Issue 4/2012

UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD OF CULTURE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF SCIENCE AND PHILOSOPHY

ed. by Honorata Jakuszko

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From the Editorial Board fulltext.pdf (in English)

S  C  H  O  L  A  R  L  Y    A  R  T  I  C  L  E  S:

Honorata Jakuszko, Introduction fulltext.pdf (in English)

The texts in this volume focus on the origin of culture, its main tendencies, as well as perspectives and challenges of the future. They examine import_ant – ultimately unresolvable –problems posed in science and philosophy alike.  Tomasz Kupś reconstructs a model of the origin of culture in eighteenth-century German philosophy which referred to the theological motif of “original sin”. In the interpretation of Immanuel Kant and Johann Gottfried Herder, the first act of freedom depicted in Genesis marks the beginning of the historical world of culture in which humanity  acquires continuously new experiences, both positive and negative. The ambiguous character of the progress in science and technology, which favours the domination of the contemporary attitudes of hedonism and consumerism that crush human sensitivity to the tragic (irremovable) aspects of human existence are analyzed by Joanna Smakulska who turns to Bogusław Wolniewicz’s understanding of death as a phenomenon inexorably linked with religiosity or magic. In his characterization of the types of argumentation in the so-called anti-technology movements, Tomasz Łach elaborates on doubts about scientific and technological progress. A more radical thesis is developed in the article by Leszek Gawor who argues that a pro-ecological metanoia  (movement from anthropocentrism to biocentrism) constitutes the necessary condition of the survival of human civilization. Joanna Kiereś-Łach warns against the dangers of the fad for coaching and opposes it to the classical ethos of a rhetorician-orator as vir bonus who realizes intellectual-moral virtues in his conduct. The articles which explore the problem of scientific cognition make up a second group of the texts in this volume. Michał Miklas reconstructs the social-axiological contexts of knowledge in the theory of Charles Sanders Peirce. Marcin Rządeczka writes of the advantages and limitations of the naturalistic conceptions of history. Anna Musioł emphasizes the distinctness of methods and functions of the humanities (Geisteswissenschaften), opposed by Wilhelm Dilthey to the natural sciences (Naturwissenschaften).

 

Tomasz KUPŚ, „Original Sin” as a Model Element of the Genesis of Culture fulltext.pdf (in Polish)

The article briefly presents the meaning of “original sin” in the models of anthropogenesis (and the genesis of culture) in the historiosophical writings of German philosophers, such as Kant, Schiller, Schelling and others. The analysis focuses on the normative character of proposed hypotheses (as answers to questions concerning the source of evil, the origin of humanity and culture). It is also possible (although in a very limited scope) to trace a certain interpretative tendency to change the strictly model and normative use of the assumption of “original sin” into a description of the supposed real primitive state of humankind.

Keywords: original sin, the genesis of culture, German philosophy, Bible, Kant, Schiller, Herder, Schelling.

 

Joanna SMAKULSKA, Bogusław Wolniewicz’s Approach to the Phenomenon of Death fulltext.pdf (in Polish)

The phenomenon of death is one of the most essential issues in Bogusław Wolniewicz’s philosophical deliberations. The philosopher discusses it within a context related to religion, euthanasia and capital punishment. The issue of religion is crucial because, according to Wolniewicz, religiosity is inseparably linked with the phenomenon of death, as death is the source of every religion. Death is something sacred which evokes both respect and trepidation. Death is a mystery; it indicates the existence of a dark side of reality. Religiosity emerges from the realization that we are subjected to the unchangeable laws of nature. We are both rational and mortal, a combination that is the essence of human nature. In addition to this, rationality and mortality linked together make our position in the world tragic. However, the human being does not want to die, does not want to come to terms with his own mortality. We possess a strong desire to influence our fate or at least delay our end. That is why progress which is taking place in the medical sciences gives us a deceptive hope that we will be able to live forever, and that human death will be soon overcome. According to Wolniewicz, scientific progress is changing human awareness of our own tragic fate. As a result, we are becoming less and less sensitive to our tragic position in the world.

Keywords: death, religion, Bogusław Wolniewicz, tragedy, scientific progress.

