Diogenes

Published by SAGE Publications
Online ISSN: 1467-7695
Print ISSN: 0392-1921
Publications
Superstars are not by accident a conspicuous phenomenon in our culture, but inherently belong to a meritocratic society with mass media, free enterprise, and competition. To make this contention plausible I will use Caillois’s book, Man, Play and Games, to compare the mechanisms underlying the superstar phenomenon with a special kind of game, as set out by Caillois. As far as I know, Caillois’s book is not quoted in the literature dealing with income distribution theories, although the comparison with play and games is, for limited purposes, interesting. In play and games we find almost all elements which play a role in theories of just income distribution: equality of opportunity, chance, talent, competition and skill, reward, entitlement, winners and losers, etc. These are not chance similarities, for “. . . games are largely dependent upon the cultures in which they are practised. They affect their preferences, prolong their customs, and reflect their beliefs . . . One can posit a truly reciprocal relationship between a society and the games it likes to play”. Moreover, as we will see, superstars combine the four basic characteristics of play that make their activities a special kind of play.
 
Forecasting is a recognised discipline, but it has not the character of scientific demonstration. The quantitative techniques inherited from the American ‘think-tanks’ working on weapon requirements dominate current thinking on technological forecasting. However the prime use of these techniques is in programming and management. Science planning therefore depends less on the mathematical rationality of these techniques for attaining an objective, than on the actual setting of an objective and the priority assigned to it in comparison with other possible objectives.
 
considers both state and process facets of acculturation / commences with the introduction of the theoretical frameworks for the study of acculturation—its definition, measurement, and outcomes / a conceptual model of acculturation is then presented / the process of acculturation is considered with special reference to changes over time, and selected predictors of successful adaptation during cross-cultural transition are reviewed / emphasis is placed on acculturative strategies and their psychological and social consequences / the relevance of these issues is discussed for intercultural trainers (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Thomas More’s Utopia is made up of two books. Book One, quickly skimmed over by those who dream of the future and are bored by history, tells us about Europe in 1515 at the dawn of a revolution in every field of knowledge dominated by a political power that uses religion, fear and ignorance to satisfy an insatiable appetite for hegemony, infinitely corrupt but in public promoting moral, family values. Book Two gives us a glimpse of a future on a human scale using new techniques, reason and good management of its resources to reconcile the common good with the pleasure of the individual. That book is the founding text for our modernity. It is the pagan bible adopted by the Enlightenment, which we have inscribed in the charter of our epoch’s institutions. Five hundred years later the books are being rewritten in reverse: the great human dream set in train by Book Two in 1516 is bogged down in the reality of 2005. The new promises of free-choice economism in 2005 are just a nightmare journey back in time to the postulates of Book One.
 
This paper reports the text of the intervention pronounced by Claude Lévi-Strauss for the 60th anniversary of Unesco in 2006. Lévi-Strauss recalls the intersections between his activity in the field of anthropology and ethnology and Unesco since its foundation, and the role Unesco can play nowadays in the preservation of cultural diversity and biodiversity.
 
The ideal, my friend, is the lifebuoy. Let's say one is taking a swim, floundering around, trying as hard as possible not to sink. One might try to swim in a safe direction despite contrary currents; the essential thing is to use a classic stroke according to recognized swimming principles...Some eccentrics who try to swim faster in order to get there, come what may, splash all over everybody and always end by drowning, involving I don't know how many other poor souls who might have been able to continue splashing around tranquilly enough- in the soup. (Jean Anouilh)
 
The very concept of the ‘birth’ or ‘origin’ of art may seem inappropriate, since humans are by nature artists and the history of art begins with that of humanity. In their artistic impulses and achievements humans express their vitality, their ability to establish a beneficial and positive relationship with their environment, to humanize nature; their behaviour as artists is one of the characteristics for selection favourable to the evolution of the human species. Evidence from a huge analysis of rock art and cave paintings and engravings shows that, from their origins, humans have also been Homo aestheticus.
 
If we think of artistic creation as a basic dimension of humanity we need to question the absence of female artists in history. We should also look at their gradual emergence in the late 20th century, an emergence that coincides with the feminist movement and a change in the conception of art itself, revealed chiefly by Duchamp. But does art by women have some specificity? Without giving a definite answer as far as subject matter is concerned, we note that the conditions suited to both history and the history of art may affect their creation but without specifying it ontologically. If, moreover, some women artists define their work as feminist, it is through an act that combines artistic and political transgression. The exhibition currently arranged by the Georges Pompidou Centre, elles@ beaubourg, provides new resources for these complex questions.
 
