Archive for iunie 2008

Cazul Julia – Posedare demonica?

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Richard E. Gallagher, profesor de psihiatrie clinică la New York Medical College, scrie despre un caz de posesie demonica. El argumentează că până şi cele mai sceptice personalităţi ar găsi cazul Juliei „mai degrabă convingător“ (EvZ). Un articol in Evenimentul Zilei aici. Desigur ca nu poti fi decit sceptic cind auzi asa ceva, si totusi: cunoscind cit-de-cit mediul academic si stiind cit de mult curaj iti trebuie sa vorbesti de lucruri ce te pot discredita profesional (pentru ca nu crezi in ceea ce crede toata lumea), nu pot decit sa-l apreciez pe omul asta.

Se mai pot citi informatii despre acest caz si despre munca respectivului psihiatru aici . Puteti citi chiar articolul lui Gallagher in New Oxford Review aici, dar trebuie sa platiti.

Iata ce scrie New Oxford Review despre Gallagher: „a board-certified psychiatrist in private practice in Hawthorne, New York, and Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at New York Medical College. He is also on the faculties of the Columbia University Psychoanalytic Institute and a Roman Catholic seminary. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Princeton University, magna cum laude in Classics, and trained in Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Gallagher is the only American psychiatrist to have been a consistent U.S. delegate to the International Association of Exorcists, and has addressed its plenary session”

Written by Andrei Stavilă

iunie 14, 2008 at 9:47 pm

Emciul martonistului de pe banca ethnica

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Azi, imediat dupa meciul Romania-Italia, „Cotidianul” comenta partida si incepea articolul in felul urmator:

Victor Piţurcă a efectuat două schimbări importante faţă de emciul (sic!) cu Franţa. martonistul (sic!) Bănel Nicoliţă a fost lăsat pe banca ethnică (sic!), în timp ce “italianul” Codrea i-a luat locul lui Cociş.

Deci avem asa: „emciul” cu Franta, Nicolita e „martonist”, si ca atare a fost lasat pe „banca ethnica”. Acuma lucrurile nu ar fi asa de grave, dar cum Banel Nicolita e rrom, lasarea pe banca „ethnica” ar cam trebui sa-i creeze probleme de political correctness lui Piturca, nu-i asa?

In cazul in care greselile nu au fost corectate, le puteti citi aici.

Written by Andrei Stavilă

iunie 13, 2008 at 8:57 pm

Fascinanta Romanie – patru vesti: una buna, una rea, doua naspa

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Hai sa ne mai si amuzam putin.

Vestea buna: Ziarul Financiar scrie ca anul trecut romanii au cheltuit 80 milioane de euro pe vodca 🙂 Cum naiba, frate?!!!! Stirea o cititi aici.

Vestea rea (depinde de ce perspectiva ai): pretul la locuinte in Romania a crescut atit de mult, incit inventivii bastinasi de pe plaiurile transilvane au inceput sa colonizeze… Ungaria. Chiar, ce ar fi daca peste 10 ani comunitatile romanesti din Battonya, Dombegyhaz si Mezokovascshaza vor cere autonomie?!!!! 🙂 Stirea aici.

Vestile naspa. Unu: au aparut gadget-uri in materie de „pompe funebre”. „Full options” si in rate. Stirea aici si un comentariu spumos care sincer merita citit aici.

Doi: calugarii romani joaca in fime porno pentru gay. Stirea plus filmul oferit de cei de la Clujeanul aici.


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I succeeded to present my paper at the Bled Conference only because many people helped me a lot. I want to thank Sinzi for her help with getting the travel fund. Urska also helped me with information about Slovenia, about Bled, hostels and roads (her help was very important, giving the fact that I had to drive without a GPS). My example regarding the quarrel between evolutionism and creationism owns a lot to the debate I had on this blog with my friends Stefan and George. I am especially grateful to my friend Iulian, who helped me a lot by making many remarks regarding my ideas (he also corrected the English text). Finally, my special gratitude to Alina, who (despite the fact that she herself had to take many exams) understood me and helped me with all those little things without which no one could create anything. I know that my performance was not that good as they hoped, but I promise that in the future I will do better. Thanks, guys!

