Next Issue
Previous Issue

Table of Contents

Humanities, Volume 2, Issue 2 (June 2013), Pages 119-327

  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-11
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle Sustainability—What Are the Odds? Envisioning the Future of Our Environment, Economy and Society
Humanities 2013, 2(2), 119-127; doi:10.3390/h2020119
Received: 15 January 2013 / Revised: 21 March 2013 / Accepted: 21 March 2013 / Published: 26 March 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (258 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article examines the concept of sustainability from a global perspective, describing how alternative futures might develop in the environmental, economic, and social dimensions. The alternatives to sustainability appear to be (a) a catastrophic failure of life support, economies, and societies, or [...] Read more.
This article examines the concept of sustainability from a global perspective, describing how alternative futures might develop in the environmental, economic, and social dimensions. The alternatives to sustainability appear to be (a) a catastrophic failure of life support, economies, and societies, or (b) a radical technological revolution (singularity). The case is made that solutions may be found by developing a global vision of the future, estimating the probabilities of possible outcomes from multiple indicators, and looking holistically for the most likely paths to sustainability. Finally, an intuitive vision of these paths is offered as a starting point for discussion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humanity’s Future)
Open AccessArticle Can Scholarly Communication Be Multilingual? A Glance at Language Use in US Classical Archaeology
Humanities 2013, 2(2), 128-146; doi:10.3390/h2020128
Received: 3 February 2013 / Revised: 21 March 2013 / Accepted: 22 March 2013 / Published: 26 March 2013
PDF Full-text (284 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Classical archaeology is one of the few humanities in which several European languages, above all English, German, French and Italian, are used for specialized communication, in particular for scholarly publications. From previous research, it appears that non-English speaking archaeologists tend to feel [...] Read more.
Classical archaeology is one of the few humanities in which several European languages, above all English, German, French and Italian, are used for specialized communication, in particular for scholarly publications. From previous research, it appears that non-English speaking archaeologists tend to feel a certain discomfort at the lack of impact of publications written in languages other than English. This article aims to analyze the attitudes of US classical archaeologists towards multilingualism and reception of non-English research publications. A survey of US university archaeologists was conducted, which demonstrates that they are convinced that scholarly communication in the field must remain multilingual, thus showing an attitude similar to that of their European colleagues. As for reception of non-English archaeological literature, language barriers seem to be growing, both in teaching and research, due to current US language and library policies. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle Biodiversity, Extinction, and Humanity’s Future: The Ecological and Evolutionary Consequences of Human Population and Resource Use
Humanities 2013, 2(2), 147-159; doi:10.3390/h2020147
Received: 29 November 2012 / Revised: 19 March 2013 / Accepted: 21 March 2013 / Published: 2 April 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (66 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Human actions have altered global environments and reduced biodiversity by causing extinctions and reducing the population sizes of surviving species. Increasing human population size and per capita resource use will continue to have direct and indirect ecological and evolutionary consequences. As a [...] Read more.
Human actions have altered global environments and reduced biodiversity by causing extinctions and reducing the population sizes of surviving species. Increasing human population size and per capita resource use will continue to have direct and indirect ecological and evolutionary consequences. As a result, future generations will inhabit a planet with significantly less wildlife, reduced evolutionary potential, diminished ecosystem services, and an increased likelihood of contracting infectious disease. The magnitude of these effects will depend on the rate at which global human population and/or per capita resource use decline to sustainable levels and the degree to which population reductions result from increased death rates rather than decreased birth rates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humanity’s Future)
Open AccessArticle Forced Execution of the Elderly: Old Law, Dystopia, and the Utilitarian Argument
Humanities 2013, 2(2), 160-175; doi:10.3390/h2020160
Received: 27 March 2013 / Revised: 20 April 2013 / Accepted: 23 April 2013 / Published: 29 April 2013
PDF Full-text (74 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This essay focuses on a play that Thomas Middleton co-authored on the topic of forced execution of the elderly, The Old Law (1618–1619). Here, the Duke of Epire has issued an edict requiring the execution of men when they reach age eighty [...] Read more.
This essay focuses on a play that Thomas Middleton co-authored on the topic of forced execution of the elderly, The Old Law (1618–1619). Here, the Duke of Epire has issued an edict requiring the execution of men when they reach age eighty and women when they reach age sixty—a decree that is justified on the basis that at these ages, they are a burden to themselves and their heirs, as well as useless to society. I argue that Old Law responds to an issue as old as Plato and as recent as twenty-first century dystopic fiction: should a society devote substantial resources to caring for the unproductive elderly? The conflict between Cleanthes and Simonides about the merits of the decree anticipates the debate between proponents of utilitarian economics and advocates of the bioethical philosophy that we today describe as the Ethics of Care. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Art of Democracy—Art as a Tool for Developing Democratic Citizenship and Stimulating Public Debate: A Rortyan-Deweyan Account
