Whether it’s the Wicked Witch in Oz, or Sleeping Beauty’s sorceress Maleficent - it only takes going out on Halloween night to witness that our understanding of witches paints them as evil, spell-casting, outcast, old, lonely women. What happens when we contextualize our contemporary understanding of witches (and more generally: women) within the broader framework of historical witchcraft? What is it exactly that is feared in witches? Why is the ongoing burning of millions of women who were, and continue to be, tried as “witches” not acknowledged?Read More
Even though there are more women writers today than ever before, and even though the publishing industry is comprised of a female majority, stories about women protagonists written by women writers almost never win literary prizes or gain the same momentum as their male counterparts. Why is this? What happens when mainstream publishers are not critical of the male framework within which “serious” literature is judged, and women are expected to adapt to male models and theories about writing?Read More
Immanuel Kant is an 18th Century German philosopher who, in his works on aesthetics, argues that our faculty of judgment enables us to have experiences of beauty. It is tempting to box him into his own time and only talk about his theory of aesthetics in the context of 18th century painting, however the nature of his theory seems to suggest that we can make aesthetic judgments through our cognitive faculties that are universal and necessary. Is it possible to analyze contemporary painting through the eyes of Kant and see whether or not Kant would be able to make sense of it in the same manner that we do?Read More
Design seems to be attributed to problem-solving, practicality and function. The role of the designer is by no means limited to one explanation. And yet, one thing that all designers seem to have in common is that they give form to an idea, and for a design to emerge at all, there has to be a pre-existing need. Vilem Flusser references texts which describe a designer as "a cunning plotter laying his traps", somehow working mechanically from an appointed task. Norman Potter takes on a similar view, characterizing a designer as someone who "works through and for other people, and is concerned primarily with their problems rather than his own.” In both cases a designer is seen as being involved, not in the world of art, but in the world of buying and selling.Read More
The elementary forms and techniques which echo throughout abstract art from the 1960s are often deemed not worth seeing and misunderstood in our day and age. The public majority of our 21st Century generation will share the view of Michael Fried, a formalist critic who objected to minimalist work because of its "theatricality", meaning that it was too dependent on the engagement with the physicality of the spectator and could not stand on its own. Yet changing a culture's norms and values by challenging them from within is exactly what the visual language of 1960s painting set out to represent.Read More
"Beauty and the beast” - hasn’t this theme been a perennial fascination in both Eastern and Western culture? How much of the “brute animal” is hidden inside humans? Contemporary theories about evolution tell us that we all descend from ape-like ancestors. But there were many centuries before humans were irrevocably linked to animals by Darwinian evolution theory. During these periods, we expressed our fascination with human animality through reports of sightings of legends and myths, engrossed in imagining humans that were half animal. We had centaurs, we had werewolves; but especially we have had alluring half human, half fish individuals - we've had mermaids.Read More
The main purpose of copyright is to protect intellectual property. Historically, the philosophy of "property", "property right'' and "copyright" has significantly been influenced by the views which philosophers had about political and social issues. In the wake of the Industrial Revolution and the exploitation by factory owners of working class people, socialist and communist thinkers argued that property is to be seen as something collective rather than individual. Currently it seems to be the capitalist notion which has won, closely connecting property to individuals while seeing property right as an individual human right.Read More
For a metaphysician to ask about the nature of reality, she is already engaging in metaphysical ideology, as she is presuming there is such a thing as “reality”. Metaphysics is the process of doing exactly what I am currently doing: explaining and understanding concepts. Except instead of concepts, metaphysics attempts to understand everything, thus “meta” (beyond) “physics” (the nature of matter and energy). For metaphysicians, what exactly constitutes dreams or ideas cannot simply be ignored, as is done by physicists. The physicist speaks a scientific language confined by pre-determined scales that are useful to human understanding. Physicists don’t ask, for example, if the metric system could be considered an “objective truth”. They don’t have to think about that, but metaphysicians do. Metaphysicians ask questions about things like the universality of mathematics, as they are engaging in a fundamental inquiry into the nature of reality (if there even is such a thing).Read More
rev·er·ie a state of being pleasantly lost in one's thoughts; a daydream.
I recently came across 20th Century French philosopher Gaston Bachelard. His main body of work focuses on epistemological studies in science. To briefly summarize, he was in support of constructivist epistemology: Meaning that he believed scientific knowledge is constructed by the scientific community, attempting to measure and construct models of the natural world.
“It is better to live in a state of impermanence than in one of finality.” Gaston BachelardRead More