Transylvanian Review 1/2013

 

Transylvanian Review, Vol. XXII (Spring), No 1, 2013

 

Contents/Sommaire

 • Paradigms

Adrian-Paul Iliescu • How Is Equality Possible? An Analysis of the Idea of Intrinsic Equality • p. 3

Abstract – How Is Equality Possible? An Analysis of the Idea of Intrinsic Equality – The present study focuses on a particularly important meaning of the term equality, namely, the one that inspires the general principle that all human beings, as human beings, are equally important, or do count equally, and deserve equal respect. While the idea that people are fundamentally equal is nowadays almost taken for granted, the meaning of the concept of ‘equality’ is still under dispute, and the clarification of the idea that ‘fundamentally, humans are equal’ is far from being complete. This stems from certain confusions that are being made in this context between concepts like ‘empirical’ and ‘typological,’ ‘empirical’ and ‘normative,’ ‘natural’ and ‘empirical,’ and between ‘intrinsic equality’ and ‘equality as an intrinsic value.’ The author then goes on to examine the unavoidably relative nature of the value judgments applied to human beings, in its multiple facets.

Keywords – equality, equality principle, human rights, relativity, Locke, Kant

 

Mihail Radu Solcan • An Algorithmic Perspective on Denotation • p. 17

Abstract – An Algorithmic Perspective on Denotation – The paper focuses on the algorithms we use for the discovery of denotations; these algorithms are built by exploiting clues contained in the expressions formulated in natural language. The paper analyzes examples from Russell’s “On denoting” (1905). It stresses the idea that algorithms do not function as meanings. They must be considered from the perspective of the actions of the persons who use a natural language. In conclusion, the paper proposes a distinction between effective denotation, the output of an algorithm, and presumed denotation, the result of mere talk about linguistic clues.

Keywords –analytic philosophy, language, clues, computer, algorithms, actions, denotation

 

Valentin Mureşan • An Organization’s Moral Topography • p. 33

Abstract – An Organization’s Moral Topography – Starting from a considerable body of experience, including the personal one, the author remarks that even in an organization having a good code of ethics, as well as the means to enforce it, one usually ignores how to react adequately when a new and surprising moral event arises, the dominant reaction being a chaotic behavior of the staff, administrative solutions instead of ethical ones, and superficial measures taken under media pressure. The author suggests a way in which to diminish these bad effects. The organization has to establish “moral routes” for guiding moral behavior in a mature way to reach the best solutions efficiently; these routes may be part of the code of ethics as chains of procedural rules. They are similar to the evacuation plan in case of fire. The density of the moral routes in an organization may be seen as a measure of its moral content. What the author calls the “great moral route” is a meta-procedure for the right behavior inside a moral organization inspired by the methodological side of the “two levels” “Kantian-utilitarianism” of R. M. Hare.

Keywords – ethical decision-making, moral content, moral route, code of ethics, ethics management, R. M. Hare

Mircea Dumitru • Truthmakers for Modals: Meaning, Truth, Modals and Quantifiers     • p. 47

Abstract – Truthmakers for Modals: Meaning, Truth, Modals and Quantifiers – The study begins with the outline of a general theory of truthmaking. Then, the author raises some issues for the theory in its application to modal languages and points to some specific ans­wers. In the remaining part the paper explores some ramifications of this topic and discusses issues pertaining to meaning, truth and quantification in modal contexts and discourse. The upshot is to lay the ground for a theory of truthmakers for modal languages and modal truths. The author intends to investigate the prospects and ramifications of modal actualism, and against this background to develop a view which is anti-realist concerning the existence of possible worlds but which is free to use possible‑worlds semantics.

Keywords – truthmakers, modals, quantifiers, truth, possible worlds

 

• Philosophy

 

Mihai Maci • Quand Aristote n’a pas raison: Zevedei Barbu entre la philosophie et l’engagement communiste • p. 70

Abstract – When Aristotle Is Wrong: Zevedei Barbu between Philosophy and Communist Involvement – Despite his international notoriety, Zevedei Barbu’s name remains unknown to Romanian philosophy. Assistant to Lucian Blaga, underground communist, high official within the “popular democracy,” the philosopher chooses exile in 1947 and remains in England where he will become known as a political scientist. Rejecting the formalism of Aristotelian categories, Zevedei Barbu (1914–1993) tries—following the main developments in Western thought—to formulate a dialectical history of materialist dialectics. Watching how thought is becoming aware of its own content and, at the same time, how it is opening itself towards the natural world, the thinker is successful in setting the philosophical tradition within the patterns of dialectical materialism, without falling into the clichés of the state propaganda of that time. But exactly the fact that it is deliberately kept in the land of philosophy makes his endeavor show the incongruence between the flexibility of a thought in motion and the schematic dogmatism of official communism. The only true philosophical work of a Romanian communist (The Development of Dialectical Thought, Paris, 1947) is also the book of his separation from communism.

