The development of bio- and neurotechnology is significantly changing human reality and perceptions of humans themselves. This results not only in the new opportunities, but threats as well. In such conditions, the problem of discrimination gains topicality, and specialized legal or psychological considerations of this issue are no longer sufficient. This article discusses the potential of neuroethics in research and prevention of discrimination associated with the development of neuroscience and neurotechnology. In the scientific sources, there are various interpretations of neuroethics. Therefore, the problem of discrimination is considered in the scope of different understanding of the subject and methods of neuro-ethics. The research methodology is based on two key principles. 1) Transdisciplinarity is understood as the realization of the philosophical methodology of thinking in post-scientific reality. 2) Any issues of the moral and legal field should have a humanitarian dimension. At the same time, a human is viewed as a specific creature uniquely combining in his being opposite characteristics: biological and social, natural vs. artificial, individual vs. collective, and subjective vs. objective. Therefore, the dialectic methodology of thinking seems to be effective. The empirical basis of the study comprises domestic and foreign publications that raise issues of discrimination in connection with the development of neuroscience and neurotechnology. The author suggests that the complex nature of the phenomenon of discrimination is due to 1) the heterogeneity of social reality; 2) the contradictory biosocial nature of a human, suggesting interaction in terms of "competition vs. cooperation"; 3) ideological attitudes and ideas that justify and reinforce in culture the significance of certain differences and the specific attitude towards them. Our regulatory capabilities are connected with the outlook and cultural mechanisms of the regulation of social life. Therefore, it becomes important how the problem of discrimination is raised and solved. The article analyzes the prospects of political, ideological, ethical, scientific and bioethical statement of the problem. It is shown that the bioethical statement of the problem is most consistent with the current socio-cultural processes. The transdisciplinary nature of bioethics helps to maintain a multidimensional vision of the problem, and preserves and reproduces the contradictory human nature in the conditions of modern technological culture. Neuroethics, interpreted as a new ethic of the neurofuture, generates high risks of discrimination. This is due to the loss of the basis of ethical regulation, i.e. a human with his/her specific nature. Serious risks also arise when ethical phenomena are reduced to neurophysiological processes. Neuroethics, understood as the ethics of neuroscience and neuro-interference, has a low potential for preventing discrimination. It can be found in the accumulation of precedents and problematic situations, which are caused by new opportunities and new needs for the development of neuroscience and neurotechnology. Neuroethics as a part of bioethical discourse on the problem field of neuroscience provides a theoretical and methodological opportunity to estimate and prevent possible risks of discrimination.
The present paper critically examines the conflict thesis, which can be traced to the authors of the second half of the 19th century, like Thomas Huxley, John Draper and Andrew White, and which was actively exploited during the Soviet time. This thesis, which states that there is an inevitable conflict between religion and science, is shown to be inapplicable to the history of biology and evolution theory in the 19th century. Instead of conflicting with contemporary science, in that time religious leaders often sought ways of reconciling scientific discoveries and the Christian faith, and sometimes they were even personally engaged in geological and paleontological researches. In this respect the case of William Backland, an Anglican priest and geologist, is of a special interest, because at the beginning of his career he followed the biblical deluge narrative in his geological pursuits, but later abandoned this idea in the face of new facts. Because of the professionalization of science the role, which clergy had played in performing researches, gradually diminished. Nevertheless, religious ideas continued to have a considerable influence on the scientific activity of professional paleontologists and evolutionary biologists. In particular, the concept of creation through evolution, aimed at reconciling scientific worldview and the Christian belief, had been formulated before Darwin published his evolutionary theory, and afterwards it was endorsed by determined Darwinists like American botanist Asa Gray and British naturalist Alfred Wallace. Therefore, it would be a mistake to draw a conclusion about the incompatibility of science and religion in general from the isolated cases of religiously motivated hostility toward the theory of evolution and other scientific ideas.
