The fall of the Soviet Union is analysed in conceptual terms, drawing on Reinhart Koselleck’s Begriffsgeschichte. The author seeks to interpret the instrumental role of the concepts perestrojka, glasnost´, reform, revolution, socialist pluralism, and acceleration in the Soviet collapse. The semantics and pragmatics are related to a wider intellectual and political context, and the conceptual perspective is used to help explain the progress of events. The author argues that the common notion of the reform policy concepts as clichés is not (...) valid. (shrink)
The paper questions some of the premises in studying academic spin-offs in developed countries, claiming that when taken as characteristics of ‘academic spin-offs per se,’ they are of little help in understanding the phenomenon in the Eastern European countries during the transitional and post-transitional periods after 1989. It argues for the necessity of adopting a path-dependent approach, which takes into consideration the institutional and organisational specificities of local economies and research systems and their evolution, which strongly influence the patterns of (...) spin-off activity. The paper provides new findings and original arguments in support of Balazs’ seminal theses (Balazs 1995, 1996) about the emergence of academic spin-offs during the early transition. It reveals key economic and policy mechanisms bearing on academic entrepreneurship in Eastern Europe, such as the tensions between economic and political nomenclatures of former Communist Parties, where the dismantling or preservation of the power of political nomenclature resulted in different patterns of development—rapid reforms in the ‘first wave’ of EU accession countries or the establishment of rent-seeking and assets-stripping economies in countries like Bulgaria and Romania, making the transition period especially difficult. In the latter, a specific economic environment emerged, unknown in Western Europe and in the ‘champions’ of transition—such as suppression of the authentic entrepreneurship in a number of economic sectors, disintegration of corporate structures, etc. Thus, the paper reveals the common ground behind the two conflicting tendencies in post-socialist academic spin-offs, partially outlined in other research (Simeonova 1995; Pavlova 2000): as an authentic form of academic entrepreneurship grasping the opportunities opened up by the economic crisis and compensating failures in science and technology policy on the one hand, and as specific rent-seeking strategy draining valuable public assets on the other (the latter, in turn, boosting the negative attitudes in local scientific communities). The paper provides new findings about the evolution of the academic spin-offs in Bulgaria along the two polar trends and their positive and negative repercussions on parent research institutions. The results were achieved in the PROKNOW Project, EC 6th Framework Program. (shrink)
Petrovic (1999) argues that teachers need to portray homosexuality positively and must not express their beliefs against it. This rejoinder argues against this position, maintaining instead that teachers need to teach about heterosexuality and homosexuality in a balanced manner. I argue against Petrovic's position both on the grounds that it has internal weaknesses and on the grounds that its consequences would be undesirable.
One of the central theses of egalitarian liberals in the domain of distributive justice is that talented individuals should not be allowed to keep their entire market-income even if it flows solely from their greater abilities. This claim is usually supported by one of several arguments or some mixture of them, but in the present paper, I want to concentrate on the version that invokes equality of opportunity as its starting point. Namely, it is claimed that every human being should (...) enjoy an equal starting point in the life-race but that this is not secured insofar as some have greater natural talents than others. Therefore, egalitarians hold that results that arise from such an unfair situation are unjust and should be corrected by a redistributive taxation. I want to criticize this argument by hoping to show that it presupposes an untenable view about identity of persons. (shrink)
The conception of man as an economic animal is implied by the view that economic production is the determining “factor” or “sphere” of man or society. Against this conception can be put another, that of man as praxis. This takes account of man as a creative being, capable of realizing his freedom through his own activity. In this article the theory of the determining role of the “economic factor”, and the theory of factors in general have been examined. The economic (...) interpretation of history, a variant of the theory of factors, has been acknowledged as partly true for the self-alienated man and society, but the theory of factors in any variant has been found inadequate as a general theory of man, or society. The possibility of freedom cannot be reduced to the fact that the determining roles played by “factors”, vary, or to the hope that the economic “factor” can be subordinated to a “better” one. Man's freedom consists in his resolving the conflict of “factors”, and in realizing himself as an integral creative being, no longer split into independent and mutually opposed spheres. (shrink)
With the increasingly heard voices of gays, lesbians and bisexuals in American society and their demands for recognition have come the responses of religious conservatives. In this article I consider whether the extreme moral positions that religious conservatives take are defensible. More specifically, I want to consider whether teachers who embrace such conservative positions should be permitted to act on them in their classrooms. My arguments lead me to distinguish between moral democratic and moralistic positions. The former I examine using (...) the virtue of recognition and the principle of non-oppression. I conclude that democracy requires the positive portrayal of homosexuality in schools and precludes teachers expressing their beliefs against it. (shrink)
Barbara Applebaum develops a conceptual framework that makes clear the ways that speech acts reproduce power, especially as it serves to maintain the marginalisation of non-heterosexual people. However, Applebaum's focus on explicit "utterances" and "expressions of beliefs" is too narrow, leaving out silence, especially the silence around sexual orientation in school curricula. Silence is a speech act that serves the reproduction of power and promotes harm just as powerfully as the other speech acts Applebaum is willing to censor; and so (...) she begs the question: can we forget to censor silence in the fight against heterosexism? (shrink)
This article critically explores John Rawls’s contention that the personal assets of individuals, i.e. their mental and bodily powers, should not determine the size of their holdings. Since such an argument may have several forms, the first task is to establish which of them Rawls himself advocates. He relies, it is argued, on a version that attempts to convince us that personal assets should not play a decisive distributive role because they are undeserved. This account is then formally reconstructed, making (...) all the relevant premises visible and preparing the ground for a critique that concentrates on the argument’s separate steps. Coming under attack first is the claim that everything should be deserved. The discussion examines next the premise urging us to find an ultimate, indisputable ground for desert-claims. Debate about this issue reveals some fundamental weaknesses in Rawls’s position: that he demands too much and is inconsistent; that some strong counter-intuitive consequences follow from his demands; and that his entire project, were such a criterion taken seriously, is undermined. Final comments are directed against the assertion that the community should own everything an individual does not deserve, showing that this does not remove moral arbitrariness, allows for the use of some persons as resources for others, and cannot plausibly limit its range of application. Most of these criticisms are not original, but are in accord with this paper’s main intention of combining as many good points against Rawls as possible. (shrink)