Recently, Luk tried to establish a model and a theory of scientific studies. He focused on articulating the theory and the model, but he did not emphasize relating them to some issues in philosophy of science. In addition, they might explain some of the issues in philosophy of science, but such explanation is not articulated in his papers. This paper explores the implications and extensions of Luk’s work in philosophy of science or science in general.
A crucial aspect of scientific realism is what do we mean by true. In Luk’s theory and model of scientific study, a theory can be believed to be “true” but a model is only accurate. Therefore, what do we mean by a “true” theory in scientific realism? Here, we focus on exploring the notion of truth by some thought experiments and we come up with the idea that truth is related to what we mean by the same. This has repercussion (...) to the repeatability of the experiments and the predictive power of scientific knowledge. Apart from sameness, we also found that truth is related to the granularity of the observation, the limit of detection, the distinguishability of the objects in theory, the simultaneous measurements of objects/processes, the consistencies of the theory and the one-to-one correspondence between terms/events and objects/processes, respectively. While there is no guarantee that we can arrive at the final “true” theory, we have a process/procedure with more and more experiments together with our own ingenuity, to direct us towards such a “true” theory. For quantum mechanics, since a particle is also regarded as a wave, quantum mechanics cannot be considered as a true theory based on the correspondence theory of truth. Failing this, truth may be defined by the coherence theory of truth which is similar to the coherence of beliefs. However, quantum mechanics may not be believed to be a true theory based on the coherence theory of truth because wave properties and particle properties may contradict. Further research is needed to address this problem if we want to regard quantum mechanics as a “true” theory. (shrink)
Recently, Luk mentioned that scientific knowledge both explains and predicts. Do these two functions of scientific knowledge have equal significance, or is one of the two functions more important than the other? This commentary explains why prediction may be mandatory but explanation may be only desirable and optional.
This paper presents a theory of scientific study which is regarded as a social learning process of scientific knowledge creation, revision, application, monitoring and dissemination with the aim of securing good quality, general, objective, testable and complete scientific knowledge of the domain. The theory stipulates the aim of scientific study that forms the basis of its principles. It also makes seven assumptions about scientific study and defines the major participating entities. It extends a recent process model of scientific study into (...) a detailed interaction model as this process model already addresses many issues of philosophy of science. The detailed interaction model of scientific study provides a common template of scientific activities for developing logical models in different scientific disciplines, or alternatively for developing ontologies of different scientific disciplines. Differences between research and scientific studies are discussed, and a possible way to develop a scientific theory of scientific study is described. (shrink)
The core of business ethics literature is based upon the stakeholder theory of the firm. The normative function of this theory is to internalise the concept of social responsibility into the definition of the firm (the firm as a social contract) and into the managerial practice (participative management, social and ethical audit). But why should we introduce this business ethics approach into the field of the non-profit sector, which by its origin and mission has already a strong social dimension? Is (...) there a genuine dilemma of social responsibility in non-profjt institutions? The first part of the paper will give a more theoretical answer to this question. The second part will illustrate the relevance of the business ethics approach by presenting an empirical application of the stakeholer theory in the Belgian-Flemish non-profit sector. (shrink)
This paper argues that scientific studies distinguish themselves from other studies by a combination of their processes, their (knowledge) elements and the roles of these elements. This is supported by constructing a process model. An illustrative example based on Newtonian mechanics shows how scientific knowledge is structured according to the process model. To distinguish scientific studies from research and scientific research, two additional process models are built for such processes. We apply these process models: (1) to argue that scientific progress (...) should emphasize both the process of change and the content of change; (2) to chart the major stages of scientific study development; and (3) to define “science”. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is twofold. On a methodological level we explore the way classic literary texts can be used as a resource for analysis and reflection in the field of business ethics. On the level of substance we use the story of the Grand Inquisitor to analyze the problem of hypocrisy in business ethics and leadership. To overcome the problem of hypocrisy we look for some clues in the work of Dostoyevsky himself.
