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Seven Days with Second-Order Cybernetics
Heinz von Foerster was the inventor of second-order cybernetics, which recognizes the investigator as part of the system he is investigating. The Beginning of Heaven and Earth Has No Name provides an accessible, nonmathematical, and comprehensive overview of von Foerster’s cybernetic ideas and of the philosophy latent within them. It distills concepts scattered across the lifework of this scientific polymath and influential interdisciplinarian. At the same time, as a book-length interview, it does justice to von Foerster’s élan as a speaker and improviser, his skill as a raconteur.Developed from a week-long conversation between the editors and von Foerster near the end of his life, this work playfully engages von Foerster in developing the difference his notion of second-order cybernetics makes for topics ranging from emergence, life, order, and thermodynamics to observation, recursion, cognition, perception, memory, and communication.The book gives an English-speaking audience a new ease of access to the rich thought and generous spirit of this remarkable and protean thinker.
Ten Catholic Intellectuals
How do Catholic intellectuals draw on faith in their work? And how does their work as scholars influence their lives as people of faith?For more than a generation, the University of Dayton has invited a prominent Catholic intellectual to present the annual Marianist Award Lecture on the general theme of the encounter of faith and profession. Over the years, the lectures have become central to the Catholic conversation about church, culture, and society.In this book, ten leading figures explore the connections in their own lives between the private realms of faith and their public calling as teachers, scholars, and intellectuals.This last decade of Marianist Lectures brings together theologians and philosophers, historians, anthropologists, academic scholars, and lay intellectuals and critics.Here are Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., on the tensions between faith and theology in his career; Jill Ker Conway on the spiritual dimensions of memory and personal narrative; Mary Ann Glendon on the roots of human rights in Catholic social teaching; Mary Douglas on the fruitful dialogue between religion and anthropology in her own life; Peter Steinfels on what it really means to be a liberal Catholic; and Margaret O'Brien Steinfels on the complicated history of women in today's church. From Charles Taylor and David Tracy on the fractured relationship between Catholicism and modernity to Gustavo Gutirrez on the enduring call of the poor and Marcia Colish on the historic links between the church and intellectual freedom, these essays track a decade of provocative, illuminating, and essential thought. James L. Heft, S.M., is President and Founding Director of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies and University Professor of Faith and Culture and Chancellor, University of Dayton. He has edited Beyond Violence: Religious Sources for Social Transformation in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Fordham).
Race, Sexuality, Animality
In contemporary race and sexuality studies, the topic of animality emerges almost exclusively in order to index the dehumanization that makes discrimination possible. Bestial Traces argues that a more fundamental disavowal of human animality conditions the bestialization of racial and sexual minorities. Hence, when conservative politicians equate homosexuality with bestiality, they betray an anxious effort to deny the animality inherent in all sexuality. Focusing on literary texts by Edgar Allan Poe, Joel Chandler Harris, Richard Wright, Philip Roth, and J. M. Coetzee, together with philosophical texts by Derrida, Heidegger, Agamben, Freud, and Nietzsche, Peterson maintains that the representation of social and political others as animals can be mitigated but never finally abolished. All forms of belonging inevitably exclude some others as "beasts." Though one might argue that absolute political equality and inclusion remain desirable, even if ultimately unattainable, ideals, Bestial Traces shows that, by maintaining such principles, we exacerbate rather than ameliorate violence because we fail to confront how discrimination and exclusion condition all social relations.
Metaphor's Metaphysical Neighborhood
Plato's chora as developed in the Timaeus is a creative matrix in which things arise and stand out in response to the lure of the Good. Chora is paired with the Good, its polar opposite; both are beyond beingand the metaphors hitherto thought to disclose the transcendent. They underlie Plato's distinction of a procreative gap between being and becoming. The chiasmus between the Good and chora makes possible their mutual participation in one another. This gap makes possible both phenomenological and cosmological interpretations of Plato. Metaphor is restricted to beings as they appear in this gap through the crossing of metaphor's terms, terms that dwell with, rather than subulate, one another. Hermeneutically, through its iswe can see something being engendered or determined by that crossing.Bigger's larger goal is to align the primacy of the Good in Plato and Christian Neoplatonism with the creator God of Genesis and the God of love in the New Testament.
