International Society for Philosophers

International Society for Philosophers

Wisdom begins with wonder

PHILOSOPHY PATHWAYS                   ISSN 2043-0728


Issue number 140 17th December 2008


I. ''All Things Are Nothing to Me!' -- Max Stirner and Egoism' by Martin Jenkins

II. 'Mind in Artificial Intelligence' by Rajakishore Nath

III. 'Transformational Paradigm at the Community Level: A Proposed Formula in the Mindanao Conflict' by Erwin B. Laya

IV. 'Philosophical Connections' compiled by Anthony Harrison-Barbet: Foreword to the online edition by Geoffrey Klempner



For this issue of Philosophy Pathways, Pathways mentor Martin Jenkins puts the spotlight on the controversial nineteenth century thinker Max Stirner. Bemused readers of Karl Marx's German Ideology have been in turns fascinated and appalled by the intemperate diatribe against Stirner in the book-length section ironically entitled, 'Saint Max', which leaves one pondering Marx's sanity. Yet Marx understood well enough the threat Stirner's radical defence of egoism posed to his vision of a communist utopia dedicated to realizing the 'human essence'.

Dr Rajakishore Nath from the Indian Institute of Technology at Mumbai has provided a useful survey of some of the philosophical issues around the question of Artificial Intelligence, including references to two of the foremost critics of AI, John Searle and David Chalmers. Searle's 'Chinese Room' and Chalmers' 'Zombie' thought experiments have become standard reference points in the debate over AI.

Professor Erwin B. Laya from Brokenshire College, Philippines wrote recently to tell me that he is using material from the Pathways Pathways e-journal for his philosophy classes. We are fortunate to have his authoritative analysis of the Mindanao Conflict, whose historical origins trace back to the 15th and 16th centuries with the struggle of the independent Muslim states against the territorial ambitions of the Spanish Empire. Professor Laya's proposal of a 'transformational paradigm' for achieving a lasting solution to conflict has significance far beyond the borders of the Philippines.

Some readers will be aware that there is a major new project underway at the Pathways web site. When it is completed, Philosophical Connections will be a major source of information about the history of Western philosophy and the interconnections between thinkers of Ancient, Medieval and Modern times. To date, roughly one quarter of the original 350,000 word e-text compiled by Anthony Harrison-Barbet has been converted into web pages. I have included my Foreword written for the online edition. You will find Philosophical Connections online at:


Geoffrey Klempner



In The Ego and His Own [1844][1] Max Stirner [1806-1856] posits the unique 'Ego ' as primary against the opposing reified concepts and categories of Christianity and its derivatives of Humanism, Liberalism and Communism. Freeing the Ego from the 'Fixed Ideas' or theoretical architecture of Christian Religion and Philosophy, Stirner proposes its 'Ownness' will best be served in a 'Union of Egoists'. This is the only legitimate form of social organisation. He writes:

I am the owner of my might and am so when I know myself as Unique. In the unique one the owner himself returns to his creative nothing, of which he is born. Every higher essence above me, be it God, be it Man, weakens the feeling of my uniqueness and pales only before the sun of consciousness. If I concern myself for myself, the unique one then my concern rests on its transitory, mortal creator who consumes himself and I may say: 'All things are nothing to me.'

The philosophies of Stirner and Karl Marx grew from the same intellectual roots but branched out into radically different directions. Marx devoted a lot of energy in writing polemics against Stirner. To have an idea why, I will sketch an overview of Stirner's Philosophy of the Ego and its Ownness.

Young Hegelians and Feuerbach

The Young Hegelians were a discussion group of students and thinkers who sought to develop the philosophy of GWF Hegel. Stirner drew the furthest philosophical conclusions from an approach employed by fellow Young Hegelian Ludwig Feuerbach [1804-1872]. Briefly, Feuerbach argued that the human essence has been projected into an alien essence humans called God. This divine essence wrongly became primary and originary in respect of Being and Morality. Feuerbach maintained he had discovered why this occurs and the solution for overcoming it. Human imagination and desires had created the embodiment of positive human characteristics and blessed this objectification with an independent existence. The human essence had been reified as God. No longer viewed as the predicate creations of the human subject, God had instead become the subject and all else including human beings, were viewed as its derivative predicates or creations. Humanity orbits around its creation wrongly taking it to be primary and fundamental.

To overcome this error and return positive human characteristics to humanity, human beings must recognise that the characteristics of the divine are their characteristics so objectified. The transformative method employed by Feuerbach reverses the subject [God] and its predicate [human qualities such as Love] thereby negating the transcendental God so that Man, now the subject, is reconciled with his essence. This overcomes alienation and posits a humanistic ethics arising out of that common essence or species-being.

Stirner employs Feuerbach's approach but not his solution; Feuerbach didn't go far enough. He only provides a theoretical liberation from Theology and religion; he gets rid of God but transports the divine essence posited there into the essence of man. The human individual must now bow before and treat as sacred this essence. The divine love of God is grounded in the divine love between men actualised in the rights of man or humanistic liberalism.

Spooks to be Exorcised

Despite Feuerbach's attempted liberation of humanity, Stirner believes he failed having remained imprisoned in the Fixed Ideas of subject-predicate thinking. Only with Stirner's philosophy will the 'spooks' or 'Fixed Ideas' which haunt thinking be exorcised and the individual truly liberated.


Humanistic Liberalism founds the liberal state. The state promulgates the 'true essence' of Man to which each individual is to accord. The individual or citizen must recognise that his real interests are those of the state and it is his duty as citizen to recognise and pursue this. He is obligated to follow the majority will -- the instantiated human essence -- executed by the state although formulated by citizens.

Unlike Feudalism where individuals had command over other individuals, liberalism bestows legitimate command only in the state; the state as active citizen makes the laws and the passive citizen is to recognise and obey them in an environment of political equality.

