Philosophical Alternatives 5/2023

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

Ognian Kassabov (Associate Professor, PhD at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)
Yet Again: What Is Aesthetic Disinterestedness Not Interested In? (Schopenhauer After Hobbes)
Abstract: The article retraces a broader context for the emergence of the notions driving the disputed idea of aesthetic disinterestedness, first, by looking at how Shaftesbury aimed to counter Hobbes’s concept of desire as an individual-centred, unsatisfiable drive to possess. In a second step, the article maps those tensions onto tensions within Schopenhauer’s aesthetics and metaphysics (usually classed in a quite different tradition of thinking), where we meet a notoriously extreme version of disinterestedness. The article argues that to make sense of it, it is worthwhile to interpret Schopenhauer’s contrast between a desire-driven, growth-seeking everyday life and the calm repose of aesthetic contemplation as a radical version of an opposition to the emerging capitalist lifeworld that put its mark onto aesthetics as it shaped itself as a self-standing discipline through the 18th–19th centuries.
Keywords: disinterestedness; aesthetics; Schopenhauer; Shaftesbury; Hobbes; desire

Valentin Kalinov (Assistant Professor, PhD at University of Plovdiv “Paisii Hilendarski”)
Living With Ghosts: Psychoanalysis as Hauntology
Abstract: The present article attempts to examine the practice of psychoanalysis and the field of psychoanalytic experience from the perspective of the so-called hauntological turn in the humanities. In the logic of the unconscious, the central event of analytic interaction is seen as an apparition in three different aspects: that of the revenant (the return of the repressed), that of the phantom (as the secret of the Other in the subject's unconscious), and that of the spectre (as a relation of responsibility to the Other). We will suggest that psychoanalysis – and perhaps only psychoanalysis – gives the ghosts a real place; and even more: in a particular way psychoanalysis makes them a place of truth, incorporating them into itself, giving them a full share in its history, and opening up the possibility that they can have their own refuge in it, their own history. Psychoanalysis, in other words, endows ghosts with the freedom in which any articulation of meaning for the subject is possible.
Keywords: psychoanalysis; unconscious; hauntology; ghosts; revenant; spectre; phantom; truth; Freud; Abraham; Török; Derrida

Ivan Stefanov (Professor, DSc at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)
About Isaac Passy and His Detractors
Abstract: At certain points in his scientific career prof. Isaac Passy was ideologically stigmatized by his unsympathetic colleagues. As a result, he experienced great difficulties in life and in his career, was attacked ideologically through written accusations of ideological sins (idealism, subjectivism, revisionism), and suffered political suspicions about his belief in Marxian reflection theory. To all these accusations I. Passy responded with tireless work, with numerous scientific publications, with writing prefaces to the works of great European thinkers and philosophers, with giving public lectures open not only for students but also for citizens. His detractors, in the end, failed to break this extremely erudite scholar and widely known and recognized Bulgarian intellectual. With his scientific achievements, Isaac Passy won for himself a reserved place in the Bulgarian cultural scene of twentieth century.
Keywords: ideological stigma; philosophical spirit; intellectuals; freedom of thinking; Isaac Passy; T. Pavlov; Al. Nichev; B. Tsenkov

Ivan Svilenov Stefanov (PhD student in the specialty Photography at National Academy of Art, Bulgaria. Executive Director of Free Contemporary Arts Foundation and part of the management team of One Gallery)
The Multi-Genre Artist in Contemporary Art: TV Star or A Professional?
Abstract: Is it possible to have a definition of a professional artist in the 21st century? In an era of absolute democratization of artistic forms, can anyone become the author of a work if he wants to be one? The article provides an overview of the definition of a professional artist over the past few centuries and traces the processes that have shaped or modified this definition in the modern world. The analysis refers to the field of institutional theory and examines two specific events of the last six months in Sofia, which serve to demonstrate the thesis that the popular image, formed by television among the mass audience, defined by Theodor Adorno as the halo effect of previous experiences, can give almost professional status to any face, familiar enough from the small screen. In the specific case the exhibitions MO! and DIS/HARMONIES are an illustration of the active influence of television programs not only on the mass viewer, but also on the professional practice in Bulgaria. We draw such conclusions after their authors Maria Sylvester and Ruth Koleva, known for their active participation in entertainment reality formats, were presented in one of the most famous and defined as professional spaces for contemporary art in Bulgaria – the galleries Structura and Credo Bonum. These curatorial decisions are an up-to- date example indicative of the phenomenon of television careerism, which, despite the emergence of streaming platforms and the respective decreasing number of television viewers in the last few years, continues in the logic of its action, described decades ago by Nathalie Heinich and Theodor Adorno. Despite the more general nature of the thesis, the article is a critical analysis on the border with sociological studies of art and specifically addresses the problem of the contemporary art professional.
Keywords: institutional theory; art world; intentionalism; professionalism; professional; contemporary art; Danto; Heinich; Adorno; Moulin; private galleries; institutional criticism

Nikolina Deleva (PhD student at Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
Market Construction of Value in Contemporary Art Practices
Abstract: The general commercialization of all spiritual fields in modern society removes them from the sphere of the sacred and turns them into a commodity. Art loses autonomy and identity, becomes indistinguishable from non-art, and all its evaluations outside the sphere of the market are relativized and illegitimate due to the lack of aesthetic norms. The article examines the market and social mechanisms that replace aesthetic criteria in the evaluation of contemporary collectible art.
Keywords: art market; symbolic capital; social construction; evaluation; price; aesthetic value

