Contemporary philosophy is beginning to pay to problems of linguistic justice the attention that they deserve in today’s heavily interconnected world. However, contemporary philosophy, as a part of today’s world, has problems of linguistic justice of its own which deserve meta-philosophical attention. At least in the philosophical tradition that is mainstream in much of the world today, viz. analytic philosophy, methodological and sociological mechanisms make it the case that the voices of non-native-speaking philosophers are substantially less heard. In this essay, (...) I briefly outline the problems non-native speakers face in contemporary analytic philosophy. I then move on to analysing the possible causes of the current problems. Among these reasons, I argue, is the emphasis given to linguistic style and appearances as signs of clarity, precision and rigour in the treatment of philosophical problems. I argue that the current emphasis on linguistic style in analytic philosophy is not justifiable, in part because it deprives contemporary analytic philosophy of a wider variety of philosophical perspectives. I argue that an important remedy for the emphasis on linguistic appearances within philosophy is to foster greater linguistic diversity. I conclude by presenting and motivating a recent initiative that aims to achieve such a goal. (shrink)
Some time ago, the philosopher Luciano Floridi suggested that Western philosophy, and the mainstream contemporary approach to it traditionally called ‘analytic philosophy’, is in dire need of a reboot. The concern was that the discipline might be in a period of decadence. Analytic philosophy would be benefited by greater internationalization, wider and more transparent decision-making, and the reduction (as much as possible) of conflicts of interest as well as of its current habit of hiring and providing publication opportunities on the (...) basis of contacts, networking, and academic pedigree. If we are right, then we need a reconditioning of the institutional framework of analytic philosophy that adjusts it to the current global and interconnected world. (shrink)
In recent years, increasing attention has been devoted to the underrepresentation, exclusion or outright discrimination experienced by women and members of other visible minority groups in academic philosophy. Much of this debate has focused on the state of contemporary Anglophone philosophy, which is dominated by the tradition of analytic philosophy. Moreover, there is growing interest in academia and society more generally for issues revolving around linguistic justice and linguistic discrimination (sometimes called ‘linguicism’ or ‘languagism’) (see e.g. Van Parijs 2011). Globalization (...) and the increasing adoption of English as global linguistic vehicle or lingua franca push these issues at the forefront of much of the world’s attention. The convergence of these two trends suggests the appropriateness of an analysis of the condition of non-native speakers of English in analytic philosophy. (shrink)
In Savoring Disgust, Carolyn Korsmeyer argues that disgust is peculiar amongst emotions, for it does not need any of the standard solutions to the so-called paradox of fiction. I argue that Korsmeyer’s arguments in support of the peculiarity of disgust with respect to the paradox of fiction are not successful.
Philosophy has a language problem. A recent study by Schwitzgebel, Huang, Higgins and Gonzalez-Cabrera (2018) found that, in a sample of papers published in elite journals, 97% of citations were to work originally written in English. 73% of this same sample didn’t cite any paper that had been originally written in a language other than English. Finally, a staggering 96% of elite journal editorial boards are primarily affiliated with an Anglophone university. This is consistent with earlier data suggesting that journal (...) submissions from countries that are outside the Anglophone world and Europe have disturbingly low chances of being accepted. The route forward is not entirely clear. What is clear, however, is that this structural disadvantage deserves closer philosophical and empirical attention. We owe this to current and future members of our philosophical community who speak English non-natively. We also need this if we want to make sure philosophy is enriched by a diverse group of thinkers who have a grasp of different languages, and of the cultures strongly associated with them. (shrink)
Noël Carroll’s influence on the contemporary debate on the horror genre is hard to overestimate. His work on the topic is often celebrated as one of the best instances of interdisciplinary dialogue between film studies and philosophy of art. It has provided the foundations for the contemporary study of horror in art. Yet, for all the critical attention that his views on horror have attracted over the years, little scrutiny has been given to the nature itself of the emotion of (...) horror in the genre. This article offers a critical understanding of the nature of the emotion of horror for Carroll, with a view to informing future investigations into the nature of horror in film (and beyond). (shrink)
Disgust has been a perennial feature of art from medieval visions of hell to postmodern travesties. The purpose of this chapter is to chart various ways in which disgust functions in artworks both in terms of content and style, canvassing cases in which the content and/or style is literally disgusting in contrast to cases where the disgust serves to characterize the content, often for moral or political or broader cultural purposes.
The horror genre (in film, literature etc.) has, for its seemingly paradoxical aesthetic appeal, been the subject of much debate in contemporary, analytic philosophy of art. At the same time, however, the nature of horror as an affective phenomenon has been largely neglected by both aestheticians and philosophers of mind. The standard view of the affective nature of horror in contemporary philosophy follows Noël Carroll in holding that horror in art (or “art-horror”) is an emotion resulting from the combination of (...) disgust and fear. The view is also often accompanied by the view that horror in art is a distinct affect from horror in real life. This raises the question of what the relationship between horror in art and in real life might be. By looking within and outside art and the horror genre, and using a combination of historical, philosophical and empirical arguments, I argue for a departure from such standard views on the affective nature of horror. In alternative, I outline a novel view, on which horror is common to both real life and art and is primarily, typically individuated by a set of (output) affective reactions. (shrink)
It has been recently argued, contrary to the received eighteenth-century view, that disgust is compatible with aesthetic pleasure. According to such arguments, what allows this compatibility is the interest that art appreciators sometimes bestow on the cognitive content of disgust. On this view, the most interesting aspect of this cognitive content is identified in meanings connected with human mortality. The aim of this paper is to show that these arguments are unsuccessful.
