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1. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 4
Małgorzata Czarnocka Civilization and Science. Part II
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i. science in civilizations—ways to understand science
2. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 4
Kuniko Miyanaga Globalization, Culture and Society: What Role Does Language Play? An Example from English Education in Japan
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The presentation is focused on the idea that culture promotes a hierarchy of values and language as its major part imposes a certain style of reasoning. For this reason, learning English is confrontational to the Japanese and even causes a kind of culture shock. Still, they need to learn English to maintain a leading position in the global economic community. What is most confrontational about English for the Japanese is its analytical reasoning. Firstly, English has two levels of articulation, concrete and abstract, which enables the analytical style of reasoning in a scientific sense. Abstraction in this sense is remote to most Japanese. Secondly, this style also presses the speaker to separate the external from the internal: This causes a psychological difficulty to the Japanese who ideologically hold that the external is a harmonious extension of the internal. The presentation is made in concrete examples taken from my original research on their difficulties and compromises. Possible solutions are suggested.
3. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 4
Mariola Kuszyk-Bytniewska Epistemocentrism as an Epistemological Obstacle in the Social Sciences
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In the modern era rationality, intersubjectivity and objectivity are primarily conceived as epistemological categories. They characterize knowledge or subjects ofknowledge, or even the function of knowledge—cognition. Epistemocentrism (in P. Bourdieu’s view a typical feature of modern thinking) supported by epistemological fundamentalism is nothing else but a limitation of this category’s meaning. Epistemocentrism was useful in the past but is now anachronic in view of the modern functions of knowledge in societies and the progress in social sciences. Today the sciences and their contribution to society are not what they once were. This calls for a revision of epistemocentrism and the filling of the “epistemological gap” which emerged in result of the collapse of epistemological fundamentalism. I think that there is room today for a new “philosophical partition of reality” emancipated from the Cartesian despotism of ego cogito, and a recovery of the intuitional insights into social life typical of ancient thinkers like Aristotle. In the present paper I strive to show that epistemocentrism is anepistemological obstacle in the social sciences and the source of its crises.
4. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 4
Krzysztof Kościuszko The Overcoming of Mathematics’ Dependence on Culture and Civilization. Polemics with David Bloor
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David Bloor’s thesis claiming that the construction of the progressive vision of mathematical history is something artificial, because it does not take into account the civilizing and social discontinuities and variations. The author shows that the opposite declaration is equally true. He namely claims that the history emphasizing only incommensurabilities, differences and variations is something artificial.
5. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 4
Zbigniew Król Scientific Heritage: The Reception and Transmission of Euclidian Geometry in Western Civilization
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This paper presents sources pertinent to the transmission of Euclid’s Elements in Western medieval civilization. Some important observations follow from the pure description of the sources concerning the development of mathematics, e.g., the text of the Elements was supplemented with new axioms, proofs and theorems as if an “a priori skeleton” lost in Dark Ages was reconstructed and rediscovered during the late Middle Ages. Such historical facts indicate the aprioricity of mathematics.
6. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 4
Marek Suwara Do We Need Qualia to Do Physics?
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Following the well known inverted spectrum argument by John Locke we examine the necessity of the first person experience in creating scientific knowledge, in particular, in physics. It is found that Locke’s argument is irrelevant for creating objective knowledge as the necessary things we need to do physics are: ability to perform measurements in terms of comparing certain quantities, ability to create theoretical ideas (in dependence inter alia on cultural principles, changing in the course of history), and the brain structure enabling the former two.
ii. science, technology and the contemporary human world
7. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 4
Józef L. Krakowiak Idea of University and the Place of University in Society
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Any debate about the aim of university is a question of its place within the cultural and social whole of a given time, tradition and dominant ideology. In the first place this will feature concern about its autonomy from the state, Church, parties, capital, etc. The debate will go on to include the relationship between science and the education of citizens, science and industry and science versus capital. The dispute has included the participation of philosophy and theology or social sciences in preparing university candidates, which is still an issue ignored in Poland, and in broadening their horizons.The bone of contention between the positivist philosophy of facts and the humanistic deliberations on values is the understanding of culture and responsibility, that is, a dispute about a model of a graduate and a citizen: a narrow specialist, or a rational, integral man. Is the mastery of specialist knowledge more important than the skill of universal way of thinking and responsible collective action? Therefore, we are posing a question regarding a model of university as a community of people: what form of relations between the teacher and a student should be preferred in order to teach how to live reasonably in the contemporary and future societies? What do faculties strive to achieve? Is the target to be met competitiveness, as measured by a “calculable” profit, decorated with the stars of knowledge or, rather, is it disobedience in thinking by its typical graduates?
8. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 4
Stanisław Czerniak Gernot Böhme’s Vision of the End of the Baconian Era
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The essay aims to reconstruct Gernot Böhme’s “end of the Baconian age” concept in the context of the main theses of the “finalization in science” idea which he developed in the 1970s and 80s. Böhme has since retreated from some parts of his theorem, arguing their invalidity in light of the “twilight” of the Baconian era in science begun by Francis Bacon’s methodological and philosophical program. Böhme polemizes with Bacon’s claim that the evolution of empirical science automatically enhances civilizational progress, and lists some contemporary negative sides of scientific progress which he criticizes from the position of philosophy of science by suggesting its cognitive “alternatives”.
9. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 4
Konrad Waloszczyk Technology Philosophical Assessment: Some Reasons for Optimism
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The author presents a schematic outline of two approaches in contemporary philosophy of technology, the first of which is rather pessimistic, with technological progress seen as a rising force which subjugates humans and, to use Martin Heidegger’s words, “hampers, oppresses and drags them along in its tracks.” Also underscored is the failing relation between scientific and technological progress and moral development. The second approach, presented in reference to the thoughts of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, interprets scientific and technological progress as the creation of tools enabling the unity of mankind and further evolution. The author supports Teilhard’s view, which he sees as a better motivation to build a better world.
iii. religion and science
10. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 4
Marian Hillar What Does Modern Science Say about the Origin of Religion?
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The origin of religion has fascinated philosophers and evolutionary scientists alike. This article reviews several mechanisms which might have led humans to various forms of religious beliefs. Modern studies and archaeological records suggest that religion may promote cooperation through development of symbolic behavior.
11. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 4
Włodzimierz Ługowski Who Set the Standards of Science Today (in So-called “Our” Civilization)?
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Introducing the issue of the beginnings of life into the realm of scientific research posed a danger for the valid structures of knowledge. For a couple of tens of years, scientists have dealt with this issue ignoring the “touchy” problem of its “extrascientific” (i.e. philosophical, or even worse, “political”) groundings and its consequences for the Weltanschauung. In the face of new challenges, this strategy proved to be erroneous.
12. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 4
Marian Hillar Creationism and Evolution. Misconceptions about Science and Religion
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Creationism is an ancient worldview that was incorporated into ancient religious doctrines and survived in the western world due to its domination by religious institution such as the Catholic and Protestant Churches. Slowly, with the development of democratic political systems and science, the church lost its power of dominance over intellectual enterprises, and evolution became accepted by the majority as the inherent process in nature. Nevertheless, creationism is still very much alive among various fundamentalist churches and their organizations in the United States. This article discusses the premises of the creationist movement, its varieties, and confronts it with the basic premises, characteristics, and modus operandi of the scientific enterprise.
13. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Editors Civilization and Science
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i. compassionalism
14. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Henryk Skolimowski Civilization… What Civilization?
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Philosophers are repeating their ancient mantras. Economists are intoxicating by their pseudo-theories. Politicians are just puppets manipulated by the strings held by others. Ordinary people are lost and confused. This is why our civilization is fatuous and superficial. Is it so by some sinister design? Or is it so because we lost our integrity and our inner worth? From this predicament of darkness and impotence, only spiritual light and deeper wisdom can lead to fulfillment and desirable future for all.
15. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Vir Singh Science, Civilization and Happiness. A Vision of Hope
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Science took a wrong turn with the birth of its daughter, the technology, with whose guidance the civilization ushered in the Industrial Age in mid-18th century. From here a drama of science’s increasing dominance over civilization began. The science–civilization marriage has been quite inconvenient. However, the civilization, at this juncture, cannot divorce science. Its dependence on science and technology has increased to an extent that without it the world will come almost to standstill. Science and technology have not only changed social, cultural and economic values but have also posed a challenge to the very sustainability of life. From the plunder of nature to the disruption of climate system of the planet, science could be held responsible for its lifeannihilating role. Science and technology have compelled us to transform our biosphere into a technosphere; and technosphere is not a safe place for the civilization to prosper and evolve to attain its climax. A civilization in its natural way always evolves through evolving happiness. Happiness, in fact, is the gist of civilization. Institutes, creativity, spirituality, democracy, freedom, knowledge and beauty are the major attributes of the civilization to create conditions for happiness. Happiness must flow from our thinking, every policy, every program, every project and every philosophy. As our economic development models based on the over-exploitation of nature and the capitalistic ideology are happiness-devouring, our contemporary civilization cannot bloom with happiness in such an environment. The small Himalayan nation Bhutan has shown the world how to gauze national progress through Gross National Happiness, rather than through conventional Gross National Product or Gross Domestic Product. The Skolimowskian philosophy, a new philosophy sprouting out like a beautiful lotus amidst the mud of analytical philosophy, envisions a civilization in the Third Millennium empowered enough by the values to reconstruct a new world, search new horizons of happiness and sustainability and design a new cosmology that could lead us to fertilize the universe.
