Although one can dislike the philosophy of history as a kind of bad surrogate for something else, it is curiously one of those areas of thought in which it is impossible not to think sometimes. Most often than not, the philosophy of history is a comment on the margins of something considered more important, such as a particular set of principles assumed as meaningful by a person (character in Kantian terms) or by a group of people often not randomly chosen (ideology in my terms, religions in others’.) However, human history, as part of the total history of the universe of which is a tiny and almost insignificant subset, strikes for recurrent patterns which can be characterized as emerging properties. One of those is being characterized by actions and words about those actions. Human history is a combination of actions and stories about those actions.
Nichilismo e terrorismo nell’Europa della seconda metà dell’Ottocento
Giovedì 28 ottobre esce, per Bibliosofica Editrice, il libro postumo di Giovanni Feliciani intitolato, “L’individualismo radicale di Max Stirner”. Non vi è una vera e propria letteratura specifica e bene articolata riguardo al pensiero e all’azione radicale. Alcuni aspetti della storia, infatti, sono stati messi all’angolo, poiché ritenuti “scomodi”. Giovanni Feliciani, studioso ed editore, decide di non approfondire gli aspetti prettamente storici del pensiero anarchico, bensì gli elementi legati alla radicalità. In particolare, l’attenzione è rivolta al filosofo tedesco Max Stirner, senz’altro il più radicale tra i componenti della sinistra hegeliana e non solo. L’opera di Stirner verrà accolta e sviluppata dai nichilisti russi e dai terroristi anarchici. Feliciani è, chiaramente, influenzato nei suoi studi dal filosofo tedesco, ma anche da Nietzsche e Simmel, tuttavia al centro del suo pensiero non vi è l’assenza di regole e certi stilemi più estremi di una certa corrente anarchica, ma l’individuo con le sue esigenze e privo di condizionamenti. Tutti i libri, tutta l’attività da editore, tutta la sua vita, è stata segnata da una caparbia decisione di “andare oltre”; quindi di essere sé stessi fino in fondo.
Giovanni Feliciani (Siena, 1951 – Roma, 2017), è stato libraio, bibliotecario, ricercatore. Ha fondato e ha diretto la Casa Editrice Bibliosofica, a Roma, presso la quale ha pubblicato:Biblius. Libro dei Libri (1999); Bibliosofia. Scienza del Libro e della Lettura (2011); Vivere al ritmo della radicalità nella storia, (2015); inoltre ha curato, la raccolta di studi La Biblioteca Pubblica. Antologia degli scritti di Virginia Carini Dainotti (2014) e insieme ad altri il volume La Cultura brucia. Anna e la libreria uscita nella Roma degli anni ’70 (2010). È stato cofondatore della collana di Studi Storici, Filosofici Umanistici “Tempora”.
Roma, Bibliosofica, 2021
Formato cm 15×21, pagine 120
€ 13,00 – ISBN 978-88-87660-456
I’m honored, delighted, and humbled by all the knowledge shared in this interview. Like many of us, I first James Bruce in his writing, from RAND reports to book chapters and papers. When I contacted him, I wanted to share my gratefulness for his seminal work on the epistemology of intelligence, because of my long-lasting interest in that almost esoteric (but crucial, I believe) topic. We had a deep conversation on intelligence analysis, the intelligence profession, and the conceptual understanding of intelligence from that moment on. As in all the best and deep conversations, there is a margin for different opinions, boosting further insights and deep thoughts. There will be so much reflection to be awed for all of our readers who will read the interview. Dr. Bruce has an outstanding position for covering so many topics at such a detailed level to be difficult to be matched, impossible to surpass. Although I try to be as grateful as I can be to all who enriched my knowledge, I can only publicly reinforce my deep appreciation for James Bruce’s interview, knowledge, experience, and all the thoughts he put into his conversations. His work and thought should definitely be an example, an inspiration for younger scholars and, more broadly, all who think human knowledge is crucial for the progress of civilization and meaning. In this very respect, James Bruce is absolutely a deep thinker. These words must be understood in the best way, as all our readers will immediately discover reading this interview. We covered crucial topics from intelligence analysis, its future as well as the epistemology of intelligence. It is then with my distinct pleasure to publish the interview on Scuola Filosofica – for those who don’t know it yet; it is one of the leading cultural blogs in Italy. In the name of Scuola Filosofica Team, our readers, and myself, Giangiuseppe Pili, James: thank you!
