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Comments to the blog "Views on War in Ukraine"

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6 months 1 week ago #1 by Webmaster (DM)
Comments to the blog "Views on War in Ukraine" was created by Webmaster (DM)
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  • Daniela Schmitz Wortmeyer
5 months 3 weeks ago - 5 months 3 weeks ago #2 by Daniela Schmitz Wortmeyer
Replied by Daniela Schmitz Wortmeyer on topic Understanding War: Beyond Competing Narratives
@ Dr. Dragan Stanar : Understanding War: Beyond Competing Narratives - 30-03-2022
Congratulations on the lucid perspective. If I may add a few thoughts, the very nature of meaning-making processes is profoundly affective, so that rational explanations and justifications often occur in an attempt to organize and stabilize deeply “irrational” dispositions that usually remain in the background of the human psyche. It also applies to the construction of the “other” in conflict settings, which commonly works in a specular way, so that negative evaluations are fully projected onto the other by both parties. In such context, although it is possible to understand the defensive function of this mechanism, the growing stiffening of Manichean interpretations and the narrowing of identity boundaries do NOT pave the way for mutual understanding and conciliation. Besides that, it is also worth noting that this process is channeled by different groups and social institutions in pursuit of their own interests. Perhaps the moment will soon arrive when reason will be removed from its throne, in favor of a more comprehensive and realistic conception of human nature - which does not mean accepting irrationality, but seeking an understanding of the human beings in their fullness, beyond the surface of social constraints.
Last edit: 5 months 3 weeks ago by Manfred Rosenberger.

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  • Carl-Mathias Wilke
5 months 3 weeks ago #3 by Carl-Mathias Wilke
Replied by Carl-Mathias Wilke on topic War of Aggression – A New Reality?
What we are experiencing in Eastern Europe these days is just another piece of the puzzle in the context of power politics, here the war as a mere continuation of politics with other means (according to Carl von Clausewitz). The question always arises: who can prevent wars from being waged? In other words, who can enforce peace?
This leads to the millennia-old dispute as to who is the final authority: the state or the church. In recent centuries – at least since the French Revolution – this question has increasingly been answered in favor of the state. No state today wants its sovereignty to be denied, allowing it to decide for itself how it wants to exercise its monopoly of power internally and externally. Ethics and morals as decision criteria must often take a back seat to power interests, economic necessities or fears of survival.
Despite all the similarities between religions, they too are only of limited use in disciplining politics. Rather, they are often used by politicians to justify their own decisions. And if that doesn't work, then they are sometimes ignored.
Ultimately, the UN is also just an alliance between states in which, despite all honest efforts to achieve peace in the future, only a minimal consensus has been agreed. The sovereignty of a signatory state remains unaffected. In other words, the UN is not a world government, just an intergovernmental agreement. The USA for example would never think of ceding even one of its sovereign rights to the UN. Rather, the USA withdraws from UN organizations if it does not fit into their political concept (e.g. withdrawal from UNESCO on January 1st, 2019). The same applies to understanding how the United Kingdom, Russia or the Republic of France understands the UN.
Understanding this is particularly important in Germany, where the general understanding is that the UN is still viewed as a supranational authority of last resort. That's just the mistake! What was true thousands of years ago applies to the war in Ukraine: the law of the strongest. You don’t may definitely like that. But the aggressor from the Kremlin can only be held accountable by earthly standards if you are stronger in the end.

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  • Kathy
5 months 3 weeks ago #4 by Kathy
Replied by Kathy on topic War of Aggression – A New Reality?
I agree with you. Ukraine is a small country compared to Russia. But she showed her steadfastness and strength. Putin wanted to take Kyiv in 3 days. But more than a month has already passed, as the brave Ukrainians are fighting for their freedom. Neighbors have no right to tell us how to live. It is urgent to close the sky over Ukraine!!! NATO should help Ukraine in this!

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  • Dragan Stanar
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5 months 3 weeks ago #5 by Dragan Stanar
Replied by Dragan Stanar on topic Understanding War: Beyond Competing Narratives
Dear Daniela,
I fully agree with your comments! If I'm not mistaken, there is a noticeable undertone of "Humean" logic present in your argument: if reason is but a slave of our passions, it can only serve to rationalize our not-so-rational dispositions. I don't think anyone would disagree with this “function” of reason today. Unfortunately, war is THE phenomenon that proves this. Including the ongoing war in Ukraine, of course.However, moral philosophy depends on us freeing our reason from its slavery. Or at least doing our best to do so. True moral judgment cannot be made without rational comprehension of the phenomenon, practice, or process we wish to properly morally evaluate. We must observe what we aim to evaluate objectively and impartially. À propos the mentioned Hume’s conception of reason - there is an adverb in English language that perfectly epitomizes how we must morally evaluate things: dispassionately! If we allow our irrationalities and “passions” to govern our moral reasoning, regardless of how deeply they truly are hardwired in us humans, we can achieve no true moral understanding of right and wrong. Moreover, we can only achieve a disastrous metamorphosis of ethics into a “rational” instrument of justification of all of our irrationalities and “passions”.To conclude: despite the fact that I fully agree with you that a “more comprehensive and realistic conception of human nature” must equally take into account both our rational dimension AND our irrationalities and passions, our moral judgment must be deprived of all “passions” - it must be dispassionate. Admittedly, it seems as though no task is more difficult that this one.

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  • Daniela Schmitz Wortmeyer
5 months 3 weeks ago - 5 months 3 weeks ago #6 by Daniela Schmitz Wortmeyer
Replied by Daniela Schmitz Wortmeyer on topic Understanding War: Beyond Competing Narratives
Dear Dragan! Thank you for your comments. The theme really opens a wide scope for discussion regarding the role of affects in human conduct.
Despite understanding the relationship you established with Hume's conceptions, I personally did not mean that affects should necessarily be considered with such a distrust and negative connotation, which results in the proposal that they must be controlled and supposedly suppressed from judgment by force of reason. In fact, from a cultural psychological perspective of semiotic dynamics (Valsiner, 2014), I assume that humans inevitably relate to their environments based on their sensitive capacities, which gradually acquire more diferentiated emotional tones and later develop into more generalized feelings and values, through a process cognitively mediated by the use different types of signs.
Therefore, meaning-making is always and inevitably modulated by affective dispositions and moral assumptions, even if these are not entirely accessible by consciousness, or even if they are suppressed from consideration by cultural constraints.
From this perspective, the way to arrive at a more objective and less partial assessment of events is to recognize one's own semiotic-affective background, as well as to try to apprehend the different backgrounds that may be present in the situation at hand, in an exercise of psychological distancing and perspective-taking. In my view, if we obstinately try to suppress affective considerations from analysis, we may never understand “rationally”, for example, why others (as well as ourselves) so adamantly defend some positions, which are based on values and beliefs, with profound affective roots grounded in individual and collective trajectories that can be objectively articulated only in limited ways.
Developing genuine empathy requires integration of the cognitive and affective dimensions, which is essential to coordinate perspectives and try to build truly satisfying solutions to conflicts. Of course, this is not an easy task, especially when people are linked to situations by strong emotional reactions, so it may be necessary to rely on a third party relatively distant from the focus of tensions to mediate such processes.
Anyway, as I said initially, there is room for a long discussion on the subject from different disciplinary lenses, and I hope I could be a little clearer about my initial thoughts on your article. Best regards!
Last edit: 5 months 3 weeks ago by Manfred Rosenberger.

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