Keywords – Zevedei Barbu, Aristotle, Hegel, Romanian philosophy, dialectics, communism

 

Marţian Iovan • Eugeniu Sperantia’s Outlook on the Connections between Law, State, Nation and Ideologies • p. 91

Abstract – Eugeniu Sperantia’s Outlook on the Connections between Law, State, Nation and Ideologies – This paper seeks to highlight the original contribution of a Romanian scholar, Professor Eugeniu Sperantia (1888–1972) of Cluj, in the development of several disciplines, such as: juridical philosophy and sociology, the theory of state, legislation, government and nation. His contribution arises from the fact that his approach was founded on humanistic and rationalistic bases. Between the state, as an overarching institution on a territory defined by precise borders, on the one hand, and legislation, juridical norms, government and national life, on the other hand, there are reciprocal connections, driven by a historical dynamic. The ideologies, beliefs and mindsets of social groups leave their mark on these connections, with intensities and results varying from one historical period to another. The sociological analysis of the evolution of state and law, the use of interdisciplinary and systemic research methodology enabled Sperantia to devise a theory of the field he investigated, which remains topical and useful even today.

Keywords – philosophy of law, state, nation, ideologies, Eugeniu Sperantia

 

• Europe


Ştefan Melancu • La crise de l’esprit et des valeurs européennes • p. 104

Abstract – The Crisis of the European Values and Spirit – The study is a synthetic presentation of the positions adopted by a number of leading intellectuals—Valéry, Patočka, de Rougemont, Bernanos, Havel—with regard to the spiritual and axiological crisis experienced by postwar European society and to its implicit consequence, demoralization and the lack of motivation, in an attempt to identify  the mechanisms of a cautious and reflective optimism.

Keywords – spiritual crisis, Europe, Paul Valéry, Václav Havel, Jan Patočka


Titus Corlãţean • The Reform of the European Mechanism (echr) for the Protection of Human Rights • p. 112

Abstract– The Reform of the European Mechanism (echr) for the Protection of Human Rights – The European mechanism for the protection of human rights established by the Council of Europe is based on the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights. The increase in the number of State Parties and consequently in the number of the individual complaints addressed to the European Court obliged the member states to promote several reforms of the legal system in Strasbourg. The protocol 14 to the European Convention, adopted on 13 May 2004, put in place the latest reform in this regard.

Keywords – European Convention on Human Rights, European Court, reform, Protocol 14

 

• Tangencies

Constantina Raveca Buleu • Memra: The First Romanian Esoteric Journal • p. 121

Abstract – Memra: The First Romanian Esoteric Journal – Still poorly known and only sporadically approached in the intellectual history of the period, Marcel Avramescu is the key figure of Romanian interwar esotericism. He founded Memra (1934), the only interwar Romanian esoteric periodical, and played the role of bizarre sage and magic trickster, the main protagonist of the so-called “esoteric” generation, which included, amongst others, the historian of religions Mircea Eliade. Playfully hiding behind many made-up and eccentric names and signatures (Ionathan X. Uranus, Mark Abrams, The Astro-Magus a.s.o.), Marcel Avramescu went through an avant-garde period, then an openly esoteric one, indebted to René Guénon, and finished by becoming an Orthodox priest. The present study analyzes Marcel Avramescu’s activity as the editor of Memra, his relationship with René Guénon, as reflected in several esoteric theoretical texts he authored, and the socio-cultural profile of Romanian interwar cultural life, as a specific mixture of modern and traditionalist ideologies.

Keywords – René Guénon, tradition, esotericism, theosophy, avant-garde, Romania, interwar period, Mircea Eliade, Marcel Avramescu

 

• Agora

Victor Spinei • Contacts between the Romanians and Turkic Nomads: Disinformation, Mystification and Xenophobia: N. Berend • p. 132

Abstract – Contacts between the Romanians and Turkic Nomads: Disinformation, Mystification and Xenophobia: N. Berend – The article is a polemical response to a review published by Nora Berend to V. Spinei’s book Romanians and the Turkic Nomads North of the Danube Delta from the Tenth to the Mid-Thirteenth Century (2009), focusing on Nora Berend’s lack of familiarity with the specific subject matter and on her poorly disguised bias against the Romanians. The author argues that the review in question was meant neither to present the book, nor to analyze its contents. Instead, Nora Berend’s goal was to incriminate the author, and to proclaim guilt before any evidence was presented. Dismantling Nora Berend’s statements and demonstrating the fallacious nature of her arguments, the author nevertheless admits that the translation of his book and some formulations in it can be found to be unfortunate.

Keywords – Nora Berend, Vlachs, Turkic nomads, medieval Moldavia, Pechenegs, Cumans, Cuman Bishopric, Peter and Asen

• Book Reviews

Anton-Joseph Ilk, Die mythische Erzählwelt des Wassertales (reviewed by Csilla Ruff) • p. 142

Adrian Onofreiu & Ioan Bolovan, Contribuţii  documentare privind istoria regimentului grãniceresc nãsãudean (reviewed by Ion Cârja) • p. 144

Toader Ionescu, Dezvoltarea Transilvaniei în viziune economicã: Schiţã analitico-istoricã (reviewed by Florica ªtefãnescu and Anca Dodescu) • p. 146

Basarabia 1812–1947: Oameni, locuri, frontiere (reviewed by Cornel Constantin Ilie) • p. 148

Gerald Volkmer, Die Siebenbürgische Frage (1878–1900): Der Einfluss der rumänischen National­bewegung auf die diplomatischen Beziehungen zwischen Österreich-Un­garn und Rumänien (reviewed by Mircea Gheorghe Abrudan) • p. 150

Giovanna Motta, ed., Studi sull’Europa orientale: Un bilancio storiografico. Una nuova generazione di storici (1970–2010)(reviewed by Ion Cârja) • p. 153

Mihaela Frunzã, Expertizã eticã şi acţiune socialã (reviewed by Elena Abrudan) • p. 155

 

• Contributors • p. 159

 

 

 

 

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