This issue of OZ is an eclectic collection of articles
from international and Russian publications of
contemporary and classic works. This issue, just
like our regular end-of-the-year one, is polythematic.
On this occasion, we have switched the
focus from Russia to the world. We present multiaspect
view of the primordial and actual economic,
cultural, and philosophical problems that are
pertinent for people all around the globe. The
themes touched upon are purposes, ways and
means of the university in the postmodern world,
the relationship between Europe and the United
States, American foreign policy, the quality of the
mainstream analytical discourse on this policy, its
alternative interpretations, internal problems of
today’s democracy, the emerging European identity,
existential self-perceptions of the modern man
as opposed to the reality around him, possible
models of global government, etc. Examination of
the Russian themes is confined to the perceptions
of the domestic media market and reforming the
It is impossible to forecast if the international community at some point is going to come to form a “world government.” A number of governing bodies, both regional and global, economic and ecological, government and non-government, may be a better alternative, as Robert Wright points out. Supervising these governing bodies by the United Nations, which already has authority over numerous evolving institutions, is yet another — and not unreasonable — option. Whereas various scenarios can be envisioned, it is most likely that the new supernational level of government will make nation states provincial. This shift of concentration of the power seems to be conditioned by distinct thousand-year-old technological tendencies which do not tend to slow down. The vaster the body of empirical phenomena that have been entered into the “hard disk” of the world, the faster the pace of change in the world. Almost everything around us gets outdated at an evergrowing speed, which includes our own experience. According to Odo Marquard, this makes us alienated from the world. The German philosopher diagnoses conditions and malaises of the modern man and provides necessary prescriptions.
Associate Professor in the Literature Program at Duke University, Michael Hardt and Italian philosopher Antonio Negri in their Empire give an outlook of today’s cultural, economic, and legal transformations taking place all over the globe. The new emerging empire is different from those of the past; it is also not merely a development of international capitalism.
The war on terrorism which officially started after 9/11 and building the European community as a new type of supernational unity are the key processes that have started the new century and that will long determine its main tendencies. Ruslan Khestanov questions whether the crisis of European-American relations is going to become a historic schism of Western civilization.
Expert of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Robert Kagan aims to uncover the deep roots of the strategic discord that is clouding the today’s relationship between the USA and Europe. Whereas the current American policy is determined by the “psychology of power,” the European one, on the contrary, is conditioned by the “psychology of weakness.” According to Kagan, the West could regain its lost cohesion if Europe started developing its own military potential and the USA launched a more flexible approach to solving international riddles, which would take into account the interests of their partners.
The belligerent past of all European nations used to sow the seeds of yet more bloody encounters. Analyzing this experience of military and ideological mobilization against each other made the nations welcome new supernational forms of international cooperation. The successful history of building of the European Union convinced Europeans that renunciation of exercising state violence requires corresponding limitation of state sovereignty on the global level. With the decline of colonialism, former empires received an opportunity to reflect on the fruit of their imperialism. They got to learn to look at themselves from the viewpoint of the “defeated.” From this new perspective, they reconsidered their own dubious role of “winners” accountable for the modernization that they had forced upon peoples while depriving them of their traditions. According to Jacques Derrida and Jurgen Habermas, the change of perspective gives the European nations a chance to give up their Eurocentrism and give another life to the Kantean idea of global internal policy.
What is today’s Europe? According to the Swiss writer, literary critic, and historian of literature Adolf Muschg, it is a fact that is becoming such because it is being created as such, and because people aspire to create it. The “European Federation” is not just a new artifact in the history of mankind; the phenomenon is a source not only of inspiration but also of great caution. Muschg ponders the issue of evolving European identity. He states that Europe in the process of self-organization must be as smart as life itself understood as a constant search for an unsteady equilibrium.
The war in Iraq almost drove a wedge between Europeans and Americans. Umberto Eco in an essay on the appropriateness of the war argues that Western intellectuals must not allow the conflict to bring ultimate disunity to the Western world. Respect for American people, culture, and tradition as well as sympathy for the pain caused by the tragedy of 2001 should not ban people’s critical thinking about politics and government actions. Eco shares a European intellectual’s viewpoint of the situation.
Jean Baudrillard wrote his “La Masque de la Guerre” not long before the start of the military campaign in Iraq. He thinks that the conflict was a phantom event programmed to induce the establishment of the secure world order based on preventive terror.
Speaking of the common ‘European house,’ Italian philosopher and member of European Parliament Gianni Vattimo aims to find common values that would mold Europe on the deep level of culture. Vattimo finds such values while juxtaposing Europe and the United States. Europeans are less religious and trust the state more than the Americans. Hence the greater disposition of the former as compared to the latter to the social welfare state.
Entrepreneurial practices that have been introduced to American higher education by the early 1900s became unprecedented in their size and scope by the end of the century. However expedient earning their own money in order to solve various institutional needs may seem to the universities, a vast body of evidence shows that the tendency erodes not only subtle values of higher education but also weakens the foundations of the democratic society. Derek Curtis Bok, lawyer, Harvard law Professor, former Dean of Harvard Law School and Harvard University President (1971-1991) reveals the mechanism that corrupts morality and curtails freedom of university officials, faculty, students, and broader society.
