Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Democratic experimentalism: pragmatist and intercultural approach

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.10.00  Humanities  Philosophy   

Code Science Field
H120  Humanities  Systematic philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, epistemology, ideology 
Democracy, experimentalism, interculturality, pragmatism, Unger, human rights, Indian social philosophy, Chinese social philosophy, Turkey, Islamic democracy, Indian democracy, Confucianism, Islamic values, Asian values
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (8)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  20000  PhD Jan Bednarich  Philosophy  Researcher  2008 - 2009  66 
2.  22368  PhD Nadja Furlan Štante  Theology  Researcher  2010 - 2011  243 
3.  29045  PhD Tomaž Grušovnik  Philosophy  Researcher  2008 - 2011  374 
4.  24430  PhD Helena Motoh  Philosophy  Researcher  2008 - 2011  179 
5.  21580  PhD Rok Svetlič  Philosophy  Researcher  2008 - 2011  293 
6.  18054  PhD Lenart Škof  Philosophy  Head  2008 - 2011  500 
7.  21338  PhD Anja Zalta  Culturology  Researcher  2008 - 2009  383 
8.  20023  PhD Ernest Ženko  Philosophy  Researcher  2008 - 2011  227 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  1510  Science and Research Centre Koper  Koper  7187416000  13,877 
After the standard western model of liberal and social democracy faced its crisis, its consequence being social problems and poverty in the less developed or so called big marginalized countries (Brasil, Russia, India, China, Indonesia), the question of how cultural and value differences of various civilization circles will provide their answers and proposals for reshaping and enrichment of the basic democratic institutions of the modern world steps to the forefront. Pondering upon this answers and proposals, which will according to the Ch. Taylor be one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century, represents one of the most important tasks of contemporary pragmatist philosophy, which derives its importance from the central notion of the practical difference, i.e. the difference within our future experience, which was for the first time mentioned by William James and further expanded by John Dewey, who was one of the first scholars to use it within the intercultural context and thereby anticipated democratic experimentalism of R.M. Unger, i.e. restoring the social space, which could help creating better conditions of democratic life through alternative ideas and visions about democratic society. On this theoretic background, which opens up the question of the possibility of new social hope, the project Democratic experimentalism: pragmatist and intercultural approach will try to connect this thought to intercultural context and raise a question about intercultural potential of islamic, indian and chinese visions of the democratic mode of human coexistence for the western model of progressive alternative to democracy. At the same time, the project will examine the birth and ideal of western idea of universal human rights and in a similar way try to reconsider the alternative suggestions for understanding human rights inside different cultural and civilizatin circles. The concrete research of intercultural sources, which is guaranteed by the professional competences of the researchers, will 1.) on topic, concerning India, entail reflection on contrast between Indian ideal of respecting human rights of all social classes, arising from the tolerant hindu ideal of Tagore and Gandhi and astonishing ignorance of this ideal in practice. Based on the strong communitarian potential of indian democracy, reflected in the notion of communality, connected to the idea of double freedom – the freedom of individual and society – the project will try to find out, which traditional hindu topics together with the democratic culture of coexistence can help to overcome this contrast and how this can affect euro-american understanding of democracy. 2.) Within Chinese political philosophy the research will be oriented towards monitoring the suggestions for so called future confucian democracy, entailing different undestanding of the content and extent of human rights, based on the understanding of the ‘fa’ law, which contains different idea of universality than known by the euro-american tradition; doing this, the research will separately deal with comparative analisys of some of the violations of the human rights in China. Chinese political philosophy can in this way offer more communitarian vision of the human coexistence, bearing resemblance to the pragmatist idea of coexistence intertwined with solidarity. 3.) In considering the Turkish socio-political situation, the research will follow historical unfoldment of the idea of kemalism, consider difficult dilemma between either the secularization of the elite or the islamization of the Turkish state and uncovering Ataturk’s image of Islam and its influence on politics and the ideas on connection between islamic religion and politics that are significant for modern pro-european Turkey. When considering the question of human rights the kurdic question will step to the forefront, i.e. the transition from equality in identity to equality in diversity. Next to concrete analysis of the primary sources
Significance for science
Methodologically speaking, the project's results have brought to light the political and intercultural implications of classical American pragmatism and neo-pragmatism (its potential for intercultural approaches, for socially critical thinking, etc.). Its conclusions primarily refer to the potential of pragmatism to seek and find common ground in various thought systems and directions, as well as in their answers to the challenges of the contemporary world (human rights, democracy and democratization, political ethics). The research surrounding the key pragmatist representatives, James, Dewey, Rorty and Unger, placed in their cross-cultural contexts, has yielded important results (publications in reputable international journals). Particularly significant is the analysis of the pragmatist political ethics and philosophy in relation to Indian and Chinese philosophy. With respect to existing trends in Indian related research, this project is in fact treading entirely new ground, and with respect to China it significantly builds on the results and orientations of those American and Chinese pragmatists whose contributions are published in the seminal work Beyond Liberal Democracy. Despite Slovenia's relatively strong Sinology tradition, the research focus (backed by translations) is more or less confined to the Confucian thought of the classical Zhou period. This project brings attention also to the neo-Confucian philosophy and of course to contemporary Chinese political theory. On the other hand, not many original works dealing explicitly with intercultural theory of human rights are in fact available. In that sense the project (with the publications of its research team) offers a cogent analysis of the current state of the theory of human rights in the so-called Western world, while at the same time sheds new light on their development and perceptions also in Islamic thought, as well as in India and China.
Significance for the country
Work done in the scope of this project proved extremely relevant in the teaching process - mainly within the study programmes of »Philosophy« and »Cultural Studies and Anthropology« at the Faculty of Humanities Koper, University of Primorska. It was applied to different courses within these programmes, mainly to the Philosophy programme courses of »Introduction to Intercultural Thinking« and »Ethics and the Knowledge Society«, and the Cultural Studies and Anthropology programme course of »Anthropology of Asian Religions«. The acquired knowledge was thus transferred directly to the young professionals who can further apply it in a wide range of fields, since the graduates of these programmes seek careers in journalism, NGO's etc. The new knowledge, acquired by the project was also distributed through the media and had an impact on the wider Slovenian society – in the printed media as well as in the TV Slovenia show »Babilon.tv« (co-editor Lenart Škof, PhD) and in many other scientific works of the members of the project team. As for the field of Indian studies, it has to be added that Slovenia still lacks Indology research on the university level. The above-mentioned research has thus provided also a basis for the new study programme of Indology that is being established at the Faculty of Humanities Koper, within the preparatory procedures (accreditation process) of the inter-university master of International Studies (Latin America, India, China; cooperation of FH UP with FM UP, FA UL and FSS UL, coordinator Lenart Škof, PhD). The knowledge and understanding of the background of Indian history and politics and their model of democracy can also contribute to the shaping of the foreign policy of the Republic of Slovenia in the relation to India. As for China, the knowledge and understanding of the background of Chinese politics and first and foremost of their human rights' vision and the models of democracy (and democratisation) can play an important role in shaping of the Slovenian foreign policy. In addition to this, the first translation of one of New-Confucian contemporary political philosophers was also done within the framework of this project.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2008, 2009, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2008, 2009, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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