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i. inauguration of the academic year 2009/10 at warsaw university
1. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 11/12
Katarzyna Chałasińska-Macukow Inaugural Address by Her Magnificence the Rector of Warsaw University
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2. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 11/12
Jerzy Dzik, Maciej Bańkowski The Benefits of the Theory of Evolution
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Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by means of natural selection finds application far outside biology, for which it was originally invented. Its consequences for science proved far-going, influencing practically every field from thermodynamics to the humanities. While acting on biological systems, the Darwinian mechanism is a source of progress and the local-scale abandonment of the universe’s general tendency towards chaos. However, observations of changes taking place in selection-exposed organisms show that evolutionary success requires some essential limitations. The application of this reasoning to social evolution may appear thought-provoking: stable evolution requires not only intense selection but also a conservative approach to ideas.
ii. fundamental values of universal civilization
3. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 11/12
Andrew Targowski The Philosophical Approach towards Wisdom Viewed by the User of Philosophy
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This investigation of wisdom reflects the view of a user of philosophy. His position is that every mentally healthy person has some level of wisdom. This view was not shared by majority of famous philosophers who wisdom attributed to God only. A review of philosophers‘ perception of wisdom is evaluated through the centuries and different civilizations. A graphic model of Aristotle‘s approach to wisdom is provided. A model of the ends of live is provided by the author to fulfill Aristotle‘s postulate that since people do not know their ends of life therefore cannot be wise. The question-can philosophy deliver wisdom is raised and answered. The transformation of today‘s society towards the wise society and civilization is characterized.
4. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 11/12
Wit Hubert Experts and Laymen in the Battle for Information, Opening of Access to Knowledge and Wisdom Via the Internet
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The subject of the article encompasses the change in social communication concerning the creation of new competition between two knowledge systems: the expert system and the system of dispersed knowledge. The expert model is the one in which knowledge is created only by the sender endowed with institutional authority. In opposition to this, there exist an alternative model which is characterized by so many existing decentralized, not-institutionalized centers of information processing and dissemination. This division can be described only in a strictly informative dimension. Social aspect is also important, more precisely the question of social stratification forming on the basis of access criteria to every source of knowledge defined this way.The article tries to describe the relation between the worlds of: producers and consumers of information, experts and laymen, professionals and amateurs. The analysis of the problem, in author’s mind, is the beginning of the debate over the role and forms of scientific knowledge protection functioning in the time of development of information society.
5. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 11/12
Włodzimierz J. Korab-Karpowicz On the Righteousness of Life: Global Solidarity Values for the 21st Century
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Many scholars have argued that unity of humankind can be established on the basis of some basic or core human values. Instead of engaging in a comparative empirical research, compiling lists of core values derived from different cultures, discuss their relevance for human fellowship, I examine the simple values of life that during the 1980s united people in Poland and made them to form the powerful civic movement, which was Solidarity.Poland’s Solidarity of the 1980s has not yet entered a canon of routinely studied great social movements. However, it has initiated a profound world transformation. We are no longer divided by a global confrontation between communism and liberal democracy. The main today’s issue is globalization. Although altered in many respects, the world has still been affected by many serious problems. They necessitate another positive world transformation and a new Global Solidarity that can undertake it.A Global Solidarity movement can learn from Poland’s Solidarity. My contention is that it should not be grounded in any ideological thinking, but in inclusive values—values that do not divide but can potentially unite all human beings—and these values can be derived from basic human needs. In short, Global Solidarity should be based on what I call the “righteousness of life”. It can be achieved if there is a growing recognition of what is right for life and a growing interest in protecting and enhancing life.Building a Global Solidarity is not an attempt to replace governments, but rather to exert pressure on them, so that they support international organizations and consider the welfare of all humanity. While wielding power that at present none of the NGOs represent, Global Solidarity can be a life promoting and enhancing instrument of global society through which a more humane world will be achieved.
6. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 11/12
Charles Brown Commentary: Solidarity and Universalism as Premises of Overcoming the Perils of Liberal Globalisation
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Many scholars have argued that neoliberal economic theory articulates the justifying ideology for contemporary globalization. This ideology claims that “free market” solutions are always the best mechanisms for not only promoting economic growth but for all human problems. This first part of this paper provides a conceptual and historical overview of neoliberal economic theory with critical commentary on two key neoliberal dogma, viz., the idea that markets know best and that privatization and deregulation are inevitable. The second part of the paper discusses the impact of neoliberal policies on the environment and on indigenous peoples around the world. The paper concludes by arguing that neoliberal ideology differs from classical liberalism by privileging the Hobbesian theory of human nature and human rationality over the Kantian understanding of human nature and human rationality. The result is the ascendancy of economic liberty over political liberty.
7. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 11/12
Roman Zawadzki Values as Determinants of National and Historical Identity in Individual and Community Life
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The main goal of this paper (presentation) is to prove the thesis that the attempts to transpose the cultural differentiation into the social and economical universalism and globalism must lead to repressive psychosocial totalitarianism on a large scale. Modern human sciences and politics tend to classify the individual in respect to his adaptive efficiency in interactive relation with programmed environment and to qualify him according to given imposed criteria of social functionalism. The correctly socialized individual is expected to be an exchangeable functional unit assessed according to its usefulness in performing a set of particular tasks, despite his cultural background being considered as a second-rate factor, which may affect (in a positive or negative way) the social acceptance and correctness of his behavior. However, no community is an exact representation of society because it is held together not by functions but by the values aswell as the forms of their actualization and implementation into the common organization and their way of life. The community is not a contract upon which society is based. The identity of the individual must not be removed from the culture of the community in which he lives and from its constitutive values. It is also rooted in the past and history of striving for self-determination and cultural as well as personal subjectivity. Without these significant cultural and historical components the individual identity is nothing but an operational, programmable algorithm of functional living unit assigned to perform short-term utilitarian tasks. This approach stands in contradiction to the Aristotelian concept of wellbeing and happiness considered as striving for the common good of spiritual values by individuals as well as by human communities. Any extensive and effective civilization neglecting the higher values of moral, symbolic and religious sense of the individual, must face totalitarianism or extinction.
8. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 11/12
Mariusz M. Czarniecki, Maciej Bańkowski Transitional Humanity (poetical-metaphilosophical sketches)
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The author’s firm belief is that transitional humanity is not yet humanity proper but pre-humanity. He is especially intrigued by the essence and purpose of today’s contradiction between humanity’s immense advancement in micro-electronics, digital technology and social lore and its shocking moral shortcomings, best visible in its stagnant unchangeability—especially regarding the passionate quest for ever-better weaponry. Will our transience turn out to be nothing more but a phase on the road to human perfection, or will it petrify into an “inborn” scar? These are the main questions the author attempts to answer.As a species we are praehomine, pre-humans, a natural phase of ethical and esthetic imperfection. Typical for transitional humanity is the coexistence of progress. Nonetheless transitional humanity also carries the potential necessary to attain Wisdom, Good, Completeness and Perfection.
9. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 11/12
Dariusz Góra-Szopiński Universalizing the Polish Pope. Arkadiusz Modrzejewski’s Attempt to Describe the World Order According to John Paul II
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Among contemporary authors whose philosophical and social thought can be regarded as universalistic, Karol Wojtyła (1920–2005), who became the Pope John Paul II(1978–2005), seems to hold a particular place. An attempt to present the thought of Karol Wojtyła/John Paul II in universalistic categories has been recently made by thePolish philosopher and political scientist Arkadiusz Modrzejewski. The article discusses the advantages and drawbacks of his proposition.
10. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 10
Brethren with an Appeal
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11. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 10
Zbigniew Ogonowski, Lesław Kawalec Socinianism in the Intellectual History of Europe
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The article is preceded by “Introductory Remarks”, in which the author, for the sake of comparison, outlines the situation of Socinianism (in the 17th and 18th centuries) in Holland, England and France. The main part of the article is devoted to the discussion of the German scene, and describes the subject in seven points, namely: 1. The 17th century—the orthodoxy of the Protestant Germany in its fight against the Socinian phantom; 2. Leibniz; 3. The 18th century: orthodoxy and the Neologians; 4. The stance of Lessing; 5. Socinianism as seen through Kantian-tinted spectacles; 6. Otto Fock: the first modern, scientific monograph of Socinianism; 7. Wilhelm Dilthey on the role of Socinianism in the intellectual history of Europe.
12. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 10
Jerzy J. Kolarzowski, Lesław Kawalec The Community of the Polish Brethren, also Called Arians, as Seen by a Psycho-historian
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The Community of the Polish Brethren operated in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1563–1658. Over this period the condition of toleration worsened from acceptance to the decree of banishment. The author analyzes the dynamics of the religious movement: its objectives, achievements and the conflicts with the society they were part of. The evolution, both within the community and in external relations, required the inclusion of the elements of Social Psychology into historical narration.
13. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 10
Maciej Sienicki Mikołaj Sienicki (1521–1582): A Polish Brother at a Time when All the Szlachta Were (Still) Brethren
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In the tradition of the Cracow Academy, Mikołaj Sienicki tried to establish a practical link between critical humanism and religious Reform by leading his compatriots from orality to literacy, from the culture of the spoken language to the culture of the written language. In his speeches he combined new conceptual maps with pragmatic objectives and demonstrated how these were referred to in the existing texts, both legal and religious. As a speaker he was able to satisfy the emotional needs of his multicultural, partly pagan audiences by a skilful use of the spoken discourse and, at the same time to inspire them with a critical and rational approach to new European realities; to reconcile Sarmatism with the rule of law.
14. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 10
Wiera Paradowska, Ryszard Paradowski Universal Pattern of Culture and the Dialectical Metaphysics of Choice
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The article presents the original concept of “dialectical metaphysics of choice”, founded on a “dualistic” idea of divided primary being (divided into “me” and “notme”) and “metaphysical experience” of this division. “Metaphysical choice” of the treatment “me” and “not me” by themselves and by each other is the way of the creation of values. The presentation of the metaphysical system is preceded by a non-religious interpretation of the Book of Genesis, leading to the thesis that the Bible as the religious book is just a “half” of the same book as “the book of culture”, containing “universal pattern of culture”, which is compounded of two main principles (authoritarian and antiauthoritarian) and the (suggested) choice between them.
15. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 10
Aleksander Sitkowiecki An Arian in the New World: The Brazil Journal of Christopher Arciszewski
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Christopher Arciszewski (1592–1656), Arian mercenary and man of many facets, conducted a journal in which, it is suspected, he described military campaigns, the state of the colony and other interesting phenomena he was able to observe during his time of service in Brazil. In 1641, Gerard Vossius was completing his magnum opus De theologia. In Chapter 8 of the first volume, Vossius discusses the “cult of the demon” among various peoples. As an example the Netherlander erudite provides a colorful description of such a cult among the Brazilian Tapuya tribe. Since the author never traveled to Brazil, he makes use of the observations of Christopher Arciszewski. How does an Arian, brought up in an atmosphere of intense pluralism and far-reaching tolerance towards other belief systems (or at least imbued with a strong relativism), react when he encounters, first-hand, a culture utterly different, and completely alien to him? His presentation of a hierarchically constructed morality existent among various cannibalistic tribes is, in a sense, an intellectual breakthrough. Instead of treating the nativescollectively as one homogenous culture, as simply “savages”, Arciszewski distinguishes between various cultural units, and treats them individually. The nobleman attempts to convey their own views of morality not on the basis of European ethical systems, but on the local ones in place. In his day, such ideas were nearly unthinkable for most educated Europeans. Cannibalism of any kind was perceived as godless