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This issue of our journal will be devoted specifically to the meaning and purpose of writing works of philosophy as a way of life (PWL) in times of cultural upheaval, uncertainty, pain, and new suffering. When the world finds itself in the middle of a pandemic with its consequent confinement and social isolation, a related economic crisis, the unmasking of ongoing systematic racism, the global rise of far right politics, and the spread of violence, what role can the work of philosophers have in helping individuals and communities strive for a wise, just, and meaningful life?
From Marcus Aurelius’ meditations written in the midst of war and plague, and Montaigne’s Essais penned amidst civil strife, to Martin Luther King Jr.’s sermons which incited a movement rooted in non-violence to fight systematic racism in the United States, those committed to the philosophical life have used a variety of literary genres to affect, exhort, enlighten and console their readers. Today we find ourselves in a profound crisis of civilization, as the Covid-19 pandemic unleashes a pandora’s box of suffering that was underneath the “old normal”: global inequality driven by late capitalism, the unsustainable amount of waste produced by rich countries, the rapid loss of biodiversity, climate change, systematic racism and white supremacy rooted in the colonial history and the rise of today’s nation-states, and anti-democratic populism driven by a digital reality that has no boundaries.
The idea of PWL is pre-eminently associated with French philosopher and philologist Pierre Hadot. According to this idea, the goal of philosophy is to transform its practitioners’ lives. Ancient Western philosophy, as Hadot asked us to see it, was abidingly oriented by Socrates’ question of “how is it best to live?” It included in its purview prescriptions of “spiritual exercises” or what Michel Foucault called “technologies of the self” to actively transform how people perceive the world and live their lives: exercises like the view from above, heightened attention to the present moment, the examination of conscience, or the premeditation of death and misfortunes. These older practices of philosophy were also tied to, and expressed within, different literary genres than those we recognize today, from dialogues to consolations, meditations, discourses, handbooks, aphorisms, even poems and prayers. Ancient philosophers aimed to do more, or different things with words, than perhaps we do today.
The study of PWL in historical thinkers hence invites philosophers today to reconsider the ends and means of their work, their relations to others, to the university, to the city, and to the global community. Our present situation makes such reflection more urgent than ever.
This edition of Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture calls for papers examining the role or roles of philosophy in times of crisis. Can philosophy any longer be therapeutic or consolatory, as it was for the ancients? What different genres can and should philosophers write and with what aims? Can philosophy provide new visions of human community when community seems fraught or broken? During such times as these, what should the philosopher write and for whom? Should we write consolations for ourselves in a world we cannot control? Should we catalyze others to transform society through fiery manifestos? Do we pen dialogues, fictional works, and artistic essays to incite necessary thought and reflection? Ought philosophers, driven by the new necessities, to aim only to accumulate high end journal articles and manuscripts with leading publishers that few will read but our colleagues? Or ought we to challenge what Frodeman and Briggle calls “disciplinary capture”? Should we instead be writing for broader audiences with tabletop books that support others on the quest for the good life, or does that oversimplify and perhaps cheapen the depth of our work and PWL? What is the role for the professional philosopher today? In view of the current pandemic, should we shift our priorities toward online publications, presentations, seminars and conferences? Should this change in priorities persist even after the return to “normal”?
We welcome insightful, previously-unpublished papers which will address these and similar questions.
Papers, which will be double-blind peer-reviewed, can be submitted by November 15th, 2020 to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please, make sure that your paper complies with our submission standards which are posted here.
This issue of Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture is uniquely centered around the accompanying magazine cover from a 1934 edition of Physical Culture: The Personal Problem Magazine (scroll down for the cover). While culture is often analyzed in terms of hermeneutics, methodology, values, symbols, such analyses often leave out one of the most obvious aspects of fertilizing and transferring such concepts and values: the physical world in which we exist, strive, and contemplate. We often forget the embodied element of culture and err on the side of the mind. This issue will seek to focus on the physical elements of culture, and the cultural elements of the physical, beginning with the basic question: what is physical culture?
From Plato’s gymnasium to modern day physical education classes, from the nineteenth century Turnverein in German-American communities to the wellness movement of current times, we see a constant link between the cultivation of the soul and the strength and training of the body. In particular, this edition of our journal will focus on physical culture through the framework of “personal problems,” using an exploration of personal problems as an answer to “what is physical culture?” The personal problems from the October 1934 edition of Physical Culture: The Personal Problem Magazine are listed as: “Why Wives Leave Home,” “Am I a ‘Neurotic’?” “What I’ve Learned about Constipation,” “What do YOU ‘Escape’ by Drinking,” and “The Movie Hercules: Joe Bonomo’s Own Story.” A smiling woman plays tennis next to these floating epigraphs, all of her personal problems seemingly solved by physical culture.
This edition calls for papers addressing physical culture through an imaginative, critical, and insightful analysis of the “personal problems” thus listed. How, for example, do the constructs of performed genders lead to clashes of culture between gender? How does the division of emotional labor contribute to the physical cultures of “womanhood” or “manhood”? Do neuroses, madness, mental “illness” or “disorders” have physical embodiment? Can neurodiverse “problems” be solved by physical training (and are they even problems?) What do we consider as neuroses, and why is it often deemed as a “woman’s problem”? What are the cultures of wellness, health, aging, illness, palliative care, and what values do they embed or reflect in our lives? What is “drinking culture” and how do different demographics view it positively or negatively? Why do millennial women buy so much wine? What is diet culture and why does low-calorie wine exist? How do food culture and religious culture inform each other? How are values – including religious values – fertilized and reproduced through physical effort and routine? Is there such a thing, as Nietzsche asks, as a “neuroses of health”?
We seek imaginative, scholarly, and interdisciplinary works on the above questions, or others. Authors are open to interpreting the epigraphs historically, in contemporary terms, and by a wide variety of philosophical, sociological, theological, physiological, psychological, literary, and in general humanities-based lenses. Papers must engage the listed epigraphs as the starting point and title of their paper. We especially seek submissions from woman-identifying authors and other underrepresented demographics.
Papers can be submitted by January 31st, 2021 to: email@example.com.
They have to be previously unpublished and they cannot be under consideration for publication elsewhere. They should be prepared for a double-blind review process.
Please, make sure that your paper complies with our submission standards which are posted here.
Apart from Calls for Papers to thematic sections, Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture invites, on a continuous basis, all high-quality papers which address topics relevant for philosophy of culture. Contemporary culture can be characterized as highly complex, dynamic if not aporetic: as a realm of ever changing conceptual and axiological frameworks, and of plural or even competing meanings. In this perspective, what is needed is constantly renewed philosophical reflection, which not only addresses but also interprets and makes sense of different cultural processes. For philosophy of culture itself demands (perhaps, more than ever before) a form of deepened meta-reflection, which confront the problems of its essence, methods, and a role it should play. Therefore, we welcome both: original analyses of contemporary cultural phenomena and methodological considerations on the current status of philosophy of culture and its relations to other philosophical disciplines as well as to the humanities in general.
The essays should be submitted as an e-mail attachment to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The essays have to be previously unpublished and they cannot be under consideration for publication elsewhere. They should be prepared for a double-blind review process. Please, make sure that your paper complies with our submission standards which are posted here.