“Call for paper” – “Rivista di Estetica” (1/2016)
June 2015: Biodiversity
Advisory Editor: Elena Casetta
mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Deadline for submission: September 30, 2014.
The variety of the forms of life has been a subject of philosophical reflection since Plato, who in the Statesman celebrated the diversity of the natural world as a mean to shed some light on the relationship between humans and other animals. The term “biodiversity”, however, was coined only in 1986, proving immediately a huge success: conserving biodiversity (along with its measurement, assessment, and improvement) has become central to the interests of scientists, governments, NGO, media, and general public alike. Even in our daily lives, if we try to behave in an environmentally responsible manner, we do so, after all, because we believe that biodiversity is a value on which the quality and the very possibility of life of our species may depend.
“Biodiversity”, in other words, seems to be something more than just a contraction of “biological diversity”: if biological diversity is the target of awe and wonder, primarily aesthetic, biodiversity becomes instead something to be protected, loaded with scientific, ethical, and political meanings. But what is it meant, exactly, by “biodiversity”? How are we to measure it, given the incredible complexity of the living world? What are, if any, the units of biodiversity? Is biodiversity a value in itself? Are charismatic taxa such as the Giant Panda more valuable than smallpox virus? Is biodiversity just an ideological construct? This issue of the Rivista di estetica aims to address such and similar questions, exploring what might be called “the philosophy of biodiversity”, a reflection at the intersection of the philosophy of science, epistemology, aesthetics, ethics, and politics.
“Call for paper” – “Rivista di Estetica” (3, 2015)
December 2015: The Contemporary. Visual Arts, music and architecture.
Advisory Editor: Giuseppe di Giacomo
mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Deadline for submission: December 31, 2014.
The last thirty years, starting from the 1980’s, doubtlessly represent a rupture at all levels of cultural production in the western world: it is a real “break” which, against the background of the deep political and social transformations that have taken place, concerns not only philosophical, or aesthetico-philosophical, reflection, but also the artistic sphere considered in the multiplicity of its expressions: literary, visual, musical, theatrical, architectural. What we have witnessed is a fall, perhaps an irreversible fall, of all the paradigms which, in different ways, underlay the various forms of western culture at least until the end of the 1970’s. One could even go as far as to a affirm that the distinctive characteristic of our age, whose main trends have started to become fully visible in the 1980’s, is precisely a total absence of paradigms. As regards the arts, particularly the visual arts, this absence of paradigms has given rise to the simultaneous presence, and conflict, of profoundly heterogeneous modes and styles of expression such as abstract art, informal art or figurative art. The latter, in particular, has made a massive comeback, as the exemplary cases of Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Maurizio Cattelan demonstrate. In the same way, as concerns music, there has been a return to tonality, for instance in the works of the “neoromantics”. As for architecture, materials such as steel and glass tend to be more and more employed, in the postmodern horizon, replacing reinforced concrete. In the light of these premises, the objective of the present issue of Rivista di Estetica is to focus on, and arrive at a new understanding of, the themes and questions – of great cultural and political interest – connected with the phenomena referred to above, with an emphasis on the visual arts, music and architecture.
November 2014: Architecture
Advisory editors: Elisa Di Stefano, Francesco Vitale (mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org)
Deadline for submission: November, 30, 2013
Since the beginning architecture is a two-headed art as it is anchored on the field of the functional (see the functionalist drifts supported by the theorists of the Modernism in various forms) as well as on the field of the beautiful (which, in extreme cases, takes it to those forms of sculpture/architecture where the use destination annuls itself in the aesthetic experience). This issue of the “Rivista di Estetica” aims to account for the status of the contemporary debate, in the analytic and continental area, by focusing on the questions which nowadays society poses to architecture. Therefore, what is the meaning of the dialectics between the functional and the beautiful in the contemporary architectural culture? To what extent can the aesthetic investigation contribute to the critical debate where the artistic and aesthetic dimension of architecture is pointed at from different perspectives as the legitimacy of a self-referential architecture, which is oriented to purely commercial values and is reduced to a media instrument, to means of cultural colonization? New issues related to globalization, ecology, landscape and environmental protection require an interdisciplinary approach and, above all, the retrieval of an ethics of responsibility. If the contemporary technocratic society too often sets the reasons of the profit above those of ethics, aesthetics, culture and even life, it is perhaps possible, through a new dialogue with classics, with the great masters of the past, to rebuild paradigms which can refer architecture back to its thousand-year task: the material and symbolical elaboration of the vital space of man. In this perspective, the issue of the “Rivista di Estetica” is open to the contribution of scholars of aesthetics as well as of scholars of other philosophical disciplines, humanities and architecture, and of architects directly involved in the design practice.
