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Mehdi Shokri, Beata Płonka, Konrad Szocik, Brendan Sweetman,


Islam and Politics: the Case of the Islamic State

The Author: Mehdi Shokri,
This paper assesses the fundamental relation between the Islamic-political
movements and establishment of the Islamic law (Shari'a). I argue against the
critiques of western foreign policy and show that the Islamic State (Caliphate)
is both a result of the historical process of the people of a region and the
extreme interpretation of the text and Sunna which emphasizes on the
traditional Sharia law and the concept of Jihad by fortifying political Islam qua
militant Islam. I argue that the Islamic revival aims to a certain political order
which threatens the world security and peace. Moreover, I argue that the
structural violation of Human Rights is rooted in the traditional concept of
Islamic law or Sharia, which obtains its immunity by an illegitimate power.
This traditional Islamic law is the inalienable character of
authoritarian/totalitarian regimes. This paper is based on the assumption that
the extreme ideological/theoretical interpretation implies the empirical
objectives of Militant Islamic community with or without any external
influential elements. In this sense, we can address the question: how different
interpretations and traditions in executing the Islamic Sharia give the social
and political grounds a seed for the emergence of violence and terrorism. At
the end, this paper ends with a propose which emphasizes on the role of
international cooperation to find a resolution and also on the education as a
long-term plan to defeat extremism and terrorism.

Nature or Nurture – Will Epigenomics Solve the Dilemma?

The Author: Beata Płonka,
The concept of “nature and nurture” is used to distinguish between genetic and
environmental influences on the formation of individual, mainly behavioral,
traits. Different approaches that interpret nature and nurture as completely
opposite or complementary aspects of human development have been
discussed for decades. The paper addresses the most important points of nature
vs nurture debate from the perspective of biological research, especially in the
light of the recent findings in the field of epigenetics. The most important
biological concepts, such as the trait, phenotype and genotype, as well as the
evolution of other crucial notions are presented. Various attempts to find the
main source of human variation are discussed – mainly the search for structural
variants and the genome-wide association studies (GWAS). A new approach
resulting from the discovery of “missing heritability”, as well as the current
knowledge about the possible influence of epigenetic mechanisms on human
traits are analyzed. Finally, the impact of epigenetic revolution on the society
(public attitude, health policy, human rights etc.) is discussed.

Wars and Conflicts are Only Randomly Connected
with Religion and Religious Beliefs.
An Outline of Historical, Cognitive, and Evolutionary Approach

The Author: Konrad Szocik,
Many scholars that study of religion and religious beliefs find that they affect
behavioral patterns. Some of them suggest that this impact is morally wrong
because religion and religious beliefs can cause aggression, conflicts, and wars.
However, it seems that this topic is more complicated and complex. Here I
show that religion and religious beliefs can affect mentioned above morally
wrong patterns only in some particular cases. Usually they do not do it. Here I
show an outline of philosophical historical approach that was critically oriented
against religion and that accused it about conflicts and wars. Then I briefly
discuss two current scientific research approaches to the study of religion,
cognitive and evolutionary. They falsify these critically oriented philosophers
because they treat connection between religious beliefs and conflicts as random
and necessary. The core idea of this paper assumes that religious beliefs do not
affect aggression and wars directly. They can sometimes strengthen or weaken
some biological mechanisms that then can be used to compete by conflicts or
by not-violent inter-group competition.

Interview: The Uniqueness and Continuing Relevance of Gabriel Marcel

The Author: Brendan Sweetman,
The interview of Tudor Petcu with Brendan Sweetman. Brendan Sweetman is a teacher, philosopher, and writer. From Dublin,
Ireland, he is Professor of Philosophy and holds the Sullivan Chair in
Philosophy at Rockhurst University, Kansas City, Missouri, USA. He is
the author or editor of twelve books, including Religion and Science:
An Introduction (Continuum, 2010), The Vision of Gabriel Marcel
(Rodopi, 2008), Religion: Key Concepts in Philosophy (Continuum,
2007), Why Politics Needs Religion: The Place of Religious Arguments
in the Public Square (InterVarsity, 2006), Contemporary Perspectives
on Religious Epistemology (Oxford U.P., 1992), A Gabriel Marcel
Reader (St. Augustine’s Press, 2011), and, most recently, Evolution,
Chance, and God (Bloomsbury, 2015). He has published more than one
hundred articles and critical reviews in a variety of journals, collections,
and reference works, including International Philosophical Quarterly,
American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, Faith and Philosophy,
Philosophia Christi, Philosophical Quarterly, Review of Metaphysics,
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, The Polish Encyclopedia of
Philosophy, and New Catholic Encyclopedia (for which he was a
Consulting Editor). He has been a Visiting Scholar and Keynote
Speaker at several universities and colleges in the U.S., and,
internationally, has given lectures in many countries. Dr Sweetman is
the current President of the Gabriel Marcel Society, Vice-President for
North America of World Conference of Catholic University Institutions
of Philosophy (COMIUCAP), and the editor of Marcel Studies. His
books and articles have been translated into several languages,
including Portuguese and Italian.