My intention is not to get into specific, detailed historical observation about the ways that led the term ‘democracy’ to take on its current meaning, in science as much as in politics, but rather to establish a comparison between the models that political science proposes and interprets as important for the existence of democracy and those that science illustrates as indicators of scientific knowledge constructed in a democratic form. The debate about the contemporary meaning of democracy has generated an extraordinary (...) diversification of models of democracy: from technocratic conceptions of government to conceptions of social life that include widespread political participation. And it is exactly for this reason that the assumption of a specific point of view on the question we are dealing with inevitably brings with it the choice of a model suitable to describe democratic form as a form of politics without further explanation, that is, as a political system with which science measures itself as a cultural category. In this sense, we can consider the passage from the concept of democracy to that of politics and generally of science to be a peaceful one, since politics has been appointed with that set of behaviours and democratic practices (including science) that political culture demands for the social benefit. This demand can be met only on condition that structural obstacles are removed and new cultural and epistemological mediators are introduced. (shrink)
This paper reports the framework, method and main findings of an analysis of cultural milieus in 4 European countries. The analysis is based on a questionnaire applied to a sample built through a two-step procedure of post-hoc random selection from a broader dataset based on an online survey. Responses to the questionnaire were subjected to multidimensional analysis-a combination of Multiple Correspondence Analysis and Cluster Analysis. We identified 5 symbolic universes, that correspond to basic, embodied, affect-laden, generalized worldviews. People in this (...) study see the world as either a) an ordered universe;b) a matter of interpersonal bond;c) a caring society;d) consisting of a niche of belongingness;e) a hostile place. These symbolic universes were also interpreted as semiotic capital: they reflect the capacity of a place to foster social and civic development. Moreover, the distribution of the symbolic universes, and therefore social and civic engagement, is demonstrated to be variable across the 4 countries in the analysis. Finally, we develop a retrospective reconstruction of the distribution of symbolic universes as well as the interplay between their current state and past, present and future socio-institutional scenarios. (shrink)
In his final notebook, published posthumously as On Certainty , Wittgenstein offers a sustained and, at least apparently, fragmentary treatment of skeptical issues. Given the ambiguity and obscurity of some of its remarks, in the recent literature on the subject we can find a number of competing interpretations of OC, particularly of the elusive concept of ‘hinges’, central to Wittgenstein’s last work. In this paper, I will discuss the dominant interpretations of OC in order to show how they fail to (...) represent plausible renderings of his anti-skeptical thought. Finally, I will argue that the analogy between ‘hinges’ and ‘rules of grammar’, correctly understood and developed, can represent a plausible interpretation of Wittgenstein’s thought and, more importantly, a viable anti-skeptical strategy. (shrink)
The Winter 2010 issue of Telos has clearly highlighted the relevance of Carl Schmitt's Hamlet or Hecuba to both the interpretation of Schmitt's political theory and Shakespearean criticism. The main thesis concerning Schmitt's intrusion into the literary field deals with the structural relationships between historical context and tragic dimension, between politics and aesthetics; the tragic drama can be properly understood only in relation to the historical context to which it refers and the concrete situation that it aims to re-present. The (...) historical reality that can be glimpsed by focusing on the tragic masks against the light of their contexts represents…. (shrink)
The purpose of the article is to discuss the cultural hindrances and assets that promote constructive self-to-others relationships and active citizenship. Building on Carl Schmitt’s friend-enemy distinction, we argue that in contemporary societies the public and the private dimensions of the enemy have conflated, as the result of two concurrent phenomena: the politicization of otherness and the privatization of enemies. An integrated framework including approaches of social psychology and semiotic cultural psychology is proposed to account for both phenomena. The notions (...) of symbolic universes and semiotic capital are introduced as key concepts to understand the current socio-political dynamics and to promote fairer, more inclusive societies. (shrink)
In this paper, I present and criticize a number of influential contemporary anti-skeptical strategies inspired by G.E. Moore’s “proof of an external world”. I argue that these accounts cannot represent a valid response to skeptical worries. Furthermore, drawing on Wittgenstein’s criticisms of Moore, I argue that Radical skeptical hypotheses should be considered nonsensical combinations of signs, excluded from our epistemic practices.
