Invitación a participar en la XXIII.
Olimpiada Internacional de Filosofía [IPO 2015]
Hemos recibido este correo desde la Delegación Nacional que organiza la olimpiada filosófica:
Hola a tod@s!
Comenzamos el mes de Abril con una muy agradable noticia: La Delegación Nacional ya está preparando el próximo encuentro de mediados de Mayo (Del 14 al 18 de Mayo de 2015) en Tartu y parte fundamental de dicha preparación es la selección de los estudiantes que conformarán la parte protagonista y principal del equipo.
Hace apenas unos días tuvimos ya la ocasión de notificárselo a ellos a título personal, y ahora nos complace hacerlo público:
-Elisa Izquierdo Rollán (De 2° de Bachillerato – IES García Bernalt -Salamanca)
-Álvaro Serrano Holgado (De 2° de Bachillerato – IES Mateo Hernández – Salamanca)
Ambos representando un año más a Castilla y León, son los elegidos y ya se encuentran preparando maletas y quizás consultando hasta el clima estonio… Felicidades una vez más desde esta organización a los dos, y, por supuesto, no queremos dejar de mencionar a todos los que habéis querido participar en esta edición y nos habéis remitido trabajos de tanto mérito.
ELISA, muy amablemente, nos ha dejado el trabajo que presentó:
“Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
― Mahatma Gandhi
1. The concept of the term
Disagreement is what we call to the fact that two or more people may think differently or hold opposite views. That is the same as a lack of agreement between subjects, ideas or opinions. And put it simply, it is an expression of dissent with regards to other people's arguments.
2. The fruit of human reasoning
The human being, who has the capability to reason, doubts others as well as her or himself. Because of that, humans can build up arguments and utter assertions about others’ behaviour and their own from what they already know, according to their own convictions, even if these may go against those most commonly held. Discord arises from different, and differing, ways of thinking, and these are the result of a previous reasoning, which in its turn leads to a personal assessment of reality.
Is it necessary to disagree? The dissent over any fact generates a conflict, and this presupposes that there are two or more opposed situations which cannot be reconciled at the same time, hence the confronted parties attempt to prevail over one another. Therefore a conflict is an unresolved situation in which no consensus has been reached.
From a social point of view, many theories acknowledge the need to establish an order and a collective agreement and they offer a wide range of conclusions about the beginning and the solution of conflicts. Within the social context, disagreement can be understood from several perspectives. Perhaps the ones that can be seen most clearly are morality or justice, whereby disagreement may be generally perceived as a negative fact that can generate much social conflict. However, this is not the only conception of dissent, since a positive side can also be perceived if we consider dissent as a way of fostering community change, both at a small and at a large scale, or within the world of politics. Following this approach, disagreement would be necessary since it can cause a reassessment of things that have been previously established, and therefore, it may bring about a possible adjustment or rectification of mistakes. If this kind of discordances is favourably solved, in the long run they contribute to progress within collective mind-sets and orientations. If this is not the case, and when they are exclusively focused on personal interests, they can generate constant confrontations that often end up breaking a peaceful coexistence. Bearing these two ways of analysing disagreement in mind, it can be stated that dissent is not only essential to achieve objectives and to look for new solutions, even if this may imply assuming risks, but it is also, and above all, an unavoidable human fact. We find evidence of this in all areas of life throughout history in every culture on earth.
3. Disagreement and public order
If our point of departure is the fact that dissent means an opposition to the norm, it can also be said that it causes a breakdown of the established order, that is, a change or an alteration in the social sphere. This is a problem that has been dealt with in different theories about the integration of individual and collective thoughts in society. Here we find two opposite ideas of it:
On the one hand, there is a balanced standpoint that regards society as a system whose stability is accomplished by the agreement of individuals. In this view stands out Jean Jacques Rousseau, a philosopher who defends the removal of individual interests by means of the citizen submission to the general will. On the other hand, society can be perceived as subjected to constant discord, and therefore integration can only be feasible under coercion. This conception reflects that disagreement is permanent and it contributes to social change. For that reason, elements of coercion become necessary to restore social order. It is the philosopher Hobbes who maintained this theory.
To understand the reasons that bring people to confront each other, firstly, we have to explain the nature of man, which has certain aggressive characteristics that may be seen as 'instinctive', innate impulses to fulfil one's desires and thus achieve satisfaction. From that point, we can deduce that the personal interests of different people do not always coincide and they often collide against each other, or are even in conflict with the law. Here it is when a man or a woman may need to rebel and stand up against the regulations that sometimes repress and disallow them to get what they pursue. Therefore, discrepancies have their origin in human nature, inasmuch as they occasionally are a necessary way to achieve one’s purposes.
Social intervention in the order of things usually entails unsettling situations, which does not need to result in violence; however, duress is an instrument that humans have used many times as a direct way of imposing a course of action upon others while avoiding engaging in dialogue with them. Without a previous conflict, there is no possibility for change; and in the same way, until changes occur, confrontations remain unresolved.