A review of the paradigms of social influence – suggestion, imitation, normalization, conformity, compliance, conversion – leads me to diagnose a triple malaise: the shrinkage of paradigms to cognitive dual-processing theories of information; the dominant methodology of laboratory experiments falls short of the reality of (mass) communication; and the focus of social influence on inter-subjectivity is only half of the story. I will suggest two extensions of social influence theory to include mass media communication and the inter-objectivity of artefacts. We need to be able to conceptualize the modalities of why, how and to what effect somebody might put up a wall to influence neighbours instead of contenting themselves with putting up a public note ‘Do not trespass!’. Social influence by fait accompli needs to be within the remit of social psychology, otherwise it loses its relevance in a technological society where artefacts mediate most inter-personal relations.
 
Culture is determined by a historical, that is, a temporal perspective, and by another that is atemporal, the transcendental scale of values. Diversity, within the limits of a certain harmony that embraces the whole, is an enriching factor far more than one tending to dispersal or division. The ancient Egyptian and Coptic, Muslim and modern heritage in Egypt and black Africa, as well as the Assyrians’, Phoenicians’, Berbers’, and then the legacy from black Africa coming from Mesopotamia, the Levant, North Africa, Sudan and Somalia respectively, are contributing to the emergence of a new though historical humanism. The author takes the view that the Arab mentality, contrary to a common and widely held belief, is nourished by a pluralism that is both surprising and stimulating.
 
This article is essentially a commentary on a little-known text by `Alain' (whose real name was Emile-Auguste Chartier), successively entitled Les marchands de sommeil and Vigiles de l'esprit. This piece of work, initially a prize-giving speech to students in a Parisian lycée, was rewritten by Alain many years later during the Second World War. It describes with acute intelligence and in a splendid metaphoric language the enduring and compelling proposition that the formation of critical judgement should be the ultimate purpose of all teaching.
 
This paper deals with the geo-political implications of neo-universalist tendencies in current Chinese political philosophy. It is stated how Chinese philosophy can contribute to overcome a ‘clash’ theory of intercultural relations. The author underlines that the growing economic and political role of China in this century forces China to develop a real global world-view tradition, and discusses Zhao Tingyang’s philosophy of Tian-xia as a paradigmatic example of such new universalism.
 
Since the early nineties, the term ‘civilization’ has undergone remarkable transformations and has assumed political and ideological functions it has not been fit for as a linchpin of the more than two-centuries-old academic discourse on ‘civilizations’. These transformations materialized in the political-ideological formations known as the ‘clash of civilizations’ and the ‘dialogue among civilizations’ which comprise a ‘civilizational discourse’ in many respects alternative to the academic one. This essay intends, firstly, to uncover the structural and thematic differences between the academic ‘civilizational discourse’ and its trendy alternative. Secondly, the essay aspires to demonstrate how complementary, at their methodological and ideological bases, the ‘clash of civilizations’ and the ‘dialogue among civilizations’ are, despite their highly-publicized antagonism. Thirdly, the article aims to highlight the actual political processes underway in our world which manifest themselves through and make use of the alternative ‘civilizational discourse’ as part of their modus operandi. The essay ties these processes with the global triumph of capitalism at the closure of the 20th century, and with the rise of the projects of authoritarian hegemony.
 
The clichés attached to Islam and Muslim women that the West had perpetuated since the Middle Ages and that were later propagated by Orientalist writers and painters, are reviewed in this article. The emergence of the subject of women as the centrepiece of western accounts of Islam in the late 19th century is equated with the beginning of European colonialism in Muslim countries, and the reasons for choosing the two controversial issues related to Muslim women: polygamy and the veil. It clarifies the status of women before Islam and after its Revelation, assessing the positive and little-known aspects of the Muslim woman's role throughout history and the grounds for the deterioration of her status. The article closes with a matter-of-fact assessment of the position of women in the Islamic world today, reproving any approach based on generalities and oversimplifications when dealing with Islam-related issues.
 
