A new philosophy of man & humanism

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1. Old and new philosophy In the 21 st century we need a new philosophy as opposed to the old philosophy: a philosophy of man or philosophical anthropology. The importance of a new philosophy of man is that it addresses people all over the world, thus helping us to overcome our differences. And if we look a bit further into the world of the 21 st century, we see that the most pressing project will be the search for meaning in the lives of human beings in a globalised world.    The...
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PP, time and wage labour

Home2017
Another year is ending and what have I done during this time? I worked to keep a job and I worked to get a new one. I managed to do both. Unfortunately, although one of my jobs was related to philosophy, there was not much time left for my philosophical projects and philosophical practice (apart from leading the weekly philosophical cafés). Then again, most people around the world have even less time or energies than me to dedicate to their philosophical projects. This in part may explain why ph...
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Filosofia Profonda

Michele -Filosofia Profonda
Filosofia Profonda (Deep Philosophy) Chi siamo : La DP (Deep Philosophy) è un network di filosofi praticanti, membri e non membri di varie associazioni di pratiche filosofiche nel mondo. Il nostro proposito è quello di sviluppare nuove forme di pratiche filosofiche che aspirino ad essere più propriamente filosofiche: più focalizzate sulle questioni universali e fondamentali della vita, più consapevoli della tradizione del pensiero filosofico e finalizzate allo scopo tradizionale di una crescita ...
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Philosophical voices of the human ocean

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If we want to do deep philosophy, we must remember the philosophical voices of the past. The writings of deep philosophers throughout history are humanity’s attempt to address basic life-issues, which is what philosophy is about. As philosophers who aspire to be deep, we cannot forget the history of philosophy and limit ourselves to logical exercises. We must also be in conversation with historical philosophical voices. We are, after all, part of humanity, and our philosophizing is part of human...
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Dramatic Philosophy

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Dramatic Philosophy Dramatic representations have long been conceived as provocations for philosophical engagement. From Plato and Hypatia through Brecht and Sartre, Beauvoir and Duras, they have provided fertile ground for considerations about what it means to live a moral life, what it means to engage the moral imagination and how dramatic dialogue impacts on the realization of reasonable connections between humanity’s participants. Theatre, as an example of a dramatic representation, can be r...
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The synecdoche, Me – a philosophical dream

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The synecdoche, Me – a philosophical dream In this short article I will show you how, starting from a dream, we will reach a philosophical understanding, although partial. The Dream: a man, perhaps endowed with special powers — gives me a massage with his thumb around my eyes, takes away my glasses and smashes them on the ground, then he tells me to look without glasses. And there we are, I can see! He crushed my spectacles in his hands and he tells me to look without my spectacles. I could see....
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La filosofia fa ancora paura?

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Convegno di Berlino, Ottobre 2017 [Sezione Italiana] La filosofia fa ancora paura ? [Estratto] L’insegnamento illuministico di Kant si potrebbe riassumere così: “Ragiona, non obbedire!” e questa sembrerebbe una contraddizione in terminis . Ma se riformuliamo l’imperativo si vede che non è così. Diciamo infatti: se vuoi estrinsecare il tuo essere al mondo in senso libero puoi farlo solo con l’uso della ragione non con l’obbedienza . Quindi ogni forma di potere, ogni organizzazione religiosa, soci...
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The Poisoned Arrow: Why the answer is not always the solution

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The Poisoned Arrow: Why the answer is not always the solution "Do we always have to know the cause of a problem in order to solve it?" I recently put this question to a client, who for more than a year had been ruminating over something that had happened in his personal life. Months of constant thinking and numerous failed attempts to change the situation had left him feeling increasingly frustrated, fatigued, and powerless. So now, he had come to my office in the hope that I could somehow help ...
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"DEEP PHILOSOPHY" - OUR MANIFESTO

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In the last day of our philosophical-contemplative retreat in Brando, near Torino in Italy (August-September 2017), only six of us remained: Michele Zese and Stefania Giordano (Italy), Monika Obermeier (Germany), Regina Penner (Russia), Sebastian Drobny (Austria), and Ran Lahav (USA/Israel). We were inspired by the deep philosophical experiences we had during those 5 days. We sat down around the kitchen table and decided to form a new group: Deep Philosophy.    THE VISION OF DP – THE D...
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The chemical alteration of the brain.

