Ischia and Naples International Festival of Philosophy 2020
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Summer School of Humanities and Young Thinkers Festival 2020 - VI Edition
Ischia, 20 - 27 September
Naples 1 - 3 October
The Association InSophia, in collaboration with the City of Ischia, the CRF – International Centre for Philosophical Research, the University of Toronto Mississauga (Visual Studies Department), and with the patronage of the City of Naples, the Circle “G. Sadoul”, the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies, the FISP (International Federation of Philosophical Societies) and the Department of Humanities at the University of Palermo, are delighted to announce the sixth edition of the International Festival of Philosophy “La Filosofia, il Castello e la Torre”, to be held between Ischia and Naples. The Festival’s main venues will be the Maschio Angioino in Naples, “Giardini La Mortella”, the Aragonian Castle, and the Guevara Tower in Ischia.
A brief report of the previous editions
The Festival of Philosophy in Ischia is a unicum in the international landscape of philosophical events. It has in fact the form of a conference open to the public, whose aim is to underline the need for philosophers to engage with the public sphere. This means creating new methods and expressive forms, but also new professional approaches.
The event aims to be a meeting point for all the different professional identities emerging from the philosophical field. One of the main objectives of the event is to rethink philosophy as a professional endeavour and to think new ways to reduce the lack of employment for those who have a philosophical background. For this reason the Festival has also gained interest from many international universities that are eager to support the pursuit of new careers for their graduates.
The Castle and the Tower symbolize the philosopher as one enclosed in his academic stronghold. Philosophy today has a need for relation and exchange with other institutions and forms of knowledge. It is a philosopher's duty to operate in the public sphere, according to that humanistic tradition that has been and still is at the core of our Italian and European culture.
Since its first edition in 2015 the Festival has registered great success, thanks both to its peculiar form and to the high calibre of the guests. La Filosofia, il Castello e la Torre is the first international philosophical event in the Neapolitan area that is open to the public and completely free. During the first year the event had more than 3,500 visitors (between students, speakers, locals and tourists); the second edition had more than 4,500 visitors; the third and the fourth editions (2017-18) registered more than 5,300 visitors. In the last years the event has gathered more than 400 experts from all over the world (including Canada, USA, Portugal, Spain, England, France, Germany, Georgia, Iran, Turkey, Russia and China) to share their work in a high-profile research context and to visit one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean Sea.
The 6th edition: Time
After the intensive debate on God mounted in 2019, the festival will continue its research activities by focusing—for the sixth edition—on “Time”. The concept will be analysed under the perspective of the ethical relation between humans and the ecosystem as a whole.
Time is a unity of measure, a paradigm for the relationship that defines the beginning and the end of happenings. Or rather, it is an existential measure of human feeling from which the entirety of life seems to gain meaning, providing a distinctly humanistic concept of unity that can be named the event: minutes, hours, years and centuries are all just the units of an imaginary or symbolic dimension, close or distant, on which our existence can be traced, from conception to death. “Further”, “past”, “present” and “future” represent categories that set our actions in a specific order. When biological life is seen under these categories, it becomes recognizable in terms of existence, history and evolution.
When experienced as the unfolding of becoming, existence transforms itself into a temporal unity whose dimensions shape our actions and our choices, serving to appease the despair of the ones who live only in the present, becoming superficial; the ones who only live in the past, becoming nostalgic; and of the ones who live in the future, becoming anxious.
In time, our bodies—seen as an organic, objective matter—also develop, modifying themselves and showing the flow of time through the signs of transformation, through the changing of the organic activities that increase or decrease. In fact, one is called young or old because of the organic activities of the body, which show to the other a peculiar bodily identity imprinted by time, one’s age. The same happens for actions that are ordered in our minds by our brains, the centre of our intellectual activities. When we try to hold our events in time as memories, as collective memories, we give our existence an identity, which should give mankind the chance to dispose itself toward openness or close itself off to becoming.
From this perspective time seems to be effective, necessary and also very important to us. But on the other hand, the conception of infinity—where all these categories, existences, actions and events lose their meaning or at least change it—also takes place in our minds. How, then, can we understand the human necessity of thinking “infinity”?
The idea of ethical relativism puts the concept of time under another perspective, placing humans into seemingly infinite relational transformations, around which all our conceptions of time can be true and absolute. Generations change and so changes the time of our relationships to others. For instance, the major critical descriptors of our historical era—such as the Anthropocene—so often presume that we know what constitutes an era in the first place. This circumstance foregrounds the question of how can we assess and make critical demands, imperatives about our time, if we do not also have in place a complex theory of time. It also compels us to ask what we can do with those theories if we assume that time does not exist at all.
Indeed, if time passes through time, as Derrida claimed in The Politics of Friendship—if there is always more than one time in time—what good could it do to presume that the ills that come to define and take name of our era are both the result of a temporal progression and also temporally homogenous? Likewise, in engaging these epochal ills, must we not also hold a conception of futurity? In imagining more sustainable social, cultural, environmental and economical practices we will need to be more reflective about how we understand the relation of the past to the future, and in that sense, to decide what the contemporary means, or can mean. Time becomes Times and this represents the expression of a plurality—past, present and future—which is essential to our era. But is it right to say—under the contemporary logic of human transformations—that everyone owns his time and should have the right to be the centre of all human activities? Since time is only a human experience limited to this planet, technology seems to be changing human nature itself. Can humans consider themselves the centre of this universe if the universe lets us understand the objectivity of the infinite?
Everything passes, changes in time, inexorably. Will human beings be capable of sharing a common vision, concerning their existences, to improve this space as the only place we have, without falling back to a primitivism because of fanaticism, because of idiocy?
Can the idea of time itself bring us together or is it just an illusion?
How much time do we have left—and how much does our planet still have?
This is a student event (e.g. a graduate conference).
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