Written by Andrei Stavilă

iunie 11, 2008 at 10:32 pm

Evolutionism Versus Creationism: Post-scriptum with Thomas Christiano

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In Bled (Slovenia) I had the great honor to meet and discuss with Tom Christiano. In my talk (“Does Liberal Neutrality Require Epistemic Abstinence?”), I advocated a Rawlsian version of the “epistemic abstinence” theory, according to which we should not build the basic institutions of a liberal democratic society on “the truth” promoted by one of the competing comprehensive views of the good, but on an “overlapping consensus” over the basic political (not metaphysical) values. Now, Tom Christiano advocates the opposite view, according to which a decision is authoritative if it is the outcome of a fair, democratic decision making (the decision-making procedure must be publicly recognized as being fair, and it must take into consideration the interests of everyone involved) [of course, the outcome is limited by the constitutional provisions regarding the basic liberal rights].

But take the following example. In some modern, liberal democratic states there is pervasive disagreement regarding the teaching of evolutionism and creationism in public schools. The evolutionists want to take religion off the textbooks, whereas the creationists want the same thing in what concerns evolutionism. How can a liberal democratic state solve this problem? Let’s apply the two theories to this example.

According to my “soft epistemic abstinence” theory, the state should say to the contending parties: “I am a liberal democratic state, and I have to further equally the interests of both of you. My political concern is not the ‘truth’ each of you advocates, but the way in which you can all live peacefully, and the way in which you can all have the possibility to further your own interests. According to this goal, the solution is the following: evolutionism is to be taught in biology classes, and creationism is to be taught in religion (and history of religion) classes. In this way, you can all further your own interests, while respecting the others’ constitutional rights of furthering their own interests”.

According to Tom Christiano’s view, there should be public discussions about evolutionism and creationism. Everyone interested in this debate should have the right to say her own point of view. Then individuals are required to vote one of these three possibilities: a) only evolutionism should be taught in public schools; b) only creationism should be taught in public schools; c) both evolutionism and creationism should be taught in public schools. If the decision-making process is fair, publicly known and democratic, then the decision is authoritative.

Now, my problem with this view is the following. Suppose that, in a particular state (say, Romania) people vote that evolutionism must NOT be taught in public schools. According to Tom Christiano, if all the democratic requirements have been met, then this decision is authoritative. But I feel uneasy with this solution.

Tom (who thinks that creationism is a stupidity) had several answers. First, he said that in a liberal democratic state many of us feel uneasy with many decisions – but we still have to accept them, as long as they are the outcome of a democratic decision-making process. Then he thought again, and he asked me why the teaching of evolutionism in public schools, in a democratic state, should be regarded as necessary, as long as the citizens rejected it through a fair and democratic process. And then he thought again. His final answer was that the only way to save evolutionism in such a case is to declare that some basic scientific education (evolutionism included) is necessary for citizenship.

Moreover, He told me that my solution is not exactly neutral – but it is a triumph for evolutionism. This is so because my solution accepts the teaching of evolutionism in biology classes, but it sends creationism from scientific to religious textbooks – and this is not quite a neutral answer. On the contrary, it safeguards evolutionism, while at the same time it diminishes the importance of creationism.

The discussion was long enough and it was late – we didn’t finish it. But I have two answers to Tom Christiano’s ideas.

First, to declare some basic scientific knowledge as necessary for citizenship seems a very controversial idea. I’m not saying that it is impossible to defend it – I’m just saying that there is much to be said in its favor. Moreover, if we accept this proposal, I do not see any reason to reject other proposed requirements for citizenship – for example, some basic knowledge in religious matters, or some basic moral knowledge, and so on. There are good arguments for supporting such requirements, but I will not discuss them here. I would rather say that it seems to me hard to defend some basic scientific knowledge as a requirement for citizenship, while rejecting the same status to basic moral or religious knowledge. And if we accept all these requirements for citizenship – then Christiano’s outcome is the same with my proposal’s outcome: evolutionism and creationism should both be taught in public schools.

