Thursday, November 29, 2007

Douglas Walton

Isfahan, November 2007

There is an interesting discussion of understanding in Douglas Walton's work. Walton notices that a number of philosophers of science have stated that scientific explanation is based on some sort of understanding, including Achinstein, Salmon, Friedman, Kitcher, and von Wright. However, Walton reports a lack of clarity among most writers on the subject about just what understanding is.

But how can we understand understanding? According to Schank (1982), to grasp the nature of understanding, we need to think of it as a spectrum. At one end there is the kind of understanding called complete empathy, exemplified in understanding between twins or very old friends. At the other end, the minimal kind of understanding that Schank calls “making sense”, is exemplified by a conjectural and incomplete understanding between two parties. According to the original theory of Schank and Abelson (1977), communicating agents share common knowledge in the form of what are called scripts. Described by Schank, Kass and Riesbeck (1994, p. 77) as “frozen inference chains stored in memory”, scripts represent knowledge people can generally be presumed to have about common situations, and knowledge they have about routine ways of doing things. In the usual example, called the restaurant script (Schank, Kass and Riesbeck, 1994, p. 7), a person can be taken to know when he or she goes to a restaurant that there is a set of routine actions and common expectations about what is or is not done in that setting. According to Schank’s theory, when there is a failure of understanding, it is because there is a gap in a situation that generally makes sense to us, but there is one particular point in which it fails to make sense - an anomaly or inconsistency. Responding to a request for explanation of such an anomaly is best seen as a kind of repair process used to help someone account for the anomaly by using scripts, and perhaps other devices like plan libraries, that impose a framework of what is usually or normally to be expected in a situation in which something is abnormal. (p. 4)
According to this, we should expect a lack of understanding to be felt by people in unfamiliar situations. When dealing with people of other cultures, behavior that fails to conform to expectations based on one's own experience can lead to feelings of a lack of understanding, or to misunderstandings. Misunderstandings arise when false attributions are made because behavior is interpreted to have a meaning that is expressed in one's own culture by this behavior but not in the other's culture. What is intended as simple courtesy or an indication of respect by someone from an Eastern culture may be interpreted by a European as obsequious insincerity.
Douglas Walton is a Canadian academic and author, well known for his many widely published books and papers on argumentation, logical fallacies and informal logic. He is presently Professor of Philosophy at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada.
The principle of charity can help to avoid misunderstanding. The principle of charity combined with openmindedness can help a person to understand another person from a different culture. Conflict based on false attributions of intentions to others may be avoided by seeking to understand them by utilizing the principle of charity and keeping an open mind. Maybe this can help to give some content to the slogan, "Peace through Understanding."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Japanese Peace Bell

Japanese Peace Bell

The Japanese Peace Bell was presented to the United Nations in June 1954 by the United Nations Association of Japan. It was cast from coins collected by people from 60 different countries including children, and housed in a typically Japanese structure, ressembling a Shinto shrine, made of cypress wood.

It has become a tradition to ring the bell twice a year: on the first day of Spring, at the Vernal Equinox, and on 21 September to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. In 2002, the General Assembly set 21 September as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace.

In 1994, there was a special ceremony marking the fortieth anniversary of the Japanese Peace Bell. On that occasion, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali said: "whenever it has sounded, this Japanese Peace Bell has sent a clear message. The message is addressed to all humanity. Peace is precious. It is not enough to yearn for peace. Peace requires work -- long, hard, difficult work."

Copyright © 2001 United Nations


Welcome to the New Zealand Chapter

of the

World Peace Bell Association

The New Zealand World Peace Bell amongst the spring blossom
in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

What is a World Peace Bell?

During the aftermath of World War 2 a Japanese individual Chiyoji Nakagawa, former Mayor of Uwajima in Shikoku, presented a token of peace to the United Nations. It took the form of a large bell, fashioned from a bell typically seen in larger temples throughout Japan.

To manufacture the bell Mr Nakagawa, working on his own, canvassed 65 member countries of the (then) new United Nations asking for donations of coins to cast a bell. His mission was to remind the world of the importance of peace, and to say that no nation should experience an atomic bomb attack as his country's cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, did in August 1945.