Wittgenstein: Epistemology Although Ludwig Wittgenstein is generally more known for his works on logic and on the nature of language, but throughout his philosophical journey he reflected extensively also on epistemic notions such as knowledge, belief, doubt, and certainty. This interest is more evident in his final notebook, published posthumously as On Certainty (1969, henceforth … Continue reading Wittgenstein: Epistemology →.
Liberal theory seems to be caught in an impasse. On the one hand, since it has social order as its object, it appears to be committed to resolving the problem of disagreement between the various conceptions; on the other, insofar as it is philosophical theory, it seems destined to cause conflict. How, then, can liberalism offer a solution which guarantees the duration in time of a society, without, however, proposing a theory that would merely be one among others? And how (...) can it do this without adopting reductionist strategies, and by trying to remain faithful to the idea that a society should be ordered by a conception of justice? This is the paradox of liberal political philosophy. And this same paradox is the theme that Rawls confronts in Political Liberalism. (shrink)
The politicization of Islam from a European viewpoint is apparent in how the Islamic ‘veil’ has become an icon of Islam’s alleged deficits with regard to fitting into European modernity. This article unpacks the iconic symbolism of ‘political Islam’ and shifts the focus to Muslim voices articulating struggles for justice and solidarity through the attempt to reformulate secular republicanism and critique its authority basis. This is the emerging trend of ‘critical Islam’, which targets both the hegemonic discourse on secularity and (...) republicanism, and its antithesis, that is, ‘communitarianism’, understood, in European-continental parlance, as the ideology that perpetuates traditional forms of authority. In this context, the article examines the work of the French commission on laïcité and the debates it initiated within the emerging Euro-Islamic public sphere. The analysis puts in evidence the critical potential of this public sphere to enrich the categories of the European sociology of religion. The critique of the normative limits of secularity is thus linked to the valorization of the transnational positioning of critical Islamic voices in Europe. Their capacity to penetrate the political process, related to the erosion of the nation-state and to the conflicted reconstruction of a pan-European republicanism, is a precious asset. (shrink)
This book takes a global approach to one of today's most controversial topics in business: Dollarization. With the collapse of the former Soviet Union, and the formation of the Euro in Europe, many countries are debating whether or not a common currency is in their best interest. This intriguing volume brings together the leading participants in the current dollarization debates.
This article provides a biographical overview of the life of the Venerable Lokanatha (1897?1966), who was born in Italy as Salvatore Cioffi and raised in Brooklyn, New York. After converting to Buddhism in his late-twenties, Lokanatha travelled to Burma, took ordination as a monk, and began a remarkable 40 year career as a writer, lecturer, organizer, and Buddhist missionary throughout South Asia and the world. Beyond biography, Lokanatha and the various responses to him are contextualized within the different cultural (...) spheres in which he operated, from the anti-colonial Buddhist revival in Burma to the mocking indifference Lokanatha found in the United States. Scholarship on modern Buddhism, particularly recent work on U Dhammaloka, is used to situate Lokanatha's life and its facets of conservative reformer and transnational actor. Finally, an account of the source material used to reconstruct the life of Lokanatha is employed to offer practical methodological explanations for his absence from conventional narratives of modern Buddhism and what his inclusion along with other figures might mean in the future. (shrink)
This paper, which is mainly based on unpublished material, focuses on the scientific influence that Felice Casorati exerted on Salvatore Pincherle. This influence can be traced, in particular, in Casorati’s work on the finite-difference calculus as conceived and published between 1879 and 1880 when Pincherle was living in Pavia. Casorati’s work has an interesting back story related to his entry to the 1880 Grand Prix of the French Académie des Sciences that helps us in understanding Casorati’s personality. Moreover, the (...) correspondence that Casorati exchanged with other mathematicians on his work reveals that some of the results contained in Casorati :10–45, 1880b) had been obtained—though in a narrower context—in an early paper by Christoffel. Finally, the letters between Casorati and Pincherle contain a short unpublished note by Pincherle on a paper by Jules Tannery :113–182, 1875). This note offers the first evidence of the influence of Casorati :10–45, 1880b) on Pincherle’s work on the finite-difference calculus. (shrink)