Stirner opposes this liberalism on the grounds that yet again, a reified Fixed Idea confronting human beings is the standpoint for how individuals are judged, for how they must act. It is no longer the spook of God that haunts men's minds, it is the spook of an ideal human essence. The individual is prejudged and his behaviour foreclosed as predicates of the of the universal human subject or essence. Liberalism may offer a different content but it still operates within the philosophical Fixed Ideas of Christianity.

Liberalism proffers political equality between people but not material equality. In Liberal property relations the average man is propertyless, consequently discontented labour shows itself in riot and unrest. Out of this negative situation has developed Socialism/ Communism.


Although critical of liberal property relations Stirner attacks the communist solution as yet another instantiation of 'Spooks' in the head following from the Christian worldview. Communism builds on the right of the liberal state to command people extending it to commanding ownership of property -- all property -- thereby abolishing all private ownership.

As labour creates all private property but itself exists in poverty and insecurity, the replacement of private property with collective property will alleviate this. With the triumph of labour, all will labour as the human essence is one of creative labour. Those who fail to meet the realisation of this essence -- the lazy, those in disagreement with it -- must morally conform or be viewed as an un-man. The individual is again subordinated as predicate to the reified subject -- now of labour -- in a society where labour mutually serves each other as producer, distributor and consumer.

The communist society provides everything to its members and therefore each and all are under obligation to it for what they have. Society as collective individual owns everything but no one individual owns anything. Just as with the human essence and God before it, collective communist society is a 'spook', which seeks service and allegiance from its members. Stirner's disagreement with the communist answer to property relations discloses his solution to all the problems confronting humanity whilst it remains within Fixed Ideas -- enter the Ego and its Ownness.

Ownness of the Ego

Against all thought that begins with an externalised, objectified Fixed Idea, essence or subject from which are derived prescriptive predicates; Stirner posits the Ego as primary and fundamental. The Ego will not act in the service of God, the ideal human essence, the state, the people's revolution -- all higher powers over and against it -- the Ego serves itself.

If one views oneself as serving such alien 'Spooks' then one is constituted by them, a mere subordinate adjunct of them. Stirner writes:

     And to enter more closely upon reality at once, even the
     best are today still persuading each other that one must
     have received into himself the 'State', his 'people',
     mankind and what not, in order to be a real I, a 'free
     burgher', 'free citizen', a 'free or true man', they too
     see the truth and reality of me in the reception of an
     alien I and devotion to it. And what sort of an I? An I
     that is neither an I nor a You, a fancied I, a spook.

The existence of the state and established 'Society' restricts the Ego. The state adapts people to its needs by imbuing them with its education, culture, and law. As it makes men tick in clockwork unison for its own ends; the free activity of Egos is opposed. Society is a 'Spook' existing as an objectified abstraction. If inverted, the abstraction reveals empirical individuals interacting with each other -- no spooks or higher ideals -- actual people in their real activity. Such voluntary social intercourse is the basis of the only legitimate social bond -- The Union of Egos.

     And if I can use him, I doubtless come to an understanding
     and make myself at one with him, in order by the agreement,
     to strengthen my power and by combined force to accomplish
     more than individual force could effect. In this
     combination I see nothing whatever but a multiplication of
     my force and I retain it only so long as it is my
     multiplied force. But thus it is... a Union... Only in the
     Union can you assert yourself as unique because the Union
     does not possess you, you possess it or make it of use
     to you.
Ownness relates to everything the Ego can own, use, and claim to.[2] The Ego's might is his power, deciding his entitlement to things. Might is distinct from right as right, so called, can only be bestowed by 'Spooks'. What is acquired in the absence of such rights is acquired solely by the ownness of the Ego. Stirner writes thus:

     Entitled or unentitled -- that does not concern me, if I am
     only powerful I am of myself empowered and need no other
     empowering or entitling. Right -- is a wheel in the head,
     put there by a spook; power -- that am I Myself, I am the
     powerful one and the owner of power. Right is above me is
     absolute, and exists in one higher, as whose grace it flows
     to me: right is a gift of grace from the judge, power and
     might exist only in me, the powerful and mighty.
Of course there cannot be any rules or ethics 'out there' to bind the Ego originating in external, objectified and reified ideas or 'spooks'. Not only are these epistemologically dubious but also power would be alienated from the Ego. The Union of Egos is a voluntary alliance dependent upon the assent of the Egos concerned.

Is Egoism Freedom? Stirner dismisses Freedom as inherent to the spook ridden thinking of Fixed Ideas whereby one day, somewhere over the rainbow, everything will be fine. Really, freedom as 'freedom from something' is relative and once achieved, new constraints and challenges arise; it is an illusive goal. There is only Ownness which depends ultimately on the Ego.

Creative Nothing

Presaging Sartre by one hundred years, Stirner describes the Ego as a 'Creative Nothing', which accompanies but is not identical with any of its characteristics, powers or situational contexts. If subject to a powerful drive or emotion it is 'possessed' in the same sense as happens when it subordinates itself to Higher Ideals or 'Spooks'. In both senses, it conflates itself as beholden to a situation or event when in reality, it is always distinct from them. The creative nothing utilises all it can, not for the sake of Freedom but, for its own activity -- Ownness.

The Egoist only values his own history, he wants to develop himself and not 'Man' or society or the state. Neither is he a vessel or tool of God and he recognises no pre-ordained calling. All authority, which proceeds from without the Ego, is not recognised. The unique Ego is fundamental, originary and primary.


Feuerbach merely replaced the alien God standing over individuals with an alien human nature standing over the individual. Remaining in the trajectory of Fixed Ideas, liberals and communists perpetuated the alienation. Only with Stirner are all such alien concepts standing before the Ego diagnosed and negated in toto in recognition of the supremacy of the creative nothingness of the Ego. Out of all the Young Hegelians, Stirner develops Hegelian thought the most in a radical, consistent yet perhaps, most unsettling direction.