There are many types of disagreement that take place in diverse circumstances. In any of them, the problem is how to solve discrepancies so that both opposing arguments may coalesce so as to reach a conclusion that may be satisfactory for all parties involved. That is what we generally call 'to come to an agreement' which is the ideal outcome but not the most common. The truth is that some of the biggest conflicts can lead to radical violence. This is the worst outcome, for violence is contrary to any dialogue-based solution.
Among other things, situations that cause disagreements in society can be found around social classes and status, ideologies, power agendas, religious beliefs, race or origin, political disputes, labour interests, etc.
4. Disagreement as a claim of human rights
As it is written in the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 'Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world; Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people;...' those freedoms, powers, vindications and needs relating to basic goods and integrity of human condition are recognized so that they guarantee and allow a decent life to individuals without any exclusion. Even if theoretically everyone has these rights without any single exception, in practice there is ample evidence that they are followed hardly anywhere the world. Even today, in our generation and in modern times there are thousands of instances in which rights are not respected and often, they are not even admitted. If we analysed any of the articles included in the Declaration, we would notice that the gap between their words and the accomplishment of what they point to has not been bridged in real life. Within what still seems unavoidable, their infringement is nonetheless considered a crime, and therefore, it has to be denounced. Before being recognized universally, these rights were supposed to be inherent to our very human nature and a key human factor as they are statements that any person would adhere to for the sake of their dignity and personal wellbeing. Nevertheless, here we find the problem of humans who, acting out of their instincts, think first of themselves and seek the attainment of their own desires/interests even if this may mean threatening and violating the rights and freedoms of others. For this reason, everything related to disagreements where human rights are at stake has been and will continue being at the root of the most conflictive vindications of history. I would like to emphasize two articles in particular, concerning the autonomy of thought and its expression:
Article 18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
When these articles are considered from the point of view of the concept of disagreement, we understand that any human dispute may give rise to different opinions, and these must be neither discriminated nor silenced. Reiterating that in practice it is not always like that (both positively and negatively) and that different rights may be bound to free and differing interpretations, we can only talk about those cases that we already know and that have been thoroughly studied.
There are two groups who have fought within the social framework for the defence and the exercise of their rights and freedoms, and even today are still trying to keep them. Many times their rebellions have triggered violent events and they have met coercion and repression by the law. Disagreement in this case has led them to face the hard reality and has not always ended up favourably. But as a result of that, they have made progress defending their human condition in the face of injustices and adversities. These two particular and well-known cases are discrimination against black people and against women:
a) The beginning of the fight for women’s suffrage in the United States grew out of a large women’s rights movement that can be traced back to Seneca Falls meeting. Initially, women reformers addressed social and institutional barriers that limited women’s rights; these included family responsibilities, a lack of educational and economic opportunities, and the absence of a voice in political debates. In 1869, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton founded the National Woman Suffrage Association. Anthony was tireless in her efforts, giving speeches around the country to convince others to support a woman's right to vote. The American women struggle for this right was as long as it was filled with difficulties but it finally succeeded in 1920 for the good of all women in the country.
Anthony was denied to speak at a convention because she was a woman, and later she realized that no one would take women seriously in politics unless they had the right to vote. This is a clear example of a rightful disagreement with the established legal order that would dramatically change the course of history of equality to all women.
"Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less" (Susan B. Anthony)
b) After their release during the Civil War by Abraham Lincoln, the southern states, embarrassed by their defeat, ratified a variety of laws to discriminate black citizens. The states could not remove the rights of blacks, which are guaranteed in the constitution, so in their place they used the subterfuge of "segregation". It was legal for many years, under the twisted idea of "Separated but Equal". This was, indeed, legal provided the opportunities given remained equal for both races. In Jim Crow's laws (1876), however, the voting right of blacks was denied by imposing certain requirements such as the need to know how to read and write, having possessions, and paying an electoral tax. More than 13 million blacks were forced to live apart from the rest of society. Homes, schools, transport, hotels, restaurants, even the toilets were separated to prevent the contact between the white people and the people of colour.
Rosa Parks was a leading figure in the movement for civil rights in America, and she became popular for refusing to give up her seat to a white man and rejecting to move to the back of the bus in the southern United States (1995). The bus incident gave rise to the creation of the Montgomery Improvement Association, whose purpose was to defend the civil rights of the black minority. Martin Luther King was its president. The association made a bus boycott in Montgomery that had lots of followers and then it contributed to the cause of African Americans in Montgomery, which was known throughout the world. As a result, the USA government was forced to desegregate public transport.
“People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in” (Rosa Parks).
After having analysed the disagreement in several ways and taking as examples the situations that triggered important social changes, we can conclude that in some cases opposing the status quo has brought about tremendous social progress. In particular to some groups that had to fight for the right of holding to their way of thinking and acting, against conventions and standards imposed on them by others in a position of power. They had to go through this personal struggle, in order to be heard and to make their views a source of new and fairer laws, for the common good.