Plamen Antov (Professor, DSc at Institute for Literature, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
Lost Memory, Lost on the Way: The Anti-Humanistic Skepticism in Pavel Vezhinov’s Novel Libra
Abstract: The article examines the last novel of Pavel Vezhinov – Libra (1982), which in a narrower sense also culminates the last, clearly separated period/section in the writer’s work–the philosophical-scientific one (after the novel The Barrier, 1976). Here, the novel’s fiction masks in a highly stripped-down fashion a central scientific theory, both civilizational and biological–of human evolution as devolution. Part of a larger study, the article discusses the P. Vezhinov’s radical anti-humanist criticism in the broad context of late modern philosophical skepticism (Heidegger, Deep Ecology) and its autochthonous reflections in Bulgarian literature during the second half of the twentieth century.
Keywords: Pavel Vezhinov; anti-humanism; nature; biology; evolution; еcology

Tatyana Batuleva (Professor, DSc at Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
The White Room: Beyond Text and Context
Abstract: The essay is dedicated to Bogomil Raynov’s story Roads to Nowhere and the script of the film The White Room based on it. Through parallels with examples of existentialist literature and authors such as J.-P. Sartre and A. Camus, it is shown that the work bears the marks of a literary work created with the pathos of existentialism, which encodes the main stages and dimensions of rebellion (metaphysical, political, artistic). The role of the color white, internal monologue, movement, detail, and the convergent-divergent effect obtained from the use of the second person in the narrative is emphasized. The external signs of chaos and awareness of the absurd are sought. The thesis is defended that with the story Raynov in his way reaches the idea of the conscious choice of responsibility and human solidarity of Je me révolte, donc nous sommes (I rebel, therefore we are!) of Camus.
Keywords: white; rebellion; existentialism; movement; absurdity; intuition; chaos; choice; responsibility; solidarity

Nina Dimitrova (Professor, DSc at Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
Games With/By Dostoevsky: Philosophy and Literature
Abstract: The article examines variants of modern game approaches to Dostoevsky's work, which in different ways highlight his philosophical significance and timeless relevance. Among these interpretations, special attention is paid to the literary and philosophical experiments of Vladimir Sorokin and Boris Akunin. The heuristic charge of these philosophical-literary games in a definitely literature-centric culture, such as the Russian one, is emphasized.
Keywords: Dostoevsky; philosophy and literature; philosophical-literary experiments; classic literature

Kalin Nikolov (Art critic and artist, curator at the Graphic Office of the National Art Gallery, Sofia)
Georgy Papazov: Between Surrealism and Lyrical Abstraction
Abstract: The article traces the dramatic vicissitudes of the life of the Bulgarian artist Georgi Papazov (Bulgaria, 1894–France, 1972). He was among the first artists to develop automatic painting as a way of overriding previously established techniques in drawing. Along with Juan Miró, André Masson, and Max Ernst, Malkin emerged as one of the first representatives of Surrealism as a movement in art. However, Papazov chose not to become an official member of the Surrealists so that he could freely experiment with other artistic styles without compromising his position in the group. He pursued his own interests in the art world, ranging from automatic painting and surrealism to expressionism, lyrical abstraction, and color-field painting. Shocked by their sectarianism, he refused to join the movement, which cost him complete neglect by historians of surrealism, as Jean-Paul Crispell wrote.
Keywords: Georges Papazoff; Andre Breton; Surrealism; Futurism; Filippo Tommaso Marinetti; Joan Miró;

Galina Dekova (Doctor, art critic, curator at the Sofia City Art Gallery)
On the Theory of Bulgarian Sculpture from the First Half of the 20th century
Abstract: The article outlines some aspects of Vaska Emanuilova's work such as: the theme of the restorative current of modernism known as neoclassical art in France and its cultural prerequisites; the theme of women in sculpture; the theme of the primitive and its specific role in the genesis of Bulgarian modern sculpture and painting from the 1930s.
Keywords: sculpture; modernism; anti-modernism; official art; neoclassicism

Daniela Tsvetkova (PhD student at Department of Design for Children’s Environment, National Academy of Art, Sofia; set designer and graphic designer; Assistant in Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts of Foggia)
Ritual Parallels in Architecture and Children's Games
Abstract: The enfilade pattern is a constructive archetype found in both the material and spiritual fields. The simpler it is, the clearer its message and the stronger the faith it inspires. And vice versa: the abstract form of the structure leads to confusion. The concept of the Double Helix Enfilade of arch. Berberov suggests a complex architectural-urbanistic ensemble, the possibilities of which are revealed in the context of the creation of the Bulgarian alphabet and the phenomenon of miraculous icons. The enfilade scheme is found in rites that are transformed into transitory board games, usually with a religious or educational purpose. The most successful games in this category are based on the classic enfilade principle. The Double Helix Enfilade is suitable for successfully illustrating complex scientific theories. The games for boys and girls described in the article convey identical knowledge, but the way in which this happens is fundamentally different.
Keywords: enfilade; Double Helix Enfilade; children; hope; game; rites; gaming behavior