The problem of normality in psychiatry has not been solved yet. Therefore, a philosophical understanding of the notion of the norm and abnormality becomes particularly important. These two concepts should be discussed together. To solve the problem the author uses the method of analysis of norm and abnormality in psychiatry and fiction. In psychiatry there are only disorders. Their classification was historically developed by means of social construction. The conceptions of normality are different in three kinds of psychiatry. In the state psychiatry it is the absence of social complaints to the person, in commercial psychiatry it is the patient’s mental comfort, in the scientific psychiatry the statistical criterion takes place. Science fiction is a kind of literature where the normality is specially questioned. The author shows that the statistical criterion does not work in defining the norm. We can distinguish the following criteria of normality: 1) normality as a possibility of communication. In the psychiatric situation the communication of the doctor and the patient is also possible. For this, the psychiatrist must carefully and delicately grasp the biased vector of patient’s senses. When the patient turns off, the doctor’s task is to carefully go round and avoid the defense, without breaking it. 2) Normality as a possibility of mutual interaction. For a patient, the interaction with the members of the family is important, as well as with the big society in the process of inclusion. 3) Normality as an adequacy. It is an adequate person who has a non-rigid personal basis, which allows him/her to open himself/herself to a new experience. The psychiatrist must constantly increase the patient’s adequacy with the same accurate ways, as in communication with him. The novelty of the approach is, first of all, to exclude the statistical criterion of the norm and to introduce the criterion of mutual understanding and interaction. The notion of adequacy is also introduced, based on the attitude to the world, openness to it and willingness to interact with it. Fantastic worlds are a model of abnormality, and the subjects of fantastic works are a mental laboratory for understanding and overcoming the mutual abnormality of different cultures and minds.
In this article, the analysis of the age identity is used as a method to indicate the change in the relationships between generations in modern Japan. The age identity is understood as an element of the level model of the identity developed by the author. Perceiving the age identity as a level within which a person, belonging to a certain age, shares or does not share the values and attitudes of his/her generation, and based on the understanding that values and attitudes can change following the time trends, which are especially noticeable in a modern, dynamically changing world, the author analyzes this level and comes to the conclusion whether the values and attitudes of young, elderly and middle-aged people in modern Japan are similar. The socio-philosophical aspect is manifested in the fact that in this study the age level of identity is considered not in a psychological manner, which is quite typical for research of this level, but in terms of the impact, these changes in the consciousness and perception of the world among representatives of different generations have on the society. Characteristics of modern Japanese society are depopulation of the aging society, a decrease in the birth rate and changes in the labor market. The economic difficulties: difficulties with getting a secure job and low income levels lead to the fact that the Japanese start their families later or do not marry at all, and thus the family institution is being transformed. The changes in the family institution are also affected by changes on the gender level, as more and more women want or are forced to work after getting married and birth of children, and government supports them. Norms and values of the older people comply with the traditional understanding of marriage, children and work. However, the socio-economic realities of the modern world determine the change in norms and values for the middle-aged and young people. And this change does not create an acute conflict of generations, due to the continuing traditionalism and conservatism of the Japanese society.
