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PHILOSOPHY PATHWAYS electronic journal

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P H I L O S O P H Y   P A T H W A Y S                   ISSN 2043-0728
http://www.philosophypathways.com/newsletter/

Issue number 66
7th September 2003

CONTENTS

I. 'On the Notion of a "Good Society"' by Hubertus Fremerey

II. 'The Philosophical Twilight Zone: a review of Walter Benesch
   "The Ecumenical Cruise and other Three-Legged Philosophy Tales"
   by Brian Tee

III. Reality and Subject: Call for Papers

-=-

I. 'ON THE NOTION OF A "GOOD SOCIETY"' BY HUBERTUS FREMEREY

Prefatory remarks

Over the last few months there has been a dispute on these pages concerning a
paper by Jonathan Wolff, and a reply to this by Anthony Flood. Later Daoud
Khashaba, Stuart Burns and myself posted several comments. The topic of this
debate was "redistributionism" and it's proposed (Wolff) or denied (Flood)
justification. (cf. Philosophy Pathways Nos. 53, 54, 56, 61, 64, and 65).

While the following paper has been stimulated in some way by this dispute, I
will not address it again here in any direct way [1]. Instead my very general
question is a more fundamental one: "What are we speaking of when we speak of
'a good society'?"

When one year ago I entered this "Philosophers Cafe", I did so by posting a
question on Ask a Philosopher: "What do you think are the most urgent problems
posed to today's socio-political philosophy?" (cf.
../questions/questions.html). I never received an
answer to this, only some minor hints from private mails. Maybe this was to be
expected. Thus my text below is part of the answer I tried to find out myself.

I have also addressed this topic of "good society" in an answer to Jane in 'Ask
a Philosopher: Twentieth Set of Questions and Answers'
(../questions/answers20.html#3). But of course I
would like to call forth a lively debate and some dissenting and stimulating
opinions on all this.

There is also the age old question which has concerned many people since
Socrates, of "What would we call a good life?" (cf. Tim LeBon's article
'Practitioners, Not Jumpers', Philosophy Pathways No. 64, August 10, 2003).

Both questions -- "What would we call a good life?" and "What would we call a
good society?" -- should be seen as related and standing in a context with a
third question: "What would we call a good human?".

By using the formula "What would we call a good x?" I try to honour the
analytical philosopher's concern with "using concepts" that have grown from
ordinary language in the community of thinking and debating and experiencing
humans. All three questions are by their nature evaluative and not "positive
scientific". All else would be "objectification" in the sense of Hegel and
Marx. Humans are not robots. But why is it important and what does it imply to
say that?

On the notion of a good society

The text below on first sight may look more like a sermon than like serious
philosophy. But my question "What are we speaking of if we are speaking of 'a
good society'?" is very much a question of experience, not of concepts and
logic alone. The forces attracting and repelling humans in interpersonal
relations and in their relations to the world are not of the same sort as those
attracting and repelling elementary particles in high-energy physics. I wanted
to draw -- however sketchy -- a frame of reference in which to place any
meaningful debate on human society. In my opinion much of what has been written
on improving human society lacks a clear understanding of the interplay of
systems view including technical, political and economical conditions, culture
theory and history, interpersonal and general social relations, and subjective
experiences, plans and hopes. All suggestions of improving society have to be
seen against this background. Once more "A good society of humans is different
from a good society of animals or robots." But in what way?

The view from the inside and the view from the outside

While we do not know "the" truth, we at least know "by experience" the meaning
of "truth" as compared to lies and errors. Likewise we all know the MEANING of
"a good society" from everyday experience of what can be "a bad society". And
starting from this experience even Plato and Aristotle began to think on this
problem of "a good society" at least as seriously as they did on what is
"truth".

But with good society as with truth there are two quite different approaches:
One mainly arguing from personal experience and "looking from the inside", the
other starting from methods and looking from the outside, from a systems view
or from metaphysics and religion. To look from the inside is like to understand
"good eating" the way a gourmet does, which is completely different from the
view of a dietician who speaks of vitamins, minerals and nutrients but not of
"grand cuisine".

Jesus didn't speak of the state -- he was not interested. Cicero, being a
jurist in the top ranks of the Roman Empire, naturally was. Jesus was
interested in interpersonal behaviour, in mutual love and understanding of "all
god's children", not in state-law and economics and systems theory. But he was
not teaching "group dynamics" or guiding "encounter groups" and stimulating
"good vibes". His setting was of a much greater scale, even greater than the
Roman Empire.

