Comments

  • Ukraine Crisis

    A governance can be more or less authoritarian. Polity can be more of a cooperative involvement of relatively autonomous people, or a system of coercion executed by less autonomous people. To struggle for that autonomy is not the same as establishing borders. It often involves that dynamic, especially when the coercive authority has no regard for the people they invade.

    To view all armed resistance as a fetish ignores the natural revulsion to coercion and degradation. A model of a pragmatic 'modern state' without this being recognized is not very useful.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Maybe? I'm not sure what the Russian stance is on EU membership. Their gripe seems mostly with NATO membership.Tzeentch

    Russia's efforts to weaken the EU takes many forms. One of the most visible is the vigorous support given to ultra-conservatives in individual states. This report points to how the realpolitik of such influence merges with the 'cultural' war aspect. Empowering divisive elements of any commonwealth is the purpose of the activities.

    The Russian influence in Ukraine and Belarus, by contrast, is more directly connected to establishing puppet regimes.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Countries within NATO could send in troops to Ukraine if they wanted to and them being attacked in Ukraine would have nothing to do with article 5.boethius

    From the Russian point of view, the presence of NATO troops in Ukraine would mean NATO did not wait to be directly attacked before fighting Russians. It is the most established part of Article 5 as a collective defensive agreement as it relates to the threat of Russian expansion. It is difficult to consider the other dynamics you refer to when this most obvious one is not considered.
  • Ukraine Crisis

    I figure the arguments over the larger strategy of Russia and other states do not have to be decided conclusively to observe that Russia has enough confidence to use those troops immediately in the path of NATO to fight in Ukraine instead. That speaks to an acknowledgement of efforts to avoid escalation as much as possible by NATO. The other side of that conversation is the support being given to Ukraine.

    The restraint in arming Ukraine has been characterized by boethius as a callous burning of an asset. That view does not take into account the language of limited escalation being used by both Russia and NATO when it comes to Article 5.
  • Premodernism and postmodernism
    Socrates feigning ignorance is ironic for a few possible reasons: he positions himself as an underdog, he self-depreciates, and he gives an idea that is opposed to the reality or actuality. In each of these there is an opposing duality:introbert

    The assumption that Socrates is faking the report of his being ignorant is one way to listen to the texts. It is interesting to read Theaetetus with this question in mind. Plato's later efforts seem directed toward getting past the limits of what was said in that dialogue. And yet that dialogue shows Plato working at his very best.

    What's up with that?
  • Ukraine Crisis
    There's a big difference. Allies would be in Ukraine right now fighting on behalf of their ally.boethius

    One of the ironies of the collective nature of NATO's decisions is that they protect Russia from individual nations joining the fight by themselves. Any boots on the ground from any member states would be treated as an attack by all. Cue WW3.

    Russian confidence in NATO acting with restraint is shown by reports like:
    “Russia had this ground force posture facing us for decades that is now effectively just gone.”
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Some sort of rebuilding/reparations discussions would be appropriate:jorndoe

    That component is where the support of sanctions goes beyond deals made about territory and people. With the ongoing campaign to destroy residential infrastructure, Russia does not seem to be concerned about racking up costs in that regard to achieve their goals. Whatever deal might be made between the combatants, the Russians seem to think they can avoid some kind of Treaty of Versailles.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    With all the talk about what negotiations might look like or made necessary by the limits of combat, the role of the Russians is what is most obscure. No hint has been given yet what they are willing to give in exchange for peace. The notion that they are a reasonable set of blokes, willing to compromise with others, is something they will have to offer to offset the strong impression they are giving that they are only interested in total war,
  • The philosophy of anarchy
    The social contract (which is, granted, not a signed document. and nobody thinks it is) yields mutual support and benefit. That's how a functioning society works.Bitter Crank

    The language of contracts has befuddled a swath of Libertarians regarding what was meant when the notion was first articulated.

    What is often forgotten is the negativity associated with having to accept them. Hobbes argued for authority as the only remedy to the war its absence would permit. Rousseau presented it as a loss of a natural form of life where nobody owns anything so nothing can be stolen. Locke saw it as a need to confirm deals beyond those who make them.