One of the reasons contributing to the “instant” (according to historical standards) conquest, subjugation and actual destruction of the multimillion civilizations of the New World was the extermination of the rational basis of civilization, understood as a complex of religious, cosmological, philosophical views and educational structures, which provided their maintenance. The most illustrative example is the civilization, traditionally called the Aztec Empire. It was the first on the path of the conquerors and the most “alive”, developed and numerous at that time. Paradoxically, that nowadays we can judge the existence of the Aztecs’ complex system of the world perception and religious-philosophical thinking that united all spheres of human life and society in integrity by texts in the Nahuatl language (common to the population of Central Mexico), which did not have alphabetic script. We have the opportunity to assess the role of the rational worldview in the lives of the peoples who inhabited Central America on the eve of the conquest by testimonies and stories of the conquistadors about the ancient knowledge transmitted by the oral tradition and the pictorial “books” that survived in the first years of the conquest. All these texts were recorded in the Nahuatl language (in the Latin script), or in the Spanish language. The task of this work is to identify the points of conflict between the two civilizations in the rational-philosophical aspect. One of the parties has already stepped on the path of the anthropogenic development, armed with "advanced" weapons and a militant monotheistic religion, with pronounced missionary aspirations. The other is a traditional society characterized by a pronounced "national idea" based on the religious cosmological worldview, a strict social organization, a universal education system, the existence of clear laws regulating all spheres of everyday life and an astronomically verified system of calculating the years and human destinies. It can be concluded that the strength of civilization i.e. its organization and established order, turned out to be a weak link, the destruction of which led to the disintegration of integrity. The destruction of the basis, the loss of the higher meaning, the core of this well-functioning effective mechanism, caused the collapse of the whole system: religious rituals, economic organization, administrative structures, education, upbringing and everyday life.
The paper discusses the most general social, philosophical and macrosociological ideas of Marxism. Marx and Engels used several arguments for their thesis on the socio-economic character of the "basis" when referring policy, state and entire spiritual and cultural sphere to the "superstructure". Each of these arguments is partly right but mainly misleading. The importance of material production for social processes and historical dynamics is not denied, but along with this factor there are always others, no less, and sometimes more powerful ones. Dühring argued rather naively in favor of his thesis of the primacy of power and violence. The Engels's counter-arguments are smart and sometimes sophisticated but should be revised. The analysis of social relations implicitly hidden in ‘property’ shows the fundamental nature of not only order, power and violence relations that reinforce property, but also the importance of normative cultural patterns and psychological attitudes. Technological progress loses the status of the main driver of historical dynamics and social evolution, it remains a very important factor, but only among other no less significant drivers of change. Social revolutions quite often eliminate the political forms that have become inadequate, but they are by no means the only, or the main, factors of such changes. The state is not at all an "instrument" of the class of exploiters (feudal lords, capitalists). The state and the state class (officials) are almost always an independent subject with their own interests, world vision, and resources. Marxism is firmly associated with the struggle for social justice, against class inequality, against the exploitation of man by man, against enslavement. As far as people continue to strive to improve their social status, class polarization, this or that measure of exploitation, social injustice always take place, and break through all attempts at restrictions and equalization. This means the inescapability of the demand for justice, which nourishes and will always nourish the high posthumous reputation of Marx, the emergence of more and more devotees of Marxism.
The placement of Marx, together with Marxism, in a religious context may seem strange, at least to those people who still remember “opium for the people” and “a sigh of the oppressed creature”. There is a habit of associating the author and his teachings exclusively with the forms of scientific knowledge. However, it turns out that a more careful and consistent examination shows that despite the prevailing stereotype of the exclusively scientific identification of the Marxist doctrine, referring Marxism precisely to the religious context allows to understand its true place in history and culture. As the Russian philosopher of the Silver Age, S. N. Bulgakov, said, religion carries “the highest and last values that a person recognizes above himself and higher than himself, and that practical attitude, a human being is put in, in relation to these values”. But what are values? Values are the ultimate basis of choice and goal setting. Religion is the social form of the hierarchy of values existence. The article substantiates the thesis that the genesis of Marxism was the product of a complex collision in a general cultural process that embraced philosophy, science, and religion in their interrelation. The features of the interaction of these cultural phenomena in a certain social context explain the culturological features of religion, which are inherent in Marxism.
