There are many ways of practicing philosophy. One you can see at university or in professional books may be very different from one you may want to practice yourself. It does not mean there exists an unbridgeable gap between them, just another way of doing things by means of a bit different style of expression and a bit different sensitivity to some things and issues. For my part, I strongly recommend employing philosophical categories into seeing and experiencing every day situations in ordinary circumstances. [Read more…]
Erica Szabo, one of Berlin Practical Philosophy International Forum’s founding members, is an American illustrator, living in Berlin and Barcelona. Her current project Olibot is a series of cartoons, designed and pictured by herself, with a philosophical and existential message. The story shows a misfit robot, expelled from his native planet for being different than other robots; being different by look (other colour than the rest of the robots), by function (having wings rather than claw-like limbs), and by spirit (he wants to create, not destroy). He sets forth to find out some friendly souls in the outerspace, and actually finds some misfits like himself, for example, a robot-bat, too shy to bite. Szabo’s work is a skilful combination of an eye-catching drawing and terse writing that encompasses a pro-social message.
Philosophy of Love focuses on different aspects of what we ordinarily call ‘love’; yet, it has many aspects and meanings. For example, the terms ‘eros’, ‘agape’, and ‘philia’ are the ancient Greek terms to render the basic understanding of three types of love, among many more. The Online Seminar on Philosophy of Love shows our discussion on these issues.
Pasear por las calles de la antigua parte de Alcalá de Henares provoca reflexiones. Especialmente cuando el objetivo de la visita del extranjero es dar clases de metafísica a los estudiantes complutenses en la lengua cervantina; cuando uno se aloja en la residencia San Ildefonso, una de las más importantes obras del Renacimiento español y declarado Patrimonio de la Humanidad, con el “Patio de Filósofos”; cuando muy cerca está la casa natal de Cervantes, un convento reformado por Santa Teresa de Ávila, y las salas donde estudiaba San Ignacio de Loyola. La antigüedad se mezcla con la modernidad dandonos una riqueza enorme para penetrar y disfrutar más. De manera semejante comprendo el sentido de la metafísica – el tema, al menos a primera vista, terriblemente duro, pero si se trata este tema con simpatía y tolerancia, se puede convertir en un asunto importante para la gente normal y corriente. Eso es exactamente lo que intenté a hacer con mis estudiantes españoles: es decir, a demonstrarles que cuando estamos hablando sobre, por ejemplo, los valores no vale la pena ignorar las especulaciones que normalmente hacen los filósofos que se especializan en las cuestiones metafísicas. [Read more…]
Santayana on barbarism. The notion of ‘barbarism’ in Santayana has predominantly (though not exclusively) a form of something that can be called a ‘cultural barbarism’ as opposed to ‘civilization,’ and, in this sense, does not refer directly to any indiscriminate killings or plundering, as it is frequently associated in the popular usage of this term. According to him, barbarism in this cultural form can be found both in the ancient past, when “barbarian genius infused into Christianity” (LR 228) – the Gothic cathedrals having been an example of such an infusion -, and in the modern era, when such eminent representatives of the “poetry of barbarism” can be found as Walt Whitman and Robert Browning. By employing the opposition ‘barbarian-civilized’ in many of his texts, he wanted to tell us that the civilized way of thinking lies in having a clear vision of a perfect life along with the recognition of the ultimate justification of the machinery of life, understanding it with its ideals, wisdom, and beauty (cf. IPR, 166-168); contrary to that, barbarian means “undisciplined, rebellious against the nature of things” (L4, 45). [Read more…]
The problem of ‘justice’ and ‘injustice’ has always been widely and ardently discussed in the public sphere. A professionalized type of discussions, such as amongst philosophers, lawyers, experts on political issues, etc. seems very technical, complicated and frequently misunderstood for the members of the public. One of the reasons is that this notion (‘justice’) is a very general idea having very different meanings and, additionally, it evokes high emotions in those who have experienced themselves some kind of injustice. For example, for some, ‘justice’ means ‘revenge’ (as it was according to the Hammurabi Law and still is in many cultures and in some kinds of individual approaches), which for others means hardly anything more than ‘a barbarian type of practicing injustice.’