threatening ways over all of us. I am hand in hand with John that the most favourable instrument for confronting the growing threats in our own country is genuine dialogue, not talking at those with whom we presently disagree. But talking together with them for the common good, rather than a slow slide into ultimate destruction for all humankind.

 

 

 

ABSTRACTS  

 

Iman Najafi, Peter (Piotr) Boltuc

E-NEGOTIATIONS IN MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS:

THE IMPORTANCE OF CULTURAL FAMILIARITY

IN THE WESTERN AND ARABIC CONTEXTS

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232225

   This paper focuses on the influence of cultural familiarity on getting the most out of an e-negotiation for merger or acquisition based on subjective and objective negotiation behaviors. We examined if cultural awareness could increase the rate of negotiation self-efficacy, shorten the length of negotiation and optimize deal closure results. To do so, firstly we investigate the concept of e-negotiation and its development in the last two decades. Then a series of systematic reviews is performed on the parameters influencing the success in offline and online merger or acquisition negotiations. We also considered the main traits of Western and Middle Eastern Arab cultures on negotiations. The results show that many of the requirements of successful collaboration, or negotiations, with Arab managers can currently happen only through face-to-face meetings.

Keywords: E-negotiation, virtual negotiation, merger and acquisition, culture dependency, Middle Eastern Arab negotiations.

Iman Najafi — Warsaw School of Economics.

Email: iman_najafi65@yahoo.com

Piotr (Peter) Boltuc —  Computer Science, University of Illinois Springfield; Illinois Partners Institute, Chicago Illinois; Warsaw School of Economics.

Email: pboltu@sgh.waw.pl

 

 

 

Sidey Myoo, Adrian Mróz

CONCEPTS AND MECHANISMS OF NEGOTIATION DERIVED FROM EXPERIENCES IN THE ELECTRONIC MILIEU

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232226

   In this paper, we address the relevance of virtual worlds for negotiation using the example of Second Life and AltspaceVR; we take into account mindset issues and an avatar’s influence on this process. The concept of negotiation is related here to the concept of a networked society to describe actions undertaken between two or more individuals, groups, and/or organizations. The network is a milieu for negotiating with one-self and with others. Negotiating in a networked space can be an opportunity for self-exploration, subversion, and compensation for the limitations of physical reality, and it also involves background problems and the displacement of power. The term “negotiation” is used in online communities to describe interactions between people who are not physically present but interact with each other through some technical devices, such as the telephone or the Internet. In the waves of technological development, how people organize their lives and behave is a question of convenience. Virtual worlds, in which the human is extended by an avatar (and the avatar by the electronic space), are now being transformed into worlds where the human is just the avatar. The avatar is in the same space the human is in, i.e., in the physical world. This transformation (in fact, a paradigm shift) involves changing the habits of users, who are now adopting new habits in the form of negotiating the physical world with the values and habits of the virtual world.

Keywords: Negotiation, AltspaceVR, Second Life, Networks, Virtual Reality, Avatar.

Affiliation: 

Sidey Myoo — Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland.

Email: sidey.myoo@uj.edu.pl

Adrian Mróz — Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland.

Email: adrian.mroz@uj.edu.pl

 

 

 

Małgorzata Marchewka

VIRTUAL EXCHANGE AS A TOOL FOR BOOSTING STUDENTS’ SKILLS FOR VIRTUAL NEGOTIATIONS

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232227

   Recently the virtual organization of work has become of crucial significance. The changes in the work environment induced by the Industry 4.0 revolution are also reflected in the emergence of virtual negotiations. New settings impose new challenges not only for negotiators, but also for higher education struggling to provide students with the best opportunities for comprehensive development. Given the applicability of virtual exchange (VE) in business higher education, the main objective of this paper is to present the usefulness of virtual exchange as a tool to boost students’ skills that are necessary for virtual negotiations. Firstly, the concept of the 4th space was applied to compare the context of virtual negotiations and VE projects. Secondly, the learning outcomes of the VE projects were studied from the perspective of the requirements of virtual negotiations.