1. Max Stirner. The Ego and its Own. Ben Tucker. New York 1907:


2. Ownness is a translation of Eigenheit. In page 203 of the text [ibid], a translator's note says:

     This is a literal translation of the German word Eigenheit,
     which with its primitive eigen, 'own', is used in this
     chapter in a way that the German dictionaries do not
     recognise. The author's conception being new, he had to
     make an innovation in the German Language to express it.
     The translator is under the like necessity. In most
     passages 'self-ownership' or else 'personality' would
     translate the word but there are some where the thought is
     so eigen, i.e. so peculiar or so thoroughly the author's
     own that no English word I could think of would express it.
     It will explain itself to one who has read Part First
(c) Martin Jenkins 2008




This study will explore the states of mind in artificial intelligence. As we know the main aim of artificial intelligence is to reproduce mentality in machines. That is to say that AI aims at producing machines with mind. If we say that machines have minds, then we have to ascribe certain 'belief', 'knowledge', 'free will', 'intention', 'observations', etc. to a machine. In that case, the machines will perform intelligent tasks and thus will behave like human beings.

We may raise a question: Why should we want ascribe mental qualities to machines at all? According to MacCarthy,[1] there are many reasons for ascribing belief and other mental qualities:

(i) Although we may know the program, its state at a given moment is usually not directly observable, and we can explain performance of a machine only by ascribing beliefs and goals to it.

(ii) Ascribing beliefs may allow the derivation of general statements about the machine's behaviour that could not be obtained from any finite number of simulations.

(iii) The difference between this program and another actual or hypothetical program may best be expressed as a difference in belief structure.

Following above it can be stated that the thought itself is not static and random: It develops in ways that obey different rules of inference.[2] Haugeland says,

     since correct application of the rules of reason to
     particular thoughts depends on what those thoughts mean, it
     seems that there must be some active rule-applier, which
     understands the thoughts (and rules), and which applies the
     rules to the thoughts as well as it can. If the activity of
     this rules applier, following the rules of reason, is to
     explain the rationality of our thought process, then it
     must be regarded as a complete little person -- or
     homunculus (in Latin) -- inside the head, directing the
     thoughts like a traffic cop. The trouble is: a theory that
     involves an homunculus to explain thinking has begged its
     own question, because the homunculus itself has to think,
     and that thinking has not been explained.[3]
Cognitive scientists can be materialists and mentalist at the same time. They are materialist because they support the view that the mind is a complicated machine or matter. On the other hand, some support that along with mind the body exists. They can offer explanation in terms of meaning and rule following, without presupposing any unexplained homunculus. It would be peculiar to start assigning geometrical shapes and locations to the internal program routines and operation of a system. These same decisions clearly cause physical behaviour, yet no one is worried that the laws of physics are being violated. According to Haugeland,

     when the machine plays, it follows rules in at least two
     senses: it always abides by the rules of the game, and it
     employs various reasonable rules of thumb to select
     plausible moves. Though these rules are in no way laws of
     nature, the machine's behaviour is explained (in part) by
     citing them -- and yet, no unexplained 'compunculus' is
Thus this explanation will necessary invoke the system's internal reasoning processes; yet it is far from easy to figure out processes that will consistently lead to the observed behavioural response. Dennett rightly says that human mind is a semantic engine, that is to say that the way human mind handles the meaning of a word or sentence, in the same way a machine handles the literal meaning of a word or a sentence. Thus Dennett's view shows that human mind is a machine like AN ordinary machine because both mind and machine have the same quality, the difference is only apparent.

As we have seen, the main thesis of AI is that the human brain is like a digital computer, and the human mind is just a computer program. It tries to prove that the relation between the program and the computer hardware is like the relation between mind and brain. Some supporters of AI argue that we have every reason to believe that computers have intelligence. At the same time, some others argue that the computers' intelligence is limited whereas human intelligence has no limit. Nowadays computers have achieved some modest success in proving theorems, guiding missiles, sorting mail, driving assembly-line robots, diagnosing illness, predicting weather and economic events, etc. Computers receive, interpret, process, store, manipulate and use information. Thus, intelligent behaviour is programmed into the computers. On the contrary, we have no idea how the brain functions, but we have an idea of the general relationships between brain processes and mental processes. Mental processes are caused by the brain activities which are functions of the elements constituting the brain.

Strong AI argues that it is possible that one day a computer will be invented which can function like a mind in the fullest sense of the word. In other words, it can think, reason, imagine, etc., and do all the things that we currently associate with the human mind. On the other hand, weak AI argues that computers can only simulate human mind and are not actually conscious in the same way as human minds are. According to weak AI, computers having artificial intelligence are very powerful instruments in the hands of man. Whereas Strong AI holds that computer is not merely an instrument in the study of the mind, but that the appropriately programmed computer is really a mind in the sense that computers can think and do reasoning like the human beings. In Strong AI, the programmed computer has cognitive states, so the programs are not simple tools that allow us to test psychological explanations; rather the programs are themselves the explanations. Strong AI, according to Searle, basically claims that the appropriately programmed computer literally has cognitive states, and that the programs thereby explain human cognition.