The paper analyzes K. Marx’s theoretical heritage from the modern standpoints, especially regarding his political and economic works. The author tries to answer the question – why his ideas were popular in the past and remain popular at present. The author discusses K. Marx’s scientific program and paradigm and shows that his scientific program fundamentally differs from those of other leading economists of the first half of the 19th century and his paradigm – from that of classical economics. Marxism created his own original paradigm which combined elements of classical economies and historical school. The paper also shows how K. Marx’s scientific program and some basic elements of his economic theory influence the works of scientists working within alternative schools. The author presents his critical notes to several elements of K. Marx’s theory, namely his historical concept, sociology, and especially, political economy. The author pays special attention to the terms used by K. Marx which allow making ambiguous conclusions and avoiding the critics. The author highlights the influence of Marx’s works on the choice of the subject and statement of problems made by researchers of neoclassical, Austrian, and institutional schools of economics. A major achievement of Marxism is that K. Marx states the problem of how modern bourgeois societies emerge, develop, and die as well as their institutional systems which define the economic dynamics and distribution of public wealth. The way how the Marxists explain economic processes (such as dynamics of prices, profits, and incomes, cyclical patterns of production development, and many others) as well as theories of historical dynamics, why states rise and fall, class structure of societies, and inefficiency of decentralized market economies have not been verified. However, at present K. Marx’s works are very attractive due to the ambiguity of his criticism of bourgeois society and, above all, an aphoristic nature and emotionality of his works. The reason for this is an integrated character of K. Marx’s political, economic, sociohistorical, and even ideological and psychological doctrine. As compared to Marx’s doctrine, modern science is comprised of specialized sectors and, therefore, it is less attractive and understandable.
There is a fundamental difference between the human migration movements of the past and those of the beginning of the 21st century. The latter impose the need for a cultural assimilation of the migrants which they cannot master within one generation. This cultural transformation includes a human densification into a new living space, i.e. the essentially technology-based megapolises, which altogether represent the equivalent of an artificial planet. This new planet does not provide new resources or additional free spaces for an overall growth of material wealth. On the contrary, it asks for a drastic reduction of individual freedoms. The stability, even the survival of these mega centers is at stake without consistent subdivisions of the overall shrinking of spaces needed for all kinds of movements and of a consistent restriction of the exploding communicative interference within and between these mega centers. This essay is aimed at a first-hand analysis of a possible introduction of digital borders without which adequate legal spaces appear infeasible as an indispensable framework of this artificial new planet.
The author substantiates his opinion that I. A. Goncharov's novel "Oblomov" is a philosophical and symbolic literary text. The method of symbolization the characters allows the author to include into the novel a system of philosophical ideas revealing the cultural and historical specificity of Russia. So, for example, the character of Oblomov, according to the author, was formed as a generalizing type of some psychological traits of real Russian people. But gradually it was transformed into a symbol of the Russian "in general". Another character, Andrey Stoltz, symbolically embodies the synthesis of the Russian world and the West. Not only people perform a symbolic function in the novel. Oblomov's gown is a symbol of the Islamic East, which is sharply different from the Indo-Buddhist Far East. Thus, the philosophical depth of the novel is achieved through symbolization of characters, not by a collision of abstract ideas. The philosophical content of the novel is to identify the specificity of Russia (the "Russian soul") in its opposition to "the West" and "the East”. The "West" is treated as the mechanical, moving force, opposed to the fixed, inert "East". At the same time, the Western principles are immanent to the Russian ones, while the Eastern principles are transcendent, and they are connected with the Russian principles only mechanically. The specificity of Russia is in its "spiritualized" impulse towards the transcendental meaning of the existence. The philosophical content of the novel, thus, reproduces the Slavophile complex of ideas. However, unlike the Slavophiles, Goncharov created the novel not about greatness, but about self-destruction of the "Russian soul." The main characters of the novel experience an existential crisis due to the loss of meaning in life. But the feminine part of the "Russian soul", which embodies its dynamic and strong-willed principle, is not capable of transcendence. And the male part of the "Russian soul", which has this transcendence ability, is weak-willed, passive and cannot resist the fatal influence of the "East". Thus, the novel "Oblomov" is considered to be anti-Eurasian and it warns against "the Eurasian temptation".