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International Philosophers for Peace; Cogito; Once More on ‘Realism and the Human Sciences’; Groupe D’Etudes Sartriennes; Deep Ecology

NEWS

International Philosophers
for Peace
In RP41 we reported the formation of International
PhiTos0r,hers for the Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide
(IPPNQ~ Thegroup has now heTd its first mternational
conference. The folJowing is an edited version of the
report on the conference by John SomervilJe, the cochairperson of the North American section of IPPNO.

At the XVllth World Congress of Philosophy, 1983
(Montreal), a group of philosophers representing a great
diversity of views on the basic issues of traditional
philosophy found that they were united by a a new cosmic
fear. This fear, which indeed haunts the whole
contemporary world, arises from the historically new and
increasingly evident capability of nuclear weaponry to
annihilate the whole human world in one relatively brief
conflict.

It was clear that to continue to caU such a conflict
‘war’ would be dangerously misleading because the thing
that has always been caJJed war, and has been with us
since the beginnings of human society, has always been
survivable by humankind, and has sometimes been
conducive to social progress. Since the new weaponry, if
used, could exclude even survival, let alone progress,
nuclear conflict would be not only quantitatively but
qualitatively different from war as we have always known
it. Therefore, a new name that expresses the qualitative
difference is needed. Hence the term nuclear omnicide the killing of aJl humans by some humans, including
themselves.

The need to prevent this kind of total and final suicide
is obviously much greater and much more urgent than the
need to prevent ordinary or conventional war. Hence,
International Philosophers for the Prevention of Nuclear
Omnicide (IPPNO). The keynote of its first International
Conference was-sounded by the Reverend Theodore
Hesburgh, President of the University of Notre Dame, when
he declared, ‘There. is no greater problem in the world
today than the nuclear threat to humanity…. Unless we
solve it there will be no more moral problems because
there wiU be no more human beings to have moral
problems.’

IPPNO’s first International Conference was held in St.

LouiS, Missouri, partly in conjunction with the annual
meeting of the American Philosophical Association May 13, 1986, then continuing at St. Louis University through
May 5. Its General Theme, ‘Philosophy and the New
Problem of Nuclear Omnicide – Analysis, Education,
Action’, was addressed by more than seventy prepared
speakers from eleven countries and four continents in two
multidisciplinary panels and eleven symposia meeting in
morning, .afternoon and evening sessions.

While the problem of preventing omnicide is peculiarly
philosophical in the sense that philosophy in general has
always been concerned with the nature and fate of the
totality of which humankind is a part, and religious
philosophy long ago created eschatology as a study of the

possible ending of the human world, it is also obvious that
other disciplines can and must contribute to this problem
in its contemporary setting. Thus, membership in IPPNO is
open not only to professional philosophers but to other
professionals interested in cooperating with the efforts of
philosophers in this regard, and the conference itself was
inscribed as ‘a contribution to the United Nations
International Year of Peace’.

In keeping with this approach the multidisciplinary
panels, organized by Alexander Gralnick, M.D., Medical
Director of High Point Hospital, brought together
specialists from the fields of medicine, psychiatry,
international affairs, nuclear weaponry and industrial
engineering as weJJ as religion and philosophy. In these
panel discussions, ‘Towards Preventing Nuclear Omnicide’,
the United Nations was represented by Ben Sanders of its
Department for Disarmament Affairs, the (American)
Center for Defense Information by its Director, Rear
Admiral Gene LaRocque, U. S. Navy (Ret.), the USSR
Academy of Sciences by the Director of its Institute of
Philosophy, Professor Vladimir Mshvenieradze, and by
Professor Alexander Kalyadin of its Institute of World
Economy and International Relations, medicine and
psychiatry by Dr Helen Caldicott, founder of Physicians
for Social Responsibility, and Dr Alexander Ciralnick of
the Einstein College of Medicine, international affairs by
Edward Doherty, retired U.S. foreign service officer,
present advisor to the United States Catholic Conference,
industrial engineering by Professor Seymour Melman of
Columbia University, and religion by the Reverend T.

Michael McNulty, S.J., of Marquette University. United
States Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger was
invited, but did not respond.

