In an attempt to improve upon Alexander Pruss’s work (The principle of sufficient reason: A reassessment, pp. 240–248, 2006), I (Weaver, Synthese 184(3):299–317, 2012) have argued that if all purely contingent events could be caused and something like a Lewisian analysis of causation is true (per, Lewis’s, Causation as influence, reprinted in: Collins, Hall and paul. Causation and counterfactuals, 2004), then all purely contingent events have causes. I dubbed the derivation of the universality of causation the “Lewisian argument”. The (...) Lewisian argument assumed not a few controversial metaphysical theses, particularly essentialism, an incommunicable-property view of essences (per Plantinga’s, Actualism and possible worlds, reprinted in: Davidson (ed.) Essays in the metaphysics of modality, 2003), and the idea that counterfactual dependence is necessary for causation. There are, of course, substantial objections to such theses. While I think a fight against objections to the Lewisian argument can be won, I develop, in what follows, a much more intuitive argument for the universality of causation which takes as its inspiration a result from Frederic B. Fitch’s work (J Symb Logic 28(2):135–142, 1963) [with credit to who we now know was Alonzo church’s, Referee Reports on Fitch’s Definition of value, in: (Salerno (ed.), New essays on the knowability paradox, 2009)] that if all truths are such that they are knowable, then (counter-intuitively) all truths are known. The resulting Church–Fitch proof for the universality of causation is preferable to the Lewisian argument since it rests upon far weaker formal and metaphysical assumptions than those of the Lewisian argument. (shrink)
An important argument in favour of recognising the cultural relativism and against universality of dignity and human rights, is the claim that the concept of dignity is a genuinely modern one. An analysis of a passage from the Demiurge’s speech in Timaeus reveals that Plato devoted time to reflecting on the question of what determines the qualitative difference between certain beings (gods and human being) and the world of things, and what forms the basis for the special treatment of (...) these beings – issues that using the language of today can be described reasonably as dignity. The attributes of this form of dignity seem to overlap with the nature of dignity as we know it today. Moreover, Plato proposes a response both to the question of what dignity is like, as well as the question of what dignity is. It is existential perfection, rooted in a perfect manner of existence, based on a specific internal unity of being. Dignity is therefore primordial in regard to particular features and independent of their acquisition or loss. Plato’s approach allows him to postulate that people be treated as ends in themselves; an approach therefore that prohibits the treatment of people as objects. Both the state and law are ultimately subordinated to the good of the individual, rather than the individual to the good of the state. -/- Istotny argument na rzecz relatywizmu kulturowego i przeciwko powszechności godności i wynikających z niej praw człowieka, oparty jest na poglądzie, że godność uznana została dopiero w czasach nowożytnych. Analiza fragmentu mowy Demiurga z Platońskiego dialogu Timajos ujawnia, że Platon rozwinął refleksję nad czymś, co stanowi o jakościowej różnicy między pewnymi istotami (bogami i ludźmi) a światem rzeczy, i co jest podstawą szczególnego traktowania tych istot, a co językiem współczesnym zasadnie można określić jako godność. Zbieżna jest charakterystyka tej godności z charakterystyką przyjmowaną współcześnie. Co więcej, Platon daje propozycję odpowiedzi nie tylko na pytanie, jaka jest godność, ale także na pytanie, czym jest godność. Jest ona doskonałością egzystencjalną, ugruntowanym w szczególnie doskonałym sposobie istnienia, opartym na szczególnej wewnętrznej jedności bytu. Jako doskonałość istnienia ogarnia ona cały byt, wszystkie jego cechy; jest nieoddzielalna od bytu (jest przyrodzona i niezbywalna). Jako pierwotna wobec partykularnych cech, jest niezależna od ich nabywania lub utraty. Platońskie ujęcie pozwala w oparciu o ujęcie godności formułować postulaty zbieżne z formułowanymi dziś dyrektywami nakazującymi traktować osoby jako cele same w sobie i zakazującymi traktowania osób w sposób czysto instrumentalny, przedmiotowy. Okazuje się, że – zdaniem Platona – jednostki nie wolno traktować czysto instrumentalnie dla dobra państwa; zarówno państwo, jak i prawo są podporządkowane dobru jednostki. (shrink)
Speculative logical theory, as provided in Hegel’s Science of Logic, consists of three main parts: the logic of being, the logic of essence, and the logic of the concept. The peculiar character of each logic’s starting-point determines the most general character of each logic’s development. The essay aims at making explicit the character of the starting-point of the third logic, the logic of the concept. This starting-point is exemplified by the category of universality. It is shown (a) that the (...) fundamental determination of this category is the harmonious unity of self-identity and full determinacy and (b) that this unity has necessarily the logical structure of “double shining.” The latter is described in detail and justification is provided as to why it is preferred from “single shining.” I conclude the paper by defending the structure of “double shining” against certain objections raised against it by F. Shick and C. Iber. (shrink)
