Exceptionality and Normality

As part of 79th International Scientific Conference of the University of Latvia, on the 18th and 19th February 2021, the philosophy doctoral students’ section “Exceptionality and Normality” of the Faculty of History and Philosophy took place. In the section participated masters and PhD students of various programs, as well as lecturers of the Faculty of History and Philosophy, researchers of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the University of Latvia and other academics. The collection contains 23 theses, which summarize the reports read in the organized section of the conference “Exceptionality and Normality”. Theses provide an opportunity to familiarize with the topicality of the subject of the section in the cross-section of the 21st century, as well as how the idea of exceptionality and normality has developed in epistemology, philosophy of consciousness, ethics, social philosophy, and history.

Terorisma pētniecības ierobežojumi un fenomenoloģiskās, hermeneitiskās filozofijas risinājumi.
By Māris Kūlis

During the past three decades and especially since 2001, the threat of terrorism has attracted a vast amount of research, however, that has not led even close to the elimination of terrorism. The existing terrorism studies have provided many useful insights. What is missing, is a deeper understanding of existential conditions that contribute to the persistence of terrorism. At the core of contemporary counterterrorism is what R. Jackson describes as an epistemological crisis, that manifests itself discursively in the way officials, scholars, pundits, and others speak about the threat of terrorism, and the way counterterrorism and security practitioners then act in pursuit of security against that threat. With the emergence of critical terrorism studies in 2007, their adepts have been accusing terrorism studies of little theoretical and especially methodological development. They argue that the so-called orthodox terrorism studies are based on positivist epistemology that stresses the objectivity of facts and thus employs statistical, data-gathering, empirical methods. However, critical terrorism studies are founded on methodological and disciplinary pluralism. Standing with one foot in the critical theory and with the other in the legacy of modern political sciences, they set an agenda that terrorism is an episteme that should be unmasked through narrative analysis. The goal of my project — unTERROR — is to search for a third way: to import phenomenological and hermeneutical tradition into terrorism studies that would involve a conceptual shift where the meaning of terrorism would be characterized by a move to a terror as an existential condition.

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