1# Hi James Bruce, let’s start from the basics. How would you like to present yourself to our national and international readers?
Hello, Gian, and thank you for the opportunity to discuss analysis! To start with a caveat: These interview responses are my own personal views, and they do not reflect the positions of the Central Intelligence Agency, the US government, or the RAND Corporation.
I am a retired intelligence analyst with 24 years’ experience at CIA. While there, I worked on a variety of substantive issues and also some methodological ones. With Ph.D. in hand and 10 years’ teaching experience in academe when I entered the Agency, I still had much to learn on my path to becoming a professional analyst.
My early career focus was on the Soviet Union, and I published a very controversial (then classified) paper in 1983 on civil unrest in the USSR. It described and successfully forecast growing political instability in the Soviet system due to a breakdown in the social contract between the governing Communist Party (CPSU) and the population that was growing increasingly restive with the regime’s authoritarianism and unfulfilled promises. That quantitative study of demonstrations, strikes, riots, and political violence revealed a tip-of-the-iceberg change afoot in the Soviet political culture across its 11 time zones that the KGB couldn’t curtail by force alone. The collapse of the Soviet Union on Christmas Day in 1991 was seen by some as a US intelligence failure. While that fateful day wasn’t specifically predicted, a few analysts had reported the early signs of imminent system failure and, by 1990, CIA had its demise pretty well in hand. Gorbachev’s rule was becoming increasingly precarious. Today Putin may be riding a similar tiger.
Per Platone, accade che le cose sensibili partecipano delle loro idee. Il nostro mondo è comunque finito, per cui potrà soltanto tendere ad universalizzarsi. Nell’esperienza quotidiana, una forma si percepisce alla “compartecipazione” dei propri limiti. Ma sarà un’idealità relativa allo spazio ed al tempo, mentre si dovrà presupporre l’idealità… per l’idealità relativa allo spazio ed al tempo. Allora Platone ricorre alla matematica. In quella, per esempio le relazioni d’uguaglianza ci appaiono sul serio perfette. E’ una compartecipazione, fra i “limiti” dei numeri, che immediatamente si svincola dallo spazio e dal tempo. Dunque la forma dell’uguale sembra la più “consigliabile” per aiutarci a percepire l’universalizzazione, che in se stessa dialetticamente non può darsi senza postulare pure la particolarizzazione. Se le idee sono la causa delle cose sensibili, le seconde ovviamente derivano dalle prime. Allora Platone immagina di togliere lo spazio ed il tempo. Nell’eternità, le singole idee saranno sempre uguali a se stesse. Qualcosa da percepire comunque in via di derivazione, ma solo per la necessità dialettica che un universale postuli un particolare. Le idee platoniche non sarebbero completamente staccate dal mondo materiale. Prima, bisognerà che percepiamo l’eternità del loro divenire.