ii. pursuit of wisdom
16. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Nicholas Maxwell The Menace of Science without Civilization: From Knowledge to Wisdom
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We are in a state of impending crisis. And the fault lies in part with academia. For two centuries or so, academia has been devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and technological know-how. This has enormously increased our power to act which has, in turn, brought us both all the great benefits of the modern world and the crises we now face. Modern science and technology have made possible modern industry and agriculture, the explosive growth of the world’s population, global warming, modern armaments and the lethal character of modern warfare, destruction of natural habitats and rapid extinction of species, immense inequalities of wealth and power across the globe, pollution of earth, sea and air, even the Aids epidemic (Aids being spread by modern travel). All these global problems have arisen because some of us have acquired unprecedented powers to act, via science and technology, without also acquiring the capacity to actwisely. We urgently need to bring about a revolution in universities so that the basic intellectual aim becomes, not knowledge merely, but rather wisdom—wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others, thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides. The revolution we require would put problems of living at the heart of the academic enterprise, the pursuit of knowledge emerging out of, and feeding back into, the fundamental intellectual activity of proposing and critically assessing possible actions, policies, political programs, from the standpoint of their capacity to help solve problems of living. This revolution would affect almost every branch and aspect of academic inquiry.
17. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Krzysztof Kościuszko Questions to Nicholas Maxwell
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Maxwell’s program is beautiful and noble, but is it realizable?
18. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Małgorzata Czarnocka On Nicholas Maxwell’s Project of Transition from Knowledge to Wisdom
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Nicholas Maxwell’s project, among others the character of its philosophical foundations, the notion of wisdom, and its radical post-Enlightenment scientism are discussed, and some doubts regard to it are presented. Above all, it is argued that Maxwell’s proposal of the establishing of world confederations of scientists standing above governments might lead to a totalitarian system.
19. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Szymon Wróbel Enlightenment in Trouble. Nicholas Maxwell in the Search for Wisdom-inquiry
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The purpose of the text is to engage in a well thought critique of the Enlightenment project carried out by Nicholas Maxwell and to reflect upon the proposal of its reconstruction. Maxwell’s intellectual position is not at all obvious: he is neither a radical rationalist, nor a defender of scientific rationality, nor a postmodern and social constructivist. Postmodernists and social constructivists opposed the very idea of reason and rational inquiry, and have been thoroughly critical of what knowledge-inquiry represents. Indeed, such criticisms could not be further from Maxwell’s position. According to Maxwell, what is wrong with knowledge-inquiry is not its embodiment of reason but, to the contrary, its gross and damaging irrationality. From Maxwell’s point of view we suffer not that much from the excess of rationality, but its deficit. Maxwell does not share open criticism of anti-Enlightenment thinkers from Nietzsche to Foucault, but more so he escapes the beliefs of a scientifically focused group of philosophers who see the main force of emancipation of humanity in a narrowly understood science followed by physics, the methodology of verification, and naturalism as a basic ideology. The author of the text thus poses the question: what can save our culture if it is neither sciencenor the rejection of science? Does the replacement of the category of knowledgeinquiry with wisdom-inquiry—which Maxwell converts us to—bring us any closer to a solution in our consideration of knowledge and life, science and politics, facts and values, nature and society? In Western culture wisdom has always been an object of desire, and it was so, inter alia, because unlike knowledge it has never been precisely defined and further specified. Philosophers developed a warm feeling towards wisdom and sought for wisdom, but had they lived by wisdom? Finally, the author challenges the most difficult question: can we rationally excuse our hopes for wisdom and hope that it may one day be embodied in the work of institutions and the actions of individuals?
20. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Andrew Targowski Teaching for Wisdom
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This paper describes one of the first attempts in the U.S. to teach wisdom in a semester-long course for the undergraduate students of the Lee Honors College at the Western Michigan University in Spring 2012. The issues of can wisdom be taught an wisdom-oriented curriculum are investigated. Furthermore some wisdom essentials are also included. As the result of this course the Solar-Cloud Model of wisdom has been presented in this paper. Some conclusions about the experiment of teaching of this course are provided.