The Practice of Religious Studies
This book provides philosophical grounds for an emerging area of scholarship: the study of religion and dance. In the first part, LaMothe investigates why scholars in religious studies have tended to overlook dance, or rhythmic bodily movement, in favor of textual expressions of religious life. In close readings of Descartes, Kant, Schleiermacher, Hegel, and Kierkegaard, LaMothe traces this attitude to formative moments of the field in which philosophers relied upon the practice of writing to mediate between the study of religion,on the one hand, and theology,on the other.In the second part, LaMothe revives the work of theologian, phenomenologist, and historian of religion Gerardus van der Leeuw for help in interpreting how dancing can serve as a medium of religious experience and expression. In so doing, LaMothe opens new perspectives on the role of bodily being in religious life, and on the place of theology in the study of religion.
Remaking Literature Through Cinema and Cyberspace
Since the earlier twentieth century, literary genres have traveled across magnetic, wireless, and electronic planes. Literature may now be anything from acoustic poetry and oral performance to verbal--visual constellations in print and on screen, cinematic narratives, or electronic textualities that range from hypertext to Flash. New technologies have left their imprint on literature as a paper-based medium, and vice versa. This volume explores the interactions between literature and screenbased media over the past three decades. How has literature turned to screen, how have screens undone the tyranny of the page as a medium of literature, and how have screens affected the page in literary writing? This volume answers these questions by uniquely integrating perspectives from digital literary studies, on the one hand, and film and literature studies, on the other. "Page" and "screen" are familiar catchwords in both digital literary studies and film and literature studies. The contributors reassess literary practice at the edges of paper, electronic media, and film. They show how the emergence of a new medium in fact reinvigorates the book and the page as literary media, rather than signaling their impending death. While previous studies in this field have been restricted to the digitization of literature alone, this volume shows the continuing relevance of film as a cultural medium for contemporary literature. Its integrative approach allows readers to situate current shifts within the literary field in a wider, long-term perspective.
Developing Data-Based Information Policy Strategies
After broadband access, what next? What role do metrics play in understanding “information societies”? And, more importantly, in shaping their policies? Beyond counting people with broadband access, how can economic and social metrics inform broadband policies, help evaluate their outcomes, and create useful models for achieving national goals? Broadly described, this book addresses those questions. Information metrics are important, and often political. For example, what does it mean that one economy is ranked higher than another on a list of some e-measure? Any deeper understanding of a complex, multi-dimensional set of variables based on extensive data is lost in an international game of “we’re better than you are” or asking “how can we catch up?” While there is broad international consensus that policy decisions are improved if they are informed by empirical data, there is no accepted standard as to which data matters. Many possible information indicators have been measured. But standing alone, what do they tell us? Which ones are important? Does their selection predetermine certain outcomes? Can they be transformed into truly useful policy tools? How do we know which data to collect, unless there are identified goals? This book is divided into two parts – the first deals with theoretical aspects of measuring information and the issues that should be taken into consideration when designing broadband-focused information policy; while the second demonstrates how data has been both used and abused for argumentation purposes with regards to choices among different policy paths.