One of the hallmarks of human cognition is the capacity to generalize over arbitrary constituents. Recently, Marcus (1998, 1998a, b; Cognition 66, p. 153; Cognitive Psychology 37, p. 243) argued that this capacity, called universal generalization (universality), is not supported by Connectionist models. Instead, universality is best explained by Classical symbol systems, with Connectionism as its implementation. Here it is argued that universality is also a problem for Classicism in that the syntax-sensitive rules that are supposed to (...) provide causal explanations of mental processes are either too strict, precluding possible generalizations; or too lax, providing no information as to the appropriate alternative. Consequently, universality is not explained by a Classical theory. (shrink)
Jewish ethics like Judaism itself has often been charged with being "particularistic," and in modernity it has been unfavorably compared with the universality of secular ethics. This charge has become acute philosophically when the comparison is made with the ethics of Kant. However, at this level, much of the ethical rejection of Jewish particularism, especially its being beholden to a God who is above the universe to whom this God prescribes moral norms and judges according to them, is also (...) a rejection of Christian (or any other monotheistic) ethics, no matter how otherwise universal. Yet this essay argues that Jewish ethics that prescribes norms for all humans, and that is knowable by all humans, actually constitutes a wider moral universe than does Kantian ethics, because it can include non-rational human objects and even non-human objects altogether. This essay also argues that a totally egalitarian moral universe, encompassing all human relations, becomes an infinite, totalizing universe, which can easily become the ideological justification (ratio essendi) of a totalitarian regime. (shrink)
Do our present circumstances allow us to defend a specific connection (that specific connection) between «legal rules», «moral claims» and «democratic principles» which we may say is granted by an unproblematic presupposition of universality or by an «acultural» experience of modernity? In order to discuss this question, this paper invokes the challenge-visée of a plausible reinvention of Law’s autonomous project (a reinvention which may be capable of critically re-thinking and re-experiencing Law’s constitutive cultural-civilizational originarium in a «limit-situation» such as (...) our own). The discussion is developed by recognising that the claim to universality is not only incompatible with a substantive conception of juridicalness as validity but also sustained with difficulty by a procedural representation of discourse and rationality (a representation which, against its own conclusion-claims, could also be said to be culturally and civilizationally bounded). Not forgetting some specific features of contemporary juridical pluralism—namely that which emerges from the counterpoint between semiotic groups or interpretative communities (and their differently assumed claims of intersemioticity concerning the signifier law)—this train of reflection diagnoses briefly a sequence of complementary main difficulties (as «obstacles» to recognising Law’s demand as an unmistakable cultural project), namely those arising from the formalistic normativistic inheritance (confounding legal autonomy with isolationism), from the challenges and seductions of practical holism (justifying a continuum in which Law’s project loses its sense and autonomy), and also from the familiar debate between exclusive and inclusive versions of positivism and non-positivism (a debate which establishes-consecrates an equivocal counterpoint between Law and Morality). (shrink)
Any view stressing the relevance of the engaged perspective for value realism must face the fact of diversity of moral views. There is significant intercultural diversity in people’s beliefs about values. Skeptics like Mackie argue that the diversity results from there being nothing for people to know, or at least nothing they can know. In this chapter I try to show that engaged value realism is compatible with universal, unrestricted validity of values. In 6.1 and 6.2 I discuss various possible (...) ways of facing the intercultural diversity of value-convictions. Then I discuss in more detail the central question of whether the validity of some evaluative considerations should be restricted to cultural communities in some relativistic fashion (6.3 and 6.4). The chapter ends with some clarifications concerning universality and validity, as well as the nature of internal criticism (6.5 and 6.6). (shrink)
Idea powszechności legła u samych podstaw współczesnej ochrony praw człowieka i nadal jest często podkreślana w dyskursie typu praktycznego, na różnych płaszczyznach: politycznej, moralnej czy religijnej. Jednakże trudno o koncepcję praw człowieka pozwalającą pogodzić powszechność z właściwościami prawa, z postulatami respektu dla pluralizmu ugruntowanego tak w odmienności kulturowej, jak i wolności poszczególnych jednostek ludzkich. Wziąwszy pod uwagę, że powszechność jest fundamentalnym przy¬miotem praw człowieka, kłopoty z powszechnością są kłopotami ze zbudowaniem filozoficznej koncepcji praw człowieka w ogóle. Odrzucenie powszechności jest równoznaczne (...) z odrzuceniem podstaw współczesnej koncepcji tych praw. Opracowanie zmierza do identyfikacji rozmaitych aspektów powszechności praw człowieka i do uporządkowania argumentów przytaczanych w dyskusji nad powszechnością. (shrink)