Singing in a gospel choir like Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles is a very
personal and interpersonal thing. But to have a peaceful parish and a gospel
choir singing you have to have peace assured by the police and the military and
the juridical system too. If you have a mad dictator in place of a "good and
wise king" you will know it. Everybody will start to lie or keep silent or
hide. The social and mental climate gets rotten, lies and moral corruption and
fear become all pervading as in the former Fascist and Stalinist countries. But
lies and moral corruption are an interpersonal thing again. Thus you cannot keep
the interpersonal view separated from the systems view.

Spiritual and secular critique

There is not just one way to see society from the outside, say the "systems
view", and there is not just one way to "experience" and "know" what is good.
St.Augustine set the "visible everyday world of common sense" -- which he
called "civitas terrena", the earthly state -- against an invisible spiritual
world experienced and seen by the true believer -- which he called "civitas
Dei", the state of God. By this he put "common sense" into question. The ways
we are accustomed to, this commonsensical world of material values and
strivings, of competing and achieving and being a winner or a loser in the
lottery of life and in the pursuit of happiness may seem a mindless and unreal
world in the light of eternal truth and real insight into the nature of things.
It's not all systems theory then.

This dichotomy between what is at hand and is taken for granted and accepted
wisdom, and a quite different world as imagined in the Christian "kingdom to
come", or in the Socialist "future of a just society", or in the Islamic
omnipresence of Allah in all his creation is not to be dismissed as nonsense.
It is one of the greatest traits of human thinking and imagining to always set
the idea of a better world -- religious or socialist or liberal -- against the
unthinking acceptance of the given. We don't understand human history without
seeing it as a constant struggle of dreams against "realities". Even dreams in
a certain way are "realities" -- and important ones. The life of monks and nuns
and priests is as valid, sensible and decent as that of "normal people" and
playboys. The tension between "what is at hand and before the eyes" -- the
materialists reality -- and what is dreamt of as an "idealist reality" of hopes
and fears and plans is driving human history -- whether in the Christian world
of St.Augustine or in the socialist world of Marx or in the liberal one of an
Amartya Sen.

We should never accept the idea that man is only an intelligent animal trying
to make his life as comfortable as possible by applying "science and technology
and common sense". To see man in this light not only is disgusting, it is
downright stupid since it supposes a very restricted concept of humanity. To
live comfortably is not -- and never has been in any culture -- the greatest
ideal of humans. I cannot enter the deep and fascinating question of WHY this
is as it is. It is one of the fundamental questions of anthropology. But beware
of those "realists" who try to tell us what "sensible" means. They would have
locked up Jesus in Bedlam. They fell to a "ratto-morphic image of man" as
somebody aptly put it.

The great transformation to "modernity" in 17th century Europe

The great transformation of the world in the name of "progress" originated some
300 years back in Europe. Its origin is an outcome of Christian hopes and
"readings" of the world. At about the time the "Mayflower" reached Plymouth in
1620, a great "Methodological Revolution" was brought about in Western thinking
by Bacon, Galileo and Descartes. Instead of reading the Bible and "the Fathers"
and the works of Aristotle and other authoritative scriptures in the light of
the exegesis of the Churches, they began to read "the book of nature -- Gods
other revelation" by applying mathematics and methodical observation.

This approach was immensely encouraged by Newton's great achievement in 1687 in
deriving the elliptical orbit of Mars from the assumption of a new
"gravitational force" acting in a very simple way between massive bodies. This
success eventually started the "Scientific Revolution" that then transformed
into the "Industrial Revolution" some 150 years later.

The important result of the "Methodological Revolution" was the replacement of
religious authority by the methodical procedure of "applied science".

Reformation in the wake of the new individualism of the Renaissance had brought
down the old order already by binding the human conscience directly to God
without intervening authorities of church or state. In many protestant sects of
the 16th and 17th centuries there is not a trace of an organized church but only
a "pentecostal" assembling of the true believers "under God". This was a
precondition of modern democracy and the basis of the political thinking in
what was later to become the USA.

