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With great pleasure we present the first collective volume, consisting of the extended and revised papers of the 2014 conference of the International Society for Universal Dialogue (ISUD) in Craiova, Romania. The papers included in the collective volumes under the title The Human Being: Its Nature and Func-tions are the outcome of two phases of blind reviews (abstracts and full papers) in the year preceding the conference, and half a year of their revision and fur-ther reviewing. The thematic areas of the first volume are: a) human nature and spirituality, b) human nature, law and justice. As befits an organization commit-ted to bringing the world together by dialogue across cultures and value sys-tems, ISUD papers span the globe geographically and intellectually. Moreover, these papers transcend the mainstream categories of philosophy, stretching from Eastern spiritualism to Western positivism. Ancient Greek tragedy, ancient philosophies, mysticism, religion, cyborgs, medical technology, human rights, and a number of other noteworthy issues bring together many different schools of thought and interpretations in the spheres of ethics, metaphysics, politics, aesthetics, ontology, etc. The scope of these papers is remarkable, however, more important is their quality which is manifested even to those who approach their subject matters as respectful amateurs. As such, they encourage readers to expand their interests and discard their prejudices and comfort zones. No academic specialist is re-quired to appreciate the excellence of those papers. An open mind can do that and more. An open mind will realize that the sort of dialogue these papers rep-resent and encourage is a demanding and unending task. The importance of this task is reflected in daily headlines almost all of which note the consequences of hatred, prejudice, violence and fear. While an academic conference and its pa-pers cannot remove the causes of human folly, it can elucidate an alternative, a path, narrow and steep, to human understanding, despite differences of cul-ture, values and experience. The papers show that an intersection of intellect is possible, and, more important, that an intersection of hearts is also possible. Living up the Eastern concept of heart-mind may not avoid catastrophe, but it may postpone the day, as well as, allowing us to appreciate the present possi-bilities of human nature. We hope that these collective volumes will encourage readers to respond to the better angels of their natures as much as they have encouraged the editors. Here we need to address, with strong feelings of appreciation, the authors, reviewers and associates, from an immense number of countries for the work that was so magnificently done. Thanks to them, we do remember that, as Wolfgang Goethe brightly remarks, it is always the case that the “individuum est ineffabile.” Behind this collective work, there always stands the individual, whose nature, its human nature, is still the most unexplored corner of the uni-verse, also the source of known intentional action. It is exactly this core, the individual human being and the deepest secrets of its nature that these aim to shed some light on. We also express our sincere gratitude to the editorial board of Dialogue and Universalism, which so generously hosted the publication of these volumes.
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