In his University in Ruins, Bill Readings analyzes the reasons of the pitiful state of the contemporary Western university as a social institution. The condition, as Readings discerns, has grown out of the succession of the three main concepts underlying the institution: the Kantian concept of reason, Humboldt’s concept of culture, and today’s techno-bureaucratic notion of excellence. Readings testifies that the university has outlived its raison d’etre defined two centuries ago as a molding force of national culture, “be it an ethnic essence or republican will;” it has lost its immunity against the outer world and become enmeshed in the global capitalism.
The advent of “tech-science” ruined the margin that Kant used to demarcate “technical” and “architectonic” domains of the university when he was elaborating the general systematic organization of knowledge that was to become a model of the university organization. Jacques Derrida aims to define the rational grounds and the idea of the university as seen by its alumni. He calls for a new type of responsibility that implies commonness of thought at large, not of a philosophical, humanitarian, or scientific pursuit. This common thought addresses its questions to the essence of mind, rational argument, and to the fundamental and primordial values, i.e., to arkhe. This thought aims to scrutinize all the consequences of such questioning. This thought has to rethink the substance of a community and the substance of an institution. Another infinite task of this thought is to bring to light all the contrivances of the applied and expedient mind that ventures to entrap and expropriate the most disinterested and unselfish investigations in order to reinvest them in all sorts of projects. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with applied research per se, and that any expediency should be opposed. What Derrida is arguing for is the necessity of advances that would pave the way for the new kinds of analysis of one’s ultimate goals and, if possible, for taking one’s own decisions.
While opposing Jose Ortega Y Gasset who asserted that any research activity must be cast outside the ivory tower, Herman Heimpel argues for the Humboldt’s model of the university that unites teaching and research. Science is not merely research and free investigation; it is also a tradition. Any discovery – even if it aims to undermine the tradition – is in fact a part of that tradition. Research needs the university not only as a receiver of its product but also as a nutrient. Not only does research instruct its university – the university also instructs the research. Research is revolution whereas the university is a tradition. These two tendencies should not be associated with different types of people; they must not be understood as a need to expel revolutionaries while resorting just to teachers who stick to the tradition. On the contrary, the university is the main, though not the only, institution of science that combines in itself analysis and synthesis, revolution and tradition, conservatism and freedom. Hence the high-tension university atmosphere created by the poles of revolution and tradition.
In his The University: An Owner’s Manual, former Harvard dean Henry Rosovsky gives an animated and witty account of the work routine of today’s university administrator.
We publish a speech by Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz on his assumption of the office as a rector of the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin on October 15 1877. The scientist praises German universities as compared to British and French ones. The main merit and distinctive feature of the German university, according to Helmholtz, is academic freedom and bringing together lectures and research by the teaching staff.
We publish a lecture by Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890) on Christianity and scientific knowledge. With rhetorical splendor, Newman states that the pursuit of truth is an essential responsibility of the university under the auspices of which both laymen and clerics must join their efforts.
Clarence J. Robinson Professor at George Mason University and former Professor of Government at Harvard University, Hugh Heclo argues that although political life in the United States has become extraordinarily open and democratic, average Americans become ever more conspicuously alienated from politics. Heclo supposes that, in order to draw the “hyperdemocracy” back under the control of the society, Americans must do their best to enhance the dialogue between social strata. This dialogue has to be made more honest, meaningful, and responsible.
Professor at the University of Maryland and former editor of the Northern Virginia Sun newspaper, Herman J. Obermayer pictures the decadence of the Russian market of daily newspapers. The reasons for the stagnation, as Obermayer reveals, are of psychological (enduring Soviet-times prejudices against advertising, etc.), political, and economic nature (such as the bondage between most regional periodicals and their respective regional administrations). Obermayer notes that the country’s editors and reporters will go on upholding traditions of their Soviet predecessors until the standards of the journalistic education are changed. Today, graduates of 65 Journalism Departments that are state-licensed start working without having any notion of the Western concept of objective reporting, journalistic ethics, financial independence of media or their role in monitoring activities of authorities.
Professor of the Sorbonne and editor of the Arabica journal, Mohammed Arkoun in his article “Islam et democratie. Quelle democratie? Quel Islam?” states that analytical discourse on the global political situation that was launched by the events of 9/11 lacks objectivity. While trying to explain the puzzle, the authors of discourses on today’s Islam are not really looking for ways of solving it and stick to ready-to-use images of both Western and Islamic traditions. The author aims to discern what is today’s democracy and what is today’s Islam everybody is talking about.
Expert on Russian defense issues, Roger McDermott writes on the priorities of President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in reforming the Russian military. He overviews the symptoms of the current crisis in the army, such as low funding, lack of accommodation, the decline of morale, along with authoritative measures and rhetoric in the period 1997-2002. The author concludes that radical military reform is not feasible without creating a professional army that should be based on corporate and professional ethics embedded in the system of military education.