Second, I do not agree with Tom’s critique, according to which my proposal is not neutral – because it favors evolutionism, by making it the single theory taught in biology classes. First, I think that I can explain to creationists that they don’t really want to see their theory taught in biology classes: they don’t accept this kind of science, so they shouldn’t care about it. They can teach evolutionism in religious classes – however these classes might be called (why not a distinct class, of “creationist biology” – indeed, “what’s in a name?”). There is, of course, the problem of the status of these classes. But I think there could be ways of solving this problem. We can device different combinations between “obligatory”, “optional” and “facultative” classes for both biology and religion. So the problem of neutrality could be in principle solved.

I am happy to see that me and Tom Christiano both agree with the outcome (evolutionism and religion should be both taught in schools). It is true that we have different ways of reaching this conclusion. But the debate is not over yet – or so I hope.

Written by Andrei Stavilă

iunie 10, 2008 at 11:09 pm

Philosophy Conference in Bled

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This year, the subject of the conference was „Social and Political Philosophy„. It started on Tuesday, June 3rd – and the last day was Friday, June 6th. So 4 days full od talks, from 09:00 to 17:00 (four talks per day, except Wednesday – when there were five talks, mine being the last – brrrr!!!).

The conference was extraordinary – really! I had the honor to meet and discuss with Thomas Christiano, Igor Primoratz, and Luc Bovens – and I also enjoyed the talks of Jules Coleman and Alistair Norcross. I was glad to find out that the Slovenian and Croatian moral and political philosophers are very good indeed (I especially liked the talks of Friderick Klampfer, Neven Petrovic, and Elvio Baccarini). I want to thank Tom Christiano and Luc Bovens for our wonderful discussions, which were very enriching to me.

It was my first conference and my first talk. Although I was the only speaker that was only a PhD student (all the other speakers were professors), I think it was ok (except the fact that my talk was the last that day, peopole were very tired – and I was tired and stressed, so I had to read the talk from the paper!). Anyway, the point is that I started to love conferences: you can meet wonderful people, hear extraordinary talks, and see beautiful places. I want more!!!!

In what concerns the town – well, Bled (Slovenia) is a turistic place, so it is very expensive (even more expensive than, for example, some German towns). It is a small city, you can see all the important things in only one day, or even less: the lake, the castle, the island with its church. The problem was that the weather was nasty: it rained the whole week, almost continuously…

Some pictures:

You can see more pictures from Bled here. Read about Bled here and here. The conference’s site is here.

Noutati din Bled, Slovenia

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Am plecat ieri din Budapesta in jur de 11 dimineata si am ajuns in Bled (Slovenia) la 21:30 – desi drumul trebuia sa dureze doar sase ore. Asta pentru ca:

1. La granita Ungariei cu Croatia doua tiruri s’au ciocnit, si am asteptat in soarele puternic doua ore pina toata coloana de citiva kilometri buni s’a pus in miscare.

2. GPS-ul meu are toate hartile Europei (inclusiv Muntenegru, Bosnia-Herz., Cetatea Vaticanului sau Andorra), insa singura harta care ii lipseste este cea a…. Sloveniei! A trebuit sa ma ghidey dupa harta si m-am ratacit de doua ori. Nu mult, si totusi..

Daca treceti prin Slovenia si aveti GPS cu harta ei, ocoliti autostrazile, fratilor, nu faceti ca mine. E jaf la drumul mare, adica cam un euro la fiecare 10 km parcursi…

Asa ca va salut din superbul orasel de munte Bled (cu munti inalti, lac mare cu apa super curata si un castel in virf de stinca), unde absolut toata lumea vorbeste engleza, franceza sau germana, si unde oamenii sint tot timpul draguti.

Nu cred ca voi mai scrie ceva pina cind ma intorc in Budapesta (simbata seara), asa ca nu va suparati daca nu raspund mesajelor.

Written by Andrei Stavilă

iunie 3, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Publicat în Gânduri

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