The relationship between community and individual is the key issue in contemporary political philosophy and ethics. The concept of self seems very important for individualism, communitarianism and feminism when they respond to relationships, particularly when we have to situate selfhood in the conditions of modernity. Consequently, this paper can be divided into seven parts. First it introduces the debate about the concept of the self between individualism and communitarianism. Second, it discusses the feminist critique of this issue and analyses the feminist concept of self, and then addresses modernity as the condition of women. Next it attempts to analyze how women situate themselves in the conditions of modernity. Then it discusses how Chinese women are reshaping their selfhood under the conditions of modernity, and finally draws some brief conclusions claiming that neither communitarian nor individualist self is adequate in contemporary society. Chinese women, it is argued, are expected to reshape their own selfhood resting on the positive side of Confucian ethics and a feminist concept of self.
 
The scholarship of Confucianism in China is in the process of restoration. Its historical missions are two-fold. It should preserve Chinese national characters and promote China’s modernization. These objectives are partly in conflict with each other. To realize the former objective, it is necessary to stress a historical continuity and consistency, to re-examine and justify the preservation of classical Confucian ideas and values in order to provide spiritual support for Chinese cultural identity and social cohesion. As to the latter objective, it is necessary to reinterpret some part of the classical ideas and values and link them with the modern values such as liberty, justice and democracy. This essay analyzes the position of three Confucianist scholars, Jiang Qing, Chen Ming and Kang Xiaoguang, to show the different balances between conservatism and reformers when their writings confront the challenges of modernization and globalization.
 
The constitutions of the decolonized new nations were marked by the process of the devolution of power. This process had an impact on the agenda setting and arena setting embedded in these constitutions. ‘Agenda’ refers to the conduct of political affairs and ‘arena’ to the delimitation of the powers of Parliament, the design of constituencies, etc. As a special feature, federalism was introduced by several constitutions. It emerged as a device for the gradual devolution of power. In some instances it proved to be a permanent asset (India), in others it was contested (Nigeria) or rejected (Rhodesia). None of the new constitutions contained adequate provisions for the civilian control of the armed forces. The armed forces were simply taken for granted and their potential political role disregarded. But in many new nations political power was soon usurped by the armed forces and constitutional government was suspended.
 
This short paper deals with the difficult articulation of a diverse cultural heritage within a society and the democratic forms of assuring its social cohesion. Special attention is paid to the links between immaterial culture and the environment that transforms it into a structural element of social cohesion. Culture is seen as a 'mould' which shapes a shared behaviour, and democracy can be conceived as a system made up of elements of a cultural nature that go as far as implying safeguarding pluralism, respect and tolerance of all kinds of difference. This is the case with those countries where the structures of the modern state are in the process of disappearing and being redefined in new forms, whose essential feature is acceptance of cultural diversity. If we conceive democracy in terms of heritage and in terms of non-exclusion of cultures dominated by a dominant culture, then it results that Mexico has not experienced true democracy - either in the past or nowadays.
 
One can make the case that we have lost the capacity for abstract thought. When we read or listen to the radio, the mind forms images in response to the suggestion. The same thing can be said to occur when an illustration provokes the viewer by its symbolic relationship to reality. Abstraction encourages the mind to bridge the distance from suggestion to reality. Art is the most benign and fundamental way of creating community that our species has discovered.
 
The author, a specialist in philosophy for children who is recognized worldwide, presents the conceptual and philosophical framework within which the idea of early education in philosophical discussion is situated. A theory of education and its place in social and cultural development is the precondition to any practice aimed at doing philosophy with children.
 
This paper claims that what needs reinventing is not democracy as an ideal model, but rather the prevailing reality in terms of a set of obstacles hindering the realization of this model. Democracy can only be adapted to the new realities of the world if these realities are also transformed in such a way as to make it possible for democracy to properly function. The absence of norms on an international scale is manifested by a de facto hegemonic power accruing to certain states. This paper attempts a philosophical description of this situation through the difference between globalization, that tends to reduce all individual difference, and universalization, pluralist as its purposes can only be attained through a rationality of communication. Their respective actors are also different, as well as the different models provided for the evolution of the UN system.
 
Caesarism is contrasted with medieval monarchies, and the emperor is evaluated as a citizen who is in charge of the Republic and is all-powerful. However, two-thirds of the Augustuses and the Caesars died a violent death, often at the hands of close family members. Nobility is a ruling caste, in which bloody rivalries, usurpations and political romanticism are rife as it struggles to retain its social pre-eminence. The Senate, though, does not itself want to govern and eventually degenerates into an Academy. The imperium, with its patriarchal nature, remains very popular among the people/citizens. Though the imperial cult would lead to tyranny, it continued to express both the stature and love accorded to the individual emperor, and the power of tradition, of charisma and the institution.
 