The symposium topics were as foUows: (1) Nuclear
Weapons and Nuclear Sanity; (2) Star Wars and Earth
Peace; (3) Ideology,_ Human R~ghts and World Peace; (4)
Politics, Religion and Omnicide; (5) Nuclear Deterrence,
Omnicide and Morality; (6) Third World Perspectives and
Nuclear Issues; (7) Education for Peace in a Nuclear
World; (8) Philosophy, Religion, Art and Industry in the
Peace Movement; (9) Human Civilization, Ordinary War
and Nuclear Omnicide; (10) Analytical and Political
Issues in the Contemporary Peace Movement; (11)
Educational and Psychological Factors in the Prevention
of Nuclear Omnicide.

What of the future of IPPNO? The constitution provides
that full-scale international conferences should be
planned bIennially, but should not take place twice in
succession in any country strongly identified with either
NATO or the Warsaw Pact. The reasoning behind this
provision is that the primary danger of fuU-scale nuclear
conflict (omnicide) is centered in the relations between
the USA and the USSR, since the nuclear arsenals that
could annihilate the human world are sited in those two
countries. It follows that the international dialogue that
is most necessary and urgent in the interest of mutual
understanding, increased cooperation and the strengthening
of peace must be carried on between those two countries.

Since IPPNO’s first full-scale international conference
took place1i1″the USA it was hoped from the start that the
second would be possible in the USSR. This hope came to

57

fruition in the confirmation given in St. Louis by the Soviet
representatives that the philosophers of the USSR were
prepared to host the second International Conference of
IPPNO in Moscow in the latter part of June, 1989. This
date rather than 1988 was chosen because 1988 is the year
of the XVIIIth World Congress of Philosophers in Brighton,
England, where IPPNO has already proposed a smallerscale international program on the day reserved for
meetings of philosophical societies. A similar meeting on
the philosophy of peace is also being planned by the North
American Section of IPPNQ together with representatives
of the Polish journal, Dialectics and Humanism, including
its Editor, Professor Janusz Kuczynski. This meeting will
be held in December, 1986, in conjunction with the annual
meeting of the American Philosophical Association in
Boston.

IPPNO’s constitution also provides that each new
International President be chosen from the country that
undertakes to host and organize the next full-scale
International Conference. Since this means that the
international presidency changes with relative frequency,
it was agreed that IPPNO should have two permanent
secretariats to provide f’Or continuity and cooperation in
the keeping of records and documents, payment of dues
($10 a year), and providing assistance to the organizers of
the successive international conferences. It was further
agreed that one of the secretariats, functioning in English,
should be located in North America, and the other,
functioning in Russ~an, in the USSR, each headed by a Cochairperson elected ‘for a term of six years by the
membership of its own geographical area. Each cochairperson will be responsible, separately and
independently, for organizing the staff of the respective
secretariat. At the St. Louis business meeting the North
American delegates elected John Somerville as North
American Co-chairperson.

It was agreed by all that IPPNQ should set up a
quarterly Journal of International Dialogue which would
be published in two editions, one in Russian and one in
English. Each of the two journals would be organized and
funded separately and independently. Although the
contents of each journal would thus be determined by its
own editors, each editorial staff is encouraged to include
international personnel, and material published in either
journal would be available for translation in the other.

Whatever the form and contents of the respective
journals, their common and central aim would always be
dialogue that seeks common ground for the prevention of
omnicide, the strengthening of peace, the increase of
mutual understanding and cooperation. The ideal would
be dialogue characterized by a sense of historically
unprecedented emergency, seeking specific actions or steps
that can be mutuaHy helpful now. In keeping with such
an aim each issue of each journal would have at least a
third of its articles written by authors living and working
in countries outside of the geographical-national limits
and cultural conditions of the area in which the given
journal is published. The readership of each journal
should thus be made aware of living problems, ways of
thinking, arguments, fears and hopes of which they had
little or no previous knowledge. Agreement on ends does
not automatically create agreement on means, in regard to
which differing views need to be argued out. Such articles
could be answered, and the answer could be answered, in
dialogue significantly different from academic polemics
that has no sense of urgency, and is unconnected with
specific actions and socio-political programs. It would be
different also from political polemics of the cold war
type which is centered on what we can disagree with and
condemn rather than what we can agree with and
cooperate with. In mutuaHy helpful dialogue no subject
matter is barred, but success depends on the tone, which
should be that of friend to friend.