July 2014: Screens
Advisory editors: Mauro Carbone and Anna Caterina Dalmasso (mail to: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org)
Deadline for submission: April, 30, 2013
Nowadays screens have become, more or less consciously, our reference optical apparatus. Therefore, understanding our present experience of screens shall help us understand our present experience of seeing.
On one hand, there are many reasons to state that our present experience of screens derives from that which cinema has taught us, in spite of the multiple differences separating, by now, the two. Indeed, despite such differences, it shall be reminded that cinema was precisely what taught us to consider the screen as a surface whose opacity, instead of concealing, allows us to see. Thus is precisely what today makes the word “screen” – in the meaning that concerns us here – draw close to the term “display”, as Francesco Casetti (forthcoming) points out: a term that univocally signifies “exhibition, exposition, ostentation”.
On the other hand, Vivian Sobchack (Carnal Thoughts, 2004) remind us that our present experience of screens is no longer simply that of cinema. It has been modified, first of all, by the television, whose screen has made us feel no longer, as it happened with the silver screen, like dwarfs in front of images of huge gods, but rather as giants in front of Lilliputian images (E. Huhtamo, Elements of Screenology, 2001). It is then legitimate to wonder which mutated effects may have been produced by that reversal of dimensions. In other words, how this reversal of dimensions between images and us has worked on our system of values, myths and desires.
After the television, computers and mobile phones have come to inaugurate a multiplication of the screens that seems to be unrestrainable. Our experience of the screens has then definitely turned in the plural, but it has also been enriched by other novelties. Among these novelties, I shall only mention the touch-screen, which seems to crucially modify our relationship with the screen, by introducing new modalities of the touch in the circle of the relationship that links the seeing and the being seen. How does my way of seeing, thinking and desiring change then, since I can enlarge or decrease an image just touching it on the screen?
It is this kind of questions that I propose to approach in this issue.
December 2013: The Aesthetic Experience in the Evolutionary Perspective
Advisory Editor: Gianluca Consoli and Lorenzo Bartalesi (mail to: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org)
Deadline for submission: January 30, 2013
Aesthetic experience (AE) has enjoyed an increase of interest over the last several years, even in cognitive sciences and evolutionary psychology. This special issue will focus on the topic of AE in an evolutionary perspective. The aim is to approach the most intense controversies afflicting the recent and multidisciplinary debates. What is AE for? Is AE an adaptation or a by-product? What is the relationship between AE and the goal of knowing? Has AE a mental distinctiveness? Which mental processes (perception, cognition, imagination, affect, emotion, evaluation) are involved (exapted) in AE? What about Darwin’s conception of animal (non-human) aesthetics? What is the relationship between the aesthetic sense in animals and human AE? To what extent does this relationship affect human evolution? What is the articulation of the natural and cultural bases of AE? Has AE the same properties occurring with natural phenomena, cultural artefacts, works of art? How old is art? Could a machine simulate mental processes usually correlated with AE?
Special Issue, Winter 2013: From Intentionality to Documentality
Advisory Editors: Elena Casetta, Giuliano Torrengo and Petar Bojanic(mail to: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com)
Deadline for submission: September 30, 2012
As expressed by the constitutive rule X counts as Y in C, according to John Searle, collective intentionality is the glue and the fundament of social world. Recently, Maurizio Ferraris criticized that notion, suggesting to replace them with the notion of “documentality”, according to which the basis of social reality is the inscription of acts and the social objects that follow, according to the rule Object = Inscribed Act. Social objects are the result of a social act (one that involves at least two persons or a person and a deputed machine), which is characterized by being registered on a piece of paper, in a computer file or even simply in the heads of persons.
