IX Edition: 1 – 24 September
The InSophia Cultural Association, the non-profit creator of the festival, in collaboration with the Municipality of Ischia, the CRF – International Center for Philosophical Research, the University of Toronto (Visual Studies, Mississauga campus) and with the Liceo “A. Canova” in Treviso, with the patronage of the Campania Region, the FISP (International Federation of Philosophical Societies), of the XXV World Congress of Philosophy Rome 2024, of the “G. Sadoul Circle,” of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies, of the Department of Humanities of the University of Palermo, of the SFI (Italian Philosophical Society), and of the “PIDA” International Architecture Award, are pleased to announce the ninth edition of the international festival of philosophy “La Filosofia, il Castello e la Torre – Ischia and Naples International Festival of Philosophy 2023,” to be held in Ischia from 1-24 September at the Aragonese Castle, the Mortella Gardens, the Antoniana Library, and the Guevara Tower of Ischia.
CALL FOR PAPERS
Desire. What are we missing really?
This year the Ischia and Naples International Festival of Philosophy offers the opportunity to reflect on one of the most important questions for the “sciences of the spirit.”
Throughout the history of western thought, desire has often played a fundamental role in orienting the human condition, and precisely because it has determined life ethically and morally. Desire expresses the existential condition by realizing the relation between the Self and the World.
In ancient philosophy, the desires get classified as either necessary or natural and vain. Those defined as necessary concern primary needs, the drives of human being such as hunger, thirst; those defined as vain concern the realization of the state of the Self in the world, like the craving for wealth, or that desire toward which humans tend most of all, immortality.
In the contexts of both philosophy and religion, if rather differently in each, desire has determined the birth of existential strategies aimed at building a sort of volitional independence from that for which one longs, according to which a wise life pushes desire to the margins of existence itself—a vision eloquently expressed in the ancient philosophical concepts born of ataraxia, or ascetic life, where the body is mortified because it is a carnal vehicle that subjugates human beings.
On the other hand, there are also those philosophical attitudes in which desire becomes the ultimate end, and is also referred to as appetite or affection. Human beings “ask” and “feel” something for themselves and try constantly to achieve a goal. Desire imbues human action with a motivation that aims to satisfy not only natural drives, but also those elevated affections related to knowledge, to activities of the spirit that we define as intellectual or superior. This appetite is the determining force that pushes the subject to self-realization in a transcendental sense.It is probably the fundamental split expressed in western philosophies, as the sole engine for the realization of human supremacy over the world, that makes a pedagogy of desire necessary, capable of overcoming the fracture between the immanence of an ego that projects desire right into the foreground and the transcendence of a We that would like the realization of a common desire.
We are imprisoned in an exclusionary structural split which is expressed in the difficulty of realizing the relationship between the individual and society. But it is precisely the question of this split that gives rise to a logical, necessary movement: how to decline desire, from a practical and political perspective, from the I to the We?
Many philosophers, from antiquity to today, prompt us to consider a sociology of desire in which what is desired stands out against a common horizon: the desire for justice, for equality therefore elevates this drive to an affection, a spiritual transcendence, where desire, expressing a constant lack, a perpetual dissatisfaction of the individual, becomes the impetus to share, to improve the human condition. Therefore, if on the one hand desire implies the “fulfillment” of a purpose and one’s own imprisonment through possession through the puerile exclusion of the other in contending for an object or a recognized position of the Ego in the world, on the other it implies the “perfect” opposite, a productive split in which lack elevates us.
In the very word “desire,” de sidere or “from the stars,” lies the lack: the absence of the stars in the firmament. We look to the sky so that it can be a harbinger of our own achievements, which are expressed in the fall of a material element. We want a sign that will restore us from the pain of our existence, from the hidden nostalgia that feeds us. If a star falls, then our wish will be granted. The sky, to which we often turn our gaze to get some signals, however, makes us forget the earth on which we live, which we are slowly degrading, annihilating under the brutal blows of a purely human desire, the result of an all-encompassing, homogenizing and repetitive economic regime. And yet, we are determined by this same lack, and even more by the loss that generates the nostalgia for something we know we have possessed that has since abandoned us. We know we are missing something; we know we wore the crown of a fallen kingdom. We observe an empty throne that no longer belongs to us, not by right.
Must we then learn how to remain in lack? Should we educate ourselves in the stasis of desiring, that is, remain in balance, in the middle of an abyss that has no measures?
Remaining in that which encompasses the fracture created by desire is one of the revolutionary acts for which we can aim. The existential crack generated by desire could become the new home of an Ego that is indeed deposed, but capable of eluding the maniacal relationship with what we do not possess, with what others possess. From these considerations arise questions of crucial importance for our contemporary moment: why do we always lack that which we cannot have and fail to enjoy that which constitutes us? Are we victims of a manic, bipolar existential relationship with ourselves and with others? How does our desire condition and limit the existence of the other in a system of structurally connected living beings? Does what I desire subtract something from the other? In the world? In nature, generating catastrophes?
Accordingly, we must keep in mind that, if on the one hand there exists a lack, on the other an abundance persists. The overarching questions that follow from this binary highlight the desiring drive, and definitively bind it to an ethical dimension: How do we educate ourselves in desire? What are we missing, really?
Fields and Areas of Intervention
The festival opens the conference portion to all fields of knowledge, from philosophy to psychology, from art history to biology and physics. All interventions with a critical reflective contribution to make that are consistent with the call for papers will be taken into consideration for the conference sessions (which will be held in Ischia from 21-24 September 2023). The ability to communicate ideas formed over a sustained period of research to a wider audience is essential for being selected.