Humanities 2013, 2(2), 176-192; doi:10.3390/h2020176
Received: 27 March 2013 / Revised: 19 April 2013 / Accepted: 25 April 2013 / Published: 6 May 2013
PDF Full-text (84 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Richard Rorty holds that the novel is the characteristic genre of democracy, because it helps people to develop and to stabilize two crucial capabilities the ideal inhabitants of democratic societies should possess: a keen sense for anti-foundationalism and a disposition for solidarity. [...] Read more.
Richard Rorty holds that the novel is the characteristic genre of democracy, because it helps people to develop and to stabilize two crucial capabilities the ideal inhabitants of democratic societies should possess: a keen sense for anti-foundationalism and a disposition for solidarity. He believes that novels help develop these capabilities by educating our capacity for criticism and our capacity for attentive-empathetic perception. This article argues in favor of this Rortyan idea, showing how anti-foundationalism and solidarity can be seen as important instances of what I will call 'dispositions for democratic citizenship' and that art (and not only novels) and its reception, are valuable tools for advancing these dispositions. However, as the Rortyan public-private dichotomy assigns art’s function of criticism only to the private sphere, Rorty ignores its potential for stimulating democratic public deliberation and he misses the fact that art’s functions of criticism and of attentive-empathetic perception partially depend on each other if they are effectively to lead to increased solidarity and change social realities. Thus this article argues—taking these objections into account—to slightly modify, but nevertheless value Rorty’s idea that art and its reception are crucial resources for democratic citizenship and for the process of democratic deliberation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Legacy of Richard Rorty)
Open AccessArticle Reconsidering Richard Rorty’s Private-Public Distinction
Humanities 2013, 2(2), 193-208; doi:10.3390/h2020193
Received: 25 March 2013 / Revised: 2 May 2013 / Accepted: 8 May 2013 / Published: 13 May 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (78 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article provides a new interpretation of Richard Rorty’s notion of the private-public distinction. The first section of the article provides a short theoretical overview of the origins of the public-private distinction in Rorty’s political thought and clarifies the Rortian terminology. The [...] Read more.
This article provides a new interpretation of Richard Rorty’s notion of the private-public distinction. The first section of the article provides a short theoretical overview of the origins of the public-private distinction in Rorty’s political thought and clarifies the Rortian terminology. The main portion of the article is dedicated to the critique of Rorty’s private-public distinction, divided into two thematic sections: (i) the private-public distinction as undesirable and (ii) the private-public distinction as unattainable. I argue that Rorty’s formulation provides plausible answers to the first kind of criticism, but not to the second. Finally, a reformulation of the private-public distinction will be suggested, which both mitigates the second line of criticism and better coheres with Rorty’s general theory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Legacy of Richard Rorty)
Open AccessArticle The Speculative Neuroscience of the Future Human Brain
Humanities 2013, 2(2), 209-252; doi:10.3390/h2020209
Received: 3 March 2013 / Revised: 23 April 2013 / Accepted: 27 April 2013 / Published: 21 May 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (247 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The hallmark of our species is our ability to hybridize symbolic thinking with behavioral output. We began with the symmetrical hand axe around 1.7 mya and have progressed, slowly at first, then with greater rapidity, to producing increasingly more complex hybridized products. [...] Read more.
The hallmark of our species is our ability to hybridize symbolic thinking with behavioral output. We began with the symmetrical hand axe around 1.7 mya and have progressed, slowly at first, then with greater rapidity, to producing increasingly more complex hybridized products. We now live in the age where our drive to hybridize has pushed us to the brink of a neuroscientific revolution, where for the first time we are in a position to willfully alter the brain and hence, our behavior and evolution. Nootropics, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), deep brain stimulation (DBS) and invasive brain mind interface (BMI) technology are allowing humans to treat previously inaccessible diseases as well as open up potential vistas for cognitive enhancement. In the future, the possibility exists for humans to hybridize with BMIs and mobile architectures. The notion of self is becoming increasingly extended. All of this to say: are we in control of our brains, or are they in control of us? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humanity’s Future)
Open AccessArticle Inquiring into Red/Red Inquiring
Humanities 2013, 2(2), 253-277; doi:10.3390/h2020253
Received: 21 December 2012 / Revised: 20 May 2013 / Accepted: 21 May 2013 / Published: 23 May 2013
PDF Full-text (892 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This layered account of an inquiry into ‘red’ emerged out of a collective biography workshop. In the middle of the Wiltshire countryside, an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars gathered together to write and make other things and marks on paper that [...] Read more.