The main aim of AI is to reproduce mentality in computational machines, and to try to prove that the functions of a machine are similar to the functions of the human mind. But the question is: Could a machine have mental states? For AI, in the words of Searle,

     there is nothing essentially biological about the human
     mind. The brain just happens to be one of an indefinitely
     large number of different kinds of hardware computers that
     could sustain the programs, which make up human
     intelligence. On this view, any physical system whatever
     that had the right program with the right inputs and
     outputs would have a mind in exactly the same sense that
     you and I have minds.[5]
Searle is here critical of the view that any physical system that has the 'right program with the right inputs and outputs' would have a mind in exactly the same sense that human beings have minds. The cognitive scientists believe that perhaps they can design the appropriate hardware and programs -- artificial brains, and minds -- that are comparable to human brains and minds. Strong artificial intelligence is a reductionist theory, because strong AI reduces mind or mentality to physical properties. Here, the term 'reduces to' names a relation between theories. When this relation holds between a pair of theories, for example, R1 and R2, then R2 is said to be reducer of R1. According to Fodor,

     the reduction relation is transitive and asymmetrical,
     hence irreflexive. By the 'unity of science' I shall mean
     the doctrine that all sciences except physics reduce to
     physics. By 'physicalistic reduction' I shall mean a
     certain claim that is entailed by, but does not entail, the
     unity of science; viz, the claim that psychology reduces to
Reducibility involves a good deal more than the ontological claim of supervenience, according to which things that satisfy descriptions in the vocabulary of R1 also satisfy descriptions the vocabulary of R2. This condition is stronger than the ontological requirement that whatever falls under the generalizations of R1 should also fall under those of R2. On this view, there is an important sense in which syntax is preserved under reduction. That is to say, reduction permits us to redescribe the events in the vocabulary of R2. Thus according to strong AI, mental states reduce to the computational states in the same way.

On the other hand, weak AI is non-reductionist, because this theory is not aiming for a reduction of the human mind in terms of machines, but it can only simulate human mind and this does not mean exact replication. The above statement shows that the weak AI view is non-reductionist. For the physicalist, life is a higher order property, which emerges out of the physical properties.

The question remains, however, what we should say about the philosophical idea of a 'zombie'. In a zombie, there is claimed to be a complete absence of consciousness. In other words, the logical possibility of a zombie world is considered as a world physically identical to our world, but conscious experiences do not exist in this world. The zombies may be psychological or phenomenal zombies, which are physically and functionally identical to human beings but they lack experiences. According to Chalmers,

     the logical possibility of zombies seems equally obvious to
     me. A zombie is just something physically identical to me
     but which has no conscious experience -- all is dark inside.[7]
The zombie and me have identical physical properties but differ in high-level properties like consciousness. The zombies lack consciousness. Therefore, if Chalmers is right, the high-level property of being conscious is neither reducible to, nor logically supervenient on physical properties.


1. McCarthy, John, 'Ascribing Mental Qualities to Machines,' in Philosophical Perspective in Artificial Intelligence, Martin Ringle (ed.), The Harvester Press, Sussex, 1979, p.164

2. Haugeland, John. 'Semantic Engines: An Introduction to Mind Design' in Mind Design: Philosophy, Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, (ed.) John Haugeland, p.3

3. Ibid., pp. 3-4

4. Ibid., p.4

5. Searle, John R., Minds, Brains and Science, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1984, p.28

6. Fodor, J. A., Representations: Philosophical Essay on the Foundation of Cognitive Science, The Harvester University Press, Sussex, 1981, p.149

7. Chalmers, David J., The Conscious Mind, Oxford University Press, New York, 1996, p.96

Dr. Rajakishore Nath Faculty in Philosophy Department of Humanities & Social Sciences Indian Institute of Technology Bombay Mumbai-76, India

(c) Rajakishore Nath 2008




I. Introduction

Much has been done; much has been said for Mindanao's peace and process. All to no avail. For centuries now, Mindanao[2] has witnessed a bloodbath and an ultimate exploitation of its resources. For centuries now, Mindanao has been saddened by agonizing cries over the senseless deaths of its sons and daughters. The actions and speeches of the peoples who have aimed to liberate Mindanao[3 ] have not really served to prevent such. Worse, more often than not, such actions and speeches have just aggravated the already chaotic situation.

There are many stumbling blocks to peace, however. Thus this paper aims to present those factors that prohibit the negotiations from moving forward, as well as potential solutions.

II. Background to the Moro[4] Struggle in Mindanao

A. The Past That Must Be Known

By the time the Spanish colonialists arrived in the Philippines the Muslims of Mindanao and Sulu had already established their trade relations with Indonesia, China, and Indo-China.[5]

The historical experience of the Mindanaoans in statehood and governance started as early as the middle of the 15th century when Sultan Sharif ul-Hashim established the Sulu Sultanate.[6] This was followed by the establishment of the Sultanate of Maguindanao in the early part of the 16th century by Sharif Muhammad Kabungsuwan. The Sultanate of Buayan and other political subdivisions were organized later.[7]

For centuries the Spanish colonial government attempted to conquer the Muslim states to subjugate their political existence and to add the territory to the Spanish colonies in the Philippine Islands but history tells us that it never succeeded.[8]

During the succeeding American occupation and 'independent' Philippine government, alliances were forged with the different and independent ruling sultanates in Mindanao. National laws on land ownership were established, forcing Mindanao into the country's fold which the Spaniards did not succeed in enforcing.[9]

During the 1960s, Mindanao saw a phenomenal population increase, due largely to the migration of people from Luzon and the Visayas as encouraged by the government. Along with this population growth came a very rapid economic development. These developments, however, saw the marginalization of a number of the formerly independent sultanates in Mindanao who continued to refuse to accept inclusion into the national system. Thus, the armed conflict in Mindanao, which dates back to the Spanish rule, continued to beset parts of the region. [10]

In 1976, the Philippine government, by signing the Tripoli Agreement, promised to grant autonomy to several provinces in Mindanao, but it was not until 1996 that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was established. This saw the partial resolution of the armed struggle in Mindanao.

Administrations in recent history, including the current regime under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, continues to pursue peace efforts with another group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

B. The Moro Front Rebellions

1. The MNLF Agenda

Resistance to the Philippine government first revolved around the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which was founded by Nur Misuari, a professor at the University of the Philippines. The group demanded the formation of an independent Islamic state,[11] consisting of the settled areas of Mindanao, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Palawan, and launched an attack against the Philippines government. It also participated in terrorist attacks and assassinations.