 

Tomasz ŁACH, Fear of Technological Progress: Comments on Anti-technology Movements fulltext.pdf (in Polish)

Today one can observe two very general approaches to technology: positive and negative. The first treats technology as something that is fundamentally good. In the negative approach technology is regarded as something that is a threat to humans. These attitudes are manifested in the context of certain social movements. The object of the analysis is the negative approach to technology that exists on the basis of Romanticism, Neo-Luddism and Luddism and ecological trends. The first stage of the analysis identifies the term designated as technology: (1) technology as a kind of knowledge about the rules which are needed in order to create the material resources that enable cost-effective ways of achieving their objectives; (2) technology as the ability to perform certain activities; (3) technology as artifacts. The first trend is Romanticism, which is a form of opposition to industrialization and the destruction of nature. Another trend is Luddism (which appeared as workers’ opposition movement against the replacement of their work by machines) and Neo-Luddism, a modern continuation of Luddism. The essential feature of Neo-Luddism is the belief that technology is the enemy of a well-lived life. The author then presents current ecological trends, the main reference point being nature. These trends all share in common a negative attitude towards technology, which is manifested in the following postulates: (1) the complete elimination of technologies that are a threat; (2) or the replacement of these techniques with a safer one. The main difference between these currents lies in the belief that for Luddism most import_ant is the spiritual and physical health of the human being, whereas for ecology it is nature.

Keywords: Luddite, Neo-Luddism, philosophy of technology, environmental movement.

 

Leszek GAWOR, A Pro-ecological Metanoia of the Contemporary Human Being as a Condition for the Survival of Human Civilization fulltext.pdf (in Polish)

An intensifying megatrend of ecological threats has indicated that human civilization is heading towards its own self-destruction. As a result, one must understand the need for radical change in the current global strategy of humankind, and to rebuild the current model of civilization progress. This is the core of sustainable development. From this point of view, it is only possible to rescue modern civilization through the vast and determined reconstruction of a traditional, anthropocentric worldview which favours environmental awareness. This mental change must be profound and groundbreaking, hence the use of the Greek notion of metanoia. In leaving the anthropocentric position and ascension to a level where there is a holistic sense of oneness with nature, a new way is opened up through which the contemporary human being can perceive the world. It allows her to climb to a higher level of species evolution, evolving into homo ecologicus. Without such a metanoia there will come „the end of the world as we know it”.

Keywords: philosophical anthropology, ecology, homo ecologicus, the idea of sustainable development, metanoia.

 

Joanna KIEREŚ-ŁACH, A Contemporary Rhetorician-Orator: Vir Bonus or Coach? fulltext.pdf (in Polish)

In this article the author compares two concepts of the rhetoric teacher: the ancient rhetorician, whose competence in matters and possession of an appropriate moral attitude are accompanied by beautiful speaking skills; and the contemporary coach, who tries to build his image, professional position and work by acquiring skills, all in order to make a good impression rather than leave a lasting effect on theoretical knowledge. After briefly analyzing the terminology and establishing the meaning of key words for this article, the author discusses the theory of a good rhetorician as developed by Aristotle, Cicero and Quintilian. She claims that these thinkers all agreed that a teacher should possess the qualities of eloquence, what might be referred to as the vir bonus, a righteous man. The author then discusses a very popular contemporary phenomenon known as the coaching profession. For this purpose she presents and analyses a notice for work as a coach, as well as articles which can be considered advice made by qualified trainers. In conclusion, the author argues that the model rhetorician popular nowadays lies far from the ancient one.

Keywords: rhetorician, coach, Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian, rhetoric.

 

Michał MIKLAS, Social Context of the Formation of Knowledge in C. S. Peirce’s Pragmatism fulltext.pdf (in Polish)

One of the most import_ant problems in philosophy is the question: how to justify our scientific  knowledge – and more specifically – of synthetic inferences? C. S. Peirce disagrees with the solutions proposed by Kant or Mill. An integral part of his philosophy is the triadic concept of the sign, which is constitutive for Peirce’s epistemology. Building scientific knowledge is an endless process in the interpretation of signs. It does not grasp the object directly and in its entirety, but rather requires interpretation from the perspective of various researchers. There is no scientific procedure which leads to the necessary and ultimate results. This opinion implies that only a community – and more closely an unrestricted community of researchers – can be the subject of really valid and true knowledge. Scientific practice is a form of public discourse which is based on, not only methodological, but above all ethical principles. The success of science depends largely on the ethics of cooperation framed by this discourse.