Although the success of Habermas’s theory of communicative action depends on his dialogical model of understanding in which a theorist is supposed to participate in the debate with the actors as a ‘virtual participant’ and seek context-transcendent truth through the exchange of speech acts, current literature on the theory of communicative action rarely touches on the difficulties it entails. In the first part of this paper, I will examine Habermas’s argument that understanding other cultural practices requires the interpreter to virtually (...) participate in the “dialogue” with the actors as to the rationality of their cultural practice and discuss why, according to Habermas,such dialogue leads to the “context-transcendent truth”. In the second part, by using a concrete historical example, I will reconstruct a “virtual dialogue” between Habermas and Michael Polanyi as to the rationality of scientific practice and indicate why Habermas’s dialogical model of understanding based on the methodology of virtual participation cannot achieve what it professes to do. (shrink)
The work reported in this monograph was begun in the winter of 1967 in a graduate seminar at Berkeley. Many of the basic data were gathered by members of the seminar and the theoretical framework presented here was initially developed in the context of the seminar discussions. Much has been discovered since1969, the date of original publication, regarding the psychophysical and neurophysical determinants of universal, cross-linguistic constraints on the shape of basic color lexicons, and something, albeit less, can now also (...) be said with some confidence regarding the constraining effects of these language-independent processes of color perception and conceptualization on the direction of evolution of basic color term lexicons. (shrink)
This paper concerns what Jerry Fodor calls a 'metaphysical mystery': How can there by macroregularities that are realized by wildly heterogeneous lower level mechanisms? But the answer to this question is not as mysterious as many, including Jaegwon Kim, Ned Block, and Jerry Fodor might think. The multiple realizability of the properties of the special sciences such as psychology is best understood as a kind of universality, where 'universality' is used in the technical sense one finds in the (...) physics literature. It is argued that the same explanatory strategy used by physicists to provide understanding of universal behavior in physics can be used to explain how special science properties can be heterogeneously multiply realized. (shrink)
This paper opens with a presentation of the philosophical underpinning and rationale of the concept of physical literacy. This is followed by an articulation of the concept of physical literacy. Three subsequent sections then consider aspects of the concept in a little more detail. The first investigates the relationship of the physical literacy to the development of a sense of self and to establishing interaction with others. Here the philosophical approach is informed by writings on cognitive development and recent neurological (...) insights. The second considers the universality of the concept and looks briefly at the views of existentialists and of contemporary sociologists. The third section addresses the place of propositional knowledge in being physically literate. The implications of objectifying the body in descriptive language are weighed against the fact that verbally expressed understanding and knowledge are an integral part of Western culture. The debate presented is one of a series that has, over the last five years, mapped the author's work on developing the concept of physical literacy. The aspects chosen to be discussed here are three that have generated considerable interest and debate. In conclusion, there is a short reflection on the implications of the views discussed for education and physical education. (shrink)
An important question one can ask of ethical theories is whether and how they aim to raise claims to universality. This refers to the subject area that they intend to describe or govern and also to the question whether they claim to be binding for all (moral) agents. This paper discusses the question of universality of Luciano Floridi’s information ethics (IE). This is done by introducing the theory and discussing its conceptual foundations and applications. The emphasis will be (...) placed on the ontological grounding of IE. IE’s claims to universality will be contrasted with those raised by discourse ethics. This comparison of two pertinent ethical theories allows for a critical discussion of areas where IE currently has room for elaboration and development. (shrink)
Various senses in which laws of nature are supposed to be "universal" are distinguished. Conditions designed to capture the content of the more important of these senses are proposed and the relations among these conditions are examined. The status of universality requirements is briefly discussed.
Alain Badiou argues in “Rancière and Apolitics” that Rancière has appropriated his central idea of equality from Badiou’s own work. We argue that Badiou’s characterisation of Rancière’s project is correct, but that his self-characterisation is mistaken. What Badiou’s ontology of events opens out onto is not necessarily equality, but instead universality. Equality is only one form of universality, but there is nothing in Badiou’s thought that prohibits the (multiple) universality he positsfrom being hierarchical. In the end, then, (...) Badiou’s thought moves in a Maoist direction while Rancière’s in an anarchist one. (shrink)
In this paper, I first argue against various attempts to justify idealizations in scientific models that explain by showing that they are harmless and isolable distortions of irrelevant features. In response, I propose a view in which idealized models are characterized as providing holistically distorted representations of their target system. I then suggest an alternative way that idealized modeling can be justified by appealing to universality.
