Category Archives: Volume 11, no. 3 (2016)

Understanding Technology?

We are facing radical changes in our ways of living in the nearest future. Not necessarily of our own choice, but because tchnological development is moving so fast, that it will have still greater impact on many aspects of our lives. We have seen the beginnings of that change within the latest 35 years or so, but according to newest research that change will speed up immensely in the nearest years to come. The impact of that change or these changes will affect our working life immensely as a consequence of automation. How these changes are brought about and which are their consequences in a broad sense is being attempted to be understood and guessed by researchers. No one knows for sure, but specific patterns are visible. This paper will not try to guess, what will come, but will rather try to understand the deepest ”nature” of technology in order to understand the driving factors in this development: the genesis of technology in a broad sense in order to contibute to the understanding of the basis for the expected development.

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Arguments for the Normative Validity of Human Rights. Philosophical Predecessors and Contemporary Criticisms of the 1789 French Declaration of Human and Civic Rights

The paper highlights clashes between different conceptions of right, law and justice crystalizing in the French Declaration of Human and Civic Rights from 1789 and the criticisms it aroused. Hobbes’ Leviathan (1651) and Rousseau’s Social Contract (1762) are discussed as important predecessors. The philosophical conceptions of law, justice and right stated by Hobbes and Rousseau and in the Declaration will be discussed in connection with two seminal criticisms. By excluding women from politics, Olympe de Gouge objected, the Declaration contradicted the universal understanding of human rights. Jeremy Bentham protested against the Declaration’s core idea of inalienable human rights.

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The Discourse on Human Rights and the International Regime of Human Rights

The international regime of human rights governs the kinds of freedoms, liberties, benefits, autonomy and protection human beings are entitled to, and what obligations we have in this regard to make these rights real. The sources, foundation and justifications for these rights and who we are by nature to deserve some rights have always been  contentious over the centuries, not least because we live in social context requiring balancing rights by meeting the broader community interests: political order, stability, and satisfying the general welfare. This paper re-visits of of the key contentious issues and positions surrounding the discourse on human rights, for purposes of understanding how the international community has navigated when shaping the contours of the international regime of human rights. The paper will cast light on some of the positions that have been endorsed, rejected or avoided by the international community making one wonder whether the international regime of human rights follows a clear political ideology.

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Whistleblowing as Employee’s Freedom of Speech. Günther Wallraff’s authorship as an illustrative case

In this paper, we use Günther Wallraff’s authorship as an illustrative case in order to discuss whistleblowing understood as employees’ freedom of speech. We define the phenomenon according to significant democratic values; the public, fallible search for a deeper truth. When it comes to the sources, our point of departure is based on several of the most significant books published by Wallraff during a period from the end of the 1960-ties to the end of the 1980-ties.  We trace some of the personal motivation behind his whistleblowing-project in Marxism and focus that he applies the undercover methods of journalism on the profession of journalists themselves. We argue that the Wallraff-case deals with three important issues; 1) investigative journalism linked to the discussion of the legitimacy of lying, 2) freedom of speech as an active choice of publically disclosing unethical behavior and different types of repression in organizations, and 3) Wallraff’s whistle-blowing in organizations as related to analogues modern types of freedom of speech. In the end, we use different social theories to explain why the type of whistleblowing Wallraff is famous for was necessary.

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Human Rights. The question of origins

The article outlines two traditions of philosophical thought proposing each their understanding of human rights. The significance of these two traditions goes beyond the question of rights and touches on the role of morality in human life. One tradition considers that humans have limited social obligations towards each other in order to ensure peaceful co-existence, while the other tradition considers moral perfection an essential aim of social life, thus enabling man to realize its humanity. This outline is attended by a critique of Samuel Moyn’s book The Last Utopia. Finally, the article proposes a third conception based on autonomy.

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The Fourth Age of Political Communication: Democratic decay or the rise of phronetic political communication?

The ‘fourth age’ of political communication is emerging. In the fourth age the logics of media and digitization shapes the public sphere, because algorithms and polarized drama increasingly determine what we become aware of in digital and mass media. The result may very well be a less informed public sphere. The emerging class of policy professionals has the opportunity to mix the logics of mediatization and digitization. While such a mix may very well lead to democratic decay, based on elitism, it may also hold fruitful potentials for a more democratic and ethical type of political communication, called phronetic political communication.

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From Piketty’s Capital to Marx’s das Kapital

Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century has created a very new platform for a discussion of the global economy. There is possibly no other book on economy which has been published in so many languages, printed in so many copies, and has found its way to such a varied global public. Piketty’s Capital has been discussed in many high ranked academic journals, and at the same time, it has come out to a broader audience with advertisements in places like the underground public transportation in metropolises around the world. The title of the book is also very ambitious in so far as the title Capital claims to be a follow up of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital for the twenty-first century. Piketty is similar to Marx in his ambition to give a large historical, or a world historical perspective on the significance of capitalist economy for the development of global society. Given this background it could be interesting to consider the relations between Piketty’s Capital and Marx’s Das Kapital.

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