    In each of these cases, the challenge is never simply to cancel the original arrangements. It is, rather, to find a better arrangement.
  • What is meant by consciousness being aware of itself?

    From what I understand from reading him, there is a skeptical spirit. Some of that is directed toward asking why we require explanations above other things. So, to whatever degree that involves, not so Socratic.
  • What is meant by consciousness being aware of itself?

    Most his writing does not assume something like a "universal consciousness" as a starting point. He spent most his time asking why people thought they knew something about the matter.
  • What are you listening to right now?
    when I was growing up in the Seventies, the polished albums of ELP did not show what they were doing in live performances:



    Now I get why Wakeman wishes he had had that much freedom.
  • What is meant by consciousness being aware of itself?

    The conversation highlights the way models of agency shape accounts of experience. When Krishnamurti speaks of "movement of thought", does that originate in the individual as an individual in the way Descartes insisted upon? Or is the reality of self-awareness generated through layers of different agencies?

    In ancient Greek thought, Nous is a "thinking itself" that is experienced in different ways by different beings in different circumstances. Plotinus puts it this way:

    It is because of these forms, to which the soul owes her exclusive rule over the organism, that arise discursive reason, opinion, and non-discursive thought. This sort of activity primarily constitutes our self. No doubt, that which is superior to this activity belongs to our self. too, but on a lower level, our self is that which from above directs the organism. Nothing prevents us from calling "animal organism" that whole which includes an inferior part, mingled with the body and a superior part. The latter is really the human self, while the former is like a lion or insatiable beast. As man is identified with the rational soul when there is reasoning, it is we who reason because reasoning is an activity of the soul. — Ennead Ii, 7, translated by Joseph Katz

    It is pretty unlikely that Krishnamurti would agree with Plotinus' project to clearly distinguish the physical from what it is not. But the idea that our experience of "awareness of being aware" cannot by explored by discursive reason alone accepts a complexity that the Cartesian model does not. Different conditions of our being a living organism who is aware of itself cannot be expressed only in terms of a single agent noticing that it is thinking.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    You've got Zelensky negotiating from a position of power.frank

    Who would be setting the terms has not been made clear in the proposal. If it is in line with the view that Ukraine is merely a proxy for foreign powers, Zelensky will have little to do with the actual deal. If the Ukrainian government does have some agency, despite their reliance upon foreign support, the deal would probably be something worked out between them as an approach to the Russians.

    Whatever influence the Ukrainians may have in a conclusion of hostilities, they will need the foreign powers to see that the Russians honor their side of it. The removal of sanctions will probably be based upon demonstrations of good faith.

    The idea the Russians conceded territory for the sake of a bargaining position certainly does not fit with any notion of Ukrainian agency. The missile attacks upon civilian targets immediately after the retreat solidify the Ukrainian commitment to further war.

    Fierce offensives by the Russians are underway. Something more than some of them being saved from destruction is needed to signal a willingness to negotiate.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    But that would only be relevant if the deal were to stop Ukraine invading the 'new' Russia ie the deal involved the ceding of Ukrainian territory to Russia.Isaac

    It is relevant to any deal because the annexations make the terms of any compromise to be about how much territory Russia is willing to cede to Ukraine to stop the war. The present efforts by Ukraine to recover territory are, by the measure of Russian law, an invasion of the Federation, just as much as if that effort were directed toward Belgorod, Rostov-on-Don, or even Moscow. Any realistic negotiation will have to address this conflict between current Russian law and the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine.

    Outside of that issue are the other oblasts the invasion has attempted to remodel. The Russians were unable to take Kiev or Odesa. The Ukrainian state was not accepted as a legitimate governance of any of the territory up to the western borders. Having gone this far resisting the Russians, it would be ridiculous for the Ukrainians to let this condition continue.

    That is why any possible agreement has to start with recognizing a Ukraine that is something more than a tool of foreign powers. A place where Russia does not have the right to remodel the government to its liking.

    Perhaps a cease fire is possible in the conditions you imagine. But if it would not resolve the conflict. It woulld not provide the foundation to unwind the sanctions or seek repatriation of deported people The offer, as you described it:

    "We don't recognize your right to rule over Donbas, but we will withdraw our forces from there if you stop shelling us"

    is so uncharacteristic of the way the Putin regime speaks that it is difficult for me to entertain the thought experiment.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    I think it's Ukraine that want Russia to stop their flight. Ukraine are no threat to Russia right now, they're not invading Russia.Isaac

    Russia has annexed the oblasts of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, and Crimea. The Kremlin today: "This is Russian territory."