Bayesian confirmation theory is a leading theory to decide the confirmation/refutation of a hypothesis based on probability calculus. While it may be much discussed in philosophy of science, is it actually practiced in terms of hypothesis testing by scientists? Since the assignment of some of the probabilities in the theory is open to debate and the risk of making the wrong decision is unknown, many scientists do not use the theory in hypothesis testing. Instead, they use alternative statistical tests that (...) can measure the risk or the reliability in decision making, circumventing some of the theoretical problems in practice. Therefore, the theory is not very popular in hypothesis testing among scientists at present. However, there are some proponents of Bayesian hypothesis testing, and software packages are made available to accelerate utilization by scientists. Time will tell whether Bayesian confirmation theory can become both a leading theory and a widely practiced method. In addition, this theory can be used to model the belief of scientists when testing hypotheses. (shrink)
It is relatively easy to state that information retrieval is a scientific discipline but it is rather difficult to understand why it is science because what is science is still under debate in the philosophy of science. To be able to convince others that IR is science, our ability to explain why is crucial. To explain why IR is a scientific discipline, we use a theory and a model of scientific study, which were proposed recently. The explanation involves mapping the (...) knowledge structure of IR to that of well-known scientific disciplines like physics. In addition, the explanation involves identifying the common aim, principles and assumptions in IR and in well-known scientific disciplines like physics, so that they constrain the scientific investigation in IR in a similar way as in physics. Therefore, there are strong similarities in terms of the knowledge structure and the constraints of the scientific investigations between IR and scientific disciplines like physics. Based on such similarities, IR is considered a scientific discipline. (shrink)
This paper presents the outline of an ontology of the social realm that aims to provide a new perspective to the study of social phenomena. It will be argued that in order to raise the impact of the social sciences, research should start from a new ontological discursive perspective. This implies that rather than dividing the social and psychological realm into different “disciplines”, the social and the psychological realm need to be imagined as two sides of the same coin. And (...) also, that space and time should not be regarded as the primary referential grid for the social sciences but conversations and people. Within this perspective the “substance” of the social realm can be imagined as a species-wide and history-long web of conversations between people in which speech-acts are the basic forces that create agents and structures. The power of speech-acts is in essence non-local: it does not matter much where and when they occur, but rather by whom and in which conversational contexts they are uttered. This can be captured by the metaphor of social entanglement where social events have particular bonds that transcend space and time. All of this resonates more with the probabilistic realm of quantum physics than with the Newtonian world were causality reigns. (shrink)
One cannot really speak of a school of personalistic economists. Moreover, there is a wide gulf between the economic philosophy of the personalists and the mathematical context of economic science. Since the thirties, philosophers such as Alexandre Marc, Jacques Maritain, Emmanuel Mounier and many others have been searching, on the basis of a personalistic view of man, for a `third way' between individualistic capitalism and statist socialism , but there was seldom interest from the side of the scientific economists.Fortunately, there (...) are some notable exceptions. François Perroux, Kenneth Boulding, Ernst Schumacher, Serge Christophe Kolm, and Amartya Sen are economists who, in various ways, have attempted to bridge the gulf between the personalistic view of man and economic rationality. By carrying out an immanent critique of some of the standard economic assumptions, they opened a path for a normative economics that was clearly distinct from a purely positive economics as well as from Pareto's welfare economics. One can affix various labels to these attempts: humanistic economics , socio-economics , moral economics . In what follows, I shall interpret these attempts as initiatives in the direction of a personalistic economics. I would also situate the current research in `economics and ethics', which is becoming part of the mainstream of economic thought, and which has received official recognition with the recent Nobel prize award to Sen, within this tendency towards a more personalistic economics.Attention to moral feelings, human rights, altruistic motives, justice and solidarity, non-profit organizations, etc., contribute to situating the economic problem in a field where economics, politics and ethics no longer function as three distinct domains but where their interaction is central.Yet does this interactive economics fit into a personalistic way of thinking? Is a generalized system theory not more attractive? System theory has a different focus than personalistic economics. System theory considers the