After President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial law in September 21, 1972, the MNLF continued its counter offensives. The group gained international importance when it was recognized by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).[12] The Marcos government began negotiations with the MNLF following diplomatic initiatives with the OIC, eventually resulting in the first peace pact signed in Tripoli, Libya in December 1976.

The implementation of the Tripoli agreement was stalled due to disagreements over autonomy issues. Two plebiscites were held during the negotiation process, which were both rejected by the MNLF. It has not until the Ramos administration that a formula for autonomy was finally accepted by the MNLF.

2. The MILF Agenda

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was founded by former MNLF vice chairman Hashim Salamat, who advocated a radical view of the Muslim separatist movement.

The MILF, broke away from the MNLF in 1977, has always stated that it was fighting for an independent homeland for the Bangsamoro.[13] While the MNLF signed a peace treaty with the government in 1996,[14] the MILF continued fighting.[15] A cease-fire agreement was signed in 1997, but fighting again broke out after the newly installed president in 1998, Joseph Estrada, was accused of violating the agreement.

In the midst of accusations of possible links with Al Qaeda, the Abu Sayyaf[16] and Jemaah Islamiyah, the MILF eventually signed a cease-fire accord with the government headed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's assumption of the presidency after Estrada was ousted in early 2001 paved the way for the resumption of the peace talks. The first meeting of the peace panels was held in Tripoli, Libya on June 19-22, 2001 which resulted in the Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001. The agreement identified three main issues that needed to be resolved first before talks can move forward: security, rehabilitation and ancestral domain.[17]

In February 2003, the talks were put on hold after new fighting erupted. However, the death of Salamat in July that same year prompted the MILF, with its new leader Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, and the government to resume negotiations until today.[18]

C. Some Myths about the Muslim Filipinos

A possible cause of these myths or misconceptions about Muslim Filipinos is miseducation which translates either wrong information and data or insufficient information or data about them in textbooks, references, and other literature taught in our schools.[19]

Another possible cause may be traced to the media which has the propensity to write or capitalize on negative aspects of the Muslim Filipino character which may also be found among non-Muslims. For example, stories about crimes always carry the descriptive adjective 'Muslim' resulting in headlines like 'Muslim bandits kill five' or 'Muslim official charged with graft.' It is pointless to cite an example of crime stories involving non-Muslims where the religious affiliation of the criminal is included.[20]

'All Muslims are good, God-fearing, law-abiding and peaceful.' -- Theoretically, a Muslim is a good person, that is, he will do no harm to a fellowman. In fact a Muslim is defined as 'one who submits willingly to the will of Allah.' But there are persons who are Muslims in prayer but not in action or deed. It is incorrect to look at a Muslim or Islam through the example or practices of some Muslims.[21]

'A Muslim will go to heaven if he kills a Christian or any non-believer.' -- But Islam teaches that taking the life of a living being including animals is a sin. That is why a Muslim is forbidden to eat food from an animal that is not butchered in accordance with Islam.[22]

'Muslims are unreliable. They are also treacherous.' -- Again, this is a trait which knows neither race nor religion. A Muslim is a true friend. If his friend is attacked, he will die first. But once he becomes an enemy, he is worst enemy that one can have. There is a saying among Muslim Maranaws that a Muslim is as soft as cotton when treated fairly and justly, but he is as hard as granite if he is persecuted.[23]

'Muslim Filipinos seek independence or separation from their Christian countrymen.' -- In actuality, Muslim Filipinos seek their governance by Shari'a. [24] This is the only way by which they can be assured of a place in heaven.[25]

III. The Muslim and Christian Conflict in Mindanao

Cooperation and conflict are two modes of human behavior. While the cooperative behavior promotes social order and peace, the conflicting behavior, on the other hand, disrupts normalcy and development. If conflict is not properly handled, it may even lead to low intensity to high intensity and large-scale war, threatening the very existence of the human survival.

What is conflict? Conflict can be defined as the existence of non-compatibility or disagreements between two actors (individuals, groups, organizations or nations) in their interaction over the issues of interests, values, beliefs, emotions, goals, space, positions, scarce resources etc. According to Fink, conflict is defined as any,

     situation or process in which two or more social entities
     are linked by at least one form of antagonistic
     psychological relation or at least one form of antagonistic
Conflict is also defined as,

     a struggle over values and claims to scarce status, power
     and resources, a struggle in which the aims of opponents
     are to neutralize, injure or eliminate rivals.[27]
All forms of conflict originate from differences in perceptions about likes or dislikes, truth or justice, and rights or interests. These perceptions arise, or are formulated, in the mind. If it is for these reasons that we say conflicts originate in the minds of human beings. If it is in the minds that they originate, and it is the human mind that chooses and fashions the means that are employed in conflicts, then how do we resolve the Mindanao conflict?

There are two realities that we need to understand when we talk about the Mindanao conflict, to wit: the Muslim Problem and the Mindanao problem. The first focused on the Muslim masses and their socio-cultural and economic life. The second concerned the Muslim leaders in relation with each other, the Christians and their leaders, and the national government.

Distinguishing one from the other is necessary to properly understand each other so that the correct policies can be formulated for their respective solutions. While they are related and they concern the same people, the solution of one is not the solution of the other. The presumption that solving the Mindanao Problem will solve the Muslim problem as a consequence has been proven wrong in the past.

One of the Mindanao Problems was armed uprisings. The government met the uprisings with military force, then sat down with the rebel leaders to negotiate their demands.

The grant of autonomy with the Moro Front Rebellions is the most and comprehensive response of the government to the Mindanao Problem. Here, Muslim leaders were vested with powers to solve the Mindanao and Muslim Problems. Billions of pesos have been poured into the autonomous governments since the creation of the ORC through the present ARMM.[28] However, after more than 30 years, there is not much to show in terms of the socio-economic uplift of the life of the Muslim masses.[29]

IV. The Need for Collective Action: The Call of a New Paradigm

The peoples of Mindanao, Christians, Muslims, and Indigenous Peoples, have yearned for a just and lasting peace in Southern Philippines. But the actions and speeches of the peoples who have aimed to liberate Mindanao have not really served to prevent the armed conflict. Why has it failed? Does the solution to the long standing 'Moro problem' lie in secession, regional autonomy, or a federal system? To resolve the problem, is war the only viable recourse left, or is a negotiated political settlement still feasible, or there is a new formula?