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[Maurizio Bisogno - introduction, second revision, 0817] Why do most humans use substances that alter their state of the mind? Why do humans have this need to get intoxicated? Is it due to human nature or to the society in which they live? That is, is Man a being who seeks an escape from life itself or He escapes from a certain kind of life? It is a fact of our condition as human beings: we seek the chemical alteration of mind and brain. In fact, it does not seem possible to imagine the life of ...
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THE SENSE OF THE SACRED IN PHILOSOPHY

Sacred-field
Philosophical Contemplation is not just an intellectual exercise. When we contemplate a text or an idea, we must be able to appreciate what is precious, even sacred. The word “sacred” might create resistance and objections. Sacredness is often associated with religion, and we certainly don’t want to turn philosophy into religious dogmas and rituals, holy books and powerful institutions. Philosophy, by its very nature, must be a free exploration. But religion has no monopoly over sacredness. The ...
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Weaknesses and Awakening

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Your vices are the leading line to your healing. "Why nobody confesses his defects? Because they are still fully immersed in them." In what age do you believe they have written this sentence? We will tell it later, now let us reflect for a moment on its teaching. It is the consciousness, the distancing from oneself, the look from the outside, stopping the flow of the usual things, and so on, which reveal our shortcomings. When you are completely immersed in the things you do or you are, you do n...
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Philosophical Practice, the limits of language, Plato & birds

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Most philosophical practitioners seem to mistrust language. They don't accept at face value what people say, and they try to understand what stands behind the words. The philosophical counselor - the maieutic questioner - tries to “read” what the other (the guest, counselee, participant) is saying “beyond” words, and "through" the ideas he expresses in words.  Since it is easier to note inconsistencies between what another person says and how he acts, than noting this in relation to ourselv...
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Contemplating in the Queen's palace

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Before we start with philosophical contemplation, we must prepare ourselves to encounter what is precious, profound, even sacred. We are going to meet inner reality – the Queen, so to speak – and before we enter her palace we should prepare our mind and heart and body. We must push aside our agendas and worries and forget our needs for satisfaction and entertainment. In the Queen’s palace, we must be serious – not serious as opposed to smiling, but serious as opposed to trivial, careless, unfocu...
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WHEN VAGUE WORDS ARE MORE PRECISE THAN ANALYSIS

Forest-sunlight
Sometimes, when I silently contemplate on a philosophical text, an inspired thought rises in my mind, like a bubble from the depths of a lake. It whispers in me a precious idea, pregnant with meaning, often vague, its words elusive as music, but full of promises about hidden horizons. The tender intensity tells me that something of significance is being voiced now. A contemplative idea is not a piece of data, it is not a precise statement.   And afterwards, when I try to define this contemp...
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Philosophical Practice and social violence

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ESPAÑOL What should we do as philosophers when we encounter violence? Should we address the issue or should we avoid it in order to avoid a trivial exchange of opinions? Should we intervene or should we rather try to stay neutral, since presumably wise people should keep their hands clean of stain? Should we limit ourselves to reflecting on the effects of violence on our emotions, feelings and inner thoughts? Lima is surrounded by high hills that turn green during the winter time. At the top of ...
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THE MUSIC OF REALITY AND OF IDEAS

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In philosophical contemplation, we don’t try to reach a conclusion. We contemplate an idea or a text, and we don’t wait for a bottom line, we don’t expect a product – a final decision, an answer, a theory, a statement. This might sound surprising. “If contemplation doesn’t give us any conclusion,” one might say, “then what is it good for? Why bother with contemplation if it doesn’t give us any answer? This is poetry or music, not philosophy!” And indeed, philosophical contemplation is a little b...
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CONTEMPLATION - Letting the depth speak through us