The author introduces us to the mythology, system of thought and social practices of the Inuit in an attempt to discover their conception of social sex (or gender). Unlike the binary conception that predominates among westerners, the Inuit have a tripartite system in which some individuals, men or women, straddle the social frontier between the sexes/genders. This third social sex, which is prominent in mythology and among the great mythical figures, is also found at the heart of shamanistic mediations, as well as in many families, where the identity of dead relatives is transmitted to the 'newborn', regardless of their sex. When the sex is different, the children are cross-dressed till puberty, after which time they have to take on the gender corresponding to their sex, but a number of these young people used to become shamans and so continued to assume the mediations of the third social sex. This construction occurs without any reference to sexual orientation.
 
This paper revisits the different notions of influence, persuasion and influencebound subjects. It illustrates and critiques the dominant prevailing concept of influence and its effects, which, though diversely denominated and presented through various theories, always comes down to reaffirming the relationship of dominance and the possibility of the nullification of the subject within the relationship with the other. With this aim, it studies the classical theories of interpersonal influence and brings to attention some of the bodies of information which have been systematically neglected or set aside, particularly concerning suggestion, possession, mesmerism and somnambulism.
 
This paper sketches the ambitious outlines of an assessment of the place of Russian philosophy in philosophical history ‘at large’, i.e. on a global and world-historical scale. At the same time, it indicates, rather modestly, a number of elements and aspects of such a project. A retrospective reflection and reconstruction is not only a recurrent phenomenon in philosophical culture (which, the author assumes, has become global), it also is, by virtue of its being a philosophical reflection, one among many possible perspectives. The central claim of the paper is that the key to an assessment of the world-historical place of Russian philosophy is to be found in the Soviet period, not only because it was, through its isolation policy and its subordination of philosophy to political and ideological goals, a determining factor for a large part of the 20th century, but also, and more importantly, because it has systematically distorted the perception of Russia’s philosophical history, including of the Soviet episode itself. The very undoing of these distortions, however, risks becoming a distortion because of, on the one hand, a demonization of the Soviet factor and, on the other hand, a disregard for its philosophical and meta-philosophical relevance.
 
Western tradition has always been fundamentally anthropocentric. With the scientific mind, modern humans have achieved a sort of colonization of the rest of nature, where only their own benefit makes any sense. This conception has been in a period of crisis since the second half of the 20th century, particularly the final third, and we are witnessing the toppling of some of the ontological principles that made western humanity. Greek philosophy, the Judeo-Christian tradition, the Renaissance, these are the three great moments of this anthropocentrism; the fourth was human domination of nature and the cosmos. Since the second half of the 20th century this situation has produced a counter-consciousness, western anthropocentrism’s consciousness of hybris, the awareness of having overstepped every limit and every frontier with the self-destruction brought by the atom bomb. The dual posture of pride and fall into hybris forms the grand philosophical backdrop to the ethical, political and ideological debates that are currently going on around developments in biology and genetics. This being so, is it possible for human beings, in philosophical, intellectual and artistic terms, to transcend anthropocentrism? Yes, it is, through self-restraint, the ancient sofrosyne, which demanded moderation when faced with hybris. But westerners are afraid of transcending anthropocentrism; the idea that humans are nothing strikes fear into their hearts (pancosmic cold). An intermediate way is wanted: we need to rediscover awareness of a certain animism, rediscover the soul of the world.
 
The principle of democracy is one of equal dignity for all cultures. But today the relationship between culture and politics, though close, often appears tense and occasionally contradictory. The introduction to this issue of Diogenes sketches the work done by UNESCO in the frame of the 'Pathways of Thought' Programme, particularly relating to the way in which a pluralist identity is created in multicultural nations, and to the relationship between non-material heritage, democracy and the quest for new forms of governance.
 