It was decided to set up a number of committees that
would help to carry out the work of IPPNQ. Centered as

58

it is upon the active prevention of nuclear omnicide, that
work must extend beyond the purely cognitive aspects of
knowledge and understanding. It must include affective
qualities as weH. That is, it must not only be aimed at
teaching people facts they do not yet know about nuclear
omnicide. It must also be aimed at making them really
believe facts they already know, so that they will act
upon them, which j~ a good test of genuine belief,
especiaHy in circumstances of an emergency. The
incredible truth must be made credible, and indignation
must be demonstrated to be a virtue. Feelings must be
activated and emotions engaged. The best, perhaps the
only, way to do this is to enlist the cooperation of the
arts, including, perhaps especiaHy, the popular arts.

Thus a Committee on the Arts was formed.

A Committee on Peace Education was seen as equally
necessary. Peace education as a separate discipline is
gradually spreading, within different educational systems,
from early grades to the university level, and in the ‘grass
roots’ community. Since the problems arising from the
existence of omnicidal nuclear weapons represent the
most important and urgent component of this new
discipline, its whole content and direction of development
are of vital concern to IPPNQ. This concern is perhaps
felt with a special sharpness in the United States where,
as ‘peace education’ increased and spread among school
systems and institutions of higher learning there was also
an increase of the tendency to construe peace education as
something not centrally concerned with the prevention of
wars between nations, but rather with ‘the management of
conflicts,’ with ways of ‘conflict resolution’ in general.

With this tendency the center of gravity shifts away from
international politics to personal and group relationships
uncontaminated by politics. What develops is not only
something far different from the original intention of the
discipline (however ‘safer’ this different focus may be) but
something that diverts attention away from the nuclear
threat now confronting the entire contemporary world.

As a result of what happened in World War 1I, which
was the most destructive conflict in human history up to
that point, the United Nations as a world organization was
established for the specific purpose of making sure that
any disputes that might henceforth arise among nations
would be settled peacefully by means of processes, rules
and channels of negotiation agreed to by all nations, and
always subject to further modification through agreed
procedures. It stands as the most inclusive and extensive
institution of its kind ever created. Its charter provisions,
in terms of their method of adoption and their content, are
in the mainstream of the modern democratic tradition.

Though its jurisdiction is limited by coHective agreement,
and is sometimes flouted and evaded by state actions that
openly violate the terms of agreement, its clearly stated
principles, if observed and further extended, could
effectively abolish war in general and the threat of
nuclear omnicide in particular.

However, the facts of contemporary history show
numerous instances of the deliberate choice of aggressive
military actions to deal with disputes arising between
nations rather than to choose the processes of peaceful
settlement set up in the UN charter and implemented by
its organs and agencies. Even worse in a sense are
continued instances of the deliberate and explicit threat
of the first use of nuclear weapons, repeatedly rejecting
majority vote after majority vote {eleven times} in which
the UN General Assembly explicitly condemned the first
use of nuclear weapons as something that would be a
crime against humanity and a violation of the United
Nations charter. Therefore, one of the main lines of
IPPNQ’s efforts must be to emphasize the immense danger
that lies in violating the UN charter, or rejecting the
repeated judgments of its most inclusive organ, or
withdrawing from further participation in key agencies of
the United Nations.

A Committee on United Nations Affairs was therefore

set up w!th the aim of spreading the fuJJest possible
knowledge of the uniquely important role of this world
organization in the search for international peace, of
encouraging all people to avail themselves of the vital
information it provides to the public, and of encouraging
all governments to use its resources to the fullest extent.

As the problem of preventing nuclear omnicide has
similarly important relationships with social institutions
like religion and industry, similar committees were set up
in relation to them. In literal fact, if we look upon
IPPNQ as part of the effort to ensure a physical future for
humankind in the face of the present nuclear threat of
physically annihilating everything human, then everything
human ought to resist. Every human institution ought to
make its contribution to this uniquely fateful effort. It
has often been said that the only thing capable of uniting
all humankind in a common struggle would be some
monstrous enemy suddenly appearing from outer space with
weapons capable of exterminating every inhabitant of the
earth. That enemy is no longer in the outer space of
exaggerated imagining. It now confronts us daily in the
all too real nuclear arsenals that could, by human
decision or human accident, be exploded at any moment.