What is the real ethical framework of an intelligence analyst? We addressed this question by presenting a group of civil and military intelligence analysts (N = 41), and a control group of non-professionals (N = 41), with a set of dilemmas depicting intelligence agents facing the decision whether to violate a deontological rule where that would benefit their work (ethics-of-intelligence dilemmas). Participants judged how much violating the rule was acceptable. Next, we measured participants’ individual differences in social dominance orientation (using the Social Dominance Orientation scale which measures the proclivity to endorse intergroup hierarchy and anti-egalitarianism), their deontological and utilitarian response tendencies (using classical moral dilemmas), and how much they value rule conformity, traditions, and safety and stability in the society (using the Value Survey). A multiple regression analysis revealed that, among all the factors, only social dominance significantly helped explain variability in intelligence analysts’ but not non-professionals’ resolutions of the ethics-of-intelligence dilemmas. Specifically, social dominance positively predicted the tendency to judge violating the deontological rule acceptable, possibly suggesting that analysts who show a stronger proclivity to desire their country or company to prevail over others are also more lenient toward deontological violations if these result in a greater good for the state or the company. For the first time in the open literature, we elucidated some key aspects of the real ethics of intelligence.
For the first time in the series, we present extensively the history and present of an Eastern-European country, which was part of the Warsaw pact during the Cold War. True, we already invited experts from other countries, part of the USSR (Ukraine, specifically). We covered the Russian and USSR’s intelligence extensively in another interview. But it is the first time we explore the secret services of a country that underwent crucial restructuring and reforms passing from being independent, then inside the Warsaw Pact, and then the European Union and NATO. It is then with a particular interest and pleasure to cover the Polish intelligence history, experience, and present. This is a great opportunity for discovering more about other perspectives and structures, which are now part of the European Union and NATO. Considering French intelligence services, Italian security services, Greece’s experience, Belgian or Dutch intelligence, the readers will see already how densely diversified and unique each country is when intelligence is concerned. With Poland’s intelligence and security services, we add another crucial piece into the complex puzzle, which is intelligence history and European “ways to intelligence.” Indeed, as we shall discover through this very deep and insightful interview, Poland’s history was as complex as few others in the European landscape. Starting from the beginning of the Polish state, professor Przemysław Gasztold covers all the main steps and evolution of the Polish secret services. As the readers will discover, this is a fascinating journey through the history of a crucial country whose history shows an impressive and unrivaled resilience. I can only be grateful to professor Gasztold for sharing with us his deep knowledge of Polish intelligence. It is then with my distinct pleasure to publish the interview on Scuola Filosofica – for those who don’t know it yet; it is one of the leading cultural blogs in Italy. In the name of Scuola Filosofica Team, our readers, and myself, Giangiuseppe Pili, Przemysław: thank you!
1# Professor Przemysław Gasztold, let’s start from the basics. How would you like to present yourself to the International readers and Philosophical School (Scuola Filosofica)?
Since the beginning of my university studies I was fascinated by the Polish history during the Cold War, with a particular emphasis on the communist movement and its security apparatus. I have written my MA thesis on the “Grunwald” Patriotic Union – a political association active in the 80s, which mixed communism with nationalism and anti-Semitism. My PhD thesis addressed the hardline communists within the Polish United Workers’ Party in the 80s and their struggle for power within the high echelons of the ruling regime. My next project embraces the Polish sympathizers of Maoism who in 1965 established an illegal party and were supported by Albanian and Chinese diplomats. Simultaneously, I’m working on a project about the Polish ties to the Global South (1955-1989), which would identify the role Warsaw in the developing world in a broader framework of the Soviet Bloc ideological agenda. I’m also conducting research on various aspects of Polish intelligence and counter-intelligence services, for example their secret ties with international terrorism during the Cold War. The new findings about the Soviet bloc clandestine relationships with terrorist organizations have recently been published in two volumes: Terrorism in the Cold War. State Support in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Sphere of Influence and Terrorism in the Cold War. State Support in the West, Middle East and Latin America (edited by A. Hanni, T. Riegler, P. Gasztold, I.B. Tauris/Bloomsbury Publishing, London-New York 2020). Currently, I’m working as an Assistant Professor at the War Studies University in Warsaw, the Department of Security Threats, and as a senior research fellow at the Institute of National Remembrance – an institution responsible for research and archival maintenance of the communist intelligence records. Additionally, I’m an editor at “Security & Defence Quarterly” and a member of the editorial board at the “National Security and the Future”.