Philosophical Alternatives_2_2021

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


Ognian Kassabov (Assoc. Prof. at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)
Immanuel Kant on the Splendid Misery of Culture (A Contribution to the Critique of Aesthetic Idealism)
: The article goes beyond Kant's well-known aesthetic formalism in order to gain insight into the meaning of the peculiar phrase “splendid misery” employed in the Critique of Judgment, §83, and elsewhere. The author discusses Kant's notion of the culture of taste, his assimilation of Rousseau's social critique into aesthetics, and the historical-materialist background of Kant's theory.
Keywords: Kant; aesthetics; taste; culture; Rousseau; political economy; sociability; history; materialism; luxury.

Ivan Stefanov (Prof. DSc. at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)
Artistic Creation or Arbitrariness?
: The firm maxim of the old aesthetics, postulating that art can develop only within the framework of tradition, was subjected to radical critique in the second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th century by modernist painters. The destructive work of avant-garde artists assumed the form of absolute rejection of the old aesthetical norms and rules. This practically meant that, based on the free use of whimsicality (useful for such artists), the creative imagination was completely emancipated. Thus, pluralism of experimentation replaced creation, thereby turning the sphere of art into something like a minefield. Perhaps that is what Marcel Duchamp's ironic work, “Mona Lisa with mustache” meant to express… The mediating factor that the avant-garde implemented into the work of art, can most precisely be designated today as “creative arbitrariness”, inasmuch as this is the actual support of modern innovative art.
Keywords: Ortega-y-Gasset; Breton; Adorno; Mukaшovskэ; Gadamer; avant-garde art; aesthetical norm; arbitrariness; artistic form; scandal.

Emil Dimitrov(Assoc. Prof. at the Institute for Literature, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
Notes from the Underground: Consciousness as an Illness
: The article presents a philosophical reconstruction of the views regarding consciousness expressed by the main character of Dostoyevsky's Notes from the Underground. The man from the underground is found to be an innovative creation when compared with Julien Sorel, the main character in Stendhal's The Red and the Black. The original idea that consciousness is an illness is theoretically elaborated through a close analysis of the text; the article also draws on philosophical fragments found in Dostoyevsky's manuscript. The article stresses that this concept is in contradiction with the spirit and letter of the Cartesian tradition; the hypothesis is advanced that this is due to the radically different principle of philosophizing applied here: Cogito ergo sum is replaced by Credo, ergo est. The article present a number of oppositions: consciousness vs. human nature; consciousness vs. image; consciousness vs. living life; the thesis put forward is that the image is a basic instrument of consciousness in Dostoyevsky's world. Finally, the article raises the problem as to the novel as a philosophical genre and highlights the role of the writer as the founder of this genre.
Keywords: consciousness; illness; Julien Sorel; homotopy; image; human nature; living life.

Nina Dimitrova (DSc., Professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology , Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
Barth and Berdyaev: The Religious Significance of Genius
. The topic of the author's reflections is the connection between the Swiss theologian Karl Barth, one of the greatest religious thinkers of the twentieth century, and Nikolai Berdyaev, one of the greatest Russian philosophers. The common denominator between Barth, author of the multi-volume Church Dogmatics, and Berdyaev, the philosopher hostile to dogmas and systems, i.e., between two thinkers coming from vastly different intellectual traditions, is sought in a narrow theme in the philosophy of religion/theology, namely, the question of the religious significance of genius. The theme is reflected in their respective interpretations of Mozart and Pushkin. The author demonstrates the general belief that the question of human genius goes beyond the sphere of philosophy/theology of culture: genius transcends the boundaries of this world. It touches on the hereafter and reveals it to us: in this lies its religious meaning.
Keywords: Karl Barth; Nikolay Berdiaev; Mozart; Pushkin; theology and music; genius and holiness.
Miglena Nikolchina (DSc., Professor at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)
Verwandlung, or The Human Crucible: Mamardashvili from Marx to Kafka and from Kafka to Lem
:The text explores the junction of Marx and Kafka on the one hand, and Kafka and Lem on the other, in Mamardashvili's crucial conceptualization of Verwandlung. This is an important term for Marx, but it is also the title of what is perhaps Kafka's most commented-on work. In his novella “The Mask”, Lem evokes Kafka's Verwandlung; however, while Kafka's protagonist famously wakes up metamorphosed into a monstrous vermin (Mamardashvili calls it a “zombie”), in Lem's story the transformation is into a robot. In the 1980s, Mamardashvili turned to Kafka in order to formulate his concern with the anthropological catastrophe which he saw coming and which today can be seen as the disappearance of the human between the zombie and the robot.
Keywords: Verwandlung; anthropological catastrophe; zombie; robot..

