From Plato on, philosophy has had an uneasy relationship with expressive arts such as narrative, poetry, drama, music, painting, and now film. If philosophy today can learn from science, can it learn from the arts as well– or even instead? If so, what can it learn?
Does expressive art access truths, particularly ethical truths, that cannot be expressed any other way? If it does, what can ethicists and other philosophers say about these truths? If it does not, what differentiates expressive from merely decorative art?
Some philosophers insist with Wittgenstein that “whatever can be said at all can be said clearly”. In that case, are artistic uses of language such as metaphor and imagery just “colour”, as Frege called it – just ways of dressing up thoughts that philosophers, by contrast, should consider in their plainest possible form?
Founded in 1947, dialectica is the official journal of the European Society for Analytic Philosophy (ESAP), publishing first-rate articles predominantly in theoretical and systematic philosophy. Although edited in Switzerland with a focus on analytical philosophy undertaken on the continent, dialectica publishes articles from all over the world and has a truly global relevance. It is ranked A on the European Research Index for the Humanities of the European Science Foundation. Click here to view recent submission statistics and here to read some highlights from the journal over the years.
Continuing the work of its founding members, dialectica seeks a better understanding of the mutual support between science and philosophy and promotes that both disciplines need and enjoy in their common search for understanding. In this exciting virtual issue, the editorial team has selected some recent articles to showcase content from dialectica that particularly reflects the journal’s relevance to a US audience. These articles are representative of the many domains in which dialectica publishes, from ontology to epistemology and philosophy of mind or the theory of rationality. dialectica has recently published special issues on vectors, concepts, emotions, colours, and the philosophy of Kit Fine. We are confident that you will find this virtual issue interesting and informative.
Have our emotions changed over the century? A recent and entertaining article discusses five new emotions that have come into existence with the rise of computer use in everyday life. Though not exactly a rigorous examination, the article raises an important point: one can’t help but accept the fact that computers, and indeed the internet, are an increasing part of our daily lives – and we are going to have corresponding emotional responses to all sorts of computer-related phenomena. Articulations of affects relating to internet-time-wasting and facebook might not, on this understanding, just be entertaining illustrations of this everyday engagement with computers, but may actually be pointing the creation of new emotional cues and behaviours.
Emotions are historical phenomena. Consider love. To many, this emotion seems an essential part of the human condition. Every human, from the most humble caveman to the most noble Queen has the potential (even if not exercised) to recognize and to experience love. It can come as a shock to this view that our modern understanding of love qua romantic love (viz. the way in which love is not only as an emotional experience, but one with corresponding notions of fidelity, and sacrifice) comes from Trobadours, who expressed this idea of love in their songs and poetry in the Middle Ages. Indeed, the way in which love has been understood has changed dramatically over the centuries: from the kind of love exemplified by Aphrodite shining her light upon Helen, to the agape-love discussed by Augustine, up to the courtly love of Lancelot and Guinevere, and the romantic love of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
I have spent time, perhaps too much time, discussing with my girlfriend and closest friends (you don’t talk about this kind of thing with just anyone, after all) about what we would do to ensure our survival in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Ideally I would like to be holed up in Bamburgh Castle in my homeland of Northumberland only with people I completely trust, with plenty of food and weapons. Less Ideally,but more realistically, I would make for the top of my block of flats in Bethnal Green with a tent, a baseball bat and as many boxes of coco-pops I could carry and weld the door shut behind me.
This is my favourite thing about zombie movies; that they make you reflect about your own potential for survival in that situation.
When the wheel was invented the man whose job it was to carry things must have been devastated. When the dishwasher reared its watery head, the trade union for human dishwashers mush have been appalled. Now with the invention of a new super computer called “Watson”, made by IBM, able to beat the two most prolific players of the TV show Jeopardy, are we on the way to a world run by machines? It seems a silly question; that is, on the strength of a computer being able to mimic human linguistic decision making. However, if we are getting this far, how much further can we go?
It’s a dog’s life, so the saying goes. Thanks to one dogged photographer we are finally privy to the reality of this proverbial canine existence. London-based Martin Usborne has drawn inspiration from the secret world of dogs for his latest project, entitled Mute: the silence of dogs in cars, a series of photographs of forlorn and forgotten four-legged friends. It comes as a darker follow-up to his more overtly amusing collection Life as a dog in the recession, and was yesterday described by the Independent as ‘capturing dejectedness, anger and sadness.’ Not quite as dark, though, as the controversial piece of dog related art executed by Costa Rican artist Guillermo Vargas, who, as part of an exhibition in 2007, tied an emaciated stray dog to the wall of the Códice Gallery, Nicaragua, and reportedly left it to starve. (Due to incandescent outrage within the blogging community, the truth was later revealed that the stray dog was both fed and spared death – Vargas, however, refused to officially comment on what exactly became of the hound). Vargas’s contribution provokes some obvious ethical questions (including, Vargas would argue, one aimed at the hypocrisy of viewers/bloggers, their dismay towards a single stray in a gallery not matching up to their attitude towards the countless strays that continue to starve outside it). Usborne’s work, on the other hand, may elicit some subtler philosophical questions, relating to such diverse philosophical areas as aesthetics, ethics, and the philosophy of mind.
The Philosophical Quarterly invites submissions for its 2011 international prize essay competition, the topic of which is ‘Hume after 300 Years’.
2011 marks the tercentenary of the birth of David Hume. Entries are invited on all aspects of Hume’s philosophy. Particularly welcome will be essays on relatively neglected parts of Hume’s corpus: for example, his theory of space and time; his typology of the passions; the Treatise account of political obligation; the first (1741-42) volumes of Essays, Moral and Political; the second Enquiry; the Four Dissertations.
Essays should not be longer than 8,000 words, and should be typed in double spacing.
Electronic submission is preferred and contributions may be sent as email attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most formats are acceptable, but PDF is preferred. Alternatively, non-electronic submissions may be sent to the address below.
Three copies of each essay are required and these will not be returned. All entries will be regarded as submissions for publication in The Philosophical Quarterly, and both winning and non-winning entries judged to be of sufficient quality will be published.
The closing date for submissions is 1st November 2011.
All submissions should be headed ‘The Emotions’ Prize Essay Competition (with the author’s name and address given in a covering letter, but NOT in the essay itself) and sent to:
The Journal Manager
The Philosophical Quarterly
University of St Andrews