Arquivo para a ‘Information ethics’ Categoria

Arbitrary power and socialization

17 Apr

In his book “In the swarm: a digital perspective” Byung Chul-Han clarifies that only a relationship is symmetrical (both sides have the same power or the same power) respect, if respect is lacking there is always an arbitrary exercise of power , but let’s look at other definitions.

A widely used one is that of Norberto Bobbio: “… every probability of imposing one’s will in a social relationship, even against resistance, whatever the basis of this probability (Weber, 1994, p.33), there is always the possibility of “manipulation”, use of reward, threat of punishment and other forms of asymmetry that favors force.

Generalizing the different forms of power, and contrary to Foucault (see the previous post), Lebrun says that power and domination go hand in hand, a person has power when the other is deprived of it, he puts them in the same boat: m Marx, Nietzsche, Weber , Raymond Aron, Wright Mills and others.

This conception comes from North American sociology known as “Zero Sum Theory”, a theory that dates back to Hobbes, which defined the power of the “sovereign” or the State, as being “one against all” and “in favor of all at the same time”. time”, but from top to bottom.

Thus, this power is simply applied as an obligation or prohibition to the dominated, passing through them and through them, in the same way, the dominated also use it and rely on it, but the dominated have subjectivity (in the ontological relationship it is dasein), and they produce new knowledge about power relations and also empower themselves. In this sense, it is important to relate power to potency, or capacity for action.

The concept of act and power in Thomas Aquinas is, however, more complete, because it is also related to truth, not temporal, but ontological, present in Being:

“[…]some things may be, although they are not, while others actually are. What can be (illud quod potest esse) is called potential being; what already is (illud quod iam est) is called being in act. However, being is double: the essential or substantial being of the thing, like being a man, is simply being; the other is being accidental, like the man being white; and that is being other.” (AQUINO, T, 1976, p. 39.)

Thus power is seen in another way, which is also matter and being complete, for Aquinas all are basic components of the substance, the notion of being complete is attributed both to the form that signifies the first act, the actuality, that the form possesses by itself and not by a mediator, when this first act is attributed to matter there will be an actuality, that which today is confused with virtuality (the potency or possibility of being), because in this way every being is in potency, in this way everyone can have power in order to realize its full potential.

This means that it is necessary to empower man, society and recover the disempowered, so re-education, resocialization and even those who are socialized are always possible.

Power, if exercised without arbitrariness and with the dimension of everyone, can and should serve the common good, justice and freedom.

AQUINO, T. (1976) De principiis naturae ad fratrem Sylvestrum, [ed. H.F. Dondaine]. Ed. Leon., t.XLIII, Opuscula, vol.IV. Roma [Santa Sabina]: Editori di san Tommaso.

LEBRUN, G.(1999)  O que é poder. Brazil, São Paulo: Brasiliense.

WEBER, M. (1994) Economia e Sociedade. Brazil, Brasília – DF: Editora da Universidade de Brasília, 1994.


A piece in the chess of war

15 Apr

Since the fall of the monarchy in Iran, at the time Shah Reza Pahlavi, who was a traditional ally of the USA, the Islamic republic of Iran began to have hostility with the USA, which imposed sanctions because of the processing of uranium essential for nuclear bombs, making causing Iran to seek support and form alliances with Russia.

In 1st. April this year, Israel launched an attack on Syria (not assumed), killing Iranian generals, who have since promised retaliation and recently attacked Israel’s territory with drones and missiles, according to Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, Israeli military spokesman: “it will launched more than 300 threats, and 99% were intercepted”, and concluded: “this is a success”.

Shortly before the news of the launch this Saturday (13/04), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “the defensive systems” are working, and that the IDF (Israel Defense Force), in a reprisal that was already As expected, the bombers continued yesterday (04/14).

As there are strong connections with Hezbollah and the Houthis to the south in Yemen and Hezbollah to the north in Lebanon there is also news of attacks on Israel, both the Israeli military command, the G7 and the UN security council have already called a meeting yesterday.

Italy and Germany have already spoken out against Iran, condemning the attacks, the USA and France helped intercept the missiles (it is reported that Jordan also helped the defense), so Iran is isolated in the West.