axioms of system equilibrium and sustainable growth as the ultimate horizon, whereas a personalist sees them as merely important conditions for a good society and economy. However refined it may be, system theory views the person from an external point of view, while the personalist refers to the internal experience of human freedom and meaning as something that transcends and regulates the system's functionality.One could object that neo-classical economists do not use system theory as their point of departure. In their eyes, system equilibrium is the result of the utility-maximizing behaviour of individuals. These individuals subjectively determine what their preferences are and then act accordingly. Is this openness for a free, utility-maximizing actor — where there is room for both material and immaterial, egoistic and altruistic preferences — not sufficient to speak of a personalistic economics ? If this were true, then the discourse of personalism would be more or less superfluous.I take the term `personalistic economics' to refer to a normative economics that does not simply reconstruct the problem of efficient allocation as an individual or social problem of utility, but in the first instance as a problem of human dignity and social justice. To reduce the problem of human choice to a problem of subjective utility is in itself a far-reaching normative standpoint. As soon as one realizes this, there is no reason to exclude other normative assumptions, such as personalistic ones. (shrink)
Some recent evidence has suggested that perspective taking skills in everyday life situations may differ across cultural groups. In the present study, we investigated this effect via culture priming in a group of Chinese-English bilingual adults in the context of a communication game. Results showed that the participants made more perspective taking errors when interpreting the game instruction under the Western than the Chinese primes. The findings suggest that the ability to assume others' mental states not only can be used (...) strategically but is also influenced by the currently active cultural frame in the mind of the bilingual. The present study provides the first evidence for a cultural effect on perspective taking using a within-sample approach via culture priming. (shrink)
Medication error is the most common and consistent type of error occurring in hospitals. This article attempts to explore the ethical issues relating to the nursing management of medication errors in clinical areas in Macau, China. A qualitative approach was adopted. Seven registered nurses who were involved in medication errors were recruited for in-depth interviews. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using content analysis. Regarding the management of patients, the nurses acknowledged the mistakes but did not disclose the incidents to (...) patients and relatives. Concerning management of the nurses involved by senior staff, most participants experienced fairness, comfort and understanding during the process of reporting and investigation. The ethical issues relating to the incidents were discussed, particularly in the Chinese context. There is a need for further study relating to the disclosure of medication incidents to patients and some suggestions were made. (shrink)
Alexis de Tocqueville is known for his strange liberalism. One of the reasons therefore has to be found in his lesser known strange religious belief. The three main elements that determined his belief were his aristocratic and profoundly religious education, the dramatic loss of his faith after reading eighteenth century French philosophers and his conviction that the stability of the American democracy was mainly due to religious mores. These elements explain why Tocqueville appeared in his publications as an obvious believer, (...) hardly bothered by any dubiety, while internally he was a restless doubter, sometimes a panicky infidel and occasionally some sort of believer anyway. The focus of this article is a meticulous dissection of Tocqueville’s personal belief by contrasting it with approaches of religion that look familiar at first sight. Although Tocqueville had the highest esteem for Pascal, his wager was not really tempting to him. James’ will to believe seemed far more attractive, yet Tocqueville’s thinking was too empirical to fit with it. Kant furnished strong arguments to overcome this obstacle, and in that respect he offered a solid philosophical ground to consider Tocqueville’s outlook on religion as an authentic religious belief. But what Tocqueville has never found was a religious ground to Christianity. As a matter of fact, Christianity was Tocqueville’s philosophical belief, rather than his religious belief. (shrink)
Biophysics has been either an independent discipline or an element of another discipline in the United States, but it has always been recognized as a stand-alone discipline in the People’s Republic of China since 1949. To inquire into this apparent divergence, this paper investigates the formational history of biophysics in China by examining the early institutional history of one of the best-known and prestigious science and technology universities in the PRC, the University of Science and Technology of China. By showing (...) how the university and its biophysics program co-evolved with national priorities from the school’s founding in 1958 to the eve of the Cultural Revolution in 1966, the purpose of this paper is to assess the development of a scientific discipline in the context of national demands and institutional politics. Specific materials for analysis include the school’s admission policies, curricula, students’ dissertations, and research program. To further contextualize the institutional setting of Chinese biophysics, this paper begins with a general history of proto-biophysical institutions in China during the Nationalist-Communist transitional years. This paper could be of interest to historians wanting to know more about the origin of the biophysics profession in China, and in particular how research areas that constitute biophysics changed in tandem with socio-political contingencies. (shrink)
