Philosophical Alternatives 2/2019

Issue editors: Martin Tabakov, Galin Penev
CONTENTS & Abstracts &Keywords

Nevena Ivanova – From Synthetic to Sympoietic Biology: The Pharmacological Character of Biotechnology
: The article outlines a conceptual framework that would allow exploring the current revolution in biotechnologies in terms of the double role they play as a pharmakon (the concept as developed by Stiegler and Derrida): on the one hand, the development of biotechnologies intensifies the tendency of technosciences to establish full control over matter and life; on the other hand, however, technologies open new fields for the radical imagination and future protentions, as well as for the transformation of power-knowledge structures. In more specific terms, the object of this study is the movement to biotech, which includes the fields of synthetic biology, garage biology, bioart and biohacking. Some of these (synthetic biology and biohacking in its narrow transhumanist sense) could be regarded as peaks of the anthropocentric desire for full control over matter, the human body and other living beings, while others (garage biology and bioart), on the contrary, deconstruct control via dynamic involvement of the artist-researcher in the co-generating power of sympoietic commonalities between humans, nonhuman living systems and nonliving beings, the boundaries between them, as well as their identities, remaining fluid. In this text, I attempt to analyze how these apparently contradictory tendencies actually imply, and draw close to, one another, to examine the movement which generates them (algorithmization of living matter, systems and processes) and the philosophical questions posed by this movement. The article gives a schematic picture of the conceptual framework of research; while some of the presuppositions are presented in detail, the solutions require further practical and theoretical study.
Keywords: pharmakon; proletarianization; amateur; Stiegler; synthetic biology; open biotech; algorithmization of life.

Radostina Minina – Subjective Justification in Ethics and Epistemology
: This article deals with the externalist approach to subjective justification, which grounds the latter upon cognitive integration of our faculties or virtues. The crucial assumption in this theory is that cognitive integration must be motivated by our aiming at the truth. By analogy, the approach is applicable to subjective justification in the moral domain. One would be subjectively justified in making a moral decision, if that decision resulted from an integrated moral character, and if the integration was motivated by our aiming at the good. I claim that this approach has the same kind of drawback in both domains. My claim is that adding the motivation component of achieving the truth or the good is possible only by introducing the requirement of reflection, and therefore externalism with regard to subjective justification is not sustainable. My argument is based on Kahneman (2011) who shows that our belief formation and decision-making is affected by cognitive biases, such as those related to ease, speed and conformist thinking. These biases are subjectively indistinguishable from reliable processes that aim at the truth. Thus, motivation to achieve the truth cannot be controlled without reflection upon the relevant processes.
Keywords: reliabilism; cognitive integration; moral integration; subjective justification; cognitive biases.

Marta Petrova
– Defense of Concept Eliminativism in the Theoretical Framework of Eliminative Physicalism
: The concept of eliminativism is defended in the framework of eliminative physicalism. First, I reconstruct existing theories on the nature and structure of concepts and conclude that none of these has the capacity to give a full and precise description of concepts. Then I adduce arguments in support of the statement that “concept” is a term of folk psychology, a proto-scientific theory which is strongly criticized by eliminative physicalism. I attempt to argue for the latter view over rival views by addressing some frequent criticisms of this stance. The arguments in favor of concept eliminativism are (1) its failure to formulate a theory of the nature and structure of concepts and (2) the conclusion that concepts are part of folk psychology, which provides considerably less effective explanations than neuroscience. On the basis of (1) and (2), it is concluded that the term “concept” should be eliminated from the language of science.
Keywords: concepts; eliminative physicalism; concept eliminativism; folk psychology; theories of the structure of concepts.

Roman Harizanov – Philosophical Insight into Psychiatry
: In the Sun-Earth system, the second thermodynamic principle is manifested in a specific way. The sun exerts a potent protective effect on the most energy-intensive chemical reaction: the synthesis of proteins through nucleic acids. A buildable-degradable matter is accumulated. This process passes through several phases: growth of the individual, maturation, reproduction, saturation of the ecological niche of the population, formation of the species, increasing complexity of the environment, a progressive course of evolution, a transition from living beings' adaptation to their environment to the environment's adaptation to living beings. This happens as follows: a “conditioned stimulus”, designated here as “love of the future” is presented. The latter creates an un-conditioned stimulus. The consumption of the latter is designated as “love of the present”, which comprises satisfaction of instincts and the use of “free play”. “Free play” is fragmented by the rationality of the actions; and it has different forms of manifestation. Schizophrenia is a failure to build the neural connection between love of the future and love of the present. The author supports Bleuler's view that the essential feature of schizophrenia is deficits in the higher functions. The article also discusses certain features of other psychoses, affective disorders, personality disorders, the role of transmitters, etc. A life strategy for better health is presented.
Keywords: schizophrenia; psychoses; personality disorders; affective disorders; transmitters; psychotherapy; love of the future; love of the present.