Such is the scale of information production today that the verb ‘to know’ may be heretofore declined in the impersonal. A new ‘subject of knowledge’ - the machine - is seen as removing from homo sapiens the so far uncontested role of ‘learned subject’. This calls for a rethinking of our notions of knowledge and democracy. To think of a knowledge society where every single person would be capable of knowingly taking any type of decision on community life, points to an incapacity to rethink the concept of knowledge. The fragmentation of knowledge transforms democracy into a simple possibility for each and every person to choose ‘the expert’ by whom he wishes to be guided. Kant had distinguished between ‘knowledge’ and ‘thought’, associating the latter with leisure. It appears today that pleasure and games may be the ultimate bulwarks of humanity. Perhaps we ought to be speaking of a leisure society rather than a knowledge society.
 
This editor’s introduction to the issue recalls the main methodological approaches to persuasion, rhetoric and propaganda in social psychology. It summarizes the classical theories issued from Hovland’s Yale Communication Program in experimental social psychology, like dissonance, attitude changes, inoculation approach, elaboration likelihood model. Yet there are, today, competing perspectives on persuasion, which turn attention to the meaning of persuasion in modern complex societies, in technology and the media. These perspectives place emphasis not on changes of attitudes, but on communication, social influence and group processes. It is shown that the collection of articles in this issue brings out these diverse approaches in social psychology. Broadly, it encompasses social psychological studies based on the research of attitudes and attitude changes on the one hand, and those based on the studies of influence and communication on the other.
 
The Silk Road that crosses Mongolia is unique in that it is the most northerly of all, skirting Siberia. Some authors call it the Altai Road, because it crosses the immense Altai mountain range which begins in western Mongolia and whose peaks, snow-covered and icy year round, rise more than five thousand meters above sea level. The official name of this fourth expedition of the Silk Roads project, which took place between 10 July and 5 August 1992, was "The Nomads' Road." The account given below, although expressing only my personal expe rience, reflects, I believe, an experience shared by many of my colleagues.
 
This essay describes the emergence of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon as an object of conspiratorial intrigue and imagination, offering a snapshot of the “9/11 truth movement” and its various theories as they began to reach full bloom. Theories about the attacks have come to constitute the dominant conspiratorial present – a present that looks remarkably like the mid- and late-twentieth-century past, despite significant changes in information technology and the continuing institutionalization and ironization of conspiracy theory as an influential form of popular politics. In addition to the 9/11 conspiracy community, the essay considers the battle over the 9/11 Commission’s review of the government’s failure to anticipate the terrorist attacks. The Commission engaged in knowing and savvy efforts to respond to conspiracy theories and to preempt popular belief in them, offering an authoritative narrative (or, more precisely, set of narratives) to explain what occurred. Meanwhile, the 9/11 truth movement made equally knowing and savvy efforts to critique the official account, responding with its own efforts to reinterpret and re-narrate the attacks, their causes, and what they signify about the contemporary world. While the 9/11 Commission may have criticized the federal government and its intelligence services for their failures of imagination prior to the attacks, the truth movement criticized the Commission either for a failure of imagination – an explanation for the attacks that could see through the “official” account – or for a quite imaginative cover-up of the hidden truths of 9/11. By considering the clash between official authorities and an active conspiracy community, this essay considers how the movement attempted to form a collective political and scholarly community, producing a blizzard of texts offering narratives that compete with the ones told by the Commission that seek the impossible grail of conspiracy theory: the truth. The essay also considers the effects, if any, of the state’s attempt to preempt and respond to conspiracy theories.
 
The article presents the connection between the traditional research and educational approaches in Bulgaria and the academic and public activity of Dimitar Mihalchev. It points out how his teaching and academic activity contributes to the development of the foundation of the traditional for Bulgaria higher humanitarian education. His scientific activity resonates with the permanently applied European traditions in philosophy, combined with the most modern methods of research. Mihalchev‘s scientific activity has a pedagogical orientation, applied in the field of education through secondary and higher schools, provides Bulgarian education with a level comparable to the best world examples.
 
Social distancing measures forced all citizens to stay at home and to work as far away as possible, and public spaces (eg schools, offices, public transport, theaters) were closed and public gatherings banned. These measures of social distancing (the so-called ‚lockdawn‘) have led to drastic changes in everyday social life; separate areas of life, such as family, school, and work, suddenly coincided, and families were faced with an unforeseen increase in hours spent together under one roof.
 
This article presents the result of a comparative study of personal security and trust before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the changes shown, the picture is generally similar. This is due to the fact that the feeling of personal security depends on personality traits and dispositions that have not been studied.
 
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