Cogito
A new philosophy magazine, Cogito, has been launched by
the Cogito Society in association with the University of
Bristol. Its aim is to introduce philosophy to a potential
audience that is interested in the subject but lacks the
training needed to tackle difficult texts: The magazine’s
declaration of intent reads as follows:

Cogito will be particularly valuable to sixthformers, some of whom are for the first time being
offered the opportunity to study Philosophy at Alevel. It will provide an introduction to central
phllosophical issues in a way which avoids the
obfuscating jargon that has rendered much of recent
adademic philosophy inaccessible to nonspecialists.

The Cogito Society is not committed to any
particular school or method of phllosophy. Its
central objectives are to promote discussion and
interest in philosophical ideas, and to campaign in
consonance with these aims for the extension of
educational facilities to enable the greatest
number of people to benefit from a philosophical
education.

The magazine is informative rather than
doctrinaire. While every care will be taken to
avoid undue simplification, material will be
presented in a lively and readable form. The
magazine wiU also include a number of rubrics not
usually found in Philosophy journals. Interviews
with leading philosophers. and prominent
personalities engaged in public debate about
topical moral issues will be combined with news
from the world of Philosophy, readers’ letters,
competitions, puzzle pages, etc.

Articles, moreover, wiU not merely report in a
distilled or summary fashion on past and current
views and theories. By presenting issues within a
context which emphasises their relevance and
importance, Cogito aims to engage its readers in
Philosophy, not simply report on it. It thus pursues
what from ancient times was understood to be one
of the main tasks of Phllosophy, that it should
encourage an inquiring temperament and the
sceptical re-examination of accepted beliefs, and
promote creative dialogue rather than a narrowminded academic pursuit or a self-indulgent

intellectual game. In the spirit of these aims,
Cogito addresses itself to its readership, young and
old, and asks for its support.

The Cogito Society programme commences with
the pUblication of the first full issue’ in January
1987. Not yet available from newsagents, Cogito is
published once a term. The annual sUbscription fee
is l4.00 for the magazine, l6.00 for Society
membership and magazine sUbscription. (Society
membership gives you the right to vote on editorial
policy and activities of the Society at the Annual
General Meeting.) Please send all cheques or
postal orders to Cogito, University of Bristol, 9
Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1TB. Please state
number of copies required.

Once More on ‘Realism
and the Human Sciences’

A Conference on ‘Realism and the Human Sciences’ was
held at the Architecture Department of Strathclyde
University, Glasgow, on 26-28 September 1986. The idea
for this conference grew out of a conference on the same
theme (reported by Andrew Collier in RP44) held in
Sussex in December 1985. Like that earlier conference,
the Glasgow ,conference provided a mutually support’ive
cOntext for people working with realist ideas in different
disciplines, whilst at the same time giving space for
dialogue with non-realist traditions. For me, one of the
most stimulating sessions was devoted to the latter
purpose. Barry Barnes gave a carefully and sensitively
argued statement of the interface between realism and his
own ‘minimally realist’ form of relativism. Unfortunately
there was insufficient time really to explore the.

important questions raised by Barry’s talk.

.

The conference had started on Friday evening with an
extended statement by Roy Bhaskar of his thoughts on the
topic of dialectics, presented in the context of his own
earlier work in the philosophy of the natural and human
sciences. On Saturday there were, in addition to the
session on sociology of knowledge, plenary sessions on
feminism and psychoanalysis, and workshop discussions on
aesthetics, theory of knowledge, and economics. Sue
Clegg’s discussion of the concept of patriarchy and the
usefulness of realist philosophy to feminist work
stimulated a very productive discussion. The session on
psychoanalysis featured a fascinating exchange between
David WiU and Michael Rustin on the intellectual
procedures involved in arriving at interpretations in the
therapeutic process. The workshop I attended was
introduced by Alison Assiter, who presented a
psychoanalytical interpretation of the dominancy of
visual metaphors in the theory of knowledge, focusing
(there I go again) on the philosophy of Descartes.

Sunday’s sessions included reflections on realist
method in the human sciences from John Allen and John
Urry. These had, for me, a special interest, in that they
both posed interesting and important questions from the
standpoint of substantive research in the human sciences,
and combined to show how big an impact realism is
capable of making on the way research is done. The final
session began with talks by Andrew Collier and myself on
realism and emancipation. Though there were some
important points of difference, both contributions centred
on the value of realism for theoretical work in the social
sciences which wlll sustain non-utopian emancipatory
strategies.