The Postmonolingual Condition
Monolingualism-the idea that having just one language is the norm is only a recent invention, dating to late-eighteenth-century Europe. Yet it has become a dominant, if overlooked, structuring principle of modernity. According to this monolingual paradigm, individuals are imagined to be able to think and feel properly only in one language, while multiple languages are seen as a threat to the cohesion of individuals and communities, institutions and disciplines. As a result of this view, writing in anything but one's "mother tongue" has come to be seen as an aberration.Beyond the Mother Tongue demonstrates the impact of this monolingual paradigm on literature and culture but also charts incipient moves beyond it. Because newer multilingual forms and practices exist in tension with the paradigm, which alternately obscures, pathologizes, or exoticizes them, this book argues that they can best be understood as "postmonolingual" that is, as marked by the continuing force of monolingualism.Focused on canonical and minority writers working in German in the twentieth century, Beyond the Mother Tongue examines distinct forms of multilingualism, such as writing in one socially unsanctioned "mother tongue" about another language (Franz Kafka); mobilizing words of foreign derivation as part of a multilingual constellation within one language (Theodor W. Adorno); producing an oeuvre in two separate languages simultaneously (Yoko Tawada); writing by literally translating from the "mother tongue" into another language (Emine Sevgi Ozdamar); and mixing different languages, codes, and registers within one text (Feridun Zaimoglu). Through these analyses, Beyond the Mother Tongue suggests that the dimensions of gender, kinship, and affect encoded in the "mother tongue" are crucial to the persistence of monolingualism and the challenge of multilingualism
Commemoration, Religion, and Responsibility after Hiroshima
This monograph explores the ethics and religious sensibilities of a group of the hibakusha (survivors) of 1945's atomic bombings. Unfortunately, their ethic of "not retaliation, but reconciliation" has not been widely recognized, perhaps obscured by the mushroom cloud symbol of American weaponry, victory, and scientific achievement. However, it is worth examining the habakushas' philosophy, supported by their religious sensibilities, as it offers resources to reconcile contested issues of public memories in our contemporary world, especially in the post 9-11 era. Their determination not to let anyone further suffer from nuclear weaponry, coupled with critical self-reflection, does not encourage the imputation of responsibility for dropping the bombs; rather, hibakusha often consider themselves "sinners" (as with the Catholics in Nagasaki; or bonbu unenlightened persons in the context of True Pure Land Buddhism in Hiroshima). For example, Nagai Takashi in Nagasaki's Catholic community wrote, "How noble, how splendid was that holocaust of August 9, when flames soared up from the cathedral, dispelling the darkness of war and bringing the light of peace!" He even urges that we "give thanks that Nagasaki was chosen for the sacrifice." Meanwhile, Koji Shigenobu, a True Pure Land priest, says that the atomic bombing was the result of errors on the part of the Hiroshima citizens, the Japanese people, and the whole of human kind. Based on the idea of acknowledging one's own fault, or more broadly one's sinful nature, the hibakusha's' ethic provides a step toward reconciliation, and challenges the foundation of ethics by obscuring the dichotomyies of right and the wrong, forgiver and forgiven, victim and victimizer.To this end, the methodology Miyamoto employs is moral hermeneutics, interpreting testimonies, public speeches, and films as texts, with interlocutors such as Avishai Margalit (philosopher), Sueki Fumihiko (Buddhist philosopher), Nagai Takashi (lay Catholic thinker), and Shinran (the founder of True Pure Land Buddhism).
Religious Sources of Social Transformation in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
In an age of terrorism and other forms of violence committed in the name of religion, how can religion become a vehicle for peace, justice, and reconciliation? And in a world of bitter conflicts-many rooted in religious difference-how can communities of faith understand one another?The essays in this important book take bold steps forward to answering these questions. The fruit of a historic conference of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars and community leaders, the essays address a fundamental question: how the three monotheistic traditions can provide the resources needed in the work of justice and reconciliation.Two distinguished scholars represent each tradition. Rabbis Irving Greenberg and Reuven Firestone each examine the relationship of Judaism to violence, exploring key sources and the history of power, repentance, and reconciliation. From Christianity, philosopher Charles Taylor explores the religious dimensions of categoricalviolence against other faiths, other groups, while Scott Appleby traces the emergence since Vatican II of nonviolence as a foundation of Catholic theology and practice. Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia, discusses Muslim support of pluralism and human rights, and Mohamed Fathi Osman examines the relationship between political violence and sacred sources in contemporary Islam.By focusing on transformative powers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the essays in this book provide new beginnings for people of faith committed to restoring peace among nations through peace among religions.