How are social objects — such as marriages, promises, bets, parties, revolutions and economic crises — to be accounted for? Are collective intentionality and documentality two irreparably inconsistent notions? Is collective intentionality an hopelessly smoked concept? Do the notion of documentality is enough to really do the job of founding the social reality? To such and similar questions is devoted this issue of Rivista di Estetica that stems from the International Conference “Social Ontology: From Intentionality to Documentality” (May 31 – June 01, 2011, Belgrade).
July 2013: New Theories of the Imagination
Advisory Editor: Daniela Tagliafico (mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com)
Deadline for submission: July 2012
Imagination is certainly one of the most discussed faculties within the field of aesthetics. In the last years, however, due to a growing amount of experimental evidence (coming, in particular, from the fields of neurophysiology, neuropsychology and developmental psychology), our conception of the imagination – and more broadly of the mind – has deeply changed.
A more traditional theory, according to which imaginings are to be conceived as a specific kind of mental state (cf. e.g. Nichols and Stich 2000), has been challenged by a new conception of the imagination, which interprets this faculty as a simulative mechanism, that is: an ability to ‘recreate’ or ‘re-enact’ different kinds of mental states (Mulligan 1999; Currie & Ravenscroft 1997, 2002; Goldman 2006). In this ‘recreativist’ perspective, every kind of mental state could thus possess, at least in principle, its imaginative counterpart: we would have belief-like imaginings, desire-like imaginings, hope-like imaginings, etc. Current evidence has also softened the borders between imagination and other faculties such as memory, inasmuch as also the latter seems to be based on some simulative mechanisms (cf. e.g. Kent & Lamberts 2008).
The kind of questions this issue would like to address are thus the following: given the evidence at disposal, how should we define, exactly, a state of imagination? Can we really simulate every kind of mental state? Is this recreative nature common to every form of imagination? What is the relation between the present theories of the imagination and older theories, which we can find in the history of philosophy? What about the relation between imagination and other ‘recreative’ faculties, such as memory? Which kinds of imagination are involved in the process of creating works of art and fiction? And in their fruition? Do different forms of art require different kinds of imagination? What is, more generally, the relation between imagination and creativity?
Special Issue, June 2013: The Other
Advisory Editors: Massimo Dell’Utri, Stefano Caputo (mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com)
Deadline for submission: December 2012
Digital edition only
As a result of globalization and recent technological innovations, in the last decades contact and interaction among individuals, groups, and cultures have dramatically increased. But this contact and interaction often comes with difficulties and costs, and this opens up a broad spectrum of issues of philosophical interest that involves the conceptual galaxy of otherness.
Does cultural relativism get things right or at least partially right? Are successful interpretations among radically different cultures possible? How could one get a non-distorted and non-biased representation of the other? Can the development of the digital means of communication improve our mutual understanding? How has the concept of the other changed in the Internet era? Are our moral obligations basically the same as they were in the past? Why should one respect the other? What is involved in considering the other a person? Are moral relations dictated by nature and, hence, can be studied adopting a purely scientific approach?
Contributions are invited to shed light on the multifarious declinations of the concept of the Other: our closest neighbor, the linguistically other, the religiously other, the culturally other up to the totally other, God or nothingness.
March 2013: The “Aura”
Advisory Editor: Giuseppe di Giacomo (mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Deadline for submission: April 30, 2012
The current issue of “Rivista di Estetica is focused on contemporary artistic and aesthetic debate around the notion of “aura”. Starting from Benjamin’s reflections on “mechanical reproduction”, it will try to understand if, and under what conditions, there is still room for the concept of aura. Are the ideas of “originality” and “authenticity” still in use? And if so, how are they usable? Could or should they be overcome by a new general conception of work of art? Can we still consider “aura” as an expression of “distance” and “irreducible otherness”? What kind of conceptual framework is required for the new forms of iconoclasm, simulacral condition, naive realism and, broadly speaking, the condition that Benjamin called “loss of aura”? How can we face them?
June 2012: Wine
Advisory Editor: Nicola Perullo (mail to: email@example.com)
Deadline for submission: October 30, 2011
This issue of “Rivista di Estetica” is focused on wine. Why does this drink, that since ancient times has been considered the “nectar of the gods”, never stop raising cultural, philosophical and aesthetical interest?
