NotaBene е електронно списание за философски и политически науки. Повече за нас

Journal NotaBene Issue 53 (2021) Editor: Iva Manova

Topic of the issue: Pandemic, Knowledge and Education

Introduction to the Topic of This Issue: The REFORM Project

The topic of this issue of “Nota Bene” is dedicated to digital education and distance learning and their application in Bulgaria during the Covid-19 pandemic. The issue includes several papers from the first year of work on the research project “REFORM – Rethinking Bulgarian Education FOR the 21st Century: Concepts, Methodologies, Practices, and Players (2021-2023)”. It is carried out at the Institute for Philosophy and Sociology, Department of Social Theories, Strategies, and Prognoses. The REFORM project conducts theoretical and empirical studies on the transformation in the processes of learning and knowledge production due to the change brought by ICT.

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The Emerging Global Institutional Discourse on the Future of Education: Narrowed Prognostic Horizons, Deeper Political Effects. Part I

The current paper aims to outline some of the common problems in thinking about the future of education that usually takes the form of international organizations’ official prognoses, strategies and action plans for the adequate governance of the sector. The text will focus on the features of the evolving global discourse on the needed education policies against the backdrop of growing uncertainty; it will identify some main assumptions that underline existing prognostic analyses; and it will point to some of its political effects. The paper represents a step in laying the groundwork for productive escape from conventional patterns of thought advanced by currently circulating international prognostic documents that are usually used as a conceptual basis in the policy-making process of national competent authorities.
Keywords: education futures, prognostic methods, global policy, childhood, uncertainty.

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Digital Education and Its Practical Dimensions. Part I

This article aims to examine the state of digital education in Bulgaria, presenting the policy framework in which educational processes take place, as well as to show the different platforms and software products that form the basis of digital education. The analysis focuses specifically on the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and on how the Bulgarian educational system is being restructured in the direction of online learning under the influence of the new conditions. The methodology is based on qualitative methods, as part of the national project “Digital Media Literacy in the Context of the Knowledge Society: Status and Challenges” No. КP–06–N25/4, 2018, financed by National Science Fund Bulgaria.
Keywords: digital education, COVID-19, digital literacy, online platforms.

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Digital Education and Its Practical Dimensions. Part II

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Key Global Trends in Education and Their Impact on Learners. Part I

The article examines in detail what are the new digital technologies that are changing education and how they help to enrich and deepen competencies, including digital ones, so that education begins to meet the needs of the labour market and professions of the 21st century. All available digital technologies are discussed: artificial intelligence, 3D printers, robots, virtual and mixed reality, etc., their benefits and contributions and where these practices are already used. To this more pragmatic approach, the article adds a critical reflection that, in addition to opportunities, there are many risks to learners and humanity as a whole. Among the threats is the scenario of losing not only cognitive and physical abilities “facilitated” by technology, but also human independence and sovereignty in more and more areas due to lack of time or sufficient knowledge and information.
Keywords: artificial intelligence, education, digital competence, cognitive abilities.

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On the Synergy between the Extension Theory of Technology and the Literacy Doctrine. Part I

The paper presents the extension theory of technology and its synergetic relation to the “literacy doctrine”. By “literacy doctrine” the author means the discourse which encourages the discussions about the existence of many types of literacy, each related to the respective type of communication technology. The thesis of this paper is that the concept of literacy acquires completeness based on the philosophical grounds of the theory of technology as “extension”. The purpose of the article is to present the two research fields and their mutual reinforcement and to address the question to what extent can we agree with the usually refuted principle of technological determinism, which is evident in them, given that the concept of literacy is widely used in contemporary discussions of education in pedagogy, media research, and policy documents. The article consists of three parts: the first presents the theory of technology as an “extension”, the second presents the doctrine of literacy and its interaction with the theory of technology as an extension, and the third one discusses the idea of the pre-set structure of knowledge form the point of view of Heidegger’s analysis on the essence of technology. The conclusion of the article recommends the strong definition of multiliteracy as a principle in education.
Keywords: extension theory of technology, literacy, multiliteracy, truth, education.