The two conflicting aspects of modern "liberalization"

But here the two conflicting principles of "modernity" are to be seen: On the
one hand the new "methodology" that lead to an enormous growth of stately power
by transforming the older state with its many principalities and local customs
into the modern state with its general law and citizenship and its masses of
uniformed state-officials and soldiers and workers and specialists. To be
uni-formed means to be of a standardized form like a specimen of a car coming
from an assembly line. People became in this way "standardized" as
"citizens"and alienated from their traditional social backgrounds and
connections. And by being standardized in this way people became replaceable.
The modern Western state became able to organize millions of workers and
soldiers and state-officials and state-employees according to rational
principles, and thus became a tremendous and powerful socio-cultural machine
that subjugated all premodern and (by this) "inefficient" states elsewhere in
the world. This explains the European colonialism and imperialism of the 19th
and 20th centuries.

But modern individualism as "invented" from the times of the Renaissance and
Humanism and Protestantism was not meant to reduce humans to uni-formed,
exchangeable and disposable "cogs in the machine of the modern state". On the
contrary modern individualism -- which resulted from the new city-life of the
later Middle-Ages in Europe -- was meant to liberate thinking humans, who are
responsible only to God and to other free and thinking humans, from false
authorities and from restricting traditions, and to enable them to become free
persons, thinking and speaking for themselves. This was the idea of Locke, Hume
and Kant and the whole liberal tradition.

The libertarian, totalitarian, and communitarian reactions

The "modern" individual on the one hand is freed from traditions to begin his
private "pursuit of happiness", but on the other hand he is isolated and lost
and full of fears of freedom. While those who feel strong and daring became
libertarians and even anarchists, those who -- from other experiences -- felt
weak and lost, tried to cuddle under a new leader and his clear directives as
under a Lenin or Stalin or Mao Zedong or Hitler.

To like freedom is not at all natural. For many if not most people freedom
means disorder and disorientation and social chaos and fear of all sorts of
gangsters and villains. This explains why libertarians and totalitarians have
about the same number of followers even today. People need the experience that
liberty "works". Democracy should not be experienced as a failure and as the
reign of irresponsible power-networks. Only then will people trust in liberty
and find it attractive. They see the gains of liberty -- but they see the costs
and dangers too.

Against the contrasting models of libertarians and totalitarians stood the
older conservative model of "a good order of society". This "conservative"
ideal -- which could be called "Aristotelian" and from this "Thomistic" and
then even "Lutheran" and "Hegelian" -- has been brought back since about the
1970s by the "communitarians". In their opinion neither the libertarians nor
the totalitarians have a good idea of what a society of free humans interacting
in the context of a decent and sensible moral order could be. Stalinism and
Fascism and Nazism likewise had failed and turned out to be false and bad
dreams, while the modern liberal "capitalist" state seemed immoral in a
different way by creating and nurturing greedy, reckless, egotistic and
neurotic sorts of people.

The revolt of the human subject against being "a cog in the machine"

This was the charge of Rousseau around 1750 against the modern state: that it
alienated humans from their true and good nature "given by God" to make them
fit for "the requirements of civility". "What bribe can corrupt a man into
slavery who wants nothing?" he asked -- and by this addressed all vanities of
"advanced" culture. In a similar sense some 200 years later Herbert Marcuse
depicted modern "consumer-society" as consisting of people alienated by
capitalists from their true feelings and natural needs to become "good
consumers". In the Marcusean picture capitalists were like drug-dealers making
people dependent on worthless consumer goods for the dealers' profit.

While the critique of Rousseau and Marcuse is a half-truth at best -- as was
the critique of Marx -- it is a critique of real importance and contains some
deep insight to be pondered.

The ambivalent promises of "modernity"

Liberty was shown above to be an ambivalent good, since people need orientation
and safety and trust to make good use of liberty. By this libertarianism and
totalitarianism create each other. It was shown too that modern individualism
not only created free and responsible people but also uniformed ones and
rootless "masses" prone to irresponsible leaders and "intelligentsias".

While the fear of Marcuse has been that "the Marcusean drug-addict", the
alienated consumer, lost his soul to consumerism, the great fear of Max Weber
was, that the modern "rational state" would lead to a regime of bureaucrats and
technocrats. Thus there is "a Weberian drug addict" too, the alienated manager
and expert and engineer, who like a Speer or Dr.Strangelove interprets all
social problems as managerial and technical problems and not as human ones.

