Thinking Together

Thinking Together

Junior Visiting Fellows’ Conferences, Vol. XVI
IWM, Vienna 2004 [Published on the Web]

Edited by: Alison Cashin and Jakub Jirsa

Contributions by: Mahon O’Brien, Zuzana Búriková, Silvia Carli, Alison Cashin, Jakub Jirsa, Daria Lucka, Maya Sion, and James L. Wood

 

Preface

The period of time during which the following essays were composed at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) – July to December 2003 – was marked by new divisions within the world and within its cultural and intellectual components: the U.S., Israel, the new Europe and the old Europe (characteristically enough, this division excludes and hides more than it includes and shows)....
Read more

Commentary on Heidegger’s “The Question Concerning Technology”

At the outset of this seminal essay Heidegger makes a series of claims that, prima facie, sound rather bizarre and catch us entirely unawares, not least, that the essence of technology is itself nothing technological. Heidegger wishes to examine technology, in particular, the essence of technology...
Read more

Consuming Socialism: Domesticated Socialist Shops in the Slovak Village

When commenting on shopping in super- and hypermarkets on web pages concerned with consumption, urban Slovak shoppers frequently use comparisons between socialism and the present economic system. Like shoppers in rural Estonia (Rausing 1998, 2002), the users of these pages conceptualize present-day “Western-like” retail practices as “normal,” opposing them to those remembered from socialism. This concept of normality usually operates as an aspiration, since the commentators mostly express frustration with the commerce that should be, but still is not, normal...
Read more

“Who’s This?” Towards an Aristotelian Answer

In the philosophy of Aristotle there seems to be no room for the discussion and the analysis of individuality. What is unique belongs to the realm of the accidental, which Aristotle excludes from the domain of science. Moreover, Aristotle does not seem to regard the fact that we cannot provide a logos of what is unique as a problem. If we read the Metaphysics, we get the impression that for him the only questions that matter are “what” questions...
Read more

Reining in Free Media

... This new term coined by Lazar – the “consolidation of media freedom” – refers to media freedom as both “the abolition of formal censorship and the creation of a plural media landscape” and “the degree to which that freedom can actually be used by citizens.” The crux of Lazar’s argument, then, is that an institutional framework for the media is vital because it can both liberate media from constraint, and can substantiate that freedom through regulations that make media more accessible and more meaningful to the public...
Read more

Forgiveness and Revenge: Where is Justice?

The following paper is not supposed to be an exegesis of the epigraphs stated above. Nor does it present an exposition about forgiveness based on verses from the Gospels. First, these quotations should remind us of the fact that forgiveness belongs to very old and important features in moral theory. Second, we will see during the argumentation that the text of the Gospels (besides these two passages, Matthew 18:21-35 could be mentioned) touches on several key points of philosophical problems tied to the analysis of the act of forgiveness...
Read more

Nation and Civil Society: An Attempt at Theoretical Considerations

The main goal of this article is to examine the relationship between nationalism and democracy, as well as – at the level of social structure – between nation and civil society. Although my considerations here will be mostly of a theoretical nature, in the future they are supposed to serve a more detailed analysis of an empirical case – Polish society in the 1990s. Why such a problem? Why is the relationship between nation and civil society in Poland important?
Read more

The Politics of Opt-Out in the European Union: Voluntary or Involuntary Defection?

According to Putnam’s Two-Level Games approach there are two kinds of defection from international negotiations: voluntary and involuntary. Once a state becomes a member in the unique institutional regime of the European Union (EU), is there defection from new integrationist treaties negotiated in Inter-Governmental Conferences? And if there is, is it voluntary or involuntary defection? First, the theoretical prospects will emerge from adjusting Putnam’s Two-Level Games approach to the EU. Second, empirical examination of five opt-out case-studies will corroborate or refute those theoretical prospects and questions. Both lead to the conclusion that opt-outs are the only form of defection that exist in the EU today, and that most opt-outs examined are involuntary defections. Finally, the implications of such classification will be drawn.
Read more

The Measure of the Good Life: Reflections on Philosophy as a Practical Affair.

The tension or even opposition between the theoretical and practical, between words and deeds, is nothing new; the ancients were fully aware of it, and indeed, were obsessed by it. For them, as we see vividly in Homer, deeds are by far the more important of the two; the Homeric hero is defined, condemned, and redeemed by his deeds: they are his virtue, his honor, his fate, his life, and his death. Courage is the central virtue of the hero; and just as the hero is the most action-oriented of men, courage is the most action-oriented of the virtues. But at the same time, the hero is dependent on the bard and poet, on the speaker and singer of words, for his fame, and his fame is an essential part of his fate; thus words, too, are an essential part of his very identity...
Read more