The paradigm[30] that this paper is proposing, as a new formula in handling the Mindanao conflict, is the transformational paradigm -- a paradigm that focuses on the centrality of education, socio-cultural change, and spirituality in all genuine attempts to make peace a reality. From the standpoint of the transformation paradigm, peacemaking is not only an effort to end war, remove structural violence, or establish the presence of external value conditions. It is also a profoundly internal process, in which the transformation of the individual[31] becomes a metaphor for and instrument of broader changes. Transformation, then, involves the cultivation of a peaceful consciousness and character, together with an affirmative belief system and skills through which the fruits of 'internal disarmament' and personal integration may be expressed.

I consider educational programs very important in the transformational paradigm. Schools must include in their curriculum[32] the Islamic part of the Filipino legacy which should also include our indigenous peoples. Teachers who are in the school service should be given orientation courses to equip them with sufficient information and data about the Muslims and indigenous groups.

In the socio-cultural area, in Muslim and indigenous communities, traditional leaders, whose influence is still strong, should be given a role to play in keeping the peace, development programs and projects, and socio-cultural activities intended to develop moral values, nationalism, and adherence to democratic processes. People empowerment should be encouraged and extended sufficient support by government.[33]

Lastly, in the aspects of spirituality, to have sincerity instead of pretended civility hiding antagonism, there must be good will, the seat of sincerity. It appears that goodwill is absent not only between the military and the Moro rebels but between the civilian government and the Christian Filipinos on one hand and the Moro rebels and the Muslims on the other. Goodwill is enshrined in the golden rule, 'Do unto others as you would others do unto you.'[34]

V. In a Nutshell

The peoples in Mindanao, Christians, Muslims, and Indigenous Peoples, have shared a common history of struggle against colonial aggression and national oppression. The problem of poverty, illiteracy, oppression and exploitation are also common to majority Filipinos. We also have a common desire to be free from the pangs of poverty, ill-health and oppression. We have the same dream of a better life.

To realize this dream of a better life, the peoples of Mindanao should arise from passivity, to unite and to move towards a better Mindanao where Muslims could live as good Muslims, where Christians could live as good Christians, where Lumads could live as good Lumads, together... in co-existence.

Thus the peoples of Mindanao can only achieve this common aspiration if the core formula of personal transformation is present. Without personal discipline, and personal integrity, no master plan for improving society can succeed.

VI. Endnotes

1. The author is a College Professor in Brokenshire College, Davao City, Philippines. A graduate of AB Philosophy and Mass Communication; he finished his Master of Arts degree on Theology; and presently he is a candidate for doctorate degree in Theology at Ignatian Institute of Religious Education Foundation (Holy Cross of Davao College) in Davao City, Philippines.

2. The Mindanao people are composition of the indigenous peoples (Lumads), Islamized Groups (Muslims), and the Christian settlers and migrants from Luson and the Visayas (Dumagats). (Rex Linao, The Peace Paradigm of Development: An Agenda for Mindanaoans, 4)

3. Former DILG Usec. Abraham Iribani claims that those people claiming to be real Muslims, and the rest of those people claiming of fighting for Muslim independence and rights are not Muslims like Abu Sabaya. They are not the heart of the Muslim community. (Madelene Sta. Maria, Conflict and Conflict Resolution in the Philippines, 58)

4. In the 16th century, LaRousse explains, when the Spaniards discovered that some of the 'indio' inhabitants of these islands were Muslims, they called them 'Moros' after the Islamized North African natives -- the 'Moors' or inhabitants of ancient Mauritania, who, under Arab leadership, had conquered and ruled in Spain for eight centuries. (William LaRousse, Walking Together Seeking Peace, 171). At that time, the Spaniards used the term Moro with derogatory connotations, depicting them as a barbaric, piratical and uncivilized people. Today, the term 'Moro', is equated with being Muslim. It's a political term that is being used in order to unite all the Muslim in the Philippines. The Muslims in the Philippines consider themselves one nation, that is, the Moro nation. They call it Bangsamoro. (Sta. Maria, Conflict and Conflict Resolution in the Philippines, 59)

5. Peter Gowing, Muslim Filipinos, 13

6. Ibid, 18-19

7. Ibid, 49-52

8. Ibid, 31-34

9. The American government instituted a series of measures intended to move more peaceful, Christian northern Philippines settlers into the Muslim areas. Moro common land holdings were declared void in 1903, designated public lands, and opened to settlement. In 1913 and 1919, laws gave Christian settlers and companies greater entitlements, while limiting the number of hectares Moros could own. (Benjamin Kritz, 'Moro Rebellion in the Philippines: US Policy Led to Dispute Between Muslims and the Philippine Government.' Internet Source)

10. Gowing, Muslim Filipinos, 189-191

11. Sec. 1, Art. 11 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states that 'the Philippine is a democratic and republican state. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.' In this principle, it is ascertained that every individual citizen is a receptacle of sovereignty. The popular will of the citizenry is the ultimate fountain of established authority. (Hamid Aminoddin Barra. 'Religion and Civil Society: The Quest for Peace in Mindanao Through Inter-Faith Dialogue.' Internet Source)

12. Gowing narrated that 'the MNLF struggle gained international support and sympathy to the Moros' struggle for justice and freedom to the Muslims.'  ( Gowing, Muslim Filipinos, 214)