This was the situation as seen by Romanticism and Post-modernism when both
tried desperately to gain a new distance by religion, play, and the arts, and
by what Marcuse called "the great denial" to stop this mad "irrational
rationality".

But the modern state is not only powerful in a military sense, it is powerful
also in reducing many of the traditional evils such as poverty and hunger and
epidemics and superstition and robbery and warring etc.. While those evils are
still impressive on a global scale, they are greatly reduced in the modern
welfare state if compared to the reality of the times only some 200 years back.
Thus the promises of Enlightenment to reduce all those evils "by science and
technology" have been fulfilled to a large extent.

Exactly from this the argument gains weight that people should heed the advice
of the "well-meaning experts" and "benevolent dictators". This is what could be
called "the paradox of freedom". By this argument all dictators justified their
regime as being "in the best interest of the people". And by a tragical "fit"
the leaders and the led sought and needed each other, since both feared freedom
and called it nonsense.

This even is seen by many as the subtle danger of the modern welfare state: 
That is lures people into trading liberty for safety and comfort and thus
nourishing an army of little "well meaning dictators" degrading humans to happy
domestic animals.

Thus the theoretical problem in all these cases derives from the fact that the
"enslaving rationality" like the "enslaving wealth" seems promising even for
the slaves, and that "free responsible persons and subjects" get transformed
under arguments of "modern rationality" and "progress" into "unfree,
irresponsible, and replaceable objects" of planners and leaders.

Why "expertocracy" and modern dictatorship did not work

Why is it that we today are no longer convinced that the claims of the "Great
Helmsmen" of the 20th century were justified?  Why is it, that -- contrary to
the fears of Weber and Marcuse -- the bureaucrats and technocrats and experts
did not take over?  Why is it that the models of people like Gandhi and
Schweitzer and Dr. Martin Luther King still seem more promising as guides to a
better world and society?  This in my opinion is "the most urgent problem posed
to todays socio-political philosophy". And I will try a first answer.

Look at Hitler, Stalin, and their likes again: They were all just the opposite
to those saintly ones. They were corrupted by power and arrogance. They
despised humans, being great killers and torturers and shouters. To be "honest
and humble and respecting and loving all creatures" surely would not
characterize their thinking and behaving. They wanted to be dominant and
commanders of the world, not humble servants to establish a lighthouse of hope
and orientation for the wretched of the earth -- and for the rich and beautiful
likewise. They only were vain, stupid moral monsters.

In a changing world we all have to learn by debating and experimenting and by
liberal contest. This is the true message of "Enlightenment" and modernity.
People that are always shouting and teaching are not hearing and learning. This
explains why the liberal and learning and contesting USA have overcome the
shouting and obeying Nazis and Imperial Japanese and Stalinists and have become
the leading world-power today -- while for the USA just this of course could
mean the end of learning openness and the beginning of decline by arrogance and
"false certainties".

It is the contrast between scornful arrogance and learning humility, between
lying and being honest, between hating closeness and loving openness that makes
the difference. Thus "All you need is love" as John Lennon sang?  No, that would
be too simple. But it could be a starting point to approach the very idea of a
good society.

Since what does "love" mean? It means to accept and to respect and to support
another being for its own sake -- which includes humility and excludes
arrogance. And being accepted by other humans is one of the greatest
experiences of all humans -- even Hitler and Stalin included.

But the problem may be in our genes: We naturally prefer "winners" to "losers"
and by this get seduced to vain arrogance and to simplistic answers that are no
solutions but only seem to be on first sight.

Why love is essential -- even today

The tone of 1 Corinthians 13 is unknown and unheard in "classical" Antiquity.
This was new, a new way of seeing humans, as was the "Sermon on the Mount" [2].
And the great "I have a dream" speech of Pastor King comes from the same source
of spiritual strength [3]. Against this background even all Neo-liberal and
Neo-Marxist models of a good society (Marcuse, Habermas, Rawls etc.) seem
deficient, lacking an essential sense of love. No socialism or libertarianism
nor any other form of "secular humanism" -- no Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Voltaire
or Kant -- ever could bring this tone to our ears. We have to think this over.

