2014 | 3 | 5-7
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Editorial. Philosophy: In Search for Knowledge and Ways of Life (1)

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Recently social reality in the almost global scale is shaped not only by vulgar practicality, but also by—what goes with such practicality hand in hand—hostility and disrespect to authentic, so free and deep intellectual life, and to those intellectual values which are not useful according to pragmatic cultural standards. The importance and pertinence of Max Horkheimer’s diagnosis presented in The Critique of Instrumental Reason still grow. By various means, more and more cruelly, reason is set an instrument subordinated to economical-political systems infiltrating the whole human world. Intellectuals are enslaved, inter alia by administrative and financial regulations in academic life, and by media which with paralyzing intensity favour and promote anti-intellectual values, man’s needs, styles of life etc. Those intellectuals, who are not temporarily and superficially useful, are barely tolerated, and relegated to secondarily important social niches. Scholars are no longer free thinkers, but to a great extent hired labourers in academic industry. Subordination and even concealed slavery destroy intellectual creativity, kill human autonomous rational spiritual life. Alarmingly large social groups, keeping abreast of the time, contest the im-portance of the humanities. Especially, the very sense of philosophy is discred-ited. What even more appalling, some philosophers proclaim—as a normative postulate to be realized—the death of philosophy. The most celebrated glorifi-ers of this view are Richard Rorty, an American neo-pragmatist, and postmod-ernists. Likewise the currently spread tendencies to naturalize philosophy are self-destructive, aiming to transform it into a secondary non-autonomous field. The present situation of philosophy, at least in Europe, is a result of that anti-intellectual attitude. Philosophy existed non-threatened for 28 centuries. It has offered the majority of intellectual ideas, constituted foundations for various human activities. It gave rise for special sciences, and forever takes part in in-spiring them. From antiquity till now philosophy has been the crown of the intellectual apprehension of reality—universalizing, fundamental, revealing depths and fields not imagined in commonsense nor in science. It teaches think-ing which everlastingly transcends its own limits in approaching essential truths. In spite of all its attainments, philosophy must now defend itself, demon-strate its importance and necessity. Not only to save itself, but also to protect humanity against mental self-degradation, against vanishing rational, non-religious spirituality. Nowadays, when philosophy is scattered into numerous philosophical schools, thematic threads, and positions, its general range and importance is, paradoxically, hidden, and eventually lost for collective consciousness. The essence of philosophy and its prominence can be adequately seen from a far perspective in which all the differences between schools and positions disap-pear. Then philosophy reveals itself as a realm breaking on through the doors of the mind to the side where all the reality appears as it is not seen outside it—in deeper a way, cleansed of contingencies, in its very fundamentals.1 Philosophy is just an amazing pursuit of intellectual, universalizing apprehending the very foundations of reality. It seems to be one of the highest means of forming and enriching pure humankind’s spiritual sphere. At the same time, trials to define its scope or its methods result in limiting it. As regards its problems and meth-ods philosophy is an open project. By their intended thematic plurality the papers included in this Dialogue and Universalism issue entitled PHILOSOPHY: IN SEARCH FOR KNOWLEDGE AND WAYS OF LIFE show the indispensability, potential, as well as the to-day’s vastness of philosophers’ activity. They also demonstrate that the primary philosophical task is to set and freely solve problems, and not to hang onto on a chosen philosophical school; at least the programs of schools should not be treated as rigid barriers of thinking. The title of the issue defines the scope of philosophy by its two basic pur-suits: the pursuit of knowledge and the pursuit of disclosing foundations of men’s life. The title should not be treated as indicating two disjunctive paths of understanding and doing philosophy. Knowledge and ways of life are condi-tioning each other. Cognition arises from human life which is its constituting basis. The ways of aware human life are grounded on and shaped by what the man knows about himself and reality. The issue PHILOSOPHY: IN SEARCH FOR KNOWLEDGE AND WAYS OF LIFE is determined by its national and hence thematic specificity. The ma-jority of the authors are Russian scholars. The papers are shorter than those normally put out in Dialogue and Universalism. It is so because we have tend-ed—along with other tasks of the issue, and in agreement with the guest-editor Emilyia Tajsina—to present a representative panorama of main directions in the recent Russian philosophical researches. A relatively large part of the content of the issue is devoted to the problems of the human spiritual sphere, in its mixed individual–social (collective) dimension. It may be cautiously claimed that their extended presence is characteristics of the current Russian philosophizing. The Dialogue and Universalism Editors are grateful to the guest-editor Pro-fessor Emilyia Tajsina for preparing this issue—so manifold, so informative. We also thank Dr. Shane Ryan for his assistance in copyediting the issue. The last part of this Dialogue and Universalism issue contains two texts concerning the International Society for Universal Dialogue (ISUD). The first one discusses the ISUD founding ideas, and announces the ISUD intention (being already realized) of the return to its intellectual roots. The second paper is a review of the ISUD World Congress in Craiova (Romania).
  • Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences
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