13. Alim points out that the Bangsamoro (Moro people) is the generic name for the 13 ethno-linguistic Muslim tribes in the Philippines which constitute a quarter of the population in Mindanao in the Southern Philippines (Guiamel Alim. 'The Bangsamoro Struggle for Self-Determination'. Internet Source) The ethno-linguistics groups are Iranun, Magindanao, Maranao, Tao-Sug, Sama, Yakan, Jama Mapun, Ka'agan, Kalibugan, Sangil, Molbog, Palawani, and Badjao (Gowing, Muslim Filipinos, 2). During the panel discussion on the armed conflict, Mr. Moner Bajunaid, one of the panel members, described the root of the armed struggle in Mindanao: 'The Muslims in the Philippines do not like to be conquered. The arrival of the Spaniards gave birth to the Moro. Thus, another identity, which is also being a Filipino, added to the confusion. Therefore, there were conflicting identities, and that is really the root of the conflict -- identity. They are Muslims; they might be Maguindanao, Maranao, whatever, but the strongest is their Muslim identity. But never the Filipino identity.'  ( Sta. Maria, Conflict and Conflict Resolution in the Philippines, 59)

14. That agreement, which establishes autonomy in provinces and cities that voted to be part of the Autonomous region in Muslim Mindana (ARMM), ended the MNLF's 25 years of armed struggle for independence.

15. Bacani asserts that while the MNLF opted to achieve its aspiration for self-determination through autonomy, the MILF considers this vehicle for limited self-rule a total failure and renewed its demand for the establishment of an independent Muslim state (Benedicto Bacani. 'The Mindanao Peace Talks: Another Opportunity to Resolve the Moro Conflict in the Philippines'. Internet Source). In the official statement released by the MILF Central Committee last May 27, 2008, MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim stated that the MILF does not recognize and cannot accept ARMM as a solution to the Bangsamoro problem... that ARMM did not and cannot cater to the basic needs of the Bangsamoro people. Instead, it has worsened their already depressed condition and added confusion to the populace. See:


16. 'The Abu Sayyaf (Father of the Sword) Group in Mindanao, is also known as the Al-Harakatul-ul-Islamiya (Islamic Movement).' (LaRousse, Walking Together Seeking Peace, 143-145)

17. Tuminez asserts that 'ancestral domain is the single most important and arguably, the thorniest issue that is still to be negotiated by the MILF and the GRP before they can reach a political settlement. Ancestral domain refers to Moro demand for territory that will constitute a Moro homeland; sufficient control over economic resources on that territory; and a structure of governance that will allow Moros to govern themselves in ways that are consonant with their culture and with minimal interference from Manila.'  ( Astrid Tuminez. 'Ancestral Domain: The Key to a More permanent Peace in Muslim Mindanao.' Internet Source)

18. As of this writing, the formal signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the GRP and MILF on August 5, 2008, is already cancelled and junked by the Supreme Court that leads to another bloody fighting in North Cotabato, Sarangani, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Norte.

19. Abdullah Madale. Muslims: The Misunderstood Filipinos. Philippine Studies vol. 46. no. 4 (1998): 493

20. Ibid, 493

21. Ibid, 495-496

22. Ibid, 497

23. Ibid, 499

24. Dr. Farooq defined the term 'Shari'a' as the set of rules derived from both the Holy Quran and the authentic traditions (Sunnah) of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the scholarly opinions based on Quran and Sunnah.

25. Madale, Muslims: The Misunderstood Filipinos, 500

26. C.F. Fink. Some Conceptual Difficulties in the Theory of Social Conflict. Journal of Conflict Resolution vol.12 (1968): 456

27. Lewis Coser, The Functions of Social Conflict, 8

28. 'The autonomous governments starting with the creation of the Office of the Regional Commission in 1973, followed by the Regional Autonomous Government in 1977, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in 1989. (Patricio Diaz, Understanding Mindanao Conflict, 43)

29. Ibid, 43-44. A study conducted by the Moro People's Resource Center, Inc.  ( MPRCI), a non-stock and non-profit development institution based in Cotabato City, on ARMM's performance revealed that few influential peoples are the only ones benefiting from its creation. It follows then that ARMM has not effectively delivered basic services to its constituents; instead it has become a center of corruption and nepotism. (Linao, The Peace Paradigm of Development: An Agenda for Mindanaoans, xii)

30. Thomas Kuhn described paradigm as essentially a collection of beliefs shared by scientists, a set of agreements about how problems are to be understood. (Linao, The Peace Paradigm of Development: An Agenda for Mindanaoans, 59). In the sense of 'weltanschauung' or 'worldview', this term is used to describe the set of experiences, beliefs and values that affect the way an individual perceives reality and responds to that perception.

31. 'All change begins within. Improving society starts with self-improvement, which comes only with self-scrutiny. To change the whole of society, we begin with the individual parts that make up the whole, namely ourselves.' (Jesus Estanislao, Towards a National Culture of Excellence, 6)

32. 'Since 1998 several Christian and Muslim schools have introduced peace modules in the curriculum. The summer courses, sponsored by the Silsilah Dialogue Movement, offer five weeks of a balanced presentation of the respective histories and theological systems of Islam and Christianity.' (An excerpt of Archbishop Fernando R. Capalla's speech for the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders at the United Nations, New York City on August 29, 2000)

33. Madale, 'Muslims: The Misunderstood Filipinos', 501

34. Diaz, 'Understanding Mindanao Conflict', 168

VII. Bibliography

A. Books

Capalla, Fernando (2001). Pastor, Peace-Builder; Apostle: The Struving for Genuine Peace Through Authentic Dialogue. Archdiocese of Davao: Philippines

Coser, Lewis. (1956). The Functions of Social Conflict. The free Press: Philadelphia

Diaz, Patricio (2003). Understanding Mindanao Conflict. Mindanews Publication: Davao City

Estanislao, Jesus (1995). Towards a National Culture of Excellence. Inkwell Publishing: Philippines

Gowing, Peter (1979). Muslim Filipinos: Heritage and Horizon. New Day Publishers: Quezon City