Keywords: Peirce, sign, unrestricted community of researchers, discourse ethics.

 

Marcin RZĄDECZKA, History: Nomothetic or Idiographic Discipline? Questioning the Advantages and Disadvantages of the Naturalistic Approach to History fulltext.pdf (in Polish)

Recent developments in history’s auxiliary disciplines and the gamut of methods which can be utilized by the contemporary historian inevitably beg for a revision of the methodological and philosophical approach to the discipline of history. Nowadays, radiocarbon dating, mathematical models of the spread of disease or statistical methods of text analysis are only a few of the methods used by the natural sciences which are crucial for historians. Methodological naturalism is often a threshold to epistemological and metaphysical naturalism. Some instructive examples of the naturalistic approach to history have recently been provided by the books and papers of Jared Diamond, James A. Robinson and Edmund Russell, who not only illustrate how the natural environment (soil composition, geology, biodiversity or epidemiological hazard) can be a major civilization-forming factor, but also (in Diamond’s case) put forward the hypothesis that a crisis of civilization is often a repercussion caused by the mismanagement of the natural environment. According to Diamond this principle is applicable both to hunter-gatherers and modern societies. The scope and convincing scientific background of these analyses make it not only a methodological approach but also a thought-provoking metaphysical position. The main aim of this paper is to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this naturalistic approach to the discipline of history and answer the question regarding history’s position among others disciplines.

Keywords: history, naturalism, biogeography, environmental approach.

 

Anna MUSIOŁ, Elements of Aesthetics in Wilhelm Dilthey’s Approach to the Human Being and Culture fulltext.pdf (in Polish)

The cultural crisis at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries expressed the impossibility of qualifying the truth in its absolute conditions, perception and understanding from the committed cognitive attitude of the subject: the human beings whose every action is subject to the influence of history and the way it forms their outlook on life. The remedy for cultural collapse expresses itself through the hegemony of naturalism and the reproach of the lack of full objectivity; methodological self-knowledge in the humanities is a form of authenticity which most distinctly reflects the spontaneous individual’s work, perceived in compliance through the foundations of humanistic descript_ive psychology. The individual, though conditioned by social determinants – and recognizing this – reaches far inside her own spirit to confirm the creative activity, which itself does not recur across a continuous extension of axiological perspectives – as well as of experience and understanding the perception of reality. Skillful, well-versed aesthetically, engaging with the argument from the borderland of the theory of literature, poetry and art also determined with the three categories: Ausdruck –ErlebenBedeutung, the analysis of the product of the culture additionally qualifies not only the definition of all materially and spiritually acquired possessions of humankind produced by the historical process, but institutes also a manner for perceiving the human being. The conscious subject historically realizes herself in the continuity of life, which determines – as Dilthey suggests – the basis of all human occurrences and experiences. Life in its multidimensionality reveals the creative power of the human being as it appears in the realization of aims which is placed before her. There is an expression of psychical contents which express the human relation to the world; with the intensification sign which – as Zbigniew Kuderowicz suggests – grants the sense to circumjacent objects that change it by converting and acting intelligible in order to form a cultural environment. Taking into account the foundations of anthropology in Dilthey’s Lebensphilosophie, the author represents the attempt to define the human being and her form in reality of the epochal crisis as proposed by the German philosopher of culture.

Keywords: philosophy of culture, anthropology, humanistic psychology , inner experience, understanding, experience, Wilhelm Dilthey.