On 8 June, 1954 the bell was presented to the United Nations as a symbol of everlasting world peace. The bell, known as the World Peace Bell, is located in the inner court of the United Nations headquarters in New York. It is supported on soil from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And, an image of the World Peace Bell became part of a United Nations poster.

There, the story might have ended. But in 1982 a World Peace Bell Association was formed with co-operation from ambassadors representing 128 nations. The Association was charged with promoting a world free from the evils of nuclear war, and presenting replica World Peace Bells to the nations of the world.. As was the case with the original, replicas are made from the donated coins of United Nations member countries.

At present there are 21 World Peace Bells in 17 countries. Four are in Japan. Coins to manufacture the bells have been donated by 103 United Nations member countries, including New Zealand.

The nearest World Peace Bell replica to New Zealand was presented to Cowra, Australia, in 1990. The bell symbolizes peace initiatives and friendships made between the people of Cowra and Japan following the tragic Japanese breakout from Cowra's World War 2 prison camp on 5th August, 1944.

The replica bell is huge. It is one metre high, 609 mm wide, and weighs a hefty 365 kg. Without doubt, it will be the largest display bell in New Zealand - another first for Christchurch and Canterbury.

The New Zealand World Peace Bell came about through the initiative of Christchutch resident Roy Sinclair who in 2004 made an epic 3500 km bike ride the length of Japan.

The Christchurch chapter of the World Peace Bell Association wish to say a special thank you to the city council for their help and co-operation. The Chapter is currently busy fund raising, people wishing to join the chapter or make a donation are most welcome to do so. Contact details are at the bottom of the page.

The Christchurch World Peace Bell is now housed in a pavillion located in the Botanic Gardens. Plans are being developed for it to become the focal point of a specially developed Peace Walk.

The official unveiling was held on 3rd October 2006.

The pavillion opening ceremony held in heavy weather with
WPB President and Christchurch Mayor performing the formalities.

Commemorative plaque.

Links: World Peace Bell Association's website in Japan.

An account of Roy Sinclair's bike ride the length of Japan to help raise awareness of the World Peace Bell Association.

© World Peace Bell Association, New Zealand Chapter
Address: 1a Wedgewood Avenue, Cashmere, Christchurch 8002
Phone: +64-3-337-6926


Bells Ringing for World Peace Through Reverence for Life

Prelude to Symposium 2000

The World Peace Bell is the creation of the Verdin Company

We propose that "Bells Ringing for World Peace Through Reverence for Life" be heard throughout the world in the year 2000, starting on the International Day of Peace. This is observed on the day when the United Nations General Assembly opens.

The International Day of Peace was founded in 1981, when the United Nations General Assembly, recalling that the promotion of peace is among its main purposes, in conformity with its charter, decided that it would be appropriate to "devote time to concentrate the efforts of the United Nations and its Member States, as well as of the whole of mankind, to promote the ideals of peace and to give positive evidence of their commitment to peace in all viable ways."

The World Peace Bell, the largest free-swinging bell in the world, weighing 66,000 pounds, will be installed in 1999 at the Millennium Monument in Newport, Kentucky. This bell, a symbol of freedom and peace, was designed and cast by the world renowned Verdin Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, in association with Pierre Paccard in Annecy, France. The Verdin Company is the world's largest supplier of bells, carillons, and clocks.

On the International Day of Peace a ceremony will be held at the Millennium Peace Tower in Newport, when the World Peace Bell will start ringing, to be followed by bells of all kinds throughout the United States and the world.

We have met with officials of the State of Kentucky, the Millennium Monument Company, Greater Cincinnati 2000, and Mr. James R. Verdin, President of the Verdin Company. All have pledged their support to Symposium 2000 and for our "Bells Ringing for World Peace Through Reverence for Life" on the International Day of Peace in 2000.