Petar Dimkov – The Philosophy of Human Cognitive Pharmacological Enhancement: The Genesis of Pharmacometaphysics
: Today's technological progress allows for precise and effective human enhancement, based on technological devices, and based on pharmacological means – via biologically active compounds. This then raises a multitude of philosophical, legal, ethical and biomedical questions. The breakthrough in psychopharmacology and biotechnology came in the middle of the 20th century, and since then, thousands of active compounds have been synthesized and successfully applied in clinical practice. The article focuses on philosophical aspects (including ethical, biomedical and genetic) of contemporary human cognitive neuro-enhancement based on neuro-psychopharmacological (i.e. psychotropic and nootropic) agents in the era of cognitive science.
Keywords: human enhancement; pharmacometaphysics; neuropsychopharmacology; philosophy; biomedical ethics; cognitive science; nootropic drugs; genetics.
Nikolay Alexandrov – Intervention as an Ideological Basis of Social Liberalism in Great Britain
: This article is devoted to a key moment in the history of liberal ideology in Europe – the rejection of obsolete classical liberalism and the promotion of social liberalism as a functioning socio-economic system. The author discusses the decisive role of the Liberal Party and the contribution of the theoretical and practical models of John Maynard Keynes and William Beveridge to the transformation from laissez-faire to state interventionism. The author presents the Labor government's measures for practical realization of the ideas of social justice, whereby the social-economic system referred to as the “universal welfare state” was promoted in Great Britain.
Keywords: interventionism, social liberalism, laissez-faire society, capital, individualism, social security.
Angel S. Stefanov – Logic by Dr Vasil Hadjistoyanov-Beron: The First Bulgarian Philosophical Textbook of the National Revival
: The article discusses the logical, philosophical, and cultural content of Logic, a textbook written by Dr. Vassil Hadjistoyanov-Beron in 1861. The specificity of the book's original content is analyzed, as well as the Kantian influence on, and the principles of, Dr. V. Beron's philosophy.
Keywords: Dr. Vassil Hadjistoyanov-Beron; introduction of philosophical terminology; Dr. V. Beron's ontological conception and theory of knowledge.

Hristo Gagov – Man in Comparison with Other Animals: A Remarkable Work of Nature Philosophy from the Time of the Bulgarian Revival
: Man in Comparison with Other Animals was the first Bulgarian textbook on human and animal anatomy and physiology; it comprises sections on chemistry, behavioural biology, therapeutic strategies and methods, nutrition and also offers veterinary advices. The author was educated in the prestigious Medical School in Wurzburg and specialized surgery and general medicine in leading European clinics in Paris, Wien and Berlin. He aimed to significantly expand the knowledge of Bulgarian secondary school students on the above-mentioned subjects after 1870 in order to improve the education, health habits and social practices of his countrymen.
Keywords: Vasil Beron; human physiology; anatomy; Bulgarian national revival.
Martin Tabakov – The Contribution of Vasil Hadjistoyanov-Beron to the Cultural Development of Bulgaria and the Country's Integration into European Culture
: The main objective of the article is to make a comprehensive study of the life and activity of Dr. Vasil Hadjistoyanov-Beron and highlight his contributions to the intellectual development of Bulgaria and the integration of Bulgaria into European science and culture, particularly to the development of Bulgarian science, education, enlightenment and culture. Vasil Hadjistoyanov-Beron was an encyclopedist; he was the compiler of the first Bulgarian textbook on natural history, the first textbook on logic, the first German and French grammar books (in Bulgarian), and the first scholar to make archaeological excavations in Bulgaria. Headmaster of the Bolgrad High School and a member of the Constituent National Assembly that adopted the Tarnovo Constitution (1879), he contributed to the institutional building of the Bulgarian state. The article deals consecutively with his youth years – when some of his views were formed, with the years of his medical practice in Romania, and with his activities in Turnovo and Bolgrad.  Particular attention is devoted to his merits for the establishment of the Bulgarian national identity, the awakening of Bulgarian national consciousness, his struggle for an independent Bulgarian church and Bulgarian education. In a separate section, we analyze his book on logic. The text is mainly based on recollections of his youngest daughter, which she shared with her grandson (the author of this article).
Keywords: Beron; Dr. Vassil Hadjistoyanov-Beron; Tarnovo; Bolgrad; science; culture, Bulgaria; logic; terminology; Bulgarian national revival.
Nina Dimitrova – Academician Bogomil Beron's Contribution to the Introduction of European Social Values in Bulgaria
: The article deals with the attitude of Prof. Bogomil Beron (Department of Dermatology) to prostitution in Bulgaria after the Liberation (1878). Contemporaneous evidence has been adduced, showing his ultimately abolitionist view on the problem, in line with the major European trends of his time.
Keywords: Bogomil Beron; prostitution; moralism – regulationism – abolitionism; Bulgaria after 1878; Vera Zlatareva.
Nonka Bogomilova – The Dialogue between East and West: Religious and Cultural Aspects
Kosta Benchev – A Historico-systematic Monograph by Prof. Nikolay Milkov
Maria Grozeva-Minkova – Maria Grozeva-Minkova – Advertising: A Different View
Antoaneta Nikolova – World Congress of Philosophy – Beijing: Impressions and Reflections