Under a philosophical perspective, wine may be analyzed in at least three different ways. First, from an ontological point of view: explaining what kind of object wine is, what kinds of objects are tastes, aromas, and what is the difference between taste and tasting. Then from an epistemological point of view: what does it mean to know, to identify, to appreciate and to valuate a wine? What do its aesthetical properties correspond to? And in general what is the relationship between subjectivity and objectivity? Finally, from an ethical-social point of view: why is wine considered an expression of pleasure and conviviality, and a cultural symbol? Each of these areas makes reference to specifically aesthetical considerations as well as to topics in philosophy of language (How does lexicon of tasting work? What are the referents of taste terms?) and to philosophical anthropology (the relation between nature and culture). Contributors are invited to submit papers along those guidelines.
March 2012: Analytic Ontology
Advisory Editors: Andrea Bottani, Richard Davies (mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Deadline for submission: May 31, 2011
This issue of “Rivista di Estetica” grows out of a series of conferences on Analytic Ontology that have been being held in Italy over recent years, which reached its fourth instalment at Bergamo in June 2010.
Contributions are invited in the main areas of study relating to issues in ontology within the analytic tradition. Although that tradition often downplays the value of historical investigations, the importance of figures such as Aristotle, St Thomas and Leibniz to our understanding of some key ontological concepts means that there is room also for critical accounts of central texts and authors. At the same time, formal ontology may be cultivated by closer inspection of the interplay of such notions as being, existence, subsistence, identity, vagueness and temporality. The growing field of social ontology stretches from questions of joint intentionality and the status of documents to the creation of fictional entities. More broadly, regional and applied ontologies may investigate such matters as the relations between biological and social distinctions or those among the various types of goods and property – includiong intellectual property – that can be evaluated in a market.
October 2011: Themes from Documentalità [A partire da Documentalità]
Advisory Editors: Elena Casetta, Pietro Kobau, Ivan Mosca (mail to: email@example.com)
Deadline for submission: December 30, 2010
This issue of “Rivista di Estetica” is devoted to documentality, namely the theory of documents as proposed by Maurizio Ferraris in several recent works, in particular in his book Documentalità. Perché è necessario lasciar tracce (Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2009). Documents play many important roles in our everyday life. In our daily life we collect receipts, sign checks and contracts, request certificates, buy tickets, renew passports. Our birth and our death are marked by documents. But documents are not only (perhaps the most important) social objects among other objects of the same nature. According to the ontology of social reality proposed by Maurizio Ferraris, the nature of social objects, as distinct from physical and ideal objects, is defined by the law Social Object = Inscribed Act. Social objects are social acts (involving at least two agents) that have the distinctive feature of being inscribed – on paper, on a computer file, or in people’s “mind” – in order to be recalled. Any social object depends therefore on the existence of a relative document. Contributors are invited to address questions that are raised by this ontological theory of social reality.
March 2011: Ontology of Film
Advisory Editor: Domenico Spinosa (mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Deadline for submission: July 30, 2010
The question of what it means to study cinema has been recently attracting attention again. What is of remarkable relevance is that film (meant as an aesthetic, cultural, and social object) has gone through a transformation of its nature, that is, the passage from an analogical-photographic medium to that of digital-video. Many have pointed out the importance to understand the philosophical consequences of the disappearance of the photographic base in film as well as to discuss the future of Film Studies. It seems evident that the debate on “what film is” has been renovated. A first considerable effect is linked to the decentralization of the cinematographic experience connected to the fruition of cinemas, a phenomenon that has deep repercussions on what we can define as “the phenomenology of the spectator.” It is not a coincidence that we have lost the habit of saying “let’s go to the cinema.” The future of the very theory of cinema, which perhaps continues to apply traditional categories to a by now deeply changed setting, seems quite uncertain. What is left of cinema then? In reality, not little. If film is extinguished, cinema lives on, at least in the narrative forms imagined by Hollywood since 1915. A certain idea of cinema, in fact, persists and is confirmed in new media and in the last experiences and tendencies of contemporary art. This element also suggests that we might not be able to imagine how new languages and the future forms of art will be the day we get rid of the cinematographic metaphor.