United Nations and Hiroshima Peace Bells

While the Peace bells at the United Nations and in Hiroshima are focal points for celebrating peace, we believe that there will be many thousands of "Bells Ringing for World Peace Through Reverence for Life" around the world with a potential listening audience of one billion people. Bells will be heard in tiny hamlets, major metropolises, and world capitols. A stronger statement for peace could not be made by the people of the world. The sounds of bells ringing will transcend all boundaries and speak as one global voice.

The United Nations has declared the year 2000 as the International Year for a Culture of Peace. There are nearly a thousand organizations and institutions in more than 120 countries campaigning for peace. Symposium 2000 and the "Bells Ringing for World Peace Through Reverence for Life" will be the dynamic culmination of hundreds of world-wide peace events held throughout 2000. Here is a rare opportunity for peace in the new millennium.

We live in uncertain times and each of us must do what we can to establish peace and bring about the abolishment of nuclear weapons. We must endeavor to bring an end to neighborhood violence and to precarious environmental and global economic conditions. We have daily reminders of countless other injustices. Peace is possible if only we listen in our hearts to the words of Nobel Peace Laureate Albert Schweitzer: World Peace through Reverence for Life.

If you wish to participate in the "Bells Ringing for World Peace Through Reverence for Life," please e-mail your intent along with your address and data on your bells to Robert Stone, Worldwide Coordinator for Bells Ringing for Peace at:

For Further Information Contact: SYMPOSIUM2000@WEBTV.NET
copyright 1998 Symposium2000

This site is part of the Hague Appeal for Peace webring.


Australia's World Peace Bell

The Australian World Peace Bell was awarded to Cowra in 1992 for its long standing Australia Peace Bell contribution to world peace and international understanding. Capital cities usually reserve the right to erect the World Peace Bell, however Cowra's committment to the World Peace Bell's objectives has meant Cowra was awarded the honour. The Bell is made of coins provided by 103 member countries of the United Nations, which were melted down and cast into the Bell. The Cowra Civic Square now proudly houses the Bell. The Pavillion is decorated with pottery tiles reflecting the community's ideas about the World Peace Bell and its association with Cowra. An audio presentation has recently been installed at the Peace Bell, explaining the significance of the bell and its association with Cowra. A ceremony is held on World Peace Day - 3rd Tuesday in September - to mark the opening of the Disarmament at the United Nations.


Peace Bell

Completed: September 20, 1964

The A-bomb Survivor Hiroshima Hope Fruition Society was founded to symbolize the spirit and culture of the pursuit of a world without nuclear weapons and war. The bell was made by the late Masahiko Katori, who was a living national treasure. On its surface a world map without national boundaries is engraved to symbolize"one world."
The platform evokes the radiation warning mark, expressing the hope for abolition of atomic and hydrogen bombs. On the opposite side is a mirror that reflects the hearts of those who ring the bell.
The pond is adorned by famous lotuses grown from seeds from Professor Ichiro Oga, who dug them from 2000-year-old ruins in Chiba City. After the bombing, lotus leaves were placed on people's wounds to reduce the pain of burns and console their spirits.
The Peace Bill was selected in 1996 for the Environmental Agency's "One Hundred Sounds the Japanese People Wish to Preserve." (The selection includes the sounds in the park on August 6, including the ringing of the Peace Bell, the Peace Clock Tower bell, and the bell displayed in Peace Memorial Museum that is used in the Peace Memorial Ceremony.)


Okinawa Peace Bell

Okinawa Peace Bell

Okinawa became the final battleground between the invading US forces and the defending Japanese forces towards the end of WW11. It is remembered as one of the bloodiest battles in which more than 200,000 perished including US and Japanese soldiers and Okinawan citizens. Thus the Okinawa Peace Memorial Hall was constructed on October 1, 1978 on Mabuni Hill where the war practically ended, to symbolize the ardent wish of our people who abhor the recurrence of such a tradedy to befall any nation regardless of their nationality, race, creed, or religion. In the front garden is the Okinawa Peace Bell, a 9 meter high bell tower which was donated by the Lions International Club 337. The bell is rung five times a day to console the spirits of those who died in the war. It is also intended that the sound of the bell will carry the Okinawan people's wish for peace across the Seven Seas and to every corner of the world.

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