The objective at the moment is to prevent a larger scale attack on Iran, which would trigger an escalation of war in the region, Netanyahu must attack some targeted targets in Iran.

Russia has not commented so far, but it is a traditional ally of Iran, and the drones used in the attack on Israel are the same type as those used in the war in Ukraine.

Russian attacks continue to escalate in Ukraine with the main objective of depleting the country’s energy sources, the progressive fragility of the defense of Ukraine’s military forces makes the situation in the country, and to a certain extent in the NATO countries, quite dramatic.

Peace is always possible, what ethical forces call responsibility could play a decisive role in decision-making, as the leaders involved in the conflict increasingly seem not to understand the gravity of a conflict in the midst of a civilizational crisis.

After World War II, the forces in conflict understood the need for peace, now the worsening of the crisis, paradoxical as it may be, can make leaders call for peace.


Happiness, fear and serenity

10 Apr

Among the main guests of “Fronteiras do Pensamento” is Luc Ferry, still little known in Brazil, and already with a certain exponent in Europe he also spoke about fear, one of our themes this week.

He defends a secular spirituality, which for me and other Christians is fragile, but some of his reasoning and comments are important, for example about happiness: “… it does not exist, we have moments of joy, but there is no permanent state of satisfaction… What we can hope for is serenity, something completely different. Serenity can only be achieved by overcoming fear” (interview with Fronteiras do Pensamento).

It classifies fear into three types: shyness (arises depending on the environment and society), phobia (fear of the dark, insects, being trapped in an elevator), in our view it is the only one that really encompasses itself within what the author works mainly: psychology, and the third is the fear of death (of the people we love and of our own death), in our view this necessarily refers to the finitude of life and man, it is only possible to transcend with a spirituality not secular.

He cites an important author, Hans Jonas, and his book The Principle of Responsibility, where there is a chapter called Heuristics of Fear, described as a positive and useful passion.

Through reading this author gives a positive reading: “Ecology inverts this philosophical tradition by maintaining that fear is the beginning of a new wisdom and that, thanks to fear, human beings will become aware of the dangers that exist on the planet. Fear is no longer seen as something childish, but as the first step on the path to wisdom.”

If we are not afraid of war, of an atomic catastrophe, of a desertified planet, of the hunger already present in poor people and countries, we will not have social responsibility, most of us (who do not experience these fears) imagine that they will never be affected, however it’s not like this.

He recognizes that religion also addresses this issue, but his secular spirituality states that: “except that the great philosophies are doctrines of salvation without God and without faith”, so the question remains how to overcome finitude and death, and whether the resurrection of Jesus is true?

Of course it is a question based on faith, but the men of that time saw, witnessed and gave testimony, so why not bet on faith as Pascal proposed, what would you lose with this “bet”, of course it is important to go further, but it could be a first step.

What do I gain today with this bet, is a simple answer, more peace and more conviction of the possibility of peace, of not needing to destroy to discover that we chose death and fear?

Luc Ferry – A boa vida – YouTube  


Eminent danger of war and hope for peace

08 Apr

A drone attack on the Zaporizhzhia plant last week triggered an alert from Russia that promptly denounced the danger and consequences of a nuclear disaster would be dire.

It was not clear exactly what weapon was used against the nuclear plant (photo), only that they were drones and that one had been detonated on site. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has experts on site, said only that the information was “consistent” with the entity’s observations, that is, a drone had exploded near the Plant.

International analysts still see the conflict as unlikely due to the catastrophic risk due to the possibility of using nuclear weapons, in addition to conventional combat, the use of cyber and hybrid attacks would be put into motion, initially in Eastern Europe, but with the risk of expanding to Europe and other continents.

Even though NATO holds a significant advantage in both geopolitics, Finland and Sweden joined NATO and Hungary, which sought a position of neutrality, is now strengthened with a military technology agreement made with Sweden, which facilitated its entry into NATO.

Russia, however, has military capabilities combined with economic resources and the modernization of its military apparatus, in addition to a support agreement with China and North Korea, so maintaining peace and preventing conflicts must be done through constant dialogue, but Russian diplomacy continues to play hard and says that dialogue with NATO is “zero”.

Both Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov make statements that imply that the conflict with NATO is already underway, diplomatic strategy or pure rhetoric, the fact that tension levels are rising .

