In celebration of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy, we have put together two collections of content from our philosophy books and journals inspired by the conference symposia. These articles look back on the hugely influential philosophy of Ancient Greece, and look forward to current trends in epistemology.
Ancient Greek Philosophy
This section, inspired by the symposium “The Relevance of Ancient Greek Philosophy Today,” contains articles and book chapters on Plato, Artistotle, and Socrates, and covers topics from Greek political thought to Greek theater.
Current Trends in Epistemology
Epistemology – the theory of knowledge – lies at the heart of all philosophy. Inspired by the symposium “Current Trends in Epistemology,” chaired by Noûs editor Ernest Sosa, this collection seeks to tie epistemology into current issues from education to engineering.
Recent neurobiological research has shown that viewing art stimulates the brain in a way that mirrors the experience of romantic love. The study, conducted by Semir Zeki, Professor of Neuroaesthetics at University College London, scanned and mapped the brains of participants who had been asked to look at a variety of paintings from such artists as Botticelli, Turner, Monet and Cezanne. It was found that experiencing art releases into the orbito-frontal cortex of the brain a significant quantity of the neurotransmitter dopamine, a biochemical associated with love, happiness and sociability, as well as drug use and certain psychological disorders.
The result comes at an ideal time for the art world in Britain, which has felt itself to be targeted by the extensive cuts in public spending. The correlation between aesthetic experience and happiness gives extra leverage in justifying the arts according to standards of public interest, a justification which normally consists in pointing out the economic benefits of the revenue which art institutions can generate. Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Stephen Deuchar, director of the arts charity Art Fund, said:
I have always believed art matters profoundly so it is exciting to see some scientific evidence to support the view that life is enhanced by instantaneous contact with works of art
Professor Zeki’s work in neuroaesthetics also stands to be of high value to the philosophy of art. This latest link between art and love is just one of many discoveries made by Zeki which coincide almost seamlessly with what artists and theorist about art have said for centuries, perhaps even for thousands of years. Plato, in his dialogue The Symposium, recounts a speech in praise of Love (Eros) made by Socrates which describes a journey of ascent from sexual love, through aesthetic appreciation of the body, to a spiritual love of the soul, arriving finally at the contemplation of the Platonic Form of Beauty itself. Continue reading “Art for Love’s Sake”
Newspaper and pages are currently impressed with the melancholoy story of two stangers (Joanne Lee and Steve Lumb) who met on a suicide discussion forum and subsequently met for the first time in order to fulfill a suicide pact, dying together in a fume-filled car.
Of course the circumstances of these deaths are incredibly sad and we should have sympathy for those affected by their demise. However, when individuals like the understandably distraught father of one of those now dead call for the banning of newsgroups and forums focused on suicide on the grounds that they provide an opportunity for depressed individuals to be both encouraged to end their own lives and instructed on preferred methods, they’re simply mistaking the medium of communication for the message. Continue reading “Banning Discussion of Suicide?”
The latest issue form Philosophy Compass is out now, featuring the following great articles, surveying the most recent scholarly literature in philosophy:
Interpreters of Plato’s Symposium continue to disagree over the ‘theory of desire’ presented by the dialogue. Does the figure of Socrates suggest that our embodied love relationships serve as the mere tools by which we are propelled ‘upward’ to the love of higher, intelligible things (i.e., the Beautiful, a ‘God’)? Or, might the interruption within the text by the beautiful Alcibiades mark a clear re-valuation of our desirous experiences in the sensible realm? Continue reading “Crabs In Love”