The transparency thesis for disgust claims that what is disgusting in nature is always also disgusting in art. Versions of the thesis have been endorsed by, among others, Kant, Lessing, Mendelssohn, and, more recently, Arthur Danto, Carolyn Korsmeyer, and Jenefer Robinson. The present paper articulates and discusses different readings of the thesis. It concludes that the transparency thesis is false.
In Propelled, Elpidorou persuasively argues that the three prima facie undesirable conditions of boredom, frustration and anticipation are, in fact, importantly valuable to human life. His method is an interesting combination of existentialist explorations and reporting of cognitive science research, all written in a style more friendly to the analytic-philosophical tradition. However, I argue, the book’s precision and depth of philosophical analysis have some limitations. This is so in two main respects: first, in the relative lack of discussion of important (...) philosophical antecedents, and secondly, in the relative lack of critical engagement with some of the empirical literature the book discusses. (shrink)
Peter Vaudreuil Lamarque is one of the most prominent members of the golden generation of analytic aestheticians born immediately after the Second World War. If, to follow Archilochus via Isaiah Berlin (via Peter Kivy), “a fox knows many things, but a hedgehog one important thing,” Lamarque is perhaps the biggest hedgehog of his generation. Lamarque’s “important thing” is not a single idea but, as he would put it, the practice that we call “literature.” His distinctive achievement has been to integrate (...) a number of different ideas into a systematic philosophical account of literature, which also sheds light on art more generally. (shrink)
Carolyn Korsmeyer’s Savoring Disgust is a book that, in spite of its seemingly unsavoury subject matter, deserves to be widely read. Written in an accessible yet richly suggestive prose, it is the first systematic investigation in English-speaking contemporary philosophy of the aesthetic and artistic significance of the emotion of disgust. Korsmeyer’s book discusses a wealth of issues that it is difficult to match and presents a comprehensive and organic approach to a previously underexplored topic. The intelligence of its analysis and (...) the elegance of its prose prove that one can indeed be pleasurably absorbed in matters disgusting. (shrink)
A series of recent experimental studies have cast doubt on the existence of a traditional tension that aestheticians have noted in our aesthetic judgments and practices, viz. the paradox of taste. The existence of the paradox has been acknowledged since Hume and Kant, though not enough has been done to analyse it in depth. In this paper we remedy this by proposing six possible conceptualizations of the paradox of taste. Drawing on our analysis of the paradox, we argue that the (...) experimental results in question are not a real challenge to its existence. By contrast, they provide empirical evidence in its support. (shrink)
According to the so-called transparency thesis, what is disgusting in nature cannot but be disgusting in art. This paper critically discusses the arguments that have been put forward in favour of the transparency thesis, starting with Korsmeyer's (2011) sensory view of disgust. As an alternative, it offers an account of the relationship between disgust and representation that explains, at least in part, whatever truth there is in the transparency thesis. Such an account appeals to a distinction between object-centric and situation-centric (...) emotions. (shrink)
In a recent book, Immagine, Alberto Voltolini offers a rich and carefully written discussion of theories of depiction, which have drawn so much attention in recent Anglophone philosophy. Although Voltolini’s book has indisputable virtues, it also makes some questionable formal choices. The present essay presents a formal analysis of the book.
Metaphor has often been seen as tightly associated with both aesthetics and cognition, as well as with other aesthetic and cognitive phenomena such as imagination, symbol, allegory, analogy and simile. This article offers a theory of metaphor that accounts for such aesthetic and cognitive associations. The theory is based on a suitably interpreted version of a tool originally developed in an epistemic context, viz. Floridi and Sanders’ method of abstraction.
Philosophy’s place, at the intersection of the scientific and humanities disciplines, makes it an interesting test case for the role of English and other languages and cultures in our contemporary knowledge economy. On the one hand, there is the attention humanities scholars devote to analysing and preserving the richness of the various world languages and cultures. On the other hand, there is science’s essentially cosmopolitan project of a single understanding of the world that transcends particular languages and cultures. The presence (...) of these two tendencies is perhaps especially evident in what is arguably the current mainstream philosophical tradition, often called ‘analytic’ or ‘Anglo-American’ philosophy. In the early phases of analytic philosophy, the interaction of the scientific and humanities tendencies worked synergistically to enable important contributions to human knowledge. However, the present chapter will argue, those two tendencies are now clashing with undesirable results. This is in an important part due to analytic philosophy’s insufficiently examined focus on a single vehicular language. One symptom of this malaise is that the voices of non-native-speaking philosophers are significantly less heard than those of native speakers. After briefly outlining the problems non-native speakers face in contemporary analytic philosophy, I analyse some of their possible causes. Amongst these, I argue, is the current emphasis given to linguistic form as a sign of scientific rigour in the analysis of philosophical problems. I discuss this emphasis critically, arguing that it is not justifiable, in part because it deprives contemporary analytic philosophy of a wider variety of philosophical perspectives arising from different languages and cultures. I conclude by briefly presenting a recent attempt to make contemporary philosophy more linguistically inclusive. (shrink)
Carolyn Korsmeyer's monograph bolsters her reputation as a leading innovator in analytic aesthetics research. Like so much of her previous work, this book is beautifully written, thoughtful and thought-provoking, carefully referenced and rich in artistic examples and historical anecdotes. While its discussion of certain issues could have benefited from greater critical depth, the book is a testament to the possibility of making first-rate philosophical contributions that are fascinating and enjoyable to read. I encourage everyone interested in its themes to read (...) it in full for themselves. (shrink)