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Video Games as a Tool for Teaching Philosophy in the Context of Online Education

The attention of this study is focused on the range of issues, emerging in the contemporary education system in Bulgaria, in comparison with related theories of the philosophy of education. The study explores how the process of gamification can improve the quality of philosophical education and provide a more modern and progressive approach. The proposed work is within the context and in line with the recent changes related to online education and the challenges it poses, especially in regard to student concentration. This paper presents results from ongoing research by multiple authors in the fields of neuroscience and psychology, that are in support of the positive impact of (video) games as tools for processing information in learning and education. Specific highlight is placed on how representing philosophical issues in video games can assist in the better understanding of such concepts.
Keywords: education, online learning, philosophy of education, video games

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Systems Theory as a Key to Rethinking the Relationship between Humans and Other Animals

Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory loans some of its fundamental concepts and positions from Chilean biologists Umberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, adapting their application from the realm of life and living things to the social sphere. What results is a radical change in the thinking of social relations that shakes not only traditional philosophical notions but some universal ones as well. Society, for example, is no longer a collection of interacting individuals; threatened is the very notion of man – in its traditional sense of functional unity. Such shifts in viewpoint that move away from thinking about the human being as a closed and autonomous entity towards understanding him/her more as a conglomeration of systems fit in well with the general effort of contemporary philosophy to loosen the concept of “subject”. Systems theory, in this sense, creates a very favorable climate for cultivating various forms of posthumanism, seeking to escape from the hidden premise of anthropocentrism. Against this background, the paper will try to imagine the direction the understanding of the relationship between humans and animals could go, if enriched with the transforming role of systems theory. The focus will be put on whether it is possible to talk about the relationship between humans and other animals in a non-anthropocentric way, where a clear distinction between man and animal is not a matter of paramount importance and where there is room – at least in theory – for a non-hierarchical view on the various representatives of living nature.

Keywords: systems theory, autopoiesis, animal, man, human–animal relationship, anthropocentrism, posthumanism, Niklas Luhmann, Humberto Maturana, Francisco, Varela, Jacob von Uexküll.

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Alternative History and the Phenomena of Possibility: Collingwood and Wittgenstein’s Concepts of “Time”. A Comparative Study

Alternative history, also known as alternate history, has a bi-dimensional shape: on the one hand, it fits into the literary-fiction genre, and on the other hand, it has entered the field of historical narrative in the form of various scenarios or literary-historical aspirations and fantasies, which enable the turn of a formal historical narration into a counterfactual narrative of the past. The story of historical trauma during/at the historical turning points has opened the way to the creation of “possible worlds”, so that, in this way, in spite of imaginary situations of the past story, it corresponds to the discursive mental demands at different times and different places. The idea that there exists a factitious time in the historical narrative emerged thanks to reflections, including the multiplicity of the concepts of time in the context of history. In the realm of historiography, G. Collingwood has presented the instability of the historian’s mind between the concept of the present and the past amidst the variability of historical texts, which in turn has produced an unstable narrative of historical evidence in the form of “constructing history” and “total explanation”. In the style of L. Wittgenstein’s narration, in the plan of not producing a “final explanation”, his most important presentation in this field has been the “possibility of phenomena”: where philosophizing is not possible as such, there is no need to pay for theory: a path that can only be viewed as a “landscape”. This article endeavors to make a comparative analysis of Collingwood’s and Wittgenstein’s points of view on evaluating the role of multiplicity and temporal diversity in the text-narrative of historical fiction.
Keywords: Collingwood, Wittgenstein, possible world, alternative history, time

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Minima moralia

The “New Music” in John Cage’s Thought. Part I

We are going to discuss the most innovative musical contributions produced by John Cage. Our intention is also to identify some significant connections with philosophical ideas of the same period pointing out in this way the fact that the artistic thought of the 20th century was strongly connected to the achievements of scientific knowledge of the time and to the philosophical thought and methods specific for that period. We are also going to establish some connections between Cage’s musical innovations and the contribution of some avant-gardist painters. In the final part of this article we will point out some connections between Cage’s music and certain philosophical ideas, especially those promoted by Henry Bergson, taking into account Cage’s “Lecture on Nothing”.

Keywords: new music, silence, nothing, prepared piano, chance, indeterminacy.

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Teoria del aguafiestas

This essay is from the Bulgarian edition of the book “Filosofia mundana. Microensayos completos” by the Spanish philosopher Javier Goma Lanzon (“Critique and Humanism”, 2021). We thank the Publishing House for the permission to publish the essay on the pages of our journal. The translation is by Teodora Tzankova.

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Philanthropy and Science or Why Do the Rich Donate for Education

Today, higher education in many countries around the world relies on the support of private philanthropy. This dependence has increased over the decades and is the result of rising university costs and declining public investment. At the same time, students are increasingly attracted to science and engineering, and the industry needs rapid innovation. In this context, the question naturally arises as to why the rich donate to education. In most cases, the starting point for the philanthropist is his/her life experience, and sometimes charity is associated with gratitude to an institution but there are also cases in which philanthropists’ motives are not so obvious. The question remains whether the donation for education is motivated solely by a selfless desire for change in society, or there is something more in it. This article seeks an answer to this question.

Keywords: higher education, philanthropy, donation, universities, education financing.

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