NATO responds with military exercises and troop movements on the borders, in January an exercise involved 90 thousand soldiers, new training was announced by NATO commanding general, Christopher Cavoli, the operation called Defensor Firme 24 (Steadfast Defender 24) had already been carried out in other years, but now it takes place amid an intensification of bombings against Kiev.

The hope is that the balance is fragile and both sides know this, and the risk of war would be catastrophic, even though analysts avoid saying that there would be limits on actions.


Pain and the Palliative Society

29 Mar

By reading several authors, but mainly by understanding precisely the “pains” of modernity, Byung Chul Han wrote the Paleative Society: pain Today (Han, 2021) in which he decrees: “Pain is now a meaningless evil, which must be combated with painkillers. As a mere bodily affliction, it falls entirely outside the symbolic order.” (HAN, 2021, p. 41).

Among several authors, it is from Paul Valéry in his book and character Monsieur Teste, who embodies the modern and sensitive man who as meaningless and pure “bodily affliction”, “monsieur Teste remains silent in the face of pain. The pain steals his speech” (HAN, 2021, p. 43).

He will place the Christian mystic Teresa D’Ávila in contrast to this character, as a kind of counterfigure, “in her the pain is extremely eloquent. With pain begins the narrative. The Christian narrative verbalizes pain and also transforms the body of the mystic into a stage… it deepens the relationship with God… it produces an intimacy, an intensity.” (p. 44).

Freud also claims, “pain is a symptom that indicates a blockage in a person’s history. The patient, because of his block, is not in a position to move forward in the story” (p. 45).

Being a mere “bodily affliction”, pain became a thing, lost an ontological and in a certain way “eschatological” meaning (because it has a history with a beginning and an end), “meaningless pain is possible only in a bare life emptied of meaning , which no longer narrates.” (p. 46).

Modern man’s denial of the cross is not just contempt for the Other, it is the misunderstanding of its eschatological aspect, pain has entered our lives and will last until we can understand its meaning of “liberation”, of “purging” our evils. that are in our history, that are our sins, war is the misunderstanding of pain, the Other is eliminated as being to blame for our pain, of which each one of us is to blame.

Injustices have their own regulatory means, but marginality, crime, which arise in the midst of poverty, social difficulties are difficulties that deal with pain, there is always a way to remake a story, to start a life over, to eliminate it it’s the opposite.

Injustices have their own regulatory means, but marginality, crime, which arise in the midst of poverty, social difficulties are difficulties that deal with pain, there is always a way to remake a story, to start a life over, to eliminate it it’s the opposite.

The cross is the deepest meaning of what ails man, and from which he can free himself, hide or run away from the problem, which generally leads to greater pain: alcoholism, drugs, prostitution and what is already an evil of modern man: corruption at various levels.

The cross, the pride of Christians and the scandal of Gentiles, is also biblical: “he who wants to follow me, take up his cross and follow me (Mc 8, 34), a metaphor for victory and not defeat.

Han, Byung-Chul. (2021) The palliative Society: Pain Today. Transl. Daniel Steuer. USA: Polity Press.




The light and the truth

27 Mar

There is a single and true light, although we know that light can unfold into various colors that we see from red to violent, and that we do not see as infrared and ultraviolet.

We are increasingly getting closer to the idea that the beginning of the universe had something like light, today according to Standard Physics Theory, the photon was already theorized by Einstein as particles or small “packages” that transport the energy contained in electromagnetic radiation, photons at rest they have zero mass.

Thus, the light that emanates from the origin of the Universe, although not confused with its intention (to radiate light), is at the origin of all electromagnetic radiation from the Big Bang.

The Neoplatonists, like Plotinus (205 – 270), believed in monism and in this radiation of light, there is a one or a god (it was not the Christian God) from which emanates a divine source that radiates throughout all creation, in this one light that Augustine of Hippo will rely on denying the Manichaean dualism that he had previously believed in and from there his turn towards Christianity will take place.

Plotinus’ texts were compiled by his disciple Porphyry and written in the work the Six Enneads (actually nine parts, as ennea in Greek is 9), in which the question of the union of the soul and the intellect stands out, it is based on this idea that the Truth dwells in man.

