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Katalin Balog
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Philip Goff's new book Galileo's error, though it clearly has an ax to grind (pan-psychism) is a very accessible and interestingly written book that features many of the greatest hits of philosophy of mind. Bear in mind though, it focuses on consciousness, especialy the metaphysics of consciousness, and doesn't cover intentionality much. As for AI, simulation, etc. David Chalmers' book when it comes out, on Virtual Reality.
CEU has been the last major cultural institution outside of the control of the Hungarian government. The CEU kerfuffle is a preview of our own future if the republicans hold Congress. The Hungarian government has made no secret of the fact that they are now moving to eradicate any last scraps of media and academic freedom as well as any NGOs that still can operate in Hungary. Much of this is connected with the government’s anti-Semitic hate campaign against George Soros (the founder of CEU) that they made the central plank of their election platform in the spring. The Hungarian government told the US Ambassador to Hungary, David Cornstein, that it is not going to sign the agreement with New York State over CEU (which they negotiated a year ago and which has been ready to sign ever since). This is it, for CEU. The consequences for Hungary are even worse. This happens at a time when Orbán has recently barred gender studies programs in Hungary from issuing degrees. He also has attacked and sidelined leaders of other cultural institutions such as the Opera, various museums (including the Hungarian literary archives, inducting outright fascists into the Hungarian literary canon), as well as has taken over control over the Hungarian Academy of Sciences with its sprawling network of research institutes (including in philosophy). Some articles on the background: and this actually provides a far more unvarnished summary of what Ignatieff has to say about EU inaction re: CEU: If this is allowed to happen it will be another breakthrough in what autocrats can do within the framework of the European Union. No guarantees. More and more, it is anything goes.
Pro-CEU, anti-government demonstrations has spread to Szeged, the second largest city in Hungary, as well as smaller, provincial towns. The demonstration in Szeged was described in local media as the largest since 1956. Some pictures:
Here is an informative article about the background of Orbán’s animus against the CEU. Also interesting parallels between the psychologies of our respective autocrats. Also, further update from Hungarian Spectrum on the widening of the anti-government protests:
“Lex CEU” is the next logical step in Orban’s authoritarian playbook. (For the great misfortune of Hungary, Orban is both much more intelligent, and more disciplined that Trump. He has been executing his plan to turn Hungary into an authoritarian kleptocracy with ruthless efficiency. ) He has subdued the judiciary, changed the election laws, purged the executive down to its lowest levels, has a choke hold on independent media (the last opposition daily with wide circulation was recently acquired by an oligarch close to Orban who closed it down overnight), completely centralized higher education. The next logical step is to “sweep out of the country” the last holdouts of free and democratic thought: the thriving and wonderful CEU and the fledgling NGO watchdogs. But his his evil plan concerning the CEU has more to do with Trump and the US than I thought. In the final bill, they introduced a small modification that not only makes the deadlines for compliance even more unrealistic, but changes the role of the federal government in educational agreements with Hungary. CEU is based in New York State and its functioning in Hungary is based on an international agreement between New York State and Hungary. The new law would make it a condition for such agreements that the federal government (in countries that have such a thing) first ratifies the conditions of such an agreement. This is, according to many observers, a ploy for Orban to force some reaction from Washington which so far, to Orban’s great disappointment, has paid no attention to Orban or his government. It also serves his vengeance by meddling in Soros’s relationship with the American government by putting the fate of CEU in Trump’s hands. This whole move happened because of Orban’s bitter resentment against George Soros, and what his Open Society foundation represents. The move against the CEU will, by all accounts, be followed by aggressive legal moves against NGO’s; his antipathy against them is also fueled by the fact that many of them accept small amounts of money from Soros. George Soros has been a great benefactor of Hungary. CEU is only one of the many caritative projects he has founded from maternal and infant health to education and infrastructure. Even Orban, in his youth, has studied in Cambridge for a semester on a Soros grant. (Full disclosure: I came to the US on a Soros fellowship….) For this reason, it is especially painful to watch what is happening. CEU still vows to fight.
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Apr 12, 2016