    What physically stops that deal from being struck?Isaac

    Agreeing to a cease fire is far from negotiating an end to hostilities. It is like agreeing to exchange sets of prisoners or to not bomb grain ships. Brokers like Turkey and Saudi Arabia permit minimum contact between the enemies in such cases. That is hardly the stuff of mutual security guarantees.
  • Ukraine Crisis

    My comment was not an attempt to establish a general right to sovereignty, applicable to all situations. The observation was to underscore a minimum concession from Russia that could possibly interest the Ukrainians from stopping their fight.

    No one is saying that currently there's no such thing as the Ukrainian government and therefore nobody to negotiate with. They're saying that the current powers of that government ought to change.Isaac

    What Putin has said is the following:

    Step by step, Ukraine was dragged into a dangerous geopolitical game aimed at turning Ukraine into a barrier between Europe and Russia, a springboard against Russia. Inevitably, there came a time when the concept of ”Ukraine is not Russia“ was no longer an option. There was a need for the ”anti-Russia“ concept which we will never accept.

    The owners of this project took as a basis the old groundwork of the Polish-Austrian ideologists to create an ”anti-Moscow Russia“. And there is no need to deceive anyone that this is being done in the interests of the people of Ukraine. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth never needed Ukrainian culture, much less Cossack autonomy. In Austria-Hungary, historical Russian lands were mercilessly exploited and remained the poorest. The Nazis, abetted by collaborators from the OUN-UPA, did not need Ukraine, but a living space and slaves for Aryan overlords.
    On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians, President Putin

    From this perspective, the organization calling itself the government of Ukraine is not a nation protecting its interests but an instrument of foreign powers. The only parties to negotiate with are the foreign powers. Your idea that one could make a deal with a state but not recognize the people speaking for it is not possible in practice. I am not sure it is even an idea.

    In any case, since the invasion of Ukraine was based upon this rationale put forward by Putin, how could any deal be made without specifically withdrawing the claim? Otherwise, the only deal possible would be between the "West" and Russia to partition the lands in dispute.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    How much should Putin + team be allowed to get away with scot-free?jorndoe

    Seeing the distance between what people in this discussion think is happening, it seems like any possible talks would have to start with some very basic steps toward living in a shared reality. The Russians would have to explicitly acknowledge that Ukraine is an actual state with the right to protect its sovereignty. This is going to be difficult to admit after selling the war as a fight with NATO itself. Why would Ukraine accept establishing anything less than that as a minimum requirement?

    Without that first step, agreeing to investigations of deportations, war crimes, the targeting of civilian populations and the financial liability for repairing destroyed things would be meaningless (in the pre-Beckett sense).

    Now that Russia has officially annexed 5 oblasts, any territory deal will either have to be done by fiat as an arbitrary drawing of boundaries or a process of referendums to challenge the nice results given by the Russian authorities. The Ukrainians have been adamant about not considering the former and the Russians are not likely to agree to a referendum 'rematch'. It would require a sharp change of rhetoric.

    Another possibility, as pointed out by ssu, is a freezing of the conflict, where neither side concedes anything, but the front lines don't really change. The liberation of Kherson makes that seem less likely. There are certainly many commentators who say that such a stalemate is where things are going despite that development.
  • The ineffable
    If one takes your last question seriously, then it brings into question what you want to learn beyond what you wish to demonstrate.
  • What are you listening to right now?
    I love all of the players but this video shows how it was all for naught without Howe:

  • Ukraine Crisis

    This part is particularly chewy:

    In the Westernized mind, Putin and Xi, Trump and Truss, Bolsonaro and Meloni, Orbán and Kaczyński are all the same, all ‘fascists’. With historical meaning restored to the uprooted individualized life in late-capitalist anomie, there is once more a chance to fight and even die for, if nothing else, then for the common ‘values’ of humanity – an opportunity for heroism that seemed forever lost in the narrow horizons and the hedged parochialism enshrined in the complex institutions of postwar and postcolonial Western Europe. What makes such idealism even more attractive is that the fighting and dying can be delegated to proxies, people today, soon perhaps algorithms.