In the postwar history of the Dutch-language daily press in Belgium, the late fifties, marked by a trend!towards concentration, and the latter part of the seventies, notorious by the bankrupties of several newspapers, stand out as eras of turbulence. It is two particularly significant events occurring during the latter period, i.c. the 1976 insolvency of the prestigeous «Standaard» papers and that of «Volksgazet» two years later, which this article focuses upon. In his analysis of causes and suggested/chosen solutions, the author (...) highlights the political rather than the economic dimension of the events and their aftermaths, given that each of the failing newspapers - and -hence their survival - mattered politically, i.c. to the Christian Democrats and the Socialist party respectively. Central to this is the question of the measures considered/taken by the Belgian c.q. Flemish political authorities for having the newspapers. The course of events in each case is examined and the differences in terms of causal factors and measures taken/ omitted are noted. In the final analysis, the question arises as -to the relationship between certain political figures or groups on the one hand, and government agencies, which both «Volksgazet» and particularly the «Standaard» titles were heavily indebted to, on the other hand. (shrink)
In the Thirties, European personalism was an inspirational philosophical movement, with its birthplace in France, but with proponents and sympathizers in many other countries as well. Following the Second World War, Christian-Democratic politicians translated personalistic ideas into a political doctrine. Sometimes they still refer to personalism, but most often this reference is little more than a nostalgic salute. In the mainstream of Anglo-Saxon political philosophy, there are practically no references to personalistic philosophers. Is personalism exhausted as a philosophy or political (...) ideology? Yes and no. Paul Ricoeur, writing in Esprit , summed up the situation like this: “personalism is dead”, but he was careful to mention a “return of the person”. Indeed, no tradition or movement can simply perpetuate itself. It must, in order to continue making history, always abolish itself as a `system' so as to make room for the unsaid and the unthought in its tradition, an idea that Mounier also fervently believed in.To better situate the current discussion of personalism, however, it is necessary to look back to the original characteristics of personalism in the Thirties. As a response to the crisis provoked by the economic depression, failing democracy and existential uncertainty, there arose in France a number of `non-conformist movements' who labelled themselves personalistic. They did not constitute a unified movement with a commonly shared theory. It was rather a collection of `personalisms'. The article by the historian Christian Roy about the ecological personalism of Bernard Charbonneau and Jacques Ellul sheds interesting light on the multiple origins of French personalism, which is all too easily identified with the work of Maritain and Mounier alone. The work of Jacques Maritain, and the network of writers and artists surrounding him, undoubtedly remains a significant historical reference point when speaking of personalism.Another group was formed around Alexandre Marc who, along with Raymond Aron, Arnaud Dandieu, Daniel-Rops and Denis de Rougemont, kept the journal Ordre Nouveau alive for five years . They elaborated the idea of federalism as a way out of liberalism and totalitarianism. The most important and durable group, however, was formed by the movement and journal Esprit, founded in 1932 by Emmanuel Mounier and George Izard. In order to stress the historical importance of Esprit, we are including here a testimony from 1982, written by Paulette Mounier, the founder's wife, in which she looks back on 50 years of Esprit. After the war, some new and related groups formed, such as Economy and Humanism around Louis-Joseph Lebret. An historical survey of the dissemination of personalistic centres and movements, not only in France but over all of Europe, would be material for a stimulating historical research project. In this issue, there will also be mention of, among others, the Prague personalism of Jan Patocka and Vaclav Havel, the Leuven personalism of Louis Janssens, and the Polish personalism of Tadeusz Mazowiecki and others. But this list is far from exhaustive.What unites these various branches of the personalistic tree? It is a certain conception — or better perhaps: a certain attitude to the human person. Personalists were not seeking in the first instance a new academic theory about the person, but rather a practical philosophy of engagement. In the Thirties, quite a