Philosophical Alternatives 1/2023

Issue editor: Ivanka Stapova
CONTENTS & Abstracts & Keywords & Authors in the issue

Philosophical Alternatives 1/2023

Ivan Stefanov (Professor, DSc. at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)
Towards Elimination of Dogmatic Aesthetics
Abstract: The process of liberation of Bulgarian culture from the orthodox aesthetics founded on class politics began in 1956 as an integral part of the general process of destalinisation and developed thanks to the formation of another generation of researchers in the field of aesthetics and criticism. This process developed mainly along the following lines: a) a search for a new answer to the question of what the essence of art is, an emphasis on its humanistic significance and critical social role; b) a decisive move closer to the current problems of artistic creation and to the innovative artifacts of modern Western art; c) the autonomous presence of art in social life requires a fundamental rethinking of form in relation to artistic content. The slow liberation from the theory and practice of dogmatic aesthetics has caused our art to fall visibly behind European norms and criteria, and this is one of the worst cultural calamities to befall our cultural development.
Keуwords: dogmatic aesthetics; autonomy of art; aesthetic dimension; form and content; abstract art; T. Pavlov; I. Passy; A. Natev; D. Avramov; Roger Garaudy; H. Marcuse

Valentin Angelov (Professor, DSc. at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)
Modern Art – The Two-Faced Janus (Controversial Problems and Difficult Dilemmas in Aesthetics)
Abstract: Russian Constructivists and “De Stijl” don’t make autonomic Art, but are looking for a universal principle for total reorganization of the human environment; in such way they hope to remove the chaos and ugliness. Beginning with enlarging the boundaries of Art, they are coming to the idea of Art without Aesthetics.
Keywords: art as gaming; art without aesthetics; aesthetic “enginery”; pluralism in art

Nikolina Deleva (PhD Student at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
21st-Century Art as an Axiological and Cognitive Problem of Indistinguishability
Abstract: This paper explores the paradoxical nature of contemporary art, which is a negation of all previous values, criteria and practices. It conceptualizes the problem of cognitive and aesthetic indistinguishability between art and non-art in 21st-century art practices. The result of the lack of criteria for judging and evaluation is the irrelevance of categories and differences. Aesthetic uncertainty is the new canon.
Keywords: contemporary art; indistinguishability; values; canon; criteria; normativity; evaluation; uncertainty

Miglena Nikolchina (Professor, DSc. at Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski")
Videogames: Between Archaic Epic and the Avant-garde
Abstract: In this essay, the aesthetics of video games is examined in terms of various aspects of temporality. With literature as a point of reference, the analysis foregrounds the strange overlap of video games and ancient and Medieval epic. Archaic conceptions of temporality, furhtermore, are revealed as subtending video games, which might be considered as science fiction or avant-garde. Should we be surprised that games are swarming with monsters? As I will try to show, the „monstrous“ encounter that Derrida set decades ago as the task of thinking – the encounter between machine and “organic” performativity – is not only the material framework of the player's interaction with the game's algorithm, but it is also the generator of plots indicative of contemporary crises of temporality and ontological ruptures which – before and after psychoanalytic filters – are the true source of a monstrosity no longer imminent, but, perhaps, already happening.
Keywords: video game; temporality; repetition; epic; avant-garde

Nikolay Tsenkov (PhD Student at University of National and World Economy, Sofia)
The Observed Person (Outlines of the Performance of the Contemporary Homo Ludens)
Abstract: The article considers some modes of artistic performance as a reaction against the present technological determinism. This creative resistance has a kind of game-based, competitive element – “to outwit the system” – which is a form of play. This line emerges as a kind of sociological and aesthetic strategy in some new art movements, an artistic reflex in defense of the "right to remain invisible". Briefly: the article will trace how the observed person (homo vigilatus), playing (homo ludens), consolidates with a new discourse his role as a creator (homo creator).
Keywords: surveillance; resistance; contemporary art; homo vigilatus; homo ludens; homo creator

Severina Stankeva (PhD Student at Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski")
The Monstrous-Feminine as an Aesthetic Phenomenon in Video Games
Abstract: The paper seeks to deconstruct the image of the monstrous-feminine in video games insofar as it sees in it a fitting entry to the root of the problem of femininity in general. The monstrous is seen as a primary cultural category, marking that which stands on the edge of the hermeneutic circle and thus questioning its contents; the grotesque as a formal-aesthetic hallmark of the concrete personifications of monstrosity; and abjection as their unconscious constitutive motif. Video games, as a medium with an active agent rather than a passive spectator, are analyzed in terms of their extraordinary technical capabilities that make possible the literal and naïve playing out of the battle around the construction of subjectivity (matricide). The conclusions of the text function as a theoretical framework for constructing a typology of the monstrous-feminine and the specific connotative landscapes of its different types.
Keywords: monstrous-feminine; abjection; grotesque; video games; aesthetics

Sylvia Borissova (Associate Professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
Mythology of Loss of the Beautiful
Abstract: The current paper is focused on the genealogy and the relevance of negative aesthetics as a distinct philosophical field and, in particular: 1) to draw a concept of the beautiful as a myth; then 2) to justify the need of a specific genealogy of loss of the beautiful, and, on this basis, 3) to bring out negative aesthetics in its main subject as a mythology of loss of the beautiful.
Keywords: beauty; myth; transgression of the beautiful; central aesthetical code; negative aesthetics

Vyara Popova (Assistant Professor, PhD at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
The Musical Theme in Tenebrism
Abstract: The text unfolds a fascinating narrative through four paintings: 1/ Adam de Coster, “Man Singing by Candlelight”, 2/ “Master of Candlelight”, before 1650, “Singing Boy” and 3/ “Master of Candlelight”, 1650, “Singing Boy”. Using candle-singing as a guiding principle, important pictorial concepts such as Caravaggism, “Flying Birds”, Bambochanti, Kiaroscuro and Tenebrism, are introduced and differentiated.
Keywords: Adam de Coster; Caravaggio; Tessinians; Bambochanti; street genre; The Utrecht Caravaggios; skiagrafia; chiaroscuro; tenebrism; Gerrit van Honthorst; Mathias Stomer; Trophime Bigot

Nikolay Turlakov (Associate Professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
Beauty as Authenticity and Authenticity as Beauty in the Stories of Nikolay Haitov
Abstract: In this article, I examine some philosophical intuitions and existential motives in the descriptions of the beautiful in the stories of Nikolay Haitov. When Haitov asks what the "soul” of our language is, “its beauty", he does not give an explicit answer, but simply describes the beauty he sees in the richness of the bulgarian language. If the beauty of language, which has found expression in folk songs and stories, implies the gift of unknown "talented masters", bards and story tellers, then, for its part, this beauty lasts only insofar as it is daily revived and shared in people’s soul. The soul wants a soul. Haitov's stories are valuable from a philosophical point of view, because they show the primordial and inseparable connection of beauty and language – the sense of beauty is cultivated as an experience in language. And then any masterly artistic description of the beautiful can be considered as a kind of reciprocal relation of language to the sense of the beautiful, in which the latter is enriched and constructed as taste.
Keywords: authenticity; beauty, soul; creativity; folklore; language; being

Nikolay Mihaylov – Philosophical Journey Through Time and Knowledge. New Book by the Corresponding Member of BAS, Professor Anguel S. Stefanov (
Galin Penev – The Ethics of Dysfunctional Capitalism. Monograph by Hristo Hristov (
Rosen Lyutskanov – “Equivalents” by Dilyan Benev (