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What does “contemplative philosophy” mean? How can philosophy be contemplative? Philosophy is a search for the fundamental principles of life and the world, the deepest truths, the ground, the essence. It investigates the basis of reality (or a slice of reality), especially human reality. This is what virtually every philosopher did throughout history. Even philosophers who were relativists or skeptics, even they searched for the most basic principles of reality, although they found them to be r...
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Being a Wave in the Ocean - Philosophical Contemplation

Wave-in-the-ocean-3
A philosophical theory cannot touch human reality in the same way that human reality is real for me. Reality is real to me not as a theory. If I want to understand human reality as fully and deeply as I can, I must go beyond theories. I can use philosophical theories as a tool to help me on my way, but at some point I must also transcend them.   A little wave cannot capture the ocean with its theories, but it can understand the ocean in other ways. It can “resonate” with the ocean just as I...
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Plato and Pericles: How can philosophy change our lives?

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Español. How can philosophy change our life? How strong are the influences of our social habits and personal psychological tendencies and of concrete external limitations and threats? I sit in our apartment at the window and watch our parrot Pericles. Sometimes like today he stands outside his cage and watches the world outside the open window. If he would be a mainstream parrot he would fly outside the window to some tree and gather other parrots who live nearby. This is what we imagine birds w...
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How Philosophy is Changing my Life

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Philosophy has changed my life because for me, philosophy is not just abstract ideas. Abstract ideas can make me think abstract thoughts, but not much more. Philosophy can change life because philosophy is also an attitude. Or, maybe we should say: Philosophy CAN be an attitude. It CAN involve not just my thoughts, not just my smart words, not just my intellect, but the depth of my being. This is an attitude of opening myself to the vast ocean of reality – not trying to capture it with my little...
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ON DEEP THINKING

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ON DEEP THINKING (Miranda and her Philosophical Trio)   “Yesterday,” Miranda tells Linda, “I had a strange experience reading the philosophical text you gave us. A marvelous experience. I’m not sure how to understand it.” Linda looks at her with her little smile. “Tell us about it, Miranda.” “Well,” Miranda replies, “it’s hard to describe. You know, every morning I start my philosophical reading with a few minutes of silence, and then I read a few sentences from the text very, very slowly.”...
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Il luogo della persuasione

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L'esercizio di meditazione o di contemplazione (nel senso della companionship), non produce elaborazioni razionali in una prima apparenza e quindi qualcuno potrebbe ritenerle pratiche poco o per nulla filosofiche. Ma le cose sono diverse. In realtà, se ben condotto l'esercizio contemplativo collettivo può toccare quella zona del nostro pensiero nella quale risiede la dimensione della persuasione. La pesuasione è ciò che fonda le nostre certezze razionali al di qua - prima - di ogni elaborazione ...
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Miranda and her Philosophical Trio (Chapter 7)

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PHILOSOPHY AND THE MANY VOICES OF LIFE Every day, Miranda takes a few minutes to contemplate on a philosophical text. This morning she contemplates on a text by the Swiss thinker Max Picard [See Agora’s “Topics” page, August 2015, PhiloPratice.org]. After a short centering exercise, she reads a couple of paragraphs very slowly, attentively, without judgement or opinions, opening herself to possible insights. Several words attract her attention, and she gently turns her attention to them: "Speech...
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Sophia reflects about Camus after a philosophical café

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S ophia is lying in her bed. The kids and her husband are sleeping, and finally she has a moment to think in peace without interruptions. Last Friday she went to the philosophical café. They discussed about the meaning of life. Everybody expressed his ideas and opinions freely and some argued against each other about what meaning and a meaningful life might mean. Sophia participated enthusiastically. She felt free and alive. She loved it. Nevertheless, she wondered whether it is meaningful to ju...
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Sophia on her way to Camus