Silviya Kristeva (Assoc. Prof. at South-West University “Neofit Rilski”)
Fantasy Elements of the Over-real in Ursula Le Guin's The Earthsea Saga
: This article aims to trace the relationship between the magical and fantasy; the author begins by analyzing the two main components, “magical” and “real”, as they interact in the building of a whole, full-blooded fantasy world. We will follows how this exceptionally interesting and “explosive” combination works in Ursula Le Guin's masterpiece, The Earthsea saga. In order to present the exceptional scale of the Earthsea world, we will distinguish the innovative fantasy elements developed by Ursula Le Guin. We will focus on how the magical is built over the real and how it complements and conceptualizes the model of a world, bringing it to a certain nature-related and magical type of fantasy. We discuss how the world boundaries are determined by the ontological model of two worlds: between the magical and the non-magical underground forces of darkness and nothingness; between the world of the living and the anti-world in the realm of the dead.
Keywords: philosophy of the fantastic; Ursula Le Guin; Earthsea world; the magical; the anti-world.

Ivanka Stapova (DSc., Professor, retired)
Transformations of the Double: the Dark Half
: The article is focused on the complex relations between the double – the dark side of man – and the devil as the purest form of this dark side. The two concepts are related to the crisis of human identity. When the Self begins to doubt its own integrity, then dark motives, suspicions and insecurity come out into the light of day. Several impressive images, in which the Devil plays the main role, will illustrate his intervention in the life of the Self.
Keywords: the double; crisis of identity; the dark half; the devil; the devil in literature.
Tatyana Batuleva (DSc., Professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology , Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
Togetherness, or Feminist Approaches to Architecture
: The article examines the specific projections that the feminist ideas receive in architecture. Irigaray's concept of the "shared world", Braidotti's materialist theory of becoming, political readings of the ethics of care are creatively developed in the ideas of A. Wheeler, P. Rawes, I. Toscano, S. Torre and others. The conclusion is that these feminist readings are successfully projected into an architectural environment. There are several reasons for this: first, regardless of their heterogeneity, they take as a starting point the difference freed from its negative burden, turn it into a difference-in-itself and make a significant contribution to its theoretical understanding; second, in them the feminine becomes a way to substantiate innovative reflections, the impact of which transcends the boundaries of feminist knowledge and has its projections in various fields, among which architecture has its reserved place. It is in their capacity as philosophies of togetherness that feminist readings of the architecture, in which being-with-the-other plays a leading role, build a new type of connection and become legitimate approaches to the architecture.
Keywords: feminisme; architecture; difference; care; togetherness

Ivan Kolev(Assoc. Prof. at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)
Dasein as Inhabiting
: The article is devoted to a phenomenological clarification of the principles of architecture. The author generally follows the logic of the presentation in Vitruvius's treatise Ten Books on Architecture, but also uses elements of the speculative deduction of architectural elements in Hegel's Aesthetics. Heidegger's ontological designation of man as Dasein is interpreted as inhabiting; thus, the author attempts to establish a link between the ontological and the architectonic aspects of human existence.
Keywords: inhabiting; architecture.