few personalists finished their university studies and chose not for an academic career but for non-conformist, demanding and vulnerable commitments with limited financial means. What motivated them? Primarily a strong sense that the time in which they were living was a turning point, one which was being ignored by the academic world. They interpreted the diverse economic, political and cultural crisis phenomena as symptoms of a more global crisis of civilization which demanded a response through radical change.Hence a certain rhetoric of a `new order', `spiritual revolution', `radical reform' and `rebirth'. But the rhetoric was supported by innovative ideas regarding political federalism, the third way economy and human alienation. The motivation for all this derived from a strong commitment to defend the concrete human person against the arrogance of systems, bureaucracies and ideologies, while at the same time avoiding the pitfalls of individualism — the reason why some personalists always qualified personalism as `communitarian'.In fact, much of what presents itself as communitarian philosophy today is a retrieval of personalistic themes from the Thirties applied to the current situation, a situation which is also interpreted by communitarians as a global cultural crisis. One should not forget, however, that alongside and sometimes opposed to the communitarian theme with its call to bring people back to their communitarian roots, personalists underscored the priority of metaphysics over politics, a theme that can likewise be found in the writings of personalistic dissidents in Eastern Europe. In the words of Mounier in Qu'est-ce que le personnalisme : “personalism combines faith in a certain human absolute with a progressive historical experience”.To what extent is personalistic thinking still relevant today? Its current relevance will be examined in three ways. In the first section, a number of articles are presented which illustrate the active presence of personalistic thought in the domains of politics and applied ethics. Vaclav Havel sent one of his recent addresses in which he links the theme of human rights with that of a world spirituality. His article is preceded by an introduction by Guido Van Heeswijck, situating Prague personalism.The need for an orientational philosophy of the person is not only manifest today in the political arena. Developments in economics, ecology, health care, the media, technology and in the world of the professions have had an extraordinarily large impact on the human person's lifeworld. The whole area of applied ethics requires a dynamic and orientational concept of the person. The contributions by Paul Schotsmans and Luk Bouckaert are seeking a personalistic point of departure for applied ethics. The more historical article by Christian Roy on ecological personalism has been included in the first section because it can be inspiring for an environmental ethics.The second section is more philosophical. To what extent does the `personalistic' conception of the person put forward in the Thirties still have any relevance today, following the waves of structuralism, post-structuralism and postmodernism? Paul Ricoeur's article, Approaching the Human Person — originally published in Esprit in 1990 and now translated for the first time — can be seen as a reference text. Ricoeur shows in what sense the concept of the person must be broadened in order to continue functioning. The person as `narrative identity' can only write history through the medium of language and institutions. Starting from very different assumptions, the articles by Louis Janssens & Joseph Selling and the analysis of Roland Breeur also explore the idea that a person is what he is only when his identity is opened up, touched by an exteriority or conceived as a focal point . It is this radical openness and vulnerability that gives the person its historical and transcendent dynamic, and prevents us from encapsulating it in existing systems, theories and power relations. The connection with Emmanuel Levinas and his hermeneutic of the idea of the infinite is an obvious one to draw.The third section contains a historical survey in which a number of active `personalistic' centres and journals are presented.Various European centres that appeal explicitly to some form of personalistic thinking were posed the following questions: What is the main historical reference to personalism at your centre? and How do you implement, today, a personalist credo in your work? John Dick organized the responses to these questions under a number of headings. This survey aims to provide not so much an exhaustive but a representative picture of the ways in which European personalism lives on as a mosaic of centres engaged in everyday history. (shrink)
Separate individual's disposition to take action does certainly not constitute a sufficient condition to engage in demonstrations. Doubtlessly, equal importance is due to organisational and institutional factors in society, and the individual's position in those. Ultimately, a demonstration is the result of a struggle between organizations for going control over individuals in order to support or defend their own objectives.In the mobilization process these organizations may make use of a diversity of mechanisms and techniques to control or to influence their (...) members, as there are : the exploitation of the affective and instrumental ties binding the individual to the organization ; the access to - and the use of - the mass-media ; the use of selective communication by the organizational leaders and the induction of frustration. Special attention is given to the role of the militant and the characteristics of his language in the mobilization proces. (shrink)