    Pretty fancy language if you are simply objecting to your neighbor stealing all your stuff and people.
  • Ukraine Crisis

    Yes, there does appear to be a lot of performative art in the preparations. On the other hand, the trenches being dug near Belgorod are less likely to be employed than the one's in Crimea that are in the path of Ukraine's stated goal to take the territory back.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    There has been a lot of discussion in the press about whether Ukraine can push forward in south Kherson to follow up the Russian retreat. This NYT piece gives an account of the different possibilities. The Ukrainians' proven ability to keep plans out of view adds to the opacity.

    It doesn't seem the Russians are free to redeploy their forces further east because that would invite Ukraine to push directly toward Crimea.
  • Greatest contribution of philosophy in last 100 years?
    I nominate Steps to an Ecology of Mind by Gregory Bateson for the job.

    Much has changed in science since he wrote it. Nonetheless, it brought into focus the divides between models of consciousness currently being pursued.
  • Ukraine Crisis

    I am concerned that even if Russia tried to start returning children, the process of reversing adoptions would be a bureaucratic nightmare. The reports of children being sent far east suggests an intention to make the abductions irreversible.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    The collapse of Russian forces in Kherson has Ukraine posting the following:

    Ukrainian intelligence agency tells remaining Russian soldiers in Kherson to surrender
  • Ukraine Crisis
    If the Russians are actually crossing the Dniepr, they will be very vulnerable to shelling as they rally to the few places where it can be done. The Ukrainians may advance only as far as to make that easier to do. The west bank could turn into a huge prison colony.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    When considering the possibility of a negotiated peace versus continuing the war, it seems to me that that the future of displaced persons takes precedence over security guarantees. Many Ukrainians live as refugees in Europe. Many others have been deported to Russia.

    If Russia is to come forward as a serious participant in peace talks, the question of whether people will be allowed to return to where they used to live will be front and center.
  • Ukraine Crisis

    The dim view you have of the Ukrainian government has no immediate bearing on their stated purpose to restore their territory. The issue is how far support from other nations will go to achieve this goal. That issue falls within the question Benkei raised. Clearly the support cannot continue at "any cost."

    It is unlikely that your moral calculus will be used to figure out what the limits will be.
  • Ukraine Crisis

    It is not clear who would be doing the appeasing in your description. Is it the man behind the curtain using Ukrainians to fight a proxy war or a choice Ukrainians are making for themselves?

    The answer to who is calling the shots relates to how an end to the war can be negotiated.
  • Ukraine Crisis

    I wasn't speaking generally of populations who support war. I was expanding on my comment that is germane in the present circumstances:

    If the Ukrainians are found to employ anything like the disinformation regime used by Russia on their citizens or conduct the war as barbarously as they have, that would make your method weighing of the cost of surrender against the cost of resistance more reasonable. Such circumstances would also reduce the support Ukraine receives from other nations and increase the number of those who view the Ukraine government as an equivalent of the Diem regime in the Vietnam war.Paine
  • Ukraine Crisis
    How would it be a different decision if Ukraine were an autocratic dictatorship? They'd be in exactly the same position with regards to weighing territory loss against the cost of continued war.Isaac

    They would not have the same level of support that has allowed them to repulse the Russians as much as they have. The people fighting would not view the change of government as significant if the leadership was as brutal as the Russians. Both factors shape any kind of negotiated deal.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Where have I said that they don't represent the Ukrainian people?Isaac

    There's no such entity as 'the Ukrainians' to even ask.Isaac

    Russia claims Ukraine is being run by a dictatorship. They also say that Ukraine is an integral part of their nation. Any deal they make with the Ukraine government will have as much water under it that the previous ones have had.

    If the Ukrainians are found to employ anything like the disinformation regime used by Russia on their citizens or conduct the war as barbarously as they have, that would make your method weighing of the cost of surrender against the cost of resistance more reasonable. Such circumstances would also reduce the support Ukraine receives from other nations and increase the number of those who view the Ukraine government as an equivalent of the Diem regime in the Vietnam war.