Giving attention both to the history of modern science and to current work in the natural sciences, the importance of requiring that natural laws be treated as universal with respect to space and time is discussed critically. It is concluded that the view that such a requirement be taken as a definitional criterion characterizing laws of nature--or science itself--is not justified, and that the deductive advantages of universality can be preserved with local laws using scope limitations or sortal techniques.
A number of writers have suggested that laws of nature must be universal in space and time. Just what this claim amounts to is the focus of the present study. I consider and compare a number of interpretations of the requirement, with especial reference to an example by Tooley which seems paradigmatic of the antithesis of universality in space and time. I also sketch a number of other concepts of "local", "global", and "universal", each of which should be kept (...) distinct from "universality in space and time ". I leave open the issue whether or not laws must satisfy any of the requirements. (shrink)
Kojman, M. and S. Shelah, The universality spectrum of stable unsuperstable theories, Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 58 57–72. It is shown that if T is stable unsuperstable, and 1 [brvbar]T[brvbar], T stable and κ<κ then there is a universal tree of height κ + 1 in cardinality λ.
Alain Badiou argues in “Rancière and Apolitics” that Rancière has appropriated his central idea of equality from Badiou’s own work. We argue that Badiou’s characterisation of Rancière’s project is correct, but that his self-characterisation is mistaken. What Badiou’s ontology of events opens out onto is not necessarily equality, but instead universality. Equality is only one form of universality, but there is nothing in Badiou’s thought that prohibits the universality he positsfrom being hierarchical. In the end, then, Badiou’s (...) thought moves in a Maoist direction while Rancière’s in an anarchist one. (shrink)
The issue of human rights has always been a matter shared by politicians, lawyers, philosophers and sociologists. Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights scholars and human rights activists have discussed whether the Declaration has become a symbol of human rights universality. Two decades later Muslim states have started discussions if human rights are indeed universal. They argued that human rights is a product of western imperialism and therefore the Arab states are not bound by the (...) human rights catalogue proposed by the West. In 2008, the Arab Charter on Human Rights drafted within the framework of the League of Arab States came into force. This fact was welcomed by the international community, non-governmental organizations, and High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Arab Charter on Human Rights was seen as a possibility for the Arab States to confirm the commitment to the universality of human rights. However, the adopted text was disappointing and once again raised the doubt that Arab States are not truly committed to universal human rights. This article analyses the quest for the universality of human rights. (shrink)
Foucault's resistance to a universalist ethics, especially in his later writings, is well-known. Foucault thinks that ethical universalism presupposes a shared human essence, and that this presupposition makes it a straitjacket, an attempt to force people to conform to an externally imposed 'pattern'. Foucault's hostility may be warranted for one - perhaps the usual - conception of ethical universality. But there are other conceptions of ethical universality that are not vulnerable to Foucault's criticism, and that are ethically and (...) culturally important. I set out one such conception, and show why it matters. Paul Patton has argued that Foucault is best read as grounding his analyses of power in a 'conception of human being' traceable to Nietzsche. I explain why this does not amount to the ethical universalism that I sketch below. (shrink)
The article begins by examining two arguments used by Derrida in work published in 1967. The first claims against Lévi-Strauss that an empirical pattern of events cannot be injected into or superimposed onto an historical pattern claiming universality, for then there can be no disconfirmation of what is said. (This argument is used against Marxian history by some who write in the wake of Existentialism, Paul Roubiczek for instance.) The second claims against Foucault that he does not distinguish between (...) reason as part of thinking and language and reason as an empirical historical structure capable of modification along time. The article then discusses the use of very similar if not identical arguments in Derrida’s much more recent work on laws, Force of law. The intelligibility, the interpretability, of laws and their history comes after the laws, not before, and is thus not fully universalisable. (shrink)
In this paper we show that some standard topological constructions may be fruitfully used in the theory of closure spaces (see , ). These possibilities are exemplified by the classical theorem on the universality of the Alexandroff's cube for T 0-closure spaces. It turns out that the closure space of all filters in the lattice of all subsets forms a generalized Alexandroff's cube that is universal for T 0-closure spaces. By this theorem we obtain the following characterization of the (...) consequence operator of the classical logic: If is a countable set and C: P() P() is a closure operator on X, then C satisfies the compactness theorem iff the closure space ,C is homeomorphically embeddable in the closure space of the consequence operator of the classical logic.We also prove that for every closure space X with a countable base such that the cardinality of X is not greater than 2 there exists a subset X of irrationals and a subset X of the Cantor's set such that X is both a continuous image of X and a continuous image of X. (shrink)