The first months of political life in Belgium in 1979 were essentially characterized by the great difficulties encoutered in the formation of a new cabinet. In 1979 Belgium lived its longest cabinet crisis in its history.As usual, the process of cabinet formation started with the nomination of an «informateur», followed by that of a «formateur». However, formateur Wilfried Martens did not succeed in forming a cabinet : oppositions on issues and strategies between the parties proved to a high to be (...) surmounted. The King there upon introduced an innovation: he designated two «mediators». These, however, also failed to find some ground for agreement. Eventually, after elaborate informal contacts, the resigning Prime-Minister, Paul Vanden Boeynants, was nominated as formateur. After a month of laborious negotiations he successfully completed his mission. However, he preferred to leave the post of Prime-Minister of the new five party cabinet to Mr. Martens, till then president of the FlemishChristian-Democrats. (shrink)
In this article an analysis is made of the voting behaviour of Members of Parliament and political parties after the parliamentary debate on the investiture of a new cabinet. The voting behaviour does differ from the classical coalition-opposition voting pattern. Indeed the emerging general pattern shows that a majorityof the members of the coalition parties - but by no means all of them - approve the governments' declaration and that a majority of the members of the opposition rejects it.Deviant voting (...) behaviour after this parliamentary debate is not a general phenomenon and mostly only some majority members vote contrary to their whip's instructions. This dissident stand is taken mainly when cabinets can rely on a broad parliamentary majority. This deviant voting seems to be positively correlated to the size of the coalition.The directly elected Members of Parliament most easily vote in an unorthodox manner. The individual Members of Parliament motivate their deviant vote referring to the opinion of their electorate. (shrink)
This theoretical study starts from the observation that nearly any social problem is hierarchically structured. In order to elucidate the importance of this hierarchical aspect for the eventual solution of the problem, the concepts «problem domain» and «context» are introduced. With respect to each problem the nature of the problem defining instance, the problem definition and the problem experience are considered under a double aspect : the three of them can be individual as well as collective. As for the problem (...) itself a distinction is made between a subjective and an objective component. One also examines the elements that make a problem into a real social problem.Eventually one observes that each problem situation leads to the formation of a «field of power» involving various problem defining instances, each with its particular problem definition and problem experience. A valuable solution to any problem can hardly be reached without taking into account each of the forces in this field of power. (shrink)
During the eighties, the Flemish christian democratic party has elected a new president after every legislative election. These party leaders have to fit in the political and electoral strategy for the next years. In the three cases which are examined here, several candidates were running for the party leadership, but only one was admitted to the election. This indicates that the CVP avoids any form of discord. The chairman bas to be familiar with the party and he is selected in (...) accordance with the equilibrium between the various tendencies and social organizations within the party. This selection takes place in a limited, informal group of influential party members, such as the most important ministers, the resigning chairman and the leaders of the "standen". The general party members are not involved in this process ; they can only confirmthe choice of the party elite. (shrink)
This article examines Chen Ziying, an American-trained Chinese biologist and his prewar efforts to bring his Woods Hole experience from the United States to China between 1930 and 1936. I argue that the Marine Biological Laboratory appears as a prominent American scientific institution in the twentieth century among visiting Chinese students and scholars who were drawn to the American approach of building world-class seaside laboratories to facilitate marine biological study while cultivating a collaborative culture via songs of biology. Chen was (...) one of the leading US-trained Chinese scientists who aspired to the international trend of developing coastal biology in the early twentieth century and was determined to modernize China’s discipline-building of biology with the construction of marine research facilities similar to the MBL. I show that Chen’s efforts of bringing the MBL practice to China took place at a time when science in China was overshadowed by the impulse of nationalism. Despite the nationalistic rhetoric, Chen was able to establish a Chinese connection with Woods Hole by introducing the MBL cultural practices of songs with biological significance. Lyrics from popular biological songs such as “It’s a Long Way from Amphioxus” and “Songs of Amoy” reflect not just Darwinian themes but also a transnational connection between American and Chinese biologists in Republican-era China––a period in modern Chinese history that is often characterized by soaring sentiments of nationalism. This paper sets out to reconsider the interplay of scientific nationalism and scientific internationalism in shaping marine science in modern China, as well as to reflect on the meanings of value-laden terms such as “nationalism” and “foreignness” and their conceptual impacts on writing the historiography of biology in twentieth-century China. (shrink)