Socrates and Plato at least had a great idea of humankind, and so had Jesus,
St.Augustine, Luther and many others. But when Jefferson called it "self
evident that all men are born free and equal" he had not in mind the slaves and
the poor and maybe not even the women. And neither had Locke. But the saints
had. This is a question of honesty.

Once more:  We never should accept the idea that man is only an intelligent
animal trying to make his life as comfortable as possible by applying "science
and technology and common sense". The human quest for meaning is much more than
a mere quest for practical orientation in a disturbing world as in a rat-maze.

We have to decide who belongs to "humankind". Should we have "gated
communities" for the achievers, for the "rich and beautiful" [4]? Should we
have people "removed" or "excluded" for not keeping up with our standards of
"being fit and achieving" [5]?

It is not "the system" that defines who is included and who is not. It is us.
And there is no rational argument to decide. Here we are to respond as humans,
not as "experts". Here we have to decide by honesty and decency and experience,
not by looking up theories. It is like deciding whom to invite to our party. No
theory will tell us. We decide. This is the true meaning of liberty. This is
the crucial difference between art and science. Good togetherness and good
society is a work of art and experience -- like good cooking is. The advice of
the dietician and the moralist -- while not without value -- misses the point.
Those are not the right persons to give a great party.

On being on a spaceship-team

A good garden-party is not a team. But where are the kings and the slaves in a
racing-yacht going for the Americas Cup? Or where are the kings and the slaves
in a jazz band? There are none. All members of the team have to work hard, all
have to be very disciplined and adapt to each other. But at the same time all
are playful and singular personalities.

To play is not in conflict with hard working here, and to carefully adapt to
each others requirements is not in conflict with every member of the team being
a singular and free person. Thus the marching column under the leadership of a
shouting sergeant is the exact opposite of a good team.

The modern version of the idea of a good society then would be one that takes
seriously material needs ("bread"), social needs ("love"), and spiritual needs
("meaning") alike without asking for a "system of estates" or a "great leader".
People have to learn teamwork again. They have to understand in what way working
and playing, or being equal and being free go together, and in what way being
factual and being loving and caring are not contradicting each other.

This all is not new, we all know it from daily experience, but we tend to
forget and obscure it in our theories that seem to put robots in place of true
humans.

Think of humankind some time in the future living on a vast spaceship, a future
"Mayflower". That requires team-work like on a big racing yacht. But why wait:
We all are living on a vast space-ship already, called "Earth". And this too
requires team-work.

There is no reason to object to mankind pursuing a great future including all
technical possibilities, including even genetic engineering and cyborgs or
"androids". Modern industrial and post-industrial society is not "wrong" or
"inhumane". We need not go back to "the ways of our ancestors" to be true
loving humans as some people seem to believe. And we need not sit idle and
await the Second Coming of any god. That was the outcry of Nietzsche: Stop
praising patience and obsequiousness like to prisoners or slaves, start
praising freedom and daring self-realization like to free proud creative
humans. It is OUR world and future after all, it is all OUR responsibility.

"Ideally" I really would prefer a mankind without anybody shouting around and
even would agree to a "stateless society" -- but this is a technical question
and can only be a vision this moment. Even on a racing yacht or in the jazz
band, while there is no "shouting sergeant", members need much cooperative
discipline and understanding of the task at hand. Thus mankind will need some
formal organizations for the time being for practical reasons. People need
justifications and directions and standards to keep to. It is a practical
matter -- even with teams.

And while we need not be happy with all aspects of globalization, there is no
alternative. We are but one mankind -- and people everywhere begin to see and
to accept it -- even with joy as when watching the Olympics on TV.

Love and decency and mutual understanding in England or the USA is not
different from love and decency and mutual understanding in Africa or in China
or wherever else. Thus the "bad" aspects of globalization don't invalidate the
"good" ones. The idea of "a good society" from experience -- while not always
from theory -- is similar all over the globe. [6]

HUMANS SHOULD BUILD UP THEIR FUTURE WORLD LIKE A HOUSE OR A CITY OR A
SPACE-SHIP AND BE PROUD OF IT -- BUT

THEY SHOULD THINK CAREFULLY ON WHAT TO BE PROUD OF AS TRUE HUMANS -- AND WHY!