We first relate the random matrix model to a Fokker-Planck Hamiltonian system, such that the correlation functions of the model are expressed as the vacuum expectation values of equal-time products of density operators. We then analyze the universality of the random matrix model by solving the Focker-Planck Hamiltonian system for large N. We use two equivalent methods to do this, namely the method of relating it to a system of interacting fermions in one space dimension and the method of (...) collective fields for large N matrix quantum mechanics. The final result using both these methods is the same Hamiltonian system of chiral bosons on a circle, which manifestly exhibits the universality of the random matrix model. (shrink)
This paper will examine universality spectra for relational theories which cannot be described in first-order logic. We will give a method using functors to show that two types of structures have the same universality spectrum. A combination of methods will be used to show universality results for certain ordered structures and graphs. In some cases, a universal spectrum under GCH will be obtained. Since the theories are not first-order, the classic model theory result under GCH does not (...) hold. (shrink)
This paper argues in the first place that nominalists are right in insisting against ontological realists that semantic universality does not require commitment to universal entities. However, Ockham, in his zeal to get rid of Scotus’s universal entities, swept under the carpet the issue of universal representational content of genuinely universal symbols, conflating it with the mere indifference of the information content of non-distinctive singular representations. Buridan did come up with an abstractionist theory of the formation of genuinely universal (...) representational content to solve the resulting issues, however, the paper argues further, his solution is committed to attributing the sort of “aspectuality” to universal absolute concepts that his Ockhamist semantics denies to them. The conclusion of the paper suggests how Aquinas’s “moderate realism” can provide a consistent solution without the ontological extravaganza of ontological realists, without conflating the mere indifference of singular representation with genuine universality, and without having to deny aspectuality to our quidditative universal concepts formed by abstraction. (shrink)
‘Beautiful is what, without a concept, is liked universally.’ Thus ends the second Moment of the Analytic of the Beautiful in Kant's Critique of Judgment.What could yield a non-conceptual universality? Kant finds this in the harmonious ‘free play’ of the mental powers, which he characterizes as a mental state that is both non-cognitive and inherently universally valid. In general, any interpretation of Kant's aesthetic theory will depend on the view of its relationship to cognition. This relationship itself should be (...) understood in reference to Kant's notion of the mental state in judging generally, as presented in the Critique of Judgment. (shrink)
This is a critique of the idea of universality in art and science that considers the examples of Georgia O'Keeffe's work as an artist and Barbara McClintock's work as a scientist. A consideration of their lives and work brings out their differences in the inherently male fields of art and science. Their underlying commonality is found in a shared view of nature involving fluidity, concern for detail, and caring and feeling, traits often characterized as "female". This enables each of (...) them to assert her own identity in her work and contributes to its remarkable success. (shrink)
The Principle of Universality asserts that a part retains its intrinsic value regardless of the whole in which it is a part or even whether it is part of a whole. The idea underlying this principle is that the intrinsic value of a thing supervenes on its intrinsic properties. Since the intrinsic properties remain unchanged so does the thing’s intrinsic value. In this article, I argue that, properly understood, the Principle of Universality can handle seemingly troublesome intuitions about (...) the relative intrinsic value of a vicious person having pain and his having pleasure. I specifically argue that the intuition that the former state is better is explained by the nature of the basic intrinsic-value states, which involve a person having a level of well-being and desert at a time. One implication of this is that given the nature of such basic intrinsic-value states, pleasure and pain are not value-bearing parts of virtuous and vicious attitudes. (shrink)
In a famous quote reported by his biographer Marinus, Proclus says that a philosopher should be like a “priest of the whole world in common”. This essay examines what this universality of the philosopher’s religious practice entails, first with reference to Marinus’ testimony concerning Proclus’ own devotional life, and then with respect to the systematic Platonic understanding of divine ‘locality’. The result is, first, that the philosopher’s ‘universality’ is at once more humble than it sounds, and more far-reaching; (...) and second, that the meaning of locality in the Platonic metaphysics is more flexible and dynamic than we might have expected. Particular attention is given to the relations of ‘universality’ and ‘particularity’ as they exist among the Gods, and to the account in Proclus’ Timaeus commentary concerning the places sacred to the Gods as immaterial intervals (diastêmata) not identical to physical places, and the consequences of this for understanding changes in the religious life of places and in the localization of cults. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 358 - 368 In the 1949 _Bremen Lectures_, Martin Heidegger characterizes the essence of technology as a universal, or total, condition of modern existence. This makes it appear as though nothing can exist in the world independent of the technological. The fact that technology attempts to do away with distance, however, means that technology’s very workings presuppose the existence of distance and nearness that oppose it. Things, insofar as they are, according to Heidegger, (...) essentially near remain independent of technology. By describing the nearness and nearing of things, this article reinterprets the Heideggerian concepts of the fourfold and world-formation to critically challenge the universality of technology. The human experience of things in their spatiality—especially the human aesthetic enjoyment of and abiding with things—is an example of a facet of life where technology does not annihilate distance and nearness. (shrink)