Thus the soul of the world proceeds from a creative power (not from power, as it does not define it), contemplating the Nous and multiplying itself in all the particular beings of the sensible world, without dividing itself (this is the interpretation of Fritz- Peter Hager in his 1962 book).

The truth thus dwells in the soul and interior of each man, it is this interiority that some critics define as the idealism or intimacy of the Neoplatonists, but today there are several works on the issue of the Contemplative Vitta, Hannah Arendt and Byung Chul Han remember it, but other authors have already started to mention Barthes’ Rumor of the Language mentioned in the previous post.

For Christians, this manifestation of truth occurs ontologically in the Incarnation, Passion and death of Jesus, death because it is part of human life and should be lived as an “Easter” passage that opens eternal life to men, without this passage life fullness is not realized and we perish as matter, this aspect is also problematized by Plotinus.

In the photo, Peter Paul Rubens’ work on Saint Augustine’s Anti-Milleranism, which did not accept the literal reading of Revelation 20:1-10.

Plotinus, Enéadas, (2021) transl. by José Seabra Filho and Juvino Alves Maia Junior, Brazil: Editora Nova Acropole (volume 6 was published this year, completing the work).

Augustine, Saint. (1999). A cidade de Deus (The city of God), trans. Oscar Paes Leme. Brazil, Petrópolis, Editora Vozes.


Silence and the resistance of the spirit

26 Mar

War is noisy not only in weapons and bombs, but mainly in the chatter it generates in which it is impossible to have serenity, think and dialogue; the noisy aspect is a fundamental part of the insanity it represents.

The resistance of the spirit, we are following Edgar Morin’s line, is the possible “weapon” at this moment and perhaps in even worse futures, it means, in many moments, remaining silent, making a silence so profound that it questions the Other who does not give up on argue your reasons for war.

In the Plotinus philosophy, which deeply influenced Saint Augustine, although they are different thinkers, one Christian and the other just Stoic, silence is a stage of deep knowledge of reality, of the one, unity that encompasses everything without leaving itself.

For him when an aspirant to truth (which is truth in fact, not rational logic), he has to have the experience of unity, this experience is total and silent.

The Brazilian philosopher Giacóia Junior seeks in Espinoza’s quote to reflect on this perspective of the relationship between noise and silence when he states that “certainly the fate of humanity would be happier if it were equally within man’s power to both speak and remain silent. But experience teaches sufficiently and superabundantly that nothing is less in the power of men than their language (…) (cf. GIACOIA JUNIOR, 2014, P. 79).

To be faced with silence is to be faced with truth, and if language is the home of being, it is worth remembering that the Word became flesh (John 1:1) if it is not accepted in the biblical sense, it can be thought of as an ontogenic or Phylogenic, as Barthes states in his book The Rumor of Language, states that: “it is language that teaches the definition of man” and that it cannot be considered “a simple instrument, utilitarian or decorative, of thought. Man does not pre-exist language, neither phylogenetically nor ontogenetically” (BARTHES, 1988, p.185).

Thus truth is a Being, language is the dwelling of Being and silence is its apex.


BARTHES, R. 1998. O Rumor da língua (The Rumor of Language). Brazil, São Paulo: Brasiliense.

GIACOIA JUNIOR, O. (2014) Por mais horas silenciosas (For quieter hours”)in: NOVAES, Mutações. Brazil, São Paulo: Ed. SESC SP.




Truth and good works

22 Mar

There is no ontological truth where the unveiling of being does not occur, and this depends on its deeper realization in contact with its essence and must bear fruit for life, for personal and social well-being and for those who believe for an eternity.

Sophists in ancient times created truths that could even be logical, but the objective was to gain power and benefit from those who had wealth and influence, and this has not been eliminated from everyday life until today, a large part of politics is the negotiation of public goods, fraud and for this they use non-truth, and this is not the monopoly of one group.

There is no way to maintain this logic without authoritarianism, the restriction of freedom and silencing the voices of those who suffer from greed for power and wealth, a large part of the current crisis comes from these values, even if they blame the media, they are also under control of these powers.

The media follow the ontic logic in the ontological difference, we briefly develop this issue of the way Heidegger and other followers of the different ontological currents see it, in the scope of interpretation and dialogue the logic cannot be ontic, it must follow the ontological truth that follows from fusion of horizons in the hermeneutic circle (see previous post).

