My aims here are, firstly, to suggest a minor amendment to R. I. G. Hughes’ DDI account of modeling, so that it could be viewed as a plausible epistemological “model” of how scientific models represent and secondly, to distinguish between two epistemological kinds of models that I call “descriptive” and “constitutive”. This aim is achieved by criticizing Michael Weisberg’s distinction between models and abstract direct representations and by following, at the same time, his own methodological approach for such a distinction.
The paper offers a survey of the debate on the introduction, in the Preamble of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, of references to God and Europe’s Christian tradition. It examines the question of European identity and values which motivates these proposals in relation to (1) the nature of the EU as an essentially political construction; (2) the issue of human rights in the EU; (3) the protection of cultural and religious diversity within the EU. The study shows that (...) the confessionalization of Europe promoted by strong churches on the Continent, which are legitimate actors of civil society, betray a failure to understand the logic of the European construction. To the extent to which they represent an attempt to secure a privileged position with respect to other religious or non-religious actors, they run against the functional principles and values of the Union. (shrink)
The main thesis of my article is that the viability of the European Union does not depend so much on its political structure as on its being anchored in a culture-based public sphere and on the establishment of a cultural European citizenship. The public sphere could be defined as an unique world, characterized by consensus and cooperation, in which only public goods can be sought and acquired, or as an unique world, characterized by rivalry and competition, in which everyone could (...) pursue their private interests, but only if there is a consensus regarding an objective and fair procedure. In any way, we cannot speak of a pluralism of public spheres - like the black public sphere, the LGBT public sphere, etc. - but (at the most) a plurality of interests represented in the public sphere, under the reserve of respecting a fair procedure, which allows the expression of axiological judgments. The EU needs a progressive citizenship, from civil citizenship to cultural citizenship, depending on the acquired skills, behavior and virtues. One deserves cultural citizenship and have the right (or, perhaps the privilege) to manifest - in the public sphere - a way of life and a cultural identity only if promote authentic values: virtues, rationality, free will etc. The problematic aspects of the European media sphere are obstacles on the way to establishing an authentic European cultural citizenship. They can be kept under control by assuming a healthy reactionary attitude and associating every element of change and contingent progress (speed, reductive simplicity, user's solitude, pictoriality, lateralness, data overload, immediacy, segmentation, social amnesia, etc.) with an element of moderation and equilibrium. Only thus can the media contribute in the making of a viable union of the European peoples, grounded on a well articulated European cultural citizenship. (shrink)
We briefly present two areas of natural computing, vividly investigated in the recent years: DNA computing and membrane computing. Both of them have the roots in cellular biology and are rather developedat the theoretical level (new concepts, models, paradigms of computer science, with mathematical and epistemological significance have been considered in this framework), but both areas are still looking for implementations of a practical interest.
A useful linkage can be made between recent literature on the philosophy and ethics of place and Australian work on education for place responsiveness. Place education, which holds a creative tension between deep experience and critical awareness, has a central role to play in any practical expression of an ethic of place. The way forward is suggested by Stefanovic's mediated iterative process for group work and the suspension of outcome orientation and judgement to allow the experience to speak for itself (...) prior to critical reflection for individual work. Malpas's philosophy of place and experience provides a framework for understanding the importance of narrative in structuring and being structured by place, and the significance of childhood place memories. Narrative emerges as a 'central organising principle' of place and identity, and can be viewed as both stories that connect us and stories that make us different. Place responsiveness work in Australia presents the opportunity for constructive intercultural dialogue and embedding new narratives of sustainability in place. (shrink)