According to recent arguments, the geodesic principle strictly interpreted is compatible with Einstein’s field equations only in pathologically unstable circumstances and, hence, cannot play a fundamental role in the theory. It is shown here that geodesic dynamics can still be coherently reinterpreted within contemporary relativity theory as a universality thesis. By developing an analysis of universality in physics, I argue that the widespread geodesic clustering of diverse free-fall massive bodies observed in nature qualifies as a universality phenomenon. (...) I then show how this near-geodetic clustering can be explained despite the pathologies associated with strict geodesic motion in Einstein’s theory. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to make apparent Hannah Arendt’s thought on the practical dimension of universality alluded throughout her works. The issue of universality has been one of the most pivotal questions in political philosophy until today. Beneath of her philosophical endeavor there is always her deep concern for it. In this article I will show the practical dimension of universality unintentionally pursued by Arendt and its political implications. By harshly criticizing Plato Arendt successfully shows (...) how violent the truth claim in the political realm can be. What Arendt is critical of is the attitude to dictate philosophical ideals in politicalrealm, the attitude I named the “Philosopher King Complex.” Arendt’s bitter criticism of this attitude makes believe that she is critical of any claim of universality in the political realm, but her praise of Socrates clearly shows that she does not altogether blame the claim itself. We also need to note the debate with Gershom Scholem. Scholem’s charge that Arendt dealt with the Eichmann case from a humanitarian, universalistic viewpoint while neglecting the Jewish perspective could be serious considering Arendt’s emphasis on the pariah’s perspective. Arendt’s standpoint, however, includes both a particularistic view as a Jew and auniversalistic view as a human at the same time. This is possible because Arendt correctly understood the role of speech. Arendt’s use of Pastor Grueber’s example in Eichmann in Jerusalem implies that she believes in the power of speech to relate our consciousness to reality and to make communication possible. To retain human plurality along with universality, it is necessary but not sufficient to focus on speech alone. In this regard we learn a lesson from the Habermas-Henrich debate: that self-relation of consciousness plays the role of establishing self-identity. A successful example of combining these two insights is Arendt’s position since she delivered her hermeneutic insights in the language of philosophy of consciousness. Albrecht Wellmer’s unjustifiable charge of Arendt’s concept of judgment to be “mystic” is an example of misunderstanding of her peculiar position. If we admit this, we can say that Arendt establishes aposition to give an answer to the question “is democracy a universal truth?”: democracy, as far as it is a political truth, is neither equivalent to a universal truth as a mathematical one, nor just a particular cultural opinion of westerners. This interpretation of Arendt puts her position near to liberal-communitarian views of Michael Sandel or Charles Taylor. Sandel criticizes Arendt to be universalistic, but in fact his position is quite near to hers. For example, his method of analogy is almost the same as her concept of exemplary validity. Rather, it seems to me that Arendt provides more solid theoretical ground than Taylor or Sandel does. For Arendt’s position stands on a firm understanding of the power of speech and on an insight of self-relation of consciousness. (shrink)
This essay seeks to demonstrate that there are no compelling reasons to exclude non-Western artefacts from the domain of art. Any theory of art must therefore account for the universality of the concept of art. It cannot simply start from ‘our’ art traditions and extend these conceptions to other cultures, since this would imply cultural appropriation, nor can it resolve the matter simply by formulating separate criteria for non-Western art, since this would imply that there is no unity in (...) the concept of art. At first sight, cluster theories of art seem capable of accounting for the universality of art since they (can) start from a broad cross-cultural range of artworks and nowhere seem to extend one conception of art to other conceptions. Yet cluster theories remain unsatisfactory, because they can neither avoid misapplication of the proposed criteria, nor clarify the unity in the concept of art. (shrink)
This paper offers a critical analysis of two central issues in Luigi Ferrajoli’s Principia iuris , and more generally of his theory of rights. One is the way in which ‘expectations’ play a crucial role in his deontic theory by establishing the logical basis for his guarantee-based conception of law and rights. The axiomatic way in which Ferrajoli arrives at his conception of fundamental rights is questioned, for it fails to give a full account of the nature of subjective rights. (...) The other issues discussed here is Ferrajoli’s own defence of the universality of fundamental rights, and how this is made to depend on a ‘normative technique’ that one can associate with legal discourse and modern law in Western societies. This, however, poses the problem of how this formal universalism can be reconciled with the intercultural dialogue that Ferrajoli also advocates. (shrink)