    In this case, the existence of the state is directly tied to its legitimacy as an 'entity' of the Ukrainians.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    A Ukrainian government exists which is capable of making unilateral decisions about Ukrainian military action and diplomatic agreementsIsaac

    Yes, and the point I was making is that you and Russia don't consider it representative of the people who live there.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    The Ukrainian government definitely exists, no one is denying it and there's no credible threat to their continued existence as a legislative body (despite the individuals therein being under personal threat) that would prevent them from making the decisions in question.Isaac

    Perhaps I should have underlined the word "Ukranian." You do not regard that government to be legitimate agents of those people or that they even exist. You say:

    There's no such entity as 'the Ukrainians' to even ask.Isaac

    Whatever agreements made by that government would have to be accompanied by an acceptance by Russia that such a state exists. That is going to take far more than the grudging acceptance of Minsk II because invading the entire country put an end on Ukraine having sovereignty. It is absurd to think one could recognize a government but "fix" their leadership with "denazification."

    You have to understand that basically Russia isn't really an imperialist nation trying to cling on to it's old colonies and conquered countries.Isaac

    Claiming this is the case is a form of denying the existence of the Ukranian state. When discussing Chechnya, you said this about their attempt at independence:

    Is Russia entitled to any land at all? Or are we just going to say anything more than a shed outside Moscow is just rampant empire building?Isaac

    After adding up this subtraction of Ukranian identity to the views put forward by many here that the Ukranian state is merely a proxy for NATO powers, I resubmit the proposal that the thousands of comments on this thread mostly concern whether Ukraine is a nation represented by its present government.
  • Ukraine Crisis

    Your bullet points of questions refer to a Ukrainian state. A generous portion of the 11,300 comments on this thread concern whether it exists or not. It is lost or found between the interests of Russian and other nations.

    When you speak of choosing between lesser or greater evils, the experience of actual war has superseded the calculation of peace bought at the cost of oppression.

    How would an accurate response to your set of speculative questions provide a possible way to end the conflict?
  • Ukraine Crisis
    I agree with your account that Dugin is providing the back story for Putin's oft repeated theme of historical destiny. I would like to qualify this observation, however:

    The references to culture wars, to Russia being very Christian and so on are just to try to lure the far right in the West.ssu

    It is true that Russia is not undergoing the culture wars in which ultranationalists of other nations participate. Putin has been adept at telling them what they want to hear. But getting the thumbs up from the Russian Orthodox Church that his is a just war is important. Things would be different if they even declined to comment. But they continue to bring balloons and pom-poms to the funeral.
  • Ukraine Crisis

    Putin's speech does reflect Dugan's vision. As a challenge to world order, it is difficult to imagine how the clash of civilizations is supposed to work when Putin and his gang of oligarchs gain and maintain their wealth through participation in the despised 'unipolar' system. The Russian economy will collapse if separated from globalized markets and resources.

    Efforts that recognize the difficulty of preserving traditional forms of life in the face of 'unipolar' economy call for the opposite of imperial schemes. They wish to establish 'communities of communities' to increase the agency of people to shape the world around them. The relative independence of communities is not something one will find in the Cheka playbook that Putin absorbed in his youth.

    As for the argument that the 'loss of universals' is what is destroying the idea of human nature, it is funny to have Heidegger be the champion for that cause. As Strauss pointed out in Natural Rights and History, deconstruction through historicism is what undermined the view of humans as having their own nature. And whatever else Heidegger may have been, he was an historicist of philosophy itself.
  • Ukraine Crisis

    You don't know what methods were used. There was an attempt to canvass the eastern oblasts. I figure that has to be very difficult to do in the state of war with so many refugees and deported people. I am interested in how many supporters of the 2014 invasion still support the Russian state after they have gotten a taste of their love.

    But I didn't bring up the poll to argue for a proper resolution of the conflict but to point out that there are enough self-identified Ukrainians around to undermine your claim:

    There's no such entity as 'the Ukrainians' to even ask.Isaac
  • Ukraine Crisis

    I use "they" in the hope they are reporting what they think in polls such as these.

    I imagine you will dismiss it as fake news. But it is by means of gathering reports in some way that we will learn the answer.