Keywords: virtual exchange, business higher education, virtual negotiations, students’ skills, negotiations, 4th space.

Affiliation: Management Process Department, Cracow University of Economics, Rakowicka Street 27, 31-510 Cracow, Poland.

Email: marchewm@uek.krakow.pl

 

 

 

Nick Clifton, Fiona Carroll, Richard Wheeler

PROXIMITY, INNOVATION, COLLABORATION; DEVELOPING THE 4TH “EXTENDED REALITY” SPACE

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232228

   The digital “4th Space” is a development of Oldenburg’s delineation of the 1st (home), 2nd place (work) and 3rd (social) places. Coworking spaces are presented as an example of space blurring within the knowledge economy, where digitalization, knowledge flows, flexibility and innovation play out at the micro level. Post-pandemic, they are likely to play a greater role as remote working remains a permanent feature. But how should we reassess their role in the advent of the 4th space, and what might the 4th space mean for how the role of proximity itself is (re)conceptualized in relation to collaboration and innovation? To do so, providing examples, we suggest the journey from the telephone to extended reality (XR) video conferencing technologies as a means to understand the evolution of the 4th space. We discuss (XR) spaces and the opportunities to afford proximity and collaboration, thus providing an agenda for further research.

Keywords: Coworking; digitalization; innovation; proximity; remote working; digital 4th space; knowledge economy; extended reality (XR).

Affiliation:

Nick Clifton — Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK.

Email: nclifton@cardiffmet.ac.uk

Fiona Carroll — Cardiff School of Technologies, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, UK.

Email: fcarroll@cardiffmet.ac.uk

Richard Wheeler — Associate Tutor in Technologies, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom.

Email: rwheeler@cardiffmet.ac.uk

 

 

 

Rafał Maciąg

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AS AN EPISTEMOLOGICAL EVENT: PREDIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232229

   The paper describes the circumstances in which digital technology arises; the change is recognized in the literature as the basis of digital transformation. This transformation is understood as a deterministic economic process. However, the analysis of the deeper circumstances of this process shows that we are dealing with a vast change in the ways of understanding and describing the world, i.e. with an epistemological change. This change concerns, on the one hand, the method of creating general mathematical (including geometric) structures that are the basis of models used to describe the world, and on the other hand—tools for its description, e.g. network theory, systems theory, complexity theory. Such a broadly understood change makes the deterministic description proposed by the digital transformation too simple and shallow. Instead, the concept of pre-digital transformation is proposed. It includes not only the omitted historical part but also creates better and richer conditions for understanding the digital transformation process, as well as for developing appropriate conceptual tools for its use.

Keywords: digital transformation, predigital transformation, digital technology, mathematics, epistemology.

Affiliation: Institute of Information Studies, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland.

Email: rafal.maciag@uj.edu.pl

 

 

 

William Harwood

ALIENS AND MONSTERS: ARISTOTLE’S HYPOTHETICAL “DEFENSE” OF NATURAL SLAVERY

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232230

   This paper examines Aristotle’s discussion of slavery, showing his description of actual slavery to be an indictment and those regarding natural slavery to be a hypothetical investigation of a separate kind. Aristotle not only precludes the inclusion of natural slaves and freepersons in a single natural kind, but also articulates such bizarre requirements for natural slaves that they ultimately cannot exist. While this reading avoids notorious difficulties associated with Aristotle’s discussion of slaves, it replaces them with impossible preconditions for just slavery—so much that one must consider the possibility that Aristotle did not believe there was such a thing as “just” slavery. Was Aristotle’s otherwise acute mind blinded by the prejudices of his time? Or is this the inevitable result of “defending” the indefensible: an ad absurdum that has been ironically misunderstood and anachronistically misapplied to modern race and racism?

Keywords: Aristotle; political naturalism; race; slavery; Politics.

Affiliation: Missouri State University Philosophy Department, 901 S. National Ave, Springfield, MO 65897 USA.