Hermeneutic rationality arises from the idea that experience is a cumulative process, in which differences are not eliminated but preserved. The universality which derives from this process is an “intensional universality”, which follows a law of direct proportionality between extension and intension: the more an educated individual enriches her experiences, the more she is able to universalize her understanding of others. Experience is then inevitably open and never closed, that is, free for other experiences. If we use the (...) word “domain” to describe the condition of a closed and predetermined system or ontology, the entities of which are pre-assumed, we can therefore call this open universality a “universality without domain”.This description of hermeneutical experience leads to a question about its logical and ontological presuppositions. In the second part of the paper I refer to a particular practice which is central for hermeneutical theory in order to show how I understand these presuppositions: the practice of translation. In translation we experience the impossibility of rendering completely the sense of the source language in a target language, that is, we experience a difference which cannot be suppressed. I compare this experience to the discovery of the incommensurable magnitudes in ancient Greek mathematics, a discovery that shook Parmenidean and Pythagorean ontology: in my opinion, philosophical hermeneutics more or less implicitly develops the consequences of this incredible discovery, which marks the passage to a differential, comparative and integrative rationality and ontology. (shrink)
International human rights law has struggled to define a standard for determining the extraterritorial applicability of its norms that would reconcile the ethos of universal entitlement, on the one hand, with the centrality of borders in delineating state powers and responsibilities under international law, on the other hand. The case law of the UN Human Rights Committee and the European Court of Human Rights favors barring states from engaging in conduct outside their borders that would be impermissible if undertaken inside (...) their borders. Still, attempts to demarcate the precise scope of extraterritorial application through allusion to degrees of control over individuals or areas, or by the nature of the obligation itself – have led to unsatisfactory, if not arbitrary results. This article opines a move to functionalism as the basis for extraterritorial applicability – requiring states to protect IHRL in situations they can do so. Under this approach, which takes universality seriously, borders lose much their normative significance. I suggest limiting the functional approach to extraterritorial applicability in accordance with two key notions: the intensity of power relations – factual relations of power entailing direct, significant and foreseeable potential impact – should result in the application of IHRL obligations; or, alternatively, special legal relations – relations of power that put the state in a unique legal position to afford IHRL protection would also justify the imposition of extraterritorial obligations. (shrink)
of the tension between universality and singularity in the constitution of political community. Politics for Derrida refers to demands for universal justice, while friendship stands in for demands to recognize the incomparable uniqueness of each person. Derrida develops the incompatibility between these demands to its furthest extreme while arguing that democracy paradoxically requires meeting the demands of both claims. The result is a democracy that is never achieved but always present only in the form of a desire for democracy. (...) This article evaluates Derrida’s position that political community is simultaneously impossible and necessary in light of similar proposals by Judith Butler and Luce Irigaray. It also asks whether the political community Derrida imagines is one in which women’s desires are represented. Key Words: Derrida • friendship • Irigaray • politics • sexual difference. (shrink)
French existentialism is commonly regarded as the main impetus for the universal significance that Kafka gained in postwar France. A leading critic, Marthe Robert, has contended that this entailed an outright rejection of interest in the biographical, linguistic and historical dimension of Kafka's writing in order to interpret it as a general expression of the human condition. This article will consider this claim in the light of Sartre's original conceptualization of a dialectic of the universal and the particular in the (...) intercultural mediation of the work of art. The notion of a 'true universality' proposed by Sartre as a defence of Kafka during the 1962 Moscow Peace Conference will allow for a reassessment of Robert's criticism in a paradoxical reversal of terms: it is precisely the inevitable loss of context and the appropriation within one's own particular situation which allow the literary work to elucidate a foreign historical context and thereby gain a wider significance. Rather than a universal meaning of the work, Sartre's concept points to literature's potential to continually release specific meanings in new contexts. (shrink)
Abstract Universality, rather than partiality, is the characteristic of Confucian jen. This article puts forward three arguments to clarify confusion of interpretation: (1) that jen, rather than shu, is the main thread running through the whole system of Confucianism, and that by its two procedures of chung and shu, it presents itself as an integration of one's self with others; (2) that jen, as love, does not signify a natural preference, but an ethical refinement of an ordinary feeling of (...) fondness, that it derives from such a feeling but goes beyond it, and that it functions as a universal commitment which begins with family affection but is not limited to it; (3) that jen, as universal love, is deontological in motive, not only in contrast to a mutuality of love but also in opposition to a utilitarianism of love. (shrink)
In the paper the model of universality revealed by Adam Mickiewicz is investigated. It is claimed that his model of universality, which plays in Polish culture a role of a cultural canon, is distinct from the Enlightenment view on universality.