This layered account of an inquiry into ‘red’ emerged out of a collective biography workshop. In the middle of the Wiltshire countryside, an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars gathered together to write and make other things and marks on paper that asked questions of, and into, the spaces between words, people, things and their environments. We did not set out to workshop or write into or paint ‘red’ but, rather, it was red that slipped in, uninvited, and painted and wrote us. Red arose as a blush or a stain seeping amongst us that became referenced obliquely by material objects, metaphors and fairytales. The stain spread, became noticeable through our weekend together and beyond it, creating another (bright red artery) vein of connection to write with. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art and Words)
Open AccessArticle Evolutionary Medicine and Future of Humanity: Will Evolution Have the Final Word?
Humanities 2013, 2(2), 278-291; doi:10.3390/h2020278
Received: 29 April 2013 / Revised: 21 May 2013 / Accepted: 28 May 2013 / Published: 5 June 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (191 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Evolutionary medicine in its classical form assumes that since cultural evolution is faster than biological evolution, ailments of modern people are a result of mismatch between adaptations to the past environments and current situations. A core principle is that we, humans, having [...] Read more.
Evolutionary medicine in its classical form assumes that since cultural evolution is faster than biological evolution, ailments of modern people are a result of mismatch between adaptations to the past environments and current situations. A core principle is that we, humans, having evolved for millions of years in a specific natural environment (environment of evolutionary adaptation EEA) are biologically adapted to this past environment and the ancient lifestyle. This adaptation to the past produces major mismatch of our bodies with the present, highly anthropic and thus “artificial” living conditions. This article provides two areas of possible future evolution, diet and physical activity levels which have been dramatically altered in industrialised societies. Consequently, micro-evolution is an on-going process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humanity’s Future)
Open AccessArticle Taking Rorty’s Irony Seriously
Humanities 2013, 2(2), 292-312; doi:10.3390/h2020292
Received: 4 May 2013 / Revised: 26 May 2013 / Accepted: 6 June 2013 / Published: 12 June 2013
PDF Full-text (105 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Richard Rorty’s Contingency, Irony and Solidarity (CIS) is an ambitious and provocative, but for many readers a deeply flawed work. This paper argues that many of its apparent flaws can be understood as integral to Rorty’s attempt to write a [...] Read more.
Richard Rorty’s Contingency, Irony and Solidarity (CIS) is an ambitious and provocative, but for many readers a deeply flawed work. This paper argues that many of its apparent flaws can be understood as integral to Rorty’s attempt to write a work of private, post-theoretical irony. The paper’s first section outlines the substantive theoretical claims about language, selfhood and community which Rorty proposes as an antiessentialist alternative to ‘metaphysics’. The second identifies three difficulties—residual dualism, conceptual problems with the public-private distinction, and the work’s self-referential consistency—which constitute serious, but obvious problems for those substantive claims. The third section argues that Rorty’s metaphilosophical discussion of ‘ironist theory’ suggests CIS should be read as a personal work of irony which eschews theoretical ambitions, showing how this is consistent with and provides a motive for accepting the presence of conspicuous difficulties. The final section considers how the work’s metaphilosophical views interact with its substantive theoretical claims. The work’s irony is interpreted as resulting from the tension between these, so as to coexist rather than conflict with Rorty’s enduring commitments to liberalism and pragmatism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Legacy of Richard Rorty)
Open AccessArticle Contingency, Irony and Morality: A Critical Review of Rorty’s Notion of the Liberal Utopia
Humanities 2013, 2(2), 313-327; doi:10.3390/h2020313
Received: 29 April 2013 / Revised: 16 June 2013 / Accepted: 17 June 2013 / Published: 20 June 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (73 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper introduces Richard Rorty’s notion of the liberal ironist and his vision of a liberal utopia and explores the implications of these for philosophical questions concerning morality, as well as morality in general. Rorty’s assertions of the contingency of language, society [...] Read more.
This paper introduces Richard Rorty’s notion of the liberal ironist and his vision of a liberal utopia and explores the implications of these for philosophical questions concerning morality, as well as morality in general. Rorty’s assertions of the contingency of language, society and self are explored. Under the contingency of language, the figure of the ironist is defined, and Rorty’s conception of vocabularies is discussed. Under the contingency of society, Rorty’s definition of liberalism, his opposition of literary culture to materialist and metaphysical culture, and his notions concerning utopian politics are discussed. Under the contingency of self, Rorty’s critique of Kantian and his appropriations of Deweyan and Freudian conceptions of morality are presented. Other key factors discussed are Rorty’s theory of the separation of the private and public spheres of life and his ideas concerning cruelty and human solidarity. In this way, a critical analysis of Rorty’s proposed balance between private, ironic doubt and public, liberal social hope is presented and assessed in terms of its merit as a system of thought suited to the needs of post-metaphysical, liberal societies. Full article

Journal Contact

MDPI AG
Humanities Editorial Office
St. Alban-Anlage 66, 4052 Basel, Switzerland
humanities@mdpi.com
Tel. +41 61 683 77 34
Fax: +41 61 302 89 18
Editorial Board
Contact Details Submit to Humanities
Back to Top