The Philosophy of Philosophy
Phillosophy, as distinct from any other field of study and irrespective of the actual stage of its development, has always existed as the sum of an indefinite number of philosophical doctrines. This accounts for philosophy's ability to restrain the growth of dogmatism both in the system of knowledge as a whole and in private theories by particular thinkers. Any competent disavowal of philosophy must also be regarded philosophy since it gives rise to new problems and thus fertilizes the ocean of philosophical inquiry. This kind of pluralism, therefore, is inherent in philosopy, and should be recognized as one of its real advantages.
Philosophy in Modern Culture
In present-day situation, while social science becomes increasingly aware of cultural pluralism, philosophy still retains its decisive role in shaping of an individual's self-consciousness, in realizing one's cultural identity, one's 'being in culture'. Social science furnishes us with the knowledge of culture, whereas philosophy gives an answer to the question: who are we in culture, what exactly in culture do we consider being of importance or value.
The self-consciousness of a human being who lives at the intersection of different cultures is built upon the freedom of choosing. It is philosophy that provides us with benchmarks and tools to comprehend the limits of freedom. Philosophy's very existence testifies that freedom, irrespective of the way one understands it, is becoming a fundamental value of human life and culture. Those who need no freedom will have no use for philosophy either.
Historian investigates the past, but this is not the prerogative of historiography, since all social sciences have to do with their own past, and histories are narrated by theologians, ideologists, authors of novels and all of us. To define the specific proper past of historical science, it is necessary to understand its distinctive features which, in turn, presupposes a certain philosophical view of the discipline, and some particular type of epistemology. In this paper, a radically constructivist position is opposed to the doctrine of “presentism”.
Culture and Freedom
From classical philosophy, we have inherited two different solutions to the problem of freedom in which freedom is defined, respectively, either as the inner state of man as determined by the requirements of moral law (Kant) or as the cognition of necessity (Hegel). This paper argues that the aforementioned dilemma is unraveled once we start regarding freedom a cultural phenomenon. Attaining at freedom by cognizing necessity corresponds to the needs of intellectual culture. Humans are able to create anything new, whether in speculative thought or in any creative activity, only by constantly recurring to knowledge. Creative activity in the realm of spiritual culture is not bound by the discipline and rules governing the intellectual culture, and therefore, by way of constantly approaching the problem of meaning of life, it also gives one awareness of freedom qua subject of cultural activity.
Engineering Design in Scientific Knowledge
There is a profound isomorphism between the activity of an engineer and that of a scientist. The former starts from a design project, that is, a functional description of the object to be designed, and proceeds to implementing it. The latter acts in many ways analogously in dealing with a certain empirically given phenomenon which has to be explained by designing a mechanism of its coming-to-be and functioning. One never says that a certain theory has been discovered – one usually speaks about forming a theory. Similarly, one does not discover but rather offers or forms a classification, zoning, periodization. To cognize a given phenomenon means either to construct its model or to develop a project of constructing the object itself. Whether such a project is commensurable with human capacities, is not taken into account: what really matters is whether a given phenomenon can be modeled in principle. To use a stronger formulation of the same thesis, one may say that we construct not only theories or classifications but, quite as well, the objects of study or even what we call the facts themselves. This latter role is taken by any activity brought to accomplishment, such as experiment, which has been planned in advance and designed in accordance with a certain fixed goal.
Physical Reality: Transcendental Physics or Experimental Metaphysics
The pretersensual part of physical reality includes not only theories and conceptions, but also the objective reality itself, viz., being as defined not by man alone. As far as conceptions of the physical reality are concerned, they are subject to experimenting. Experimentation, however, serves to verify the metaphysical conceptions as well – consider the theories of Parmenides (integrity and continuity) and Democritus (atomism, the reduction of a whole to its parts) as an example. This paper examines one of the latest examples of theories put to verification: the famous argument between Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr, each of whom shared different metaphysical conceptions. Experimental analysis of the metaphysical conceptions of physical reality has shown that future physical theories must be both local (Democritus’ metaphysics) and inseparable (Parmenides’ metaphysics).
