Issue 9 | December 2021
Wonder, Beauty, and Romance: A Spirited Investigation of the Hegelian Forms of Art
— Nicholas Desjardins
This piece is on G.W.F. Hegel’s classification of art into three categories (the Symbolic, Classical, and Romantic), a system of classification which Hegel had originally understood as a historical process whose end we had reached. Nicholas Desjardins revises this view, arguing that while Hegel’s system is still interesting and relevant to how we understand art today, it should be seen as a process that, far from having ended, is constantly at work on three different levels (the cultural, societal and individual). In this essay’s formulation, Hegel’s three categories of art work together to firstly stimulate wonder; secondly, provide grand, all-encompassing ideals; and then finally, challenge those ideals and provoke continuous reflection.
“I Can’t Believe It’s Not Nature!” The Political Aestheticisation of the ‘Natural’ World
— Fraser Gray
In this essay, Fraser Gray questions the object-status of nature. They analyse the position raised by philosopher Timothy Morton who argues that we should reject viewing Nature on purely conceptual terms because of the way in which it reduces Nature to its aesthetic value. In agreement with Morton, Fraser highlights through Walter Benjamin’s idea of the aestheticisation of politics how the conceptualisation of Nature on aesthetic terms becomes problematic in the political landscape.
Environmental Civil Disobedience: Ethics and Politics
— Oscar Delaney
Civil disobedience is an increasingly popular tactic for environmental activists. This form of activism is especially hard to justify in liberal democracies. In this essay, Oscar Delaney examines how civil disobedience may upset a fair political compromise between competing interests, transgress our implied consent to be governed through our participation in electoral democracy, or be unacceptable in the face of less antagonistic alternatives. Despite these factors, Oscar argues that the urgency of our ecological crises and the fraught nature of our democracy justify extra-legal environmental activism.
The Inessentiality of Women: An Argument for the Grounds of Its Justification
— Rebeka Abey
In this essay, Rebeka Abey proposes that the “situation of woman” described by Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex—the situation where femininity is seen as an appendage to human nature, subordinate to the masculine, and antithetical to expressions of individual transcendence—is the result of deep-rooted western religious and philosophical beliefs. These beliefs include the Christian belief in woman’s required submission to man and the perversity of female power, as well as the overlapping philosophical dichotomies of masculinity/femininity, rationality/irrationality, the master-slave dialectic, and the divine and Absolute human/Other dualism.
The Phenomenal Complexity of Consciousness
— Ruby Allen
This essay reconstructs and responds to Frank Jackson’s argument that conscious experiences involve non-physical properties, a concept referred to as “qualia.” Ruby Allen argues that physicalists wrongly deny the qualia of phenomenal experiences because they misrepresent the distinction between “knowing-that” and “knowing-how.” Ruby consequently proposes that our conceptualisation of consciousness must be differentiated into two distinct levels: phenomenal consciousness and access-consciousness.
Woman as Other: The Master-Slave Dialectic in Beauvoir’s The Second Sex
— David Fan
In The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir engages with G.W.F. Hegel’s master-slave dialectic in her discussion of woman’s alterity in relation to man. Critics claim, however, that her approach is problematic. Contrary to this view, David Fan argues that Beauvoir strategically rethinks Hegel’s philosophical framework in order to account for the possibility of intersubjective collaboration and respect for sexual difference.
The Rightful Condition and Need for Revolution
— Jordan Ross
This essay examines Immanuel Kant’s Doctrine of Right which states that it is contradictory for citizens to attempt revolution against the state. Considering the work of Charles W. Mills and Frantz Fanon, Jordan Ross argues that Kant misses the racial contract that presupposes the social contract, thus making the “rightful condition” deceitful.
Stuck in the Mud: How Colonialist Oppression is Keeping Australia Bogged Down in Climate Crisis
— Emily Byrnes
This essay identifies and interrogates the myriad interconnected forms of colonialist oppression that Emily Byrnes argues are the root cause of anthropogenic climate change. These forms of oppression arise from the hierarchical reason-nature dualisms underlying the fundamental structure of Western civilisation. From this standpoint, Emily will argue that the liberation of all Indigenous peoples and lands is absolutely necessary for bringing about an end to the environmental devastation which has catapulted us into our current climate crisis. Given recent events surrounding Indigenous Australian campaigns for independence and COP26, this article is both timely in a political sense and it is highly relevant to the rapidly growing field of environmental philosophy.
Surrealism and Schiller: An Antidote to Plato’s Misconceptions of Art
— Geordie Carscadden
In The Republic Plato condemns art as a mere imitation of reality, an imitation that does not create in its own sense and morally corrupts humans. In this essay, Geordie Carscadden aims to expose the extent of Plato’s misunderstanding by challenging both his understanding of art as imitative and morally corruptive. This critique of Plato’s philosophy will be achieved through a synthesis of Surrealism, as established by André Breton in his surrealist manifesto, and a discussion of Friedrich Schiller’s aesthetic theory.
The New Age of Anti-Ageing Research
— Emma Barrie
Recent developments in the field of biogerontology have prompted a re-examination of the question, “Is ageing a disease?” Within the past decade, scientists have been trying to justify why ageing should be considered a disease without properly examining the myriad philosophical avenues that encompass this topic. In this essay, Emma Barrie considers the ethical questions of genetic therapies versus genetic enhancements as well as distributive justice questions about the consequences of developing a “cure” for ageing. Furthermore, she evaluates the attempts made by scientists to challenge Galen’s argument for ageing as a natural process, thus demonstrating the dire need for a proper philosophical investigation into this topic.
Featured image by Pawel Czwerwinski via Unsplash