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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 20
Barbara Skarga and Her Philosophy

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editorial
1. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 11/12
Teresa Kwiatkowska Environmental Ethics: Questions for the Future
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2. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 11/12
Alan Holland Agriculture: the “Cinderella” of Environmental Ethics
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Since agriculture constitutes what is probably humankind’s most extensive and prolonged engagement with the natural world, the scant attention paid to it in much of the environmental ethics literature represents something of a paradox. This paper is an attempt to address that paradox. First we offer some explanations for this neglect, tracing it to some key features of environmental ethics as it is currently practised. Then we identify some hopeful signs that things are changing in a direction that is more conducive to the inclusion of the issues raised by agriculture. Finally we offer a synthesis of these hopeful signs, incorporating a suggestion as to what it is that they all have in common.
3. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 11/12
J. Baird Callicott Toward an Earth Ethic: Aldo Leopold’s Anticipation of the Gaia Hypothesis
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Aldo Leopold's 1949 Land Ethic is seminal in academic environmental ethics and the environmental-ethic-of-choice among professional conservationists and environmentalists. After sixty years, the sciences (evolutionary biology and ecology) that inform the land ethic have undergone much change. The land ethic can be revised to accommodate changes in its scientific foundations, but it cannot be scaled up to meet the challenge of global climate change. Fortunately, given the prominent place of Leopold in all circles environmental, he also faintly sketched an Earth Ethic in a paper written in 1923 and published posthumously in 1979. The Earth Ethic is informed less by ecology and evolutionary biology than by biogeochemistry and anticipates the Gaia Hypothesis, viz., that the Earth (or biosphere) is a whole, living being. If so Leopold thought it a worthy object of moral respect.
4. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 11/12
Philip Cafaro The Way Forward for Environmental Ethics: Ending Growth and Creating Sustainable Societies
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The overarching goal of environmentalism as a political movement is the creation of sustainable societies that share resources fairly among people, and among people and other species. The core objectives of environmental philosophy should include articulating the ideals and principles of such just and generous sustainability, arguing for them among academics and in the public sphere, and working out their implications in particular areas of our environmental decision-making. That means challenging the goodness of endless economic growth and helping other environmental thinkers specify plausible and appealing alternatives to the economic status quo. It means ending our craven failure to honestly address population issues. It means committing to living according to our own environmental ideals. Interestingly, the mainstream philosophical tradition has some important, underutilized resources that, combined with new andcreative thinking, can help us achieve these goals and keep ethical philosophy relevant to meeting the challenges of the 21st century.
5. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 11/12
Joel Jay Kassiola The Social Power of Environmental Ethics: How Environmental Ethics Can Help Save the World through Social Criticism and Social Change
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Environmental ethics has an identity and public image problem. Unlike the other applied ethics subfields like biomedical or business ethics, environmental ethics is surprisingly devalued and even rejected as a possible contributor to confronting effectively the global environmental crisis by anti-environmental philosophers and public policy analysts. Thus, environmental ethics has many critics, both within and outside of philosophy, who strongly challenge the contemporary, practical social relevance of this academic field.In contrast to this critical viewpoint, this essay argues for the profound significance of environmental ethics to the environmental crisis, and, in that way, seeks to present a successful rebuttal to the misguided critiques of this area of philosophy. The argument aims to demonstrate how environmental ethics can facilitate social criticism of the prevailing modern social values and the social institutions associated with the market or consumer capitalist society built upon them. My approach will center its insights and prescriptions upon the philosophical grounding of the collective movement for ecologically-and ethically-based social criticism and social change.I conclude the essay by emphasizing: 1) the normative nature of environmental problems (as opposed to an exclusive scientific or technological conception of such problems), and 2) environmental ethics and philosophy as powerful catalysts for necessary social change in order to save the world through social criticism of the status quo ecologically unsustainable and unethical (exemplified by unjust) modern social values such as, limitless economic growth. These points support the upshot that much more is at stake in the controversy over the nature and value of environmental ethics than the typical academic debate: nothing less then the fate of our planet.
6. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 11/12
Victor Manuel Velazco Herrera, Oscar Sosa Flores The Trend of the Dansgaard-Oescher Cycle with Solar Activity
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The nature of the climatic response to solar variability is assessed over a long-time scale, as in the case of the periodicity of 1500 years (Dansgaard-Oeschger cycle). For this reason it is important to perform an analysis to detect the existence of this periodicity in the Holocene and the possible influence of the sun on this periodicity. For this purpose, the method of Wavelet analysis in time-frequency was used. The information of oxygen isotopes (δ18O) and Berilium-10 (10Be) at the North Pole reveals a periodicity of approximately 1000 years, whereas at the South Pole it shows the existence of a periodicity of about 1500 years. The comparison of the information of δ18O and 10Be suggests a possible solar influence on the appearance of these periodicities. Possibly the current global warming is due to Dansgaard-Oescher cycle and not by anthropogenic effects.
7. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 11/12
Ricardo Rozzi Field Environmental Philosophy: Regaining an Understanding of the Inextricable Links between the Regional Habitats, the Inhabitants and their Habits
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During our current free market era, a prevailing utilitarian ethics centered on monetary cost benefit analyses continues overriding incessantly a plethora of diverse forms of ecological knowledge and ethics present in the communities of South America, and other regions of the world. For the first time in human history, more than 50% of the world’s population lives in cities, and speaks only one of eleven dominant languages, loosing contact with the vast biodiversity and the 7,000 languages that are still spoken around the planet. This global urban enclosure and biocultural homogenization generates physical barriers and conceptual barriers that hinder the understanding of the inextricable links between the habitats of a region, the inhabitants and their habits. However, these vital links are acutely recognized in at least three families of worldviews: contemporary ecological sciences, ancestral Amerindian ecological knowledge, and Western pre-Socratic philosophical roots expressed in the archaic meaning of ethos, and ethics. South American post-Columbian history shows that large-scale exploitation, as well as monocultures that replace native habitats, have been repeatedly associated with ephemeral economic booms that left behind degraded social and ecological environments. A historical analysis of post-Columbian Chile illustrates how a unique mosaic of ecosystems and biological species, cultures, and languages have been progressively replaced by a few biological species and a uniform language and culture. These biocultural homogenization processes are the outcome of a violent conquest, overpowering the resistance of local inhabitants, and today’s scale of violent suppression of biological and cultural diversity is greater than ever. Instead of a post-colonial period we are living in the middle of an ultra-colonial era. To counterbalance these trends, at the southern end of the Americas, through inter-institutional and international collaborations led by the Chilean University of Magallanes and the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity and the University of North Texas in the US, we developed a methodological approach that we call “field environmental philosophy."
8. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 11/12
Teresa Kwiatkowska, Wojciech Szatzschneider In Quest for a Solution to Environmental Deterioration: Uses and Abuses of Uncertainty and Models
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Adverse environmental and economic impacts of Icelandic volcano triggered discussions about nature’s astounding and unpredictable fury, alongside the inadequacy of human ingenuity and science to deal with factors that are totally independent and practically impossible to control.The first part of this article discusses questions related to understanding of deep uncertainty and possibility of effectively combining qualitative and quantitative analysis. Apparently the problem of incorporating surprise, critical threshold and abrupt changes is well studied in finance, but its poor application led to the latest financial crisis. It would be far more complicated when applied to complex or “wicked” events like deforestation, the conservation of endangered species, industrial pollution and climate change. The authors identify a range of problems in global idea of ‘sustainability’ and explore complexity of uncertainty. The second part reviews innovative approach that pretends to reconcile the needs of local communities with the protection of the natural world.
9. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 11/12
Lesław Michnowski Global Governance and Information for the World Society’s Sustainable Development
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The current crisis is an open phase of a global crisis. It is a result of a false recognition of this structural crisis, previously described in the Limits to Growth Report. This crisis is not a result of overpopulation, but of the world society's maladjustment to life in a State of Change and Risk. In this rather new situation, obsolescence (moral destruction) of life-forms not adapted to new life-conditions is the main life-destroying and crisis-generating factor.To permanently overcome this crisis, we have to reinforce the UN “three pillars” world society sustainable development strategy by including into it the task of building an information basis of sustainable-development policy and economy (including a global early warning system). To achieve sustainable development, what we also need to create includes a subsidiarity-principle-based UN Sustainable Development Council with the World Sustainable Development Strategy Center, including the UN Global Dynamic Monitoring Information Center.
10. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 9/10
Editor's Note: Between Globalistic Business (ad hoc interest) Religion and Universalism, as the Opposite Dimension of Disputable Globalization Today
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11. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 9/10
Władysław Bartoszewski, Maciej Bańkowski Contemporary Poles and Public Service
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12. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 9/10
Eugeniusz Górski, Lesław Kawalec Globalization and Universalism from the Perspective of Latin America and Eastern Europe
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The paper discusses the place occupied by Latin America and Eastern Europe in the contemporary world-system in the era of increasing globalization. It discusses the dominant types of consciousness in both parts of the world, where a tendency to overcome dependence and peripheral position are noticeable as is a desire for democracy and foreign relations based on partnership. What is long raised and very characteristic for thinkers coming from those very different regions of the globe are attempts to create a new universalistic philosophy, more or less utopian, for the whole of mankind.
13. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 9/10
Małgorzata Nalewajko The Polish Immigrant Community in Spain in the Context of Political Changes and Modernization
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Describing the formation of the Polish community in Spain in the 1990s, the article focuses on the political changes in both countries: processes of democratization (and, in the case of Poland, the resulting economic transformation) and then the EU enlargement, which contributed to this new influx. Polish expatriates, though not very numerous in comparison with other immigrant communities in contemporary Spain, became quite visible, especially in some towns of the Region of Madrid. In general, they enjoy a good reputation in the host country, but initially they used to work in the secondary labor sector, often illegally. The situation changed after Poland’s accession to the European Union and the resulting opening of the Spanish labor market for Polish citizens at the beginning of the new century. New Polish immigrants to Spain are young, qualified, innovative, and their purpose is not only to earn a living, but first and foremost to continuetheir studies and undergo professional training. Their mobility is increased owing to modern transportation facilities and communication systems. Individualists for the most part, they do not maintain intensive contacts with the earlier-established Polish community and its social networks and institutions.
14. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 9/10
Magdalena Szkwarek, Lesław Kawalec Polish Jews’ Diaspora in Latin America until the Outbreak of World War II
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People of Jewish origin arrived in the American Continent as early as 15th century and (in various times and with varying intensity but incessantly) have participated in shaping the states and societies on the continent. A fact little known in Poland, Jews and their culture are inherent in Latin American reality. The paper attempts to provide an insight into Ashkenazic Diaspora (particularly its section coming from Poland and the partitioned Polish lands before 1918) in its Latin American dimension.
15. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 9/10
Andrew Targowski The Cognitive Informatics Approach towards Wisdom
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The purpose of this investigation is to analyze the state of the art of sciences, beyond philosophy, so far involved in researching wisdom. Eventually, some recommendations will be offered for the further pursuit of wisdom among people and machines. Can machines think? Can machines be wise? These are the questions that will be pursue for the answers in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, Nono-Computing, and the emerging mind science.
16. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 9/10
Krystyna Najder-Stefaniak The Pitfalls of Provisionality
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The article outlines two possible human “responses” to the general situation of today’s world. One, here named “provisional culture”, abandons continuity for momentariness, the other—ecological culture—underscores the benefits of duration. The first derives from the modern thought paradigm, the second from the paradigm of ecological thought.The author points to these two culture models’ relation to different time concepts. She notes that by resigning continuity between the past, present and future, humanity risks losing its sense of responsibility and access to ethics—that what “ought to be”. Also, lost in this case are creative thought and creative activity. Paradoxically, the provisional culture trap, in which there is no room for creativity, can only be escaped by means of the creative updating of time in its entirety. Such updating takes effect in ecological culture grown from thought ordained by the eco-system metaphor.
17. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 9/10
Andrew Targowski, Edward Jayne The Business Religion of Global Civilization
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The purpose of this investigation is to define the centrality of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008–09 and its following stage—the Great Recession, which are controlled by business religion of the emerging global civilization. When democracy defeated totalitarianism in 1989 with the removal the Berlin Wall, we achieved a New World Order. For a long time nobody could explain its meaning and practicality, since it did not seem possible to decompose the emerging Global Civilization into its pieces; religion, culture and infrastructure. Global culture and global infrastructure could be recognized and somehow defined, but “global religion” was unrecognized. No sacred religions could be accepted as the world’s universal religion! However, these authors assume that our newglobal religion is no longer a sacred one, but secular under the guise and practice of business. The global civilization is characterized and its impact upon the well being of world’s population is assessed. The framework of business religion as the new religion of the Global Civilization is modeled and characterized. The future of business religion is evaluated and the means to develop a better and sustainable alternative is offered.
18. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 9/10
Paweł Pasieka, Michael Hamerski Dialogue and Persuasion
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The article is an analysis of the different types of rationality forming the basis of “rational dialogue”. It presents the positions of Plato and the sophists as well as modern attempts to revive this tradition. The Platonic model (ideal) of philosophy as that which is objectively confronted with the strategies of a rational debate taking place within conditions of uncertainty (probable knowledge) and risk.
19. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 9/10
Halina Walentowicz, Lesław Kawalec On Two Designs of “brushing history against the grain”: Michael Foucault and the Frankfurt School
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The paper develops and provides rationale for M. Foucault’s proposition of there being far-reaching theoretical convergences between his concept of Genealogy and the Critical Theory by Frankfurt School philosophers. In the author’s view, the similarities are marked in three areas:1. historical discourse, severing the ties with a traditional interpretation of history, i.e. one that makes the perspective of power absolute;2. an ambiguous approach to the Enlightenment as expressed in a rejection of the doctrine while preserving Enlightenment ethos;3. criticism of the anthropology that assumes a primacy of mind over matter on the premise of exposing a self-conscious subject as a product of the harnessing of Nature. Wile emphasizing the spiritual kinship between Foucault and the philosophers of the Frankfurt School, the author does record significant differences, mostly concerning the nature of the historical process, an expression of the issue of power and the relation between power and knowledge.
20. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 20 > Issue: 9/10
Tadeusz Pieńkowski The Katyń Massacre. Katyń—a Crime that Continues
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