Below are the areas to which proposals should be addressed:
- Ancient, Modern and Contemporary Philosophy. What is desire? The philosophical history of desire in the Western and Eastern traditions to the present day. Western versus Eastern, philosophical principles compared.
- NEW! The Classics of Thought. An informative session devoted to the great thinkers of philosophical and literary history and their classics. This session will include all interventions that aim at the dissemination of “exemplary” works on the concept of desire, will, etc.
- History and Philosophy of Religions. Investigations of the cultural and historical differences between the canons that have defined and define desire. Desire mortified by philosophies and religions. Desire as an impediment to the attainment of moral virtue. The split between Ideal and Real.
- Science and the Philosophy of Science. Science and philosophy in dialogue. Desire as an act of conservation of the species. Animal and human desires, antithesis or synthesis of a living system? Animals and plants, differences between need and desire: a biological question, a question of intelligence? What does nature desire?
- History, Philosophy of History and History of Science. Historical developments of human events conditioned by individual and collective desires. The desire of evolution. The “Gaia System” as the scenario of an absolute desiring spirit. Nostalgia for better times: ideological catastrophes committed by human beings.
- Literature and Art. Eschatologies and visions of human existence from the narrative perspective of the self and otherness, through the lens of desire. The desire of the other: the body that interrupts the spirit. Matter-spirit dichotomy. Utopias, visions and narratives. Poetry: the motionless engine of desire. Women without desires: male desire and female desire, a history to be written by women. The desire and the myth.
- The Ego: how desire changes based on the evolution of the individual, how the evolution of the individual changes based on desire. The struggle for the desired object: rivalry, jealousy, envy. Sex and desire: the thousand faces of sexual desire in individual and relational intimacy. Desire for the other: desire in the couple. Wanting more: betrayal. “I am what I am:” the conflict between how I would like to be and how the other would like me. The concept of “libido.” The limit between desire and obsession: stalking, pathological jealousy, gender-based violence.
- Political Philosophy, Sociology and Anthropology. Collective desires: justice and equality, outdated utopias of human being. The politics of lack: the unrealizable state. Being able and not unable to desire: globalization as the homogenization of desire. Desire as a logical manifestation of activity, human productivity. The forms of desire over time. Desire without desiring. Monogamy and polygamy. Monandry and Polyandry.
- What can we wish for? The education of desire. The institutional task of training new generations and the expansion of curricula to new needs dictated by contemporary society: humanistic knowledges, ethics, ecologies, civic and political education. Humanism of desire.
- Ecologies, Economics and Ethics. Who has the right to desire? The politics of desire and the laws of the market: a conveyed desire. What does the planet want? Human-centric desires and the Anthropocene: the challenge of desire for survival. Rich versus poor: legitimate desire, abusive desire. Ethics and economics: social equality? Ecology versus economy: do the Right and the Left want the same thing?
- Architecture and Design. Architectures of desire: spaces and bodies in the era of somato-politics. Design and libidinal economy: the eroticization of products and the sex appeal of the inorganic. Emotional design and “persuasive technology.” Desire as method and as project: the role of utopia in architecture and design.
- Cinema, Television and the Visual Arts. The image as ground of desire. Cinematic and moving image-based explorations of desire. Desire as a distinctly visual experience of seeing and knowing. The relationship between cinema, art, psychoanalytic thought and philosophy that anchors the structures of withdrawal and dispossession at the core of desire in many accounts. The ethical or tyrannical potential of desire in the prosthetic subjective visions of the world afforded by works of cinema and visual media technology. Serial desire: television and the series form as technologies for the monopolization of time that powers and habituates the desire for always more time, or alternatively, the dissemination of desire in time.
- Technology, Digital Knowledges and Social Media. The desire for consent. Alienation and the absence of desire: social media as projection of an unwanted reality. Chrono-phagia: there is no time to desire. Do we want what they make us want? The market of desire: pornography, augmented reality and the absence of the body. Desiring-machines. Desire and algorithms: projections of a desire taken for granted?
- Unconventional Philosophy. Informative break-out sessions aimed at scholars, poets, writers and scientists willing to involve the public in an open discussion with no filter, in conventional and unconventional places.
- Street-Philosophy. Are you a philosopher accustomed to talking about the mother of sciences like Socrates did, in the square, on the street? Send us an abstract.
SUBMISSION PROCESS FOR PROPOSALS
Languages: Italian, English
Proposals at a minimum length of 2,000 and a maximum length of 2,500 characters including spaces (12-point Times New Roman font, single-spaced), accompanied by a bibliography and a brief autobiographical note (specifying any current institutional affiliation, or in the absence of an academic position, the last place of research/study and degree completed), must be sent by 11:59 pm on 16 April 2023 to:
Please send the short biographical statement in a separate file (max 1000 characters including spaces), and please send all files in *.doc, *.docx, or *.odt format, not in *.pdf format (12-point Times New Roman, single-spaced).
Please respect the formal specifications indicated above for the submission of all proposals.
Each presentation will be given 20 minutes, plus 10 minutes for discussion. Talks can be given in Italian or English. Panel proposals are also welcome.
Each panel proposed should consist of 3 or 4 papers on a common theme. The Chair of each panel, who may also be one of the panelists, is responsible for introducing and guiding the discussion. All panel proposals must include the abstracts of each presentation and an introduction of a maximum length of 1000 characters.
A registration fee will be paid by all speakers. Solutions will also be proposed for overnight stays on the island during the week of the conference.
For further information, please contact the organizing secretariat of the festival or the Director at any of the following addresses:
On the website below you will find all the info to send proposals, including to the Summer School of Humanities and the Young Thinkers Festival:
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