Email: WilliamHHarwood@MissouriState.edu

 

 

 

Іhor Vdovychyn, Viktoriya Bun, Nataliia Khoma

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE AND INFORMATION SOCIETY: DANGERS OF THE RADICAL SOCIAL DIVISION

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232231

   The purpose of the article is to analyse Friedrich Nietzsche’s ideas about the radical social division of society and the domination of the elite over the masses in the context of the latest socio-economic, technological and political realities of the post-industrial society. The authors emphasize the existing social demand for the study of threats that arise from social divisions due to the influence of the information society. In these processes, the authors trace a peculiar kind of recent interpretation of Nietzsche’s ideas about the “Übermensch,” owing to a radical change in the information space under the influence of the technological revolution. It is stated that the modern information society forms a new radical social division into the upper class of intellectuals and the general mass of consumers, provokes the emergence of a “divided civilization,” where under the slogans of supporting the idea of meritocracy, a society with new social divisions is formed. Ignoring the humanistic meaning of rights and freedoms, perceiving them exclusively as a technological tool for the introduction of irresponsibility make it possible to justify the rule of Nietzsche’s “Übermensch.” The “Übermensch” is now the bearer of knowledge, which is necessary for modern civilization. Nietzsche’s calls for the destruction of cultural tradition are used as a justification for the rejection of personal freedom, human rights, as well as the rejection of state institutions capable of protecting them. The authors conclude that the information society, which is based on techno-logical innovations, faces a range of socially dangerous consequences, as well as the deformation of the system of established values. Thanks to the manipulative tools generated by technological progress, new formats of inequality are emerging and taking root. The appearance of powerful information resources strengthens the ability to control the behaviour of the individual, expands the power of a small group of people who control the information space. This is what actualizes Nietzsche’s statements about the radical division of society and the domination of the elite over the masses in the new socio-economic and technological realities.

Keywords: information society, post-industrial society, social division, Übermensch (superhuman person), Friedrich Nietzsche’s meritocracy.

Affiliation: 

Іhor Vdovychyn — Department of Theory and History of Political Science, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, 1, Universytetska St., 79000, Lviv, Ukraine.

Email: ihor.vdovychyn@lnu.edu.ua

Viktoriya Bun — Department of Theory and History of Political Science, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, 1, Universytetska St., 79000, Lviv, Ukraine.

Email: viktoriya.bun@lnu.edu.ua

Nataliia Khoma — Department of Political Sciences and International Relations, Lviv Polytechnic National University, 5 Mytropolyta Andreia St., 79000, Lviv, Ukraine.

Email: nataliia.m.khoma@lpnu.ua

 

 

 

Mykola M. Chursin, Iryna M. Siliutina, Olha O. Smolina, Maksym O. Petrenko

THE ALIENATION PHENOMENON
AND THE COMMUNICATIVE MODEL OF THE HUMAN SOCIETY EVOLUTION

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232232

 

   The aim of this work is to consider individual symptoms and areas of alienation in the history of mankind and in the modern information society, and the disclosure of its logic and patterns. Methodologically, the study is based on the historical, information and cybernetic approaches. The paper points to a positive feedback between the amount of knowledge in alienated form and figures of society, the development of its comprehensive intelligence. New forms of exclusion, which exist in the form of artificial intelligence, robotics, and global computer networks, are analysed. The findings suggest a communicative model of the interaction of mankind with man-made external memory, which describes a non-linear process of communicating to it all human knowledge and intellectual abilities. It is emphasized that the contradiction between man and the material world created by him is the main contradiction of modernity.

Keywords: alienation, evolution, external memory, alienated knowledge, communicative model.

Affiliation:

Mykola M. Chursin — Department of Information Activity and Media Communications, Odessa Polytechnic State University, 65044, 1 Shevchenka Ave., Odesa, Ukraine.

Email: chursin@sci-univ.com

Iryna M. Siliutina — Department of Philosophy, Cultural Studies and Information Activity, Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University, 93406, 59-a Tsentralnyi Ave., Severodonetsk, Ukraine.

Email: ira128@ukr.net

Olha O. Smolina — Department of Philosophy, Cultural Studies and Information Activity, Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University, 93406, 59-a Tsentralnyi Ave., Severodonetsk, Ukraine.