behavior, a sort of devilry, which would eventually be abolished with coming of the “light of Christianity” to the New World and the inevitable Europeanization of the natives. The reader can marvel at the extent to which Arciszewski is willing go in his relativism, to the point of sympathizing with the Tapuya. He allows them to explain to the reader the functioning of theirendo-cannibalistic culture. Arciszewski adds to the rationalization of cannibalism a detailed description of the death-rite among the Tapuya, presenting these ceremonial customs in accordance with their own beliefs, as something potentially interesting for humanistic intellectuals back in the Old World. Vossius’ book also discusses the question of the tribe’s spiritual beliefs: their conceptions of good and evil, deities, etc. The reader once again witnesses Arciszewski’s readiness to accept beliefs and deities completely unknown to European religion. The author does not prima facie discount the possibility that the “universal laws” operating in the Old World have no place in the Brazilian wilderness. His philosophical outlook, demonstrated by his rationalization of what had before been considered “magical” or “irrational”, is surely a foreshadowing of the rationalism of Enlightenment, whose modes of thinking constitute the core-foundation for alllater philosophical and scientific inquiry. Arciszewski, as an Arian brother par excellence, essentially operated with such conceptual tools as relativism, toleration and universalism, and his intellectual arsenal did not altogether differ from our own. As such, Arciszewski, and Europeans like him, helped free the Western worldview of its mediaeval philosophically limited conceptions of the cosmos, and propelled it in new directions of inquiry. This led eventually to a decided shifting of the European worldview away from superstition towards reason: the most definitively crucial moment in European intellectual history.
16. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 10
Lesław Kawalec Ethos of the Polish Unitarians: A Chance for Today
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This article sets out to propose some characteristic features of the intellectual and ethical attitudes which, in the popular belief and scholarly communities alike, stand for ideals worthy of promoting as ones which could underpin a modern society where both believers and unbelievers can feel at home. The “ethos” is construed to be about the sort of behaviour logically stemming from a tolerant outlook on the one hand, and an intellectual commitment to a noble cause worthy of one’s efforts, on the other.
17. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 10
Janusz Kuczyński Afterword: The Return of the Polish Brethren in the Perspective of a New Stage of Universalism
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18. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 8/9
Włodzimierz Tyburski An Introduction to the Biography and Intellectual Personality of Henryk Elzenberg
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The first part of this comment presents the biography of Henryk Elzenberg whose creative life is shared between four centers of intellectual life in Poland: Cracow, Warsaw, Vilnius and Toruń.The second part of this article depicts the creative profile of H. Elzenberg: a philosopher forming an axiological vision of world and man, directing attention towards a general theory of value; where he placed the foundation for his ethics, esthetics and the philosophy of man.
19. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 8/9
Lesław Hostyński, Małgorzata Sady Formal Axiology of Henryk Elzenberg
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The article is a presentation of Henryk Elzenberg’s system of formal axiology He is one of the most eminent Polish axiologists and moral philosophers of the 20th century. His system of philosophy of value is built on three pillars: (1) a clear differentiation between two concepts of value: utilitarian and perfect; (2) connection of the concept of perfect value with that of obligation by definition; (3) approaches obligation pertaining to being as oppose to deed. The starting point is differentiation into utilitarian value (which wasn’t a value in axiological meaning) and perfect value, at the same time the main aim of his researches is the determination and analysis of the term perfect value “a valuable object in a perfect sense this is an object as it should be”. The perfect value contains, as it were, an imperative to fulfill it. Beauty, goodness and sanctity are the basic variations of perfect value.
20. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 19 > Issue: 8/9
Krzysztof Stachewicz Henryk Elzenberg Wager for Values. Axiological and Methodological Aspects
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The wager for values proposed by Henryk Elzenberg seems to be an interesting and important problem in axiological thinking. That is why one should take a close look at Elzenberg’s reasoning and at certain consequences of such point of view. We analyze this problem as a parallel to Pascal’s Wager for God. One should live and act as if God existed—it is an effect of Pascal’s Wager. One should live and behave as if perfect values existed—this is the essence of Elzenberg’s wager. Paralel analysis of both standpoints lets us formulate numerous hypotheses and statements especially in axiology.