Bi-Directionality in the Cause-Effect Relations (a Model in which the Effect
Precedes its Cause)
The paper offers a new model in which the effect may precede its cause. To substantiate it, the author employs various tools of logical and physical analysis such as the concepts of ideal worlds, of imaginary time, of an imaginary space in which the observer moves at a greater speed than light. The model proposed gives insight into the nature of intuition, enables a non-mystical explanation of the phenomenon of prescience and offers a modified understanding of the nature of self-organizing systems’ attractors. As a result, it also becomes possible to clarify the logic behind the origin of certain moral imperatives, such as “Judge not” and “Envy not”.
Postnonclassical Aesthetics: the Problem of Shaping the Body
of Knowledge in Contemporary Aesthetics
The article demonstrates that contemporary (postnonclassical) aesthetic theory can be subdivided into at least three main areas: 1) classical core; 2) nonclassical aesthetics (nonclassics); 3) virtualistics. Classical aesthetics reveals the metaphysical core of aesthetics as a scholarly discipline, as well as the essential parameters of aestehtic experience and consciousness. Even today, it still holds the central position in aesthetic theory as philosophical aesthetics. Nonclassics is a dynamic subdivision of contemporary aesthetics, which is rooted, first of all, in the most recent experimentations in the areas of art-practices and research in the Humanities that are often opposed to classical methods, principles, and aesthetic values. Virtualistics is a new subdivision of aesthetics, which seeks to combine, inside the computer networks and in net-art creations, the entire corpus of the existing aesthetic theory and practical experience with the life experience of a contemporary person now rapidly taking shape. This can be designated the aesthetics of man’s existence in the virtual reality of digital spaces which suggests itself in this context as the main aesthetic category.
The Logic of Inter-Subjective Quotation
The paper considers quotation as an important and often the only means to provide an inter-subjective understanding of a text. The significance of the role played by quotation is demonstrated by a number of historical examples. The author attempts at proposing a logic of quotation which is subsequently analyzed and proved to be a finite system, once
quotation recurrence limitation is assumed. Conversely, the number of quotation methods appears to be inconceivably large even for extremely short texts.
Tolerance and Universalism
A concept of tolerance deserves a much greater attention and a more sophisticated analysis than the one usually found in modern studies of the subject. The most intriguing aspects of tolerance turn out to be the theoretical (and not at all practical) issues which reveal the defects in our understanding of the phenomenon. Even following M. Walzer’s brief typology of tolerance, we will be able to refine this understanding substantially and to arrive at deeper insights into the nature of such common issues as discussion and dialogue, philosophical and scientific pluralism. Moreover, taking into account the relations between tolerance and universalism where tolerance appears to be a necessary condition for the universal attitude implementation (which is illustrated by the story of a seemingly paradoxical behavior of the famous Russian poet Maximilian Voloshin during the hard periods of Russian history in the XXth century), we come to the conclusion that a universal attitude would be accepted exceptionally as a meta-principle. The quest for the answer to the question, how we can tolerate the intolerable, gains a new philosophical dimension which allows a non-trivial approach to the many issues of contemporary situation.
Russia in Globalizing World
Globalization threatens cultural values and institutions. The obvious way to withstand cultural “invasion” from outside while avoiding conflicts between the different cultures and preventing the clashes of civilisations, is to promote a dialogue between the cultures.
The challenges of globalization Russia is facing are aggravated by political, economical, social, and ideological transformations still on their way. A further complication is brought about by certain concepts originating from Russia’s historical past and dominating, to a large extent, the public consciousness, namely, the idea of Russia’s special mission first as the “Third Rome”, and then as socialist superpower.
The peoples inhabiting Russia have to acquire a new collective identity in place of the former and now lost collective identity known as “the Soviet people”. To escape marginalisation in search of the new civilisation paradigms, it is high time for Russia to proclaim her own cultural values, especially those which could be attractive and useful for others. Owing to the richness of her cultural heritage, Russia is capable to enter the dialogue of cultures in the role of a cultural “donor”. But to achieve this, Russia has to articulate a valid “national idea” such as to guide her development, and to promote the corresponding values such as may prove constructive in a global process.
The Notion of Tolerance in the Context of Modern Culture
This paper examines the various semantic levels of the notion of “tolerance” and the particular way it is used in the present-day social and cultural context when this, essentially normative, notion is dragged to the limits beyond which “tolerance” receives a radically different meaning. Failing to distinguish between the semantic levels, one will be led to breaking the semantic boundaries and to supplanting the familiar term with a series of its “connotational associations” which, in their turn, are determined by the rules of word-usage in a given context.