Email: laprimavera555@gmail.com

Maksym O. Petrenko — Department of Philosophy, Cultural Studies and Information Activity, Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University, 93406, 59-a Tsentralnyi Ave., Severodonetsk, Ukraine.

Email: petrenko@snu.edu.ua

 

 

 

Ángel Gómez

EDUCATIONAL RATIONALITY AND CONSUMER SOCIETY

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232233

   In the paper we analyze the educational rationality closely associated with a neoliberal cultural logic that causes various lifestyles which seek only the satisfaction of unreal or symbolic needs where the ideal of education appears as one more among others. Furthermore, we consider educational policies subordinated to an expansive cultural logic of post-industrial capitalism, having as a historical reference the neoliberal turn of the Peruvian educational policy and a symbolic structure deeply established in the psyche of the society transformed by the social pathologies of mercantilism and consumerism. This insight will allow us to propose a socio-philosophical critique of postmodernity.

Keywords: Education, culture, neoliberalism, rationality, consumer society.

Affiliation: National University of San Marcos (UNMSM) Peru.

Email: agomez@unife.edu.pe

 

 

 

Małgorzata Czarnocka

INSTRUMENTAL REASON AND SCIENCE — MAX HORKHEIMER’S VIEW

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232234

   The paper analyses today partly forgotten Max Horkheimer’s conception of instrumental reason which presents this reason differently from the definition widespread today (claiming that it consists in adopting suitable means to set ends). Horkheimer relates instrumental reason to subjective one, seeing the former as a degenerate form of the latter. His theory is far more philosophical than the dominating today conceptions which do not consider the problem of instrumental reason philosophical any longer and instead move it step by step to the domain of a nonphilosophical decision theory. The paper analyses in particular Horkheimer’s beliefs claiming that 1) it is science which founds instrumental reason, and therefore 2) it is science which is the main source of oppressiveness and degradation of the contemporary civilization. It is shown among other things that Horkheimer misunderstands some properties of science and its operations and this leads to his incorrect presentation of the role of instrumental reason.

Keywords: instrumental reason, subjective reason, crititique of science, Max Horkheimer.

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

Email: mczarnocka@ifispan.edu.pl

 

 

 

Ihor Rassokha

HARMONY OF THE HIGHER RELIGIONS

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232235

   In the paper I propose a definition of higher religions as having their own Holy Scripture. The rating of the higher religions was built on the number of followers, the time of existence and predominance in certain territories. In total, 25 higher religions are identified. Four world religions were chosen as the coordinate basis for building a graphic connection between all 25 higher religions: by rating and by mutual proximity. It turned out that they can be placed in only one specific way. Moreover, all these religions are lined up in the correct absolutely symmetrical matrix—the harmony of the higher religions. This is clear evidence that all higher religions constitute a holistic, mutually reinforcing unity.

Keywords: Pagan religions, holy scriptures, higher religions, rating of the higher religions.

Affiliation: Department of History and Cultural Study, O.M. Beketov National University of Urban Economy in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Email: ihor.rassokha@gmail.com

 

 

 

Žilvinas Vareikis

CHALLENGES OF CLIMATE CHANGE FROM AN INTERCULTURAL PERSPECTIVE

https://doi.org/10.5840/du202232236

   The paper proposes a comparative intercultural approach to the climate change. The author bases on the cases of Chinese Daoism and Norbert Bolz’s philosophy to present his personal general viewpoint. The today greatest challenge is the recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic by getting rid of the financial burden and by introducing individual economical solutions to each country as well as accepting international conventions on the reduction of climate change results. According to the author of the article, the increasing consequences of the climate change liven up international business and indifferent politicians to make positive decisions concerning it.

Keywords: climate change, comparative philosophy, intercultural approach, Norbert Bolz, continental philosophy.

Affiliation: Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, 58 Saltoniškės str., LT-08105, Vilnius, Lithuania.

Email: ilvinasvareikis @yahoo.fr

 


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