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61. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
James P. Sterba Reconciling Public Reason and Religious Values
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Philosophers who hold that religious considerations should play some role in public debate over fundamental issues have criticized Rawls’s ideal of public reason for being too restrictive in generally ruling out such considerations. In response, Rawls has modified his ideal so as to explicitly allow a role for religious considerations in public debate (others, such as Robert Audi, have also offered accounts of public reason along similar lines). Nevertheless, some critics of Rawls’s ideal of public reason, such as Nicholas Wolterstorff, remain unsatisfied. In this paper, I will argue that once Rawls’s ideal of public reason is correctly interpreted, it will be possible to reconcile that ideal with much of the role its critics want religion to have in public debate.
62. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Jorge J. E. Gracia Philosophy in American Public Life: De Facto and De Jure
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My focus here is on two questions: Does philosophy have a place in contemporary American public life? and should philosophy have a place in American public life? Because my answer to the first question is negative, I also will discuss some of the reasons why I believe philosophy does not play a role in American public life. I suggest that philosophers have been excluded from the public conversation in part because the work of philosophy entails criticism and challenge—activities best accomplished from “outside” of the structures of power. This means that we have a role in public life, but it is an indirect role, as teachers and critics, not as advisers and active participants.
63. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Sirkku Kristiina Hellsten Communitarianism and Western Thought
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Within the Western tradition we can find important and interesting philosophical differences between the continental European and the Anglo-American ethical and political outlooks towards biotechnology. The Anglo-American attitude appears based on naturalistic and empiricist views, while continental European viewpoints are built on idealistic liberal humanism. A Northern European view integrates both of the above-mentioned liberal traditions. The main problem is that although these different outlooks can be said to be liberal in their common promotion of equality, autonomy, and individual rights, they still tend to conflict. I purpose to explicate the main differences of these liberalisms and to analyze how they affect the ethical views towards biotechnology in the Western world. Secondly, I will search for the shared values involved in these approaches in order to find common ground for open discussion on the ethical problems involved in biotechnological development.
64. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Margaret Gilbert Sociality, Unity, Objectivity
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Numerous social and political theorists have referred to social groups or societies as “unities.” What makes a unity of a social group? I address this question with special reference to the theory of social groups proposed in my books On Social Facts and Living Together: Rationality, Sociality and Obligation. I argue that social groups of a central kind require an underlying “joint commitment.” I explain what I mean by a “joint commitment” with care. If joint commitments in my sense underlie them, what kind of unity does this give social groups? In what sense or senses is it objective?
65. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Raimo Tuomela Collective Acceptance and Social Reality
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Many social properties and notions are collectively made. Two collectively created aspects of the social world have been emphasized in recent literature. The first is that of the performative character of many social things (entities, properties). The second is the reflexive nature of many social concepts. The present account adds to this list a third feature, the collective availability or “for-groupness” of collective social items. It is a precise account of social notions and social facts in terms of collective appearance. The collective acceptance account has ontological implications in that it accepts mind-independent, group-dependent, and simply mind-dependent social facts.
66. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Wolfgang Balzer Freedom and Equality in the Comparison of Political Systems
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The notions of freedom and equality in a group are precisely defined in terms of individual exertions of influence or power. Freedom is discussed in the version ‘freedom from’ influence rather than in the version ‘freedom to do’ what one wants. It is shown that at the ideal conceptual level complete freedom implies equality. Given the plausibility of the definitions this shows that political ‘folk rhetorics’ in which freedom and equality often are put in opposition are misled and misleading. Quantitative notions of ‘more freedom’ and ‘more equality’ are introduced and shown to be independent of each other. The bearing of these conceptual exercises on the comparison of political systems is discussed.
67. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Daniel O. Dahlstrom Love, Honor, and Resentment
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For much of contemporary ethical theory, the universalizability of the motive of a contemplated action forms a necessary part of the basis of the action’s moral character, legitimacy, or worth. Considering the possibility of resentment springing from the performance of an action also serves as a means of determining the morality of an action. However, considerations of universalizability and resentment are plainly inconsistent with the performance of some unselfish moral actions. I argue that the sphere of the moral adequacy of considerations of universalizability and resentment is limited. I profile key elements of “conformist” or “consensus-driven” ethical thinking modelled on Nagel’s ethical theory. Then, I elaborate the measure of validity of the profiled ethical thinking as well as its limitation, suggesting that its proper domain is located in an ethics of honor, delimited by an ethics of love and friendship.
68. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Robert L. Holmes A Western Perspective on the Problem of Violence
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The following sketches a constellation of views constituting the implicit philosophy of violence that one finds in much of the Western world. While I believe that much of this philosophy is deeply flawed, I shall, in a sense, be setting forth the case for violence because any hope of a nonviolent and peaceful world order must begin with a deeper understanding of violence and its attractiveness. After exploring various arguments for violence, I conclude that once we probe beneath the surface, it is clear that most of those who deplore violence do not oppose all violence, only that of which they disapprove, and that social manipulation backed by violence in the end seems to most people to be justified.
69. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Jaakko Hintikka, Robert Cummings Neville, Ernest Sosa, Alan M. Olson, Stephen Dawson Series Introduction
70. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
David M. Rasmussen Volume Introduction
71. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
D. A. Masolo Communitarianism: An African Perspective
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How is the sense (knowledge and feelings) of community produced? What roles do various units of society play in producing such knowledge and feelings? What are the values of the ethic engendered by such knowledge and feelings? I suggest that a communitarian theory indigenous to African culture enables us to respond to these questions. Against the objections of those who advocate an ideology of modern democratic liberalism, I argue that the values of individual worth and freedom are indeed compatible with those of communitarianism. Further, while I agree that communities are natural orders into which individuals are born, I deny any ontological determinism that would seek to restrict such orders in terms of ethnicity or race. Rather, communities also need to be understood as products of deliberate human organization and choices.
72. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
D. P. Chattopadhyaya Communitarianism from an Eastern Perspective
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I make a distinction between regional and national movements toward union and uniformity. The former suppresses individuality, both at the level of the human being and at that of their political aggregates, while the latter allows space for criticism and creativity. I briefly rehearse communitarian movements of the past so as to draw historical lessons from their failures. From this, I go on to sketch some features of the kind of regional and even global communitarianism that is required in today’s political and economic context.
73. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Andrzej Maciej Kaniowski Is Globalization a Real Threat to Democracy?: Remarks from an Eastern European Perspective
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In this paper, I argue that if the process of globalization leads to more severe social discrepancies that are not acceptable to many groups of people, then globalization would become the factor of primary relevance that threatens democracy; but if globalization and the present democratic order manage to solve social problems, then globalization will be a factor supporting the democratic way of thinking that is not oriented to exclusiveness. Globalization, I believe, coincides rather with a way of thinking that is non-xenophobic and which refuses to see moral thinking in the strict dichotomy of good and evil.
74. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
George Teschner The Humanities and Telecommunication Technology
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Contemporary technology in the form of electronically managed interactive telecommunications is compatible with the goals and values of the humanities. Computerized communication (especially that of bulletin board technology) inverts the relationship between the degree of communicative interaction and the number of communicants. It is both mass communication and individualized participation. From the point of view of a theory of discourse, the bulletin board system is unique in that the ratio between the number of participants and the individualized nature of the interaction is directly proportional. One person’s voice does not inhibit or repress the voice of another. It is the technological embodiment of the ideal speech situation of Habermas that allows for the maximum of democratic participation and which, by allowing everyone to have a voice, allows for the greatest amount of dissensus and dialectic.
75. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Robert Cummings Neville Humanity and the Natural World: Reconceiving Knowing, Learning, and Living
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A key existential problem for paideia in the modern Western world—and perhaps for much elsewhere—is to build up the continuum of engagement from the subtle signs of contemporary scientific, artistic, and imaginative society down through the depths of nature. That continuum has been prevented by the modern creation of a fake culture of artificial self-sufficiency within which nature appears only tamed and cooked, and which deflects interpretive engagements of deeper nature except where leakages occur. What can be done about learning for humanity and the natural world? In what follows, I put forth three suggestions.
76. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Chung-ying Cheng Classical Chinese Philosophy in a Global Context
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I discuss several areas of classical Chinese philosophy such as Confucianism, Daoism, Yijing philosophy, and the Mingjia, in terms of their global relevance for humankind today. I contend that despite the critique of 4 May 1919 and Great Cultural Revolution of 1965–1976, these philosophical schools have remained latent in the consciousness of the Chinese people. I argue that classical Chinese philosophy is very relevant for the present worldwide rebirth (renaissance) of human civilization. It is, in fact, crucial to the development of a “global” humanistic philosophy needed for the survival of the human species, the resolution of cultural crises, the improvement of the quality of life, and the axiological enrichment of community living.
77. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Chad Hansen How Chinese Thought “Shapes” Western Thought
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I begin this paper with some autobiographical reflections of my own journey in Chinese languages and philosophy not only in order to demonstrate how Chinese philosophy can change one’s attitudes toward Western philosophy, but also to suggest that the shift in philosophical perspective that occurs—when viewed through a Chinese lens—is reasonable. The second half of this paper consists of interpretative hypotheses about the content of Chinese philosophy vis-à-vis the West. I reflect more specifically how the different structure of the Chinese language seems to have worked in Chinese philosophical reflection and contrast that with the way intentional idioms did in Western philosophy. Looking mainly at theory of language, the key similarity between the two traditions is expressed in the current “pragmatic” view that “meaning” is irreducibly normative. The differences that attend to this formulation between Chinese and Western thought will also be discussed.
78. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Arindam Chakrabarti Truth, Recognition of Truth, and Thoughtless Realism: Nyāya Without Fregean Fetters
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Witnessing the fate of the various definitions of truth, Donald Davidson has recently called the very drive to define truth a “folly.” Before him, Kant and Frege had given independent arguments why a general definition of truth is impossible. After a quick summary of their arguments, I recount several reasons that Gangeśa gave for not counting truth as a genuine natural universal. I argue that in spite of defining truth as a feature of personal and ephemeral awareness episodes, the Nyāya ya realists such as Gangeśa could maintain that truth is independent of recognition of truth. In the course of my argument, I also show that Roy Perrett’s alleged proof against realism does not succeed. I conclude that realism does not need nonmental atemporal truth-bearers (propositions) which are eternally wholly true (or wholly false), and that knowledge-independence from truths and things can be shown without admitting the existence of unknowable things or truths.
79. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Guy Newland “Will This Potato Grow?”: Ultimate Analysis and Conventional Existence in the Madhyamika Philosophy of Tsong kha pa Lo sang drak pa’s Lam Rim Chen Mo
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In this paper, I discuss the problem of how empty persons can make distinctions between right and wrong within the two-truths doctrine of the Buddhist tradition. To do so, I rely on the teachings of the fifteenth- century founder of Tibetan Buddhism, Tsong kha pa Lo sang drak pa. I summarize Tsong kha pa’s exposition of the Buddhist tradition on this question, and then show how he held that profound emptiness, the ultimate truth found under scrupulous analysis of how things exist, must be understood as complementing and fulfilling, rather than canceling, the principles of moral action, based as they are, primarily, on valid conventional distinctions. Along the way, I highlight Tsong kha pa’s major contribution to the history of Tibetan philosophy, namely, that conventional realities are not obviated by their profound emptiness of essence but have their own kind of validity; I then outline his criteria for saying that something exists conventionally.
80. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 12
Barry Smith On Forms of Communication In Philosophy
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In previous work, I have drawn attention to certain systematic differences among philosophical traditions as regards to the literary forms that are prevalent in each. In this paper, however, I focus on the commentary form. I raise the question of why the use of commentaries abounds in most traditions except those transmitted in the English language and suggest that problems of translation are central to this issue. I argue that the appearance of commentaries in a philosophical tradition is a criterion of such untranslatability that emerges in a broader cultural, economic, political, and religious context. Features of the relation between language and forms of communication in the history of philosophy are here explicated, concentrating especially on the German case.