Sophia on her way to Camus
Sophia is sitting again in the kitchen preparing a cup of coffee after work. Today again she talked to her friend Miranda, who is now regularly meeting her two philosophical companions. Sophia feels that Miranda is not any more interested in talking to her. That does not matter because she can read philosophical texts by herself. Besides she has heard that there is a philosophical café in town. Maybe there she can meet people eager to think together with her and discuss philosophical topics. But...
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MIRANDA AND HER PHILOSOPHICAL TRIO (Chapter 6)

MIRANDA AND HER PHILOSOPHICAL TRIO (Chapter 6)
THE “LANGUAGE” OF MY YEARNING In the days that follow the Philosophical Trio meeting [see previous chapter], Miranda is full of thoughts. The Trio had identified several concepts in Miranda’s way of thinking, and now she keeps thinking about them: - Below or above the floor of life - The dark basement - Dark prison - Grave - Disconnection from life - Away from life These concepts are new to her – before the meeting she had never thought about them. And yet, she recognizes them. They resonate wit...
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MIRANDA AND HER PHILOSOPHICAL TRIO (Chapter 5)

MIRANDA AND HER PHILOSOPHICAL TRIO (Chapter 5)
MIRANDA DISCOVERS NEW MEANINGS After Miranda tells her Trio friends about her “bubble” of insight (See previous chapter), Linda, the philosophical facilitator, suggests thinking about this insight with the help of a philosophical text. She goes to the pile of papers on her desk, and comes back with three copies of a one-page text. The page is from the book Way to Wisdom by the German thinker Karl Jaspers (1883-1969), an important existentialist philosopher and psychiatrist. (See Agora, Topics, D...
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Stay Curious, Remain Humble and Think in Three-Dimensions - A Confucian Approach to Philosophical Counseling

Stay Curious, Remain Humble and Think in Three-Dimensions - A Confucian Approach to Philosophical Counseling
How can perspectives from Asian philosophy be integrated into philosophical practice? In this and subsequent blog posts I will explore this issue alongside more general reflections on philosophical counseling and World philosophy. In this first post, I take a closer look at Confucius, the towering figure of Chinese philosophy, and the idea that philosophical reflection, essentially speaking, is to think in three dimensions. Already a revolutionary figure in his own time, Confucius (551BC-479BC) ...
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MIRANDA AND HER PHILOSOPHICAL TRIO (Chapter 4)

MIRANDA AND HER PHILOSOPHICAL TRIO (Chapter 4)
LETTING OUR BABY-IDEAS GROW For several days, Miranda continues thinking about the insight she had while contemplating on Bergson’s text. [See Chapter 3]. Bergson’s image of leaves on the water suggested to her that she is living on the surface. She wants to change herself, but she doesn’t know how. Many confused thoughts pass through her mind, and she is eager to share them with Linda and David. The day of the Philosophical Trio meeting finally arrives, and Miranda is delighted to meet her two ...
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Sophia returns to philosophy

Sophia returns to philosophy
Sophia is sitting in the kitchen preparing a cup of coffee after work. Today again she talked to her friend Miranda. Usually they just worked and worked together day after day and they seldom talked. But now Miranda has started something she calls her philosophical trio and she has been sharing this experience with Sophia. The idea of a philosophical trio has caught Sophia´s interest and she has asked Miranda to e-mail her the philosophical texts they are reading. When Sophia was in school she w...
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Miranda and her Philosophical Trio (Chapter 3)

Miranda and her Philosophical Trio (Chapter 3)
Chapter 3: MIRANDA DECIDES TO CHANGE In the morning, after breakfast, Miranda sits in her armchair, holding a page in her hand. This is what Linda, the philosophical facilitator, had asked them to do this week – to reflect every morning on a text by the French philosopher Henri Bergson (See the text on AGORA’s “Topics” page, July 2015). David tried to object. “But Linda, every morning? I am a working man!” “We are all busy, David,” Linda replied, “but five-ten minutes every morning is all we nee...
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Philosophy is not about truth (John Powys)

Philosophy is not about truth (John