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81. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 13
Sanjyot D. Pai Vernekar Aurobindonian Ontology: Salient Peculiarities
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Aurobindo envisages a cosmic salvation via an endlessly openended, eternally optimistic, and forward-looking ontology. The purpose of humankind is to go beyond its present form of ordinary (mental) consciousness until it attains the Supermind. Aurobindo says this can be done by a technique he calls Integral Yoga that enables humankind to purposefully cooperate with the cosmic evolutionary urge and thereby rise from the present mental stage to the supramental stage. Another peculiarity of Aurobindo’s ontology is his concept of Brahman. It negates illusionism and gives his metaphysical scheme a religious dimension. There is no room in his system for any adversary, anti-Divine or Satan as an independent entity. Thus, evil and suffering also stand accounted for. Peculiarities of this order make him the very first and, so far, the only ontologist claiming a preordained divination of the universe.
82. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Fahmina Ahmed Morality of Population Control of Bangladesh
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The rapid rate of population growth in the last half of the present century causes anxiety about the future of humanity because the amount of resources needed to satisfy basic necessities is extremely large. Correspondingly, the satisfaction of basic needs cannot be the sole criterion of the good life. Human beings have a right to live a life composed of things that make life go best. The case of Bangladesh shows that the majority of people live a life barely worth living, a life morally undesirable. One major reason is the rapid increase in population. Bangladesh covers an area slightly less than that of the state of Illinois, but has a population that is roughly half of the total population of the United States. The quality of life is inexorably linked to population growth. Further, human welfare and the quality of life are closely linked to the availability of resources. Rapid increases in population growth reduces resource availability and often degrades the environment. At some point, regulation is needed to limit population growth in Bangladesh in order to maximize opportunities for living worthwhile lives both by present as well as future generations. I develop a moral viewpoint that justifies population control in Bangladesh.
83. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
William W. Clohesy Untimely Thoughts on the Public Market
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The marketplace as an institution enjoys widespread popularity today. Many economists hold that most of society’s problems could be best solved by applying the market mechanism to them. Government, by contrast, is widely considered to be a problem rather than a solution. Some would like to see the government restructured along market lines so that policies would follow voter choice, as products follow that of consumers. Some, myself included, believe that a world in which all relationships are rendered matters of private choice would lack the "public happiness" that comes from participation in public discourse and concerted action. In this paper I address what it would mean for the market to be truly public. A market that is truly public will discourage speculative investment so that managers of various firms can concentrate on the long term good of creating a social institution through which the concerted efforts of various stakeholders are coordinated. In this way, stakeholders can enrich the world through their work.
84. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
David Crocker International Development Ethics
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I discuss the nature and genesis of international development ethics as well as its current areas of consensus, controversies, challenges, and agenda. A relatively new field of applied ethics, international development ethics is ethical reflection on the ends and means of socioeconomic change in poor countries and regions. It has several sources: criticism of colonialism and post-World War II developmental strategies; Denis Goulet's writings; Anglo-American philosophical debates about the ethics of famine relief; and Paul Streeten's and Amartya Sen's approaches to development. Development ethicists agree that the moral dimension of development theory and practice is just as important as the scientific and policy components. What is often called "development" (e.g., economic growth) may be bad for people, communities, and the environment. Hence, the process of development should be reconceived as beneficial change, usually specified as alleviating human misery and environmental degradation in poor countries.
85. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Frank Fair Trading Lives: Consequentialism, Deontology, and Inevitable Trade-offs
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Recently, unrestrained consequentialism has been defended against the charge that it leads to unacceptable trade-offs by showing a tradeoff accepted by many of us is not justified by any of the usual nonconsequenlist arguments. The particular trade-off involves raising the speed limit on the Interstate Highway System. As a society, we seemingly accept a trade-off of lives for convenience. This defense of consequentialism may be a tu quoque, but it does challenge nonconsequentialists to adequately justify a multitude of social decisions. Work by the deontologist Frances Kamm, conjoined with a perspective deployed by several economists on the relation between social costs and lives lost, is relevant. It provides a starting point by justifying decisions which involve trading lives only for other lives. But the perspective also recognizes that using resources in excess of some figure (perhaps as low as $7.5 million) to save a life causes us to forego other live-saving activities, thus causing a net loss of life. Setting a speed limit as low as 35 miles per hour might indeed save some lives, but the loss of productivity due to the increased time spent in travel would cost an even greater number of lives. Therefore, many trade-offs do not simply involve trading lives for some lesser value (e.g., convenience), but are justified as allowing some to die in order to save a greater number.
86. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Dan Egonsson The Importance of Being Human
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In this paper I will defend a kind of human-centered perspective regarding ethical questions wherein the interests of humans and nonhumans alike are involved. Compared to other species, however, the idea that there is something special about being human is commonly vague. For example, it is unclear whether the thought is (1) being a human being is important in itself, or (2) it is important to be like a human being — that is, to have the capacities which a normal adult human being enjoys. I build my defense of human dignity on the claim that we regard a biological human being as a being of intrinsic importance, which is what (1) is about. However, I also consider the ethical implications of (2), which concerns the moral significance of personhood. I argue that the idea of a special intrinsic value of being a human is applicable only to cases where we deal with nonpersons. I claim that in spite of this qualification, we might defend a substantial principle of human dignity founded upon this generalization.
87. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Christopher B. Gray Paideia, Schole, Paidia: Then and Now
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Aristotle centers the citizen’s education (paideia) on leisure (schole). Its features, especially of play (paidia), are evoked to remedy deficiencies in three contemporary philosophies of leisure: classical, critical and communitarian.
88. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Louis Logister In Search of a Methodological Foundation for Applied Ethics
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The problems that face contemporary applied ethics are indissolubly related to some characteristics of postmodern civil society. In this paper I will try to take a stand in the discussion between a proponent of a particularistic approach and one who favors a universalistic approach to the present difficulties that accompany human action. Karl-Otto Apel combines in his ethics of discourse a focus upon universal and normative structures of communication with a Kantian transcendental method of thought. Paul van Tongeren follows Aristotle and Nietzsche in arguing that the local and historically determined contingent traditions are the basis on which to approach our ethical questions. After giving a brief presentation of their respective contributions to the discussion, I shall end with some reflections on the difference between, and the merits and demerits of, a universalistic and a particularistic ethics.
89. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
John Ozolins Surrogacy: Exploitation or Violation of Intimacy?
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In this paper, I argue that if the debate about the morality of surrogacy is couched in terms of respect due to other human beings and the paramount importance of their intimate relationships with one another, then it may be shown that most ordinary instances of surrogacy are morally wrong. Human flourishing cannot be separated from one’s relationships with others and any circumstance which is destructive of such relationships must be considered immoral. The surrogate, unless she is treated as an object or merely as a means to an end, is intimately involved in the relationships between the child and its putative parents and important relationships become ambiguous and so harmed. Furthermore, if this view if rejected, then the feminist argument that surrogacy always involves the exploitation of the surrogate renders it immoral.
90. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Roy Weatherford A Non-Pacifist Argument Against Capital Punishment
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In this paper I present a moral argument against capital punishment that does not depend upon the claim that all killing is immoral. The argument is directed primarily against non-philosophers in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Oddly, the moral argument against capital punishment has not been effective in the United States despite the biblical injunction against killing. Religious supporters of the death penalty often invoke a presumed distinction between ‘killing’ and ‘murdering’ and avow that God forbade the latter but not the former. Self-defense and just wars are cited as cases of morally justified killing. Accepting these premises, I point out that when cases of justified killing in self-defense are altered to include an element of delay, disarming and premeditation, they too become murder. Since the death penalty clearly involves the elements of delay, disarming and premeditation, I conclude that the death penalty is murder in the biblical sense and ought to be abolished in any God-fearing (or otherwise moral) society.
91. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Frits Schipper Rethinking Efficiency
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This article aims to give an analysis of the concept of efficiency. The importance of such an analysis lies in the fact that the role which efficiency plays in different sectors of our society leads to opposite evaluations resulting in a clash of opinions concerning this role. In order to clarify this situation, I first trace the historical roots of the concept. This brief historical reconnaissance shows that ‘efficiency’ is not a unitary concept. Moreover, I also argue that our use of the concept of efficiency presupposes the decisions which we make with regard to the kinds of costs we recognize. Such decisions do not come out of the blue; they relate to the opposite evaluations of efficiency mentioned above. The decisions concerning what we consider to be costly determine in part the actual content of the concept of efficiency. I argue that this content must be in harmony with the meaning of the different practices in which we are engaged, otherwise this concept can easily lead us astray. Therefore, a proper use of the concept of efficiency demands a clear and reliable view of these meanings.
92. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 15
Mary T. Clark Plotinus, Augustine, Aquinas, K. Wojtyla on Person and Ego
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Today the connection between "person" and the "I" is acknowledged in many respects but not always analyzed. The need to relate it to the reality of the human being has sparked the present investigation of the philosophical anthropology of four thinkers from the late ancient, medieval, and contemporary periods. Although it may seem that the question of the role of the "I" with respect to the human being hinges on the larger problem of objectivity v. subjectivity, this does not seem to be the case. Many topics, however, are necessarily entailed in this investigation such as individuality and universality, soul and body, consciousness and action, substance and history, the self and the other, the metaphysical and the phenomenological, and experience and the ethical. At the end of this study we arrive at more than a grammatical use of the "I." From reflection on the contributions of Plotinus, Augustine, Aquinas, and Wojtyla, the ontological role of the "I" is identified. In doing so, one realizes that the ontological does not forsake the concrete, but penetrates it more deeply. Indeed, that was what Plotinian philosophy claimed to be doing: recognizing the richness of human reality.
93. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 15
Simon Glynn Identity, Perception, Action and Choice in Contemporary and Traditional “No-Self” Theories
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The ego is traditionally held to be synonymous with individual identity and autonomy, while the mind is widely held to be a necessary basis of cognition and volition, with responsibility following accordingly. However Buddhist epistemology, existential phenomenology and poststructuralism all hold the notion of an independent, subsisting, self-identical subject to be an illusion. This not only raises problems for our understanding of cognition (if the self is an illusion, then who does the perceiving and who is deluded) and volition (who initiates acts), as well as for the notion of responsibility (in the absence of an independently subsisting subject there appears to be no autonomous agent). For Buddhism, no-self theory raises serious problems for the doctrine of reincarnation (in the absence of a self, who is responsible for failing to overcome desires and attachments; furthermore, who gets reincarnated?). Arguing for such "no-self" theories, the paper attempts to demonstrate how such difficulties can nevertheless be resolved.
94. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 15
Stefan Gandler Difference and Identity
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While I am socially defined as "white," "male," "European," and so on, my theses are not formulated to affirm the social position(s) attached to these attributes but, rather, to indicate some of the limitations implicit in the concepts of identity and difference. Interestingly, two hundred years ago, the overcoming of oppression followed the concept of identity, whereas today the concept of difference is central. Why is this change not discussed in the present debates on difference?
95. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 15
Jurate Morkuniene The Preconditions of Social Identity of a Small State in Transition to Democracy
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The definition of social identity consists of two parts. First, it means protection against threats to the nation’s existence and well-being. Second, it means the search for measures and possibilities to achieve the goals of social development and improvement. Social identity implies the creation and preservation of conditions in which each citizen can develop as educated, creative and responsible persons. Today, especially for nations throughout the former Soviet Union, the chief danger to social identity lies in the adverse conditions of continued underdevelopment. It follows that for these nations, identity means first of all development. The essential condition for a small nation’s identity and survival is based on the people’s resolution to rely on themselves and to envision the potential for their own country. The modern strategy for ensuring social identity would essentially rely on the principle that every citizen is part of the national identity, i.e., its active agent. For this reason, of central importance is the creation of equal starting possibilities (equality of opportunities) for everyone.
96. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 15
Erin McCarthy The Space of the Self: An analysis of the notion of subjective spatiality in the philosophy of Watsuji Tetsuro
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In this paper, I will first examine the spatial aspect of self as found in Watsuji Tetsuro’s Climate and Culture. My study will focus almost entirely on the first chapter of this work where Watsuji sets out his theory of climate. I will then turn to his recently translated Ethics and examine the spatiality of the self as ningen, concentrating mainly on Chapter Nine, "The Spatiality of a Human Being." I do not pretend to give a full account of Watsuji’s philosophy, but hope to raise questions in order to think of space and self in a different manner, recognizing space as an essential element in the constitution of a concept of self — one forgotten in Heidegger’s Being and Time and in many contemporary accounts of personal identity.
97. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 15
Maija Kúle Understanding of Intersubjectivity and Life in Theodors Celm’s Philosophical Works
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Theodors Celms (1893-1989), a prominent Latvian philosopher, was one of Husserl's best students. Intersubjectivity was an important theme in the "psychological" reading of phenomenology when Celm turned to the problem of the transcendental "I" and to a living-rather than logically defined-subject. Celms concluded that Husserl's phenomenology could not address the question of intersubjectivity because in the course of its development it merely substituted pluralistic solipsism for monistic solipsism. What is most essential in phenomenology-the process of sense (or meaning) formation-remains hardly noticed in Celms' work. Contemporary phenomenology has developed as a philosophy of new thinking-a phenomenology of life that can be applied in different ways toward solving various problems of intersubjectivity.
98. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 15
Daniel E. Palmer Parfit, the Reductionist View, and Moral Commitment
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In Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit argues for a Reductionist View of personal identity. According to a Reductionist, persons are nothing over and above the existence of certain mental and/or physical states and their various relations. Given this, Parfit believes that facts about personal identity just consist in more particular facts concerning psychological continuity and/or connectedness, and thus that personal identity can be reduced to this continuity and/or connectedness. Parfit is aware that his view of personal identity is contrary to what many people ordinarily think about persons, and thus if his view is correct, many of us have false beliefs about personal identity. Further, since many of our views about morality are based upon our views about personal identity, it follows that we may also have to change our beliefs about morality as well. Parfit, however, thinks that in many cases such changes represent an improvement over our former beliefs and better fit with our considered moral judgments. But instead, I argue that Parfit’s account poses a serious threat to considered moral judgments, and, in particular, that it seriously undermines any substantial notion of moral commitment. As such, even if Parfit is metaphysically correct, I suggest we may have practical reasons, based on our moral concerns, for holding to a more weighty view of the nature of persons.
99. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 15
Vitaly V. Tsuckerman Foundation or Individual in a Determinate Universe
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The concept presented in this report makes a summary of the author’s attempts to find a solution to the problem of compatibility of determinism and the freedom of human choice. This problem becomes apparently an isoluble paradox if one admits that the notion of freedom of human choice includes negation of the predetermination of decisions taken. Denial of such an "inclusion" is based on an analysis of the reasons that have led to the notion of freedom of human choice. Basically, this notion is intimately linked with the actual mechanism of decision-making. However, the concept of freedom of human choice is not identical to this mechanism and should be regarded as a perception and self-interpretation of this mechanism by humans.
100. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 15
Stanley Riukas Hume’s Ontology of Personhood
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The paper critically analyzes Hume’s view that human persons are "nothing but a bundle of different perceptions" in order to find out which one of the two possible interpretations of this view, the mentalistic or the physicalistic, is the more probable and free from serious difficulties. First, I examine Hume’s view of personhood from the mentalistic perspective only to discover that his all-important distinction between ideas and impressions is logically untenable. If ideas indeed resemble impressions, as Hume claims, then ideas should be present to our mind at the same time as impressions so we could compare them in order to find out whether there is any resemblance between the two kinds of perceptions and whether the impressions are indeed more forceful or vivacious than the ideas corresponding to them. But this is logically impossible because by the time we have an idea, its impression is gone, and if we think that we are comparing an idea with its impression, we are in fact comparing an idea only with a memory of its impression. But a memory of an impression is, in Hume’s view, already an idea. So we are comparing only two ideas, not an idea with an impression. Second, since ideas and concepts have no logical standing, we are forced to interpret the realm of ideas as an extension of the realm of impressions, coping with various problems arising from this interpretation as best we can.