---

Footnotes

[1] The most charming comment on this debate I found cited elsewhere. It reads:
"Politics is the art of getting votes from the poor and money from the rich to
protect the one from the other."  In my opinion -- as I said before -- the
whole debate springs from a misunderstanding on what a good society should be.
In a good society the rich and the poor need not be protected from each other.
Libertarians stress the "natural" right of "private moral ownership". But
Rousseau and some of his followers called private property "theft" -- and this
idea is just as "natural" as the first one. But I will not expand on this
debate here.

[2] The text of the Bible (King James Version) can be found on:
http://www.cforc.com/kjv/index.html

[3] For the "I have a dream"-speech of pastor King see:
http://odur.let.rug.nl/usanew/D/1951-1975/mlk/dream.htm

[4] On "Gated Communities" see:
http://www.nindy.com/chw/oppose.html  and
http://www.csir.com/akani/print/2001/nov/print06.html

[5] On the great encyclical of Pope John Paul II "The Gospel of Life"
(Evangelium Vitae, March 25, 1995) see
http://www.newadvent.org/docs/jp02ev.htm)

[6] For some different views on "future society" see f.i.:
http://www.kurzweilai.net/meme/frame.html?main=/articles/art0448.html and
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1570627444/qid=1061416901/sr=2-1/ref
=s_2_1/103-1873683-0504617

Compared to those grandiose visions my text tries to be "sober and
conservative".

(c) Hubertus Fremerey 2003

E-mail: hubertus@fremerey.net

-=-

II. 'THE PHILOSOPHICAL TWILIGHT ZONE: A REVIEW OF WALTER BENESCH "THE
ECUMENICAL CRUISE AND OTHER THREE-LEGGED CHICKEN PHILOSOPHY TALES"' BY BRIAN TEE

'The Ecumenical Cruise and Other Three-legged
Chicken Philosophy Tales' by Walter Benesch
ISBN 1932053077
Nonetheless Press 2003
USD 24.95
http://www.nonethelesspress.com

In my view, what makes a good philosopher and good philosophy, is an equal mix
of two essential ingredients; a highly productive imagination and a well
tempered rational faculty. Most philosophers will tend to emphasise one of
these qualities at the expense of the other leading to the production of either
entertaining fantasy or boring technical manuals.

"Well, so what?!", some of the technical philosophers may object, "It's our job
to find the Truth, its not our fault if the Truth is uninteresting. The Truth is
the Truth, you can't argue with that, but if you don't like it don't blame the
messenger."

The spirit of this objection may be 'true', but it is my guess that without a
good balance of imagination and rationality any (so called) truth perpetuated
by them would ultimately be no more than dogma of one kind or another.
Philosophy is not just a bunch of facts and theory it is a way of thinking, an
engagement with the world, an engagement made possible though imagination and
reason.

Luckily, Walter Benesch's book has both qualities and they are mixed together
in the proper proportions. The outcome is collection of eighteen short
three-legged chicken stories, each of which serve to extricate, provoke,
examine, play and simply have fun with some long held prejudices of
philosophers and religions.

So what exactly is a 'three-legged chicken'? According to Benesch's short
introduction,

     "A Chinese philosopher in the Forth Century BCE was known
     for his claim that 'a chicken has three legs'. He was not
     hallucinating nor are Chinese chickens different from the
     chickens of other nations. What the philosopher understood
     was that this 'third leg' was the mental leg or concept of
     'chicken leg' that tells an observer that what he or she is
     seeing is a 'two-legged chicken' ".
     
Each of the stories in the book is prefaced with some extract from
philosophical sources and/or from various religious scripture. These serve as
the third leg -- the stories, which Benesch tells us are 'mind eggs...that such
a chicken might conceivably lay', are built around these extracts and explore
the implications of such views often to the point of absurd and absurdly funny
conclusions.

As is the case with any collection, some of the stories work better than
others. What lets some of the attempts down is that they seem a little
contrived and manufactured, as though the author is trying too hard to get a
point across, with the result that the story becomes merely a hook on which to
hang an idea. Luckily there are only a couple of examples of this. The best
stories are those where multiple readings could be attached, encouraging the
reader to question and examine that they have just read. In this sense the book
deserves the tag 'philosophy'.

But what kind of book is this? It is no standard 'Introduction to...', or
'Guide through...' the world of philosophy, in which the stories serve to
concretely illuminate some philosophical point (such as Geoffrey Klempner's
stories in 'The Possible World Machine'). Nor is it an anthology of 'spot the
moral' parables found at the new age or spiritual section of the bookshop.
Rather, reading this book, more and more I got the feeling that I had entered
the philosophical equivalent of the 'Twilight Zone' (the classic T.V. show).