Dualism and polarization follow the ontic truth, blaming the media that do nothing that they do not have under control in some way, which could even be algorithms, man himself, thus the dual ontic logic used is instrumental and in a certain way sophistical because it aims the power.

On Sunday, Holy Week begins for Christians, the ontological truth that was manifested as being in the person of Jesus had to be destroyed by the discourse of power, even the religious power of the time that could not believe that truth is the logic of Being and man, when he manifested his good works, almost always confronted power.

It is necessary to go against the current to reverse the logic of ease, of easy money through corruption, of power for power’s sake and of disservice to society.



The ontological truth

19 Mar

There is a difference between the logic that is based on purely human reason, and the ontological one based on the reality of Being and its existence, thus it is not a final truth, but an eschatological one, that is, it has a beginning and an end where existence is explained. .

In a purely philosophical way, ontic and ontological truth always refer differently, to the being in its being and to the being of the being, and the relationship between them is called ontological difference, little explored in philosophy and embedded in any theory that deals with of Being.

The relationship of latency between being and being and between presence and being makes it evident that the foundation of ontological difference is presence, according to Heidegger (pg. 102):

Unveiling of being is, however, always true of the being of the being, whether it is actually real or not. And vice versa, in the unveiling of beings there always lies an unveiling of their being. Ontic truth and ontological truth always refer, in different ways, to the being in its being and to the being of the being. They are essentially part of each other due to their relationship with the difference between being and being (ontological difference).

It is about unveiling because to reveal is to remove a layer of the veil, but finding another that equally covers the truth, human reason and science itself goes like this, based on Karl Popper’s falsifiability principle, he claims that the fact of a That an assertion can be shown to be false is one of the principles for establishing sound science.

There is a circular relationship between ontic truth and ontological truth resulting from this circular facticity of presence [which is one of Heidegger’s translations of Dasein] and this relates to beings understanding being, and relates to being understanding beings.

“With the differentiation, which is in itself clear, between ontic and ontological – ontic truth and ontological truth, we effectively have the different elements of a difference, but not the difference itself” (pg. .412), explicitly saying the relationship of things with beings, is different from the relationship between beings among themselves, there is an ontological truth that must be revealed for the relationship.

So, how do ontological and ontic truth, as well as ontological difference, contribute to showing the relational character of the self? Conflicts and relationships involve this Being that is relational, but its understanding seen as instrumental, reified or of interest is nothing.


Heidegger, M. (1984) Sobre a essência do fundamento. In: Heidegger: conferências e escritos filosóficos. Transl. de Ernildo Stein. Brazil. São Paulo: Abril Cultural (collection: Os Pensadores).



Infinity, peace and transformation

15 Mar

Ours of infinity, of even the paradox that represents the profound change that occurs in astronomical phenomena such as black holes, where even quantum physics is questioned, leads us to a new worldview of matter and spirituality.

Edgar Morin speaks of “resistance of the spirit” due to the dramatic moment we are experiencing of civilizational crisis and the threat of escalating wars. Without a truly concrete call for peace, the risk of current conflicts escalating and new ones emerging is immense.

This resistance requires both personal and collective positioning, truly defending and living peace, practicing it in our daily relationships, alongside those who pass through our lives.

Peace depends on people who plant peace, says the biblical reading John 12:24: “truly, truly I say to you, unless the grain of wheat that falls into the earth dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but, if it dies, then it produces much fruit”, so it is necessary that those who truly desire it sow peace, but not in speech, but in everyday attitudes.

It does not mean that we do not desire changes, and that they are not necessary, also in this aspect the grain of wheat must fall into the earth and “die”, but this death seen precisely with what we desire: transformation, not disappearance or terminal death.

Looking at the infinite, the divine and the eternal is going beyond our materiality, our daily and human impulses, setting aside time for reading, contemplation, meditation and recharging our energies, a peaceful attitude depends on this human/divine balance.

Without a true and humanly reciprocated ascesis, we remain in what Peter Sloterdijk calls a “life of exercise”, we do the exercises to do so, but we do not have a human ascension (a true ascesis).

Increasing our inner life, transmitting it in relationships, this is true asceticism.