LaRousse, William (2001). Walking Together Seeking Peace. Claretian Publications, Inc: Quezon City

Linao, Rex (2001). The Peace Paradigm of Development: An Agenda for Mindanaoans . Cortess Printing Corp: Davao City

Majul, Cesar (1999). Muslims in the Philippines. UP Press: Quezon City

Rood, Steven (2005). Forging Sustainable Peace in Mindanao: The Role of Civil Society. East-West Center Washington: USA

Sta. Maria, Madelene (2003). Conflict and Conflict Resolution in the Philippines. DLSU Press, Inc: Manila

B. Journals

Bentley, G. Carter. Islamic Law in Christian Southeast Asia: The Politics of Establishing Shari-a Courts in the Philippines. Philippine Studies vol. 29, no. 1 (1981)

Fink,C.F. Some Conceptual Difficulties in the Theory of Social Conflict. Journal of Conflict Resolution vol.12 (1968)

Madale, Abdullah. Muslims: The Misunderstood Filipinos. Philippine Studies vol .46, no. 4 (1998)

C. Websites

Alim, Guiamel. The Bangsamoro Struggle for Self-Determination, retrieved September 3, 2008, available from:


Bacani, Benedicto. The Mindanao Peace Talks: Another Opportunity to Resolve the Moro Conflict in the Philippines. United States Institute of Peace Journal, Special Report no. 131 (February 2005), retrieved September 1, 2008, available from:


Barra, Hamid Aminoddin. Religion and Civil Society: The Quest for Peace in Mindanao Through Inter-Faith Dialogue, retrieved August 20, 2008, available from:


Kritz, Benjamin. Moro Rebellion in the Philippines: US Policy Led to Dispute Between Muslims and the Philippine Government, retrieved August 4, 2008, available from:

Lingga, Abhoud Syed. Muslim Minority in the Philippines, retrieved from August 6, 2008, available from:


Tuminez, Astrid. Ancestral Domain: The Key to a More Permanent Peace in Muslim Mindanao, retrieved August 28, 2008, available from:


Erwin B. Laya, MAT College Professor BASE-HIST Department Brokenshire College Madapo HIlls, Davao City Philippines

(c) Erwin B. Laya 2008




A few years ago, a team of philosophy graduates from Trinity College Dublin had the idea of compiling a series of Profiles of major Western philosophers. In the words of Dr Anthony Harrison-Barbet -- author of Mastering Philosophy (2nd Edition Palgrave 2001) in the Pathways Book List[2] -- 'This would be a unique and new venture in that the ideas and themes of each philosopher would be colour-coded and linked so as to show the influences on their thought over the years.'

At the suggestion of Dr Harrison-Barbet, the work was put onto CD-ROM as an e-text so that the connections could be converted into hyperlinks. There are 126 profiles, and some 20,000 links, summaries of the philosophies, individual biographies and book-lists, and a full hyperlinked bibliography at the end. In all the project adds up to nearly 900 A4 pages. The Senior Editorial Advisor is Professor J.C.A. Gaskin.

The project was never published. The unusual format proved difficult to sell to publishers, and the group lacked the resources and marketing expertise to publish the CD-ROM themselves. I first heard about the project in September 2008, when I received an email out of the blue from Dr Harrison-Barbet offering to make the material available to students at the Pathways School of Philosophy as well as visitors to the Pathways websites.

I was intrigued. When I started to explore the CD-ROM, however, it became clear that in terms of quality and coverage of individual philosophers this work ranks alongside the Philosophical Encyclopaedias from Stanford, Routledge, Oxford or Cambridge.

At over 350,000 words, Philosophical Connections is not only a valuable study aid but a significant contribution to the study of the history of philosophy. This work has to my knowledge never before been attempted on such a large and intricate scale.

A beginner's first impressions of the e-text are somewhat daunting. However, with the help of author's How to use the profiles, one soon gets the hang of the unique scheme of interconnecting links. The information is incredibly condensed. One could write a paper about each line on each of the many tables of interconnections, or spend hours searching on the internet to find the same information.

Reading Philosophical Connections is not a substitute for studying the original texts. What it does is stimulate you to ask questions and follow leads which you might otherwise never have considered. I will be making extensive use of this resource in mentoring students taking Pathways programs and the University of London Diploma and BA in Philosophy.

As Dr Harrison-Barbet explains, there is no need to start at the beginning. Pick your favourite philosopher from the Contents page or the Alphabetical list and dive in. You will soon find you are going backwards and forwards through the profiles, criss-crossing at the speed of hypertext 2500 years of human thought. For the online version, the original 10 Megabyte Word document had to be converted into HTML, then sliced into separate sections, one for each philosopher. Apart from restoring all the thousands of links, the main problem is the tables of interconnections -- originally formatted using simple spaces and carriage returns -- which became hopelessly jumbled when displayed on a web page. I am now engaged in the arduous but enjoyable process of restoring the profiles with the tables of connections to the original layout. Profiles will be added as often as I have the time to do them.[3]

If you'd rather not wait until the work is finished, you can order the CD-ROM from Pathways by completing the online form.[4] All students signing up for new Pathways online courses get the original e-text for free.


1. 'Philosophical Connections' compiled by Anthony Harrison Barbet:


2. Pathways Introductory Book list:


3. Completed profiles at the time of writing:

Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Anaxagoras, Empedocles, Zeno of Elea, Protagoras, Socrates, Democritus, Plato, Aristotle, Pyrrho, Epicurus, Chrysippus, Carneades, Posidonius, Cicero, Philo, Seneca, Plutarch, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Sextus Empiricus, Plotinus, Proclus, Augustine, Boethius, Pseudo-Dionysius, John Scotus (Eriugena), Avicenna, Anselm, Abelard, Averroes.

4. Order the Philosophical Connections CD-ROM:


(c) Geoffrey Klempner 2008


© Geoffrey Klempner 2002–2020