R  E  P  O  R  T  S    A  N  D    A  N  N  O  U  N  C  E  M  E  N  T  S:

Małgorzata SKOTNICKA-PALKA, Barbara TECHMAŃSKA, III International Conference Education – Culture – Society,  Krzyżowa 3-4 October 2012 fulltext.pdf (in Polish)

T  H  E    A  U  T  H  O  R  S:

LESZEK GAWOR, habilitated doctor, professor of the University of Rzeszów, head of the Chair of Social Philosophy. The author of the books: Little-Known  Thinkers. Polish Philosophy of the Late Nineteenth Century and  the First Decades of the Twentieth  Century (2011);  Essays about Civilization (2009);  The Polish Historiosophical Thought of the First  Half of the Twentieth Century. The Analysis of Selected Positions (2005); Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics. The Crucial Questions and Positions (2005); On the Plurality of Civilizations. Feliks Koneczny’s Social Philosophy (2002);  Catastrophism in the Polish Social Thought and Philosophy, 1918-1939 (1999); Consistent Catastrophism. The Positions of Marian Zdziechowski and Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (1998). Research interests: the history o Polish philosophy, social philosophy and ethics.

JOANNA KIEREŚ-ŁACH,  M.A. in philosophy, B.A. in cultural studies, Ph.D. candidate in the Chair of the Philosophy of Culture, Catholic University of Lublin. She is working on her doctoral dissertation on the conception of new rhetorics in Chaim Perelman. Editor-in-chief of a scholarly journal Scripta Philosophica. Scholarly Working Papers of Ph.D. Candidates in the Faculty of Philosophy, Catholic University of Lublin; on the editorial board of a scholarly journal Trivium; member of the International Etienne Gilson Society. Research interests: philosophy of culture, rhetorics, philosophy of art, literary theory, theatre, history of art. Email: azytek@wp.pl

TOMASZ KUPŚ, habilitated doctor., professor of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. Research interests: history of philosophy, especially of German philosophy, philosophy of religion in the eighteenth and nineteenth century (Lessing, Kant), Existenzphilosophie (Kierkegaard, Jaspers) and religious studies (the general theory of religion and the methodology of religious studies). Has translated writings of the classics of philosophy (Kant, Schiller, Fichte, Lessing).

TOMASZ ŁACH, M.A., Ph.D. candidate in the Chair of the Methodology of the Sciences, Catholic University of Lublin. His M.A. thesis (2010) examined The Methodological Status of the Social Sciences in the Theory of Jerzy Giedymin. Research interests: philosophy of technology, philosophy of science, methodology of the sciences. He is working on his doctoral dissertation on the critical theory of technology.

MICHAŁ MIKLAS, M.A. in philosophy; Ph.D. candidate in the Chair of Social and Political Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Research interests: political philosophy, philosophy of culture,  ethics, theories of reason and rationality in ethics, social philosophy and epistemology, philosophy of Immanuel Kant, Karl-Otto Apel and Jürgen Habermas.

ANNA MUSIOŁ, doctor, affiliated with the Chair of the History of Modern and Contemporary Philosophy, University of Silesia in Katowice. He is the school-leaving pupil of philosophy and the psychology of social behaviours. He concentrates investigative interests around the transcendental philosophy, especially the neokantyzmu of the school marburskiej (Cohen – Natorp – Cassirer), the philosophy of culture, anthropology and the deskryptywnej of the humanistic psychology.

MARCIN RZĄDECZKA, M.A., graduated in philosophy and interdepartmental philosophical-historical studies, Ph.D. candidate in the Chair of Ontology and Epistemology, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University. He is at work on his doctoral dissertation, The Metaphysical Premises of the Contemporary Biomedical Sciences. Research interests: philosophy, with an emphasis on the philosophy of biology, the history of science, metaphysics.

MAŁGORZATA SKOTNICKA-PALKA, doctor, historian, graduate of the University of Wrocław. Research interests: history of the twentieth century (the social issues of the interwar period),  teaching methodology of history, regional history.

JOANNA SMAKULSKA, doctor, graduated in biology and philosophy, assistant professor in the Chair of Bioethics and Philosophical Anthropology, University of Białystok. Her doctoral dissertation (2011) examined Bogusław Wolniewicz as ethicist of life. Research interests: history of contemporary philosophy; the philosophy of values, philosophical anthropology.

BARBARA TECHMAŃSKA, doctor, lecturer in the Chair of the Teaching Methodology of History and Social Education, Department of History, University of Wrocław. Research interests: Legnica-Głogów Copper Basin in its education, culture and society. Popularizes regional knowledge; active in the Lubin Area Association; collaborates with cultural institutions; co-edits The Working Papers of Lubin. She deals with regional education in the field of teaching methodology, too.


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