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Dialogue and Universalism

Part 1

Volume 22, Issue 3, 2012
Civilization and Science

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1. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Editors Civilization and Science
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i. compassionalism
2. 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.
3. 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
4. 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.
5. 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?
6. 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.
7. 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?
8. 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.
9. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Anna Michalska Knowledge Society or Wisdom Society? Nicholas Maxwell’s Philosophical Project against the Background of Philosophical Tradition
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The article discusses philosophical foundations of Nicholas Maxwell’s theory of scientific knowledge—Aim Oriented Empiricism (AOE). It is demonstrated that AOE evokes many illuminating, overshadowed by positivistic tradition, insights on the nature of cognition, language, and the relationship between philosophy and strict sciences. It corresponds with Jürgen Habermas’s theory of speech acts and R. G. Collingwood’s account of philosophical method. What calls serious doubts, though, is the very way in which Maxwell relates his conception to the project of wisdom society. It is argued that while AOE considerably contributes to our understanding of science, wisdom and rationality, it nonetheless falls short of giving a convincing account of how the idea of wisdom society should be implemented.
10. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 22 > Issue: 3
Nicholas Maxwell Replies to Criticisms and Comments
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