In general, I felt the conference was, like its
predecessor in Sussex, very successful. The main
drawback was that the programme was too densely packed,

59

given the high quality of the discussion of presented
papers. If there are to be future conferences on the same
theme (and I hope there will be) I think we should have
fewer presentations, and more space for open-ended
discussion. The balance between providing a forum for
mutual communication between people committed to
realist approaches, and opening up areas of realist
philosophy to criticism from other approaches was, again,
think, about right. Several of us felt that a future
conference would benefit from a further session on
realism and feminism which featured an anti-realist
feminist position.

Further details are available from the British
representative Annette Lavers (Department of French,
University College London WCIE 6BT) or from the US
representative Michel Rybalka (708 Radc1iffe, University
City, Missouri 63130).

The other British members of the .organising committee
are Howard Davies (Department of Language and
Literature, Polytechnic of North London, London NW5
3LB) and Christina Howells (Wadham College Oxford).

Ted Benton

Deep Ecology
Groupe D’Etudes Sartriennes
The Groupe d’etudes sartriennes (general secretary:

Genevieve Idt) was set up in 1979 to further the study of
the philosophical, literary and political work of Sartre.

It has an international membership and holds regular
weekend seminars in Paris every June. The proceedings of
some of these are now available in no. 1 (60FF) and no.

2/3 (90FF) of the Etudes sartriennes, available from the
Centre de Semiotique textuelle at the Universite de Paris
X, Nanterre 92001, France; further issues are in
preparation.

Subsequent to our pUblication of Richard Sylvan’s ‘A
Critique of Deep Ecology’ in RPs 40 and 41, RP received a
substantial (28,000 word) reply to Sylvan by Warwick Fox.

Due to the length of this reply we were unable to consider
it for publication in RP. A revised version of it has,
however, now been published as: Warwick Fox,
‘Approaching Deep Ecology: A Response to Richard
Sylvan’s Critique of Deep Ecology’, Occasional Paper no.

~ Centre for Environmental Studies, Universit
of
TasrnanIa'{1l3pp). It is obtainable for A 12 plus A$3 for
handling and surface mail to Europe (A$7 air mait) from:

The Centre for Environmental Studies, University of
Tasmania, GPO Box 252c, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
7001.

Errata
There were three misprints in Edmond
Wright’s Dialectical Perception: A Synthesis
of Lenin and Bogdanov published in RP 43:

CD In the final quotation from Bogdanov occurred the
sentence ‘The objectivity of a physical sequence consists
in its uncertainty.’ It should have read ‘The objectivity of
a physical sequence consists in its universality.’ This was
an unfortunate misprint as it affected the criticism of
Bogdanov which followed, where Bogdanov was to be
shown as inconsistent, on the one hand allowing that one
of his Two Men working together could correct the other
and thus alter what was regarded as ‘universal’, and yet
on the other priviJeging the public agreement. It was in
fact the common Wittgensteinian error of conflating
public as meaning ‘involving many persons’ with public as
meaning ‘majority’. The meaning of words is arrived at by
a system that involves many persons, in which one person’s
SUbjective understanding of the meaning of a word can
correct the majority’s understanding. Wittgenstein is
usually read ambiguously as suggesting that the majority’s
meaning is always correct and that it is impossible to give
a word a private meaning, when what is obviously the case
is that a private understanding of a public word can
sometimes be better than that of the majority opinion.

60

OD In the footnotes the last reference should read:

Wright, E. L. (forthcoming, 1987), ‘A Dialectical Theory of
Perception’, in Kazimierz Jodkowski (ed.), Realism,
Rationality, Relativism, Vol. 9, Marie-Curie University,
LubJin.

(ili) The correct names of the two Ivans in Gogol’s story
are Ivan Ivanovitch and Ivan Nikiforovitch.

Correction

Two corrections should be made to Russell
Keat’s ‘The Body in Social Theory: Reich,
Foucault and the Repressive Hypothesis’,
published in RP 42, Winter/Spring 1986:

In the fourth line of the penultimate paragraph.

‘rightly’ should be replaced by ‘wrongly’.

(1)

(2) The bibliographical reference to Foucault’s ‘Power
and Norms’ should be ‘in M. Morris and P. Patton (eds.),
Power, Truth, Strategy, Feral Publications, Sydney, 1979,
pp. 59-66’, and not ‘in D. F. Bouchard (ed.), Michel
Foucault: Language, Counter-Memory, Practice-,-Blackwell, Oxford,1977’.

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