This paper addresses the application of positioning theory, a new emerging theoretical scheme on the issue of cultural stereotyping. First, a critical conceptual analysis of the words‘cultural stereotype’is presented. Secondly, the basic tenets of positioning theory are outlined. Finally, it will be demonstrated how the framework of positioning theory can be used to analytically refine the concept of cultural stereotype. The main upshot of the article is that within social psychology, the concept of cultural stereotype is used in a conceptually (...) vague and blurred way and that, with the necessary conceptual refinements, other research-agendas on stereotypes will have to be tackled if social psychologists want to contribute anything to the societal efforts of changing stereotypes. (shrink)
Frugality refers on the one hand to a spiritual attitude of detachment and asceticism which renounces self-interest and directs the gaze to higher things; on the other hand, it also refers to a number of social and economic problems related to the responsible use of resources in order to bring about sustainable development and well-being. Before examining frugality as a spiritual and economic good, I will consider the following question: what does spirituality itself mean and to what extent could we (...) consider it to be a public good? The question is pertinent for two reasons: firstly, because there is a growing interest in spirituality in society; secondly, this interest is recognized but at the same time reduced to a purely private matter, thus requiring no public concern and protection.In the first part of this paper I will examine the more general questions concerning spirituality. In the second part I reflect on frugality as a way of life and a public good. The underlying concern in all these exploratory reflections is the complex relationship between spirituality and rationality. (shrink)
This article seeks to model the agenda-setting strategies of stakeholders equipped with online and other media in three cases involving protests against multinational corporations (MNCs). Our theoretical objective is to widen agenda-setting theory to a dynamic and nonlinear networked stakeholder context, in which stakeholder-controlled media assume part of the role previously ascribed to mainstream media (MSM). We suggest system dynamics (SD) methodology as a tool to analyse complex stakeholder interactions and the effects of their agendas on other stakeholders. We find (...) that largely similar dynamics of interactions occur among stakeholders in these cases, and that the costs for managements of maintaining their agendas steadily rises. We conclude that the “web of watchdogs” comprises a powerful reason for managers to engage in responsibility negotiations with their stakeholders. (shrink)
This paper provides an analysis of the paradoxical definition of art as the silence of the world, as presented in Maurice Blanchot’s The Space of Literature. The definition is analysed phenomenologically, by treating the world as the universal horizon of all experiences. The paper presents two possible interpretations of Blanchot’s statement. First, a possibility is considered that, according to Blanchot, in genuine artistic experience the mundane everyday life falls silent, and an autonomous fictional world opens up. The paper argues that (...) while Blanchot does oppose art to everyday life, this interpretation is insufficient. Firstly, because on the basis of the phenomenological premise, all possible worlds fall within the universal world-horizon, and secondly, the function Blanchot attributes to art is considerably more radical, as when he speaks about the directedness of art outside of all possible worlds. While such an aim may seem impossible from the viewpoint of the phenomenological premise, the second part of the paper demonstrates that it can indeed be meaningfully interpreted on the basis of Martin Heidegger’s transcendent approach to the world. According to this interpretation, while the phenomenological premise prevents all discussion of places and experiences outside the world, a liminal experience can nevertheless be discussed. If this is true, it is not an entity within the world which opens up, but rather the world-horizon itself in the form of an anxious silence. (shrink)
Articulated in the twenties, the doctrines of the exiled Russian Evrazijstvo movement are undergoing a renaissance in Russia today. As the Evrazijstvo movement counted among the most original ideological currents of the Russian diaspora, association with its doctrines could well add to the reputation of a given group or groups. This is the case with the journal Elementy which considers itself as the inheritor of classical Evrazijstvo. Is this claim justified? The article is addressed to this question.