Talk:Grand challenges

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Hi Lee,

We have an astonishing degree of overlap in our background and interests.

With respect to the ten biggest problems facing humankind, here is my list:

  • Conflict
  • Violence
  • Oppression
  • Injustice
  • Corruption
  • Poverty
  • Ignorance
  • Alienation
  • Suffering
  • Terrorism

What these problems all have in common is that they are examples of recursion (or renewal processes) in which each instance seeds a subsequent instance.

Moulton 22:23, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Urgent "big picture" issues[edit]

From my point of view, the most urgent "big picture" issues are 1) the continuing destabilization of planetary systems, which includes not only climate change but species extinction, or the "loss of biodiversity," the latter being the "planetary boundary" already most exceeded according to Rockstrom et al.'s diagram of "a safe operating space for humanity," Nature 461 (2009): 472-75; and 2) the increasing militarization and escalating conflicts between nation-states and other subgroupings of our human species, which threaten to destroy Life on Earth either instantaneously in one massive conflagration or slowly by worldwide radiation poisoning.

My approach to both of these problems is that they are entirely self-generated by our human species, and therefore amenable to our "solving" them in time to ward off disaster if we can only come to grips with what we're doing wrong. In addition to effects of our rapidly increasing population size, both of the above are in large part consequences of our fixation upon social constructions like "the economy" and "the nation-state" at the expense of paying attention to what we're doing to the natural world and considering all the possible ways humans can live sustainably within it. We seem to think that the present configuration of our social institutions must be maintained at any cost, as if we're unaware of the fact that these patterns of thought and organization have no independent existence other than in our shared belief systems--they are maintained by our "collective intentionality," in John Searle's terminology--and that our human minds which produce them can themselves have no independent existence in the absence of a well-functioning biosphere. An ontological category mistake!

Something for philosophers to aim at, therefore, IMHO, is pushing humanity to attain the necessary degree of reflexivity to realize that it CAN CHANGE its own social constructions--and then enabling it to do so, as quickly and intelligently as possible. ~ From an email sent by reader RH Copied here by --Lbeaumont (discusscontribs) 02:05, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Eurasia Group publishes Top Risks for 2014[edit]

See: http://eurasiagroup.net/media-center/view-press-release/Top+Risks+2014 for a list of "Top Risks for 2014"