Philosophers today are inclined to propose virtues are either something subjective or something universal. However, Confucius and Aristotle, who made the most profound investigations into virtues, did not develop such theses. The deep-seated reason lies in their belief that there is always a possibility for a human being to become a man of practice, which cancels the need of proposing subjectivity thesis. The reason for their not raising the universality thesis of virtues is that they do not think that (...) virtues are directly universal to all contemporarily existing minds. Rather, in their view, virtues involve a possible universality that may present in a virtuous mind. We can summarize Aristotle’s view into the concept of possible universality of virtue understood in terms of the perfect state of mind, since he explains the perfect state of mind in terms of perfect state of activity, and makes his investigations with an eye to the interactions between people with similar states of virtues. The view of Confucius can be summarized into the concept of possible universality of virtue understood in terms of the history of mind, since his investigations are made from the point of view of the states of mind reached through virtuous practices, i.e., a historical process of human life in which one’s pre-dispositions and feelings gradually reach some state of natural harmony and gains continual enrichment, and with an eye to the interactions between virtuous people and common people. From that similarly expressed view we can reasonably infer that virtues do possess the character called by today’s philosophers as universality, but it is a possible universality whose possibility is based on practice and on the development of virtuous minds. (shrink)
In this article, I examine the ramified-type theory set out in the first edition of Russell and Whitehead's Principia Mathematica. My starting point is the ?no loss of generality? problem: Russell, in the Introduction (Russell, B. and Whitehead, A. N. 1910. Principia Mathematica, Volume I, 1st ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 53?54), says that one can account for all propositional functions using predicative variables only, that is, dismissing non-predicative variables. That claim is not self-evident at all, hence a problem. (...) The purpose of this article is to clarify Russell's claim and to solve the ?no loss of generality? problem. I first remark that the hierarchy of propositional functions calls for a fine-grained conception of ramified types as propositional forms (?ramif-types?). Then, comparing different important interpretations of Principia?s theory of types, I consider the question as to whether Principia allows for non-predicative propositional functions and variables thereof. I explain how the distinction between the formal system of the theory, on the one hand, and its realizations in different epistemic universes, on the other hand, makes it possible to give us a more satisfactory answer to that question than those given by previous commentators, and, as a consequence, to solve the ?no loss of generality? problem. The solution consists in a substitutional semantics for non-predicative variables and non-predicative complex terms, based on an epistemic understanding of the order component of ramified types. The rest of the article then develops that epistemic understanding, adding an original epistemic model theory to the formal system of types. This shows that the universality sought by Russell for logic does not preclude semantical considerations, contrary to what van Heijenoort and Hintikka have claimed. (shrink)
We are experiencing a new phase of the crisis of the universality in the transmodern era. In the XXIst century there is room for the common search for the human unity starting from the acceptance of our fundamental diversity and the experiencing of an insular, local universality in the Digital Realm of the Net. There are good reasons to consider the Human Being has a ground non generic universality, inviting us to search the human integrality as a (...) process, not as a result and to accept that the digital natives are naturally adapted to the Transmodern Era. (shrink)
One of the central questions of Jacques Derrida's later writings concerns the sources of religion. At times he gives explicit priority to the universal dimension of religion. In other places, however, he considers the primacy of faith in its concrete, historical context. This paper will clarify Derrida's relationship to universality and historicity by first comparing his notion of "messianicity without messianism" to that of Walter Benjamin's "weak Messianism." After drawing out these differences, I will focus on Derrida's later writings. (...) I will show that much of the ambiguity of Derrida's thinking on religion can be resolved by turning to his work on khōra, the Greek word for "space" or "matter." The rhetoric of khōra can allow us to think through a twofold logic, one that includes the universal/historical distinction and exceeds its alternatives. (shrink)
Catchy acronyms such as are good mnemonics. However, they carry the danger of distracting us from deeper issues: how to sample populations, the validity of measuring instruments, the levels of processing involved. These need to be considered when assessing claims of universality regarding how the mind works – a dominant and highly rewarded drive in the behavioral and brain sciences.
Abstract Lawrence Kohlberg's theory postulates a universal model of moral development. According to Kohlberg's cognitive?development theory, moral judgement represents underlying thought organisation rather than specific responses. Although the specific content of moral judgement may vary among cultures, the basic structures are said to be universal. Our cross?sectional study has been undertaken to test the validity of Kohlberg's measure in a Polish sample. The data were gathered between 1985?87. The sample includes 291 men and women, 15?80 years of age. This paper (...) presents the results of the Polish study, which generally support Kohlberg's claim of cross?cultural universality. (shrink)