Vyara Popova (Assist. Prof., PhD at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology , Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
Victor Turner's Two Chromatic Pairs in the Primary Triad through the Archaic.
: In his book Symbol and Ritual (1967), Victor Turner demonstrates how archaism, and particularly the rituals of tribal society, are able to explain some aspects of social processes in modern Western societies. With regard to the discussion on colors in the book, of specific interest is the derived primary chromatic triad (white-black-red), presented as pairs of dyads combined with an invisible third member. In Vedantic Hinduism, Turner finds a similar symbolic functioning in the color-guni relation. He thus expands the temporal continuum (from the Archaic period to the Middle Ages), supplementing it with a spatial continuum, that of ancient Eastern culture, which corresponds geographically to the Far and Middle East. The three most ancient colors (white, black and red) are thus analytically deduced and harnessed in the two dimensions.
Keywords: chromatic pair; chromatic symbol; ritual colors; corporate morale; substantialization of color; liminal states; the three gunas; Rigveda; Mahabharata; Kali; Shiva; Victor Turner; Sumbol and Ritual.
Nikolina Deleva (Doctoral student at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, BAS.)
The Phenomenon of “Contemporary Art”: Definition, Legitimation, and Particularities
: The topic of this article is the phenomenon of contemporary art. The author discusses the questions as to what is contemporary and what art is today, as well as the distinction between art and life, fiction and reality. The article addresses the question as to who/what legitimates art as existence.
Keywords: contemporary art; legitimation; artifact and artiact; context; interpretation.

Marina Aleksandrova (Doctoral student at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridsky)
Game and Art. Gamification in the Visual Arts
: The article presents a short study on the theoretical, historical, philosophical, aesthetic and essential connection between play and visual art. The connections established between them are based on some fundamental trends in the field of gamification. The article gives examples of successful gamification in the field of art as well as systematized information on some functions, factors, tools and materials that teach effective gamification on the field of visual arts in the context of modernity.
Keywords: game; gamification; play; visual art; aesthetics.
Andrey Leshkov (Andrey Leshkov (1960–2020) – Assoc. Prof. Phd)
Aesthetics as Metaphysics...
: The point of departure of the discussion in this text (planned to be read as a lecture) is the reinterpretation, in a philosophical context, of the Biblical narrative about the tree of life and the tree of knowledge (Genesis 2:9). This approach enables tracing the oppositions of vital breath vs. voluntary choice; justification vs. acting; outside vs. inside. These oppositions, in turn, reveal the essential relations of human being. One of these is the relation of know-how-in-order-to-know. Placed as a foundation for the discussion of aesthetics as metaphysics, this relation raises a number of questions relevant to aesthetics, including the possibility of the aesthetical. Leaning on the thesis that there can be no metaphysical preconditions for that which is aesthetically significant, the article raises the question of the metaphysical and the aesthetical as bordering concepts; as well as the question of the truth, which is generally accepted and self-evident but equally concern the higher spheres, which speak in different languages about this side of the world. The examples drawn from various spheres of art are given in view of the need for a double optic – of aesthetics and art – that any study on the aesthetical requires. In addition to examples taken from the plastic and visual arts (which are most frequently in the focus of philosophical studies) – examples widely ranging from Michelangelo to Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol – the lecture also turns to music, touching on Paul Hindemith's symphony Mathis the Painter. Inspired by the idea that the arts are interconnected, the symphony presents in music the figures depicted on the Isenheim alterpiece by the painter Matthias Grunewald.
Keywords: aesthetical; metaphysical; being; knowledge; justification; acting; truth
Plamen Antov (DSc., Professor at the Institute for Literature, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
From a Dialogue on the Desert. Between an Optimist and a Skeptic
: The article returns to the primordial form of philosophical dialogue (while also, paradoxically, distancing itself from it) in order to discuss (sic!) some topical ethnocultural and cultural-civilizational problems of the modern post-industrial world. For example, the author discusses authentic (natural) poverty and poverty presented as a “tourist package“, as a business commodity. The article deals with the one-way irreversibility of the plot: a desert can be destroyed, but not re-created; or the desert as a capital with zero (i.e., entirely potential) value; poverty as a non-independent quality imposed from the outside by the other; as well as the essential proximity between the savage and the bourgeois; etc.
Keywords: post-industrial world – primitive world; nature – simulacrum; poverty; desert; tourism.
Vera Hincheva (Doctoral student at the Institute of Literature, BAS.)
Dostoyevsky: Thought and Image, Thought and Knowledge – Observations on an Important Cultural Event