The stories have the same eerie texture to them; that ominous sometimes ironic
darkly funny twist, and this is where the mix of imagination and reason comes
to the fore. For example, my own favourites are 'The Making of Presidents' in
which, in a bid to save money, inflatable replica university lecturers replace
the real thing, and a story about a woman who has an affair with a photo-copy
machine, appropriately entitled 'In Therapy'.

In the first story, it turns out that all the students are inflatable replicas
too and the man who invented the replicas and vice president of the company, is
himself a replica! In the second story, the photocopier steals the woman's
identity and dumps her. Definitely 'Twilight Zone' material. In fact the
'Twilight Zone' aspect -- 'a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind,
a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of the imagination' --
is heightened by Benesch himself when he says that the third leg or "idea leg
is in the mind of the beholder, and it is a paradoxical synthesis of perception
and conception, of seeing and not seeing, of the possible and the impossible".
If some T.V. executive ever decides to remake the series each of these stories
would make a pretty good episode and maybe they should hire Benesch to write
more shows.

So who should read this book? Philosophers? Non-philosophers? Wannabe
philosophers? Fans of the Twilight Zone? I'm not really sure who the target
audience is, or rather I am sure: This is a book everyone can read.

Those with a grounding in philosophy will pick up on issues raised, the general
reader will have a good time with the scenarios of the stories and be spurred on
to think possibly in new directions, new comers to philosophy will get to see
philosophy in action as that area which occupies the workings of reason and
imagination, and the Twilight Zone fan will find himself travelling through
another dimension.

(c) Brian Tee 2003

E-mail: PIP01BMT@sheffield.ac.uk

-=-

III. REALITY AND SUBJECT: CALL FOR PAPERS

The philosophical quarterly "Reality and Subject" was established in 1997 and
is a unique edition in the global cultural space. The journal focuses on
synthesis of different branches of philosophy, spiritual traditions, arts and
sciences. The journal publishes philosophical papers in Russian or in English.

"Reality and Subject" discusses various worldviews, investigates insights on
life, results of research and experiments in different areas of knowledge. The
journal introduces readers to products of development and self-development of
the people. Alongside new materials the journal publishes archival works and
translations from the treasury of world cultures.

This publication addresses everything that aspires to complete knowledge, full
philosophical judgment, active creativity and also a wish to play. The journal
is open to all sorts of philosophers, artists, and researchers from
academicians to students from all over the world.

There is also literary and art supplement to "Subject and Reality" (fifth issue
of the journal), which is also open to authors from all over the world.

Call for papers for "Reality and Subject" No. 4

The theme is: RESERCH AND TRAVEL

The Russian verb 'to research' means both as 'to investigate' and 'to travel
from'. That is why we choose such a play on language as the title for Issue No.
4, 2003. We are collecting papers both from academic scientists and from artists
and literary critics. We are also particularly interested in works by women and
young philosophers.

Here are approximate themes which we are interested in:
- Scientific research as following the tradition and destruction of tradition;
- Research as a travelling into textual labyrinths;
- Reading and writing as a creation of text;
- Writing as research and travelling down the language;
- Translation as a travelling of meaning from one language to another;
- Phenomenology of travel: identity and heterogeneity;
- Religion as travelling to God and researching about God;
- Umberto Eco: walks in the literary forests;
- Research of literary texts: the way from Barthes to Derrida;
- Research of human soul: the way from Lacan to Kristeva;
- Research of society: the way from Marx to Baudrillard;

Another themes on RESEARCH AND TRAVEL are also welcome.

Deadline is November 20, 2003

Editorial requirements:
1. Papers should be written in Russian or in English;
2. Papers should be no more than 40,000 characters;
3. Papers should be accompanied by a summary no more than 300 characters;
4. The author should attach biographical data and information on her/his status;
5. A hard copy of the paper and disk should be sent to the English Editor of
the journal before November 1, 2003.

Dmitry Olshansky
English Editor
Reality and Subject
P.O. Box 13
St. Petersburg City
Russia, 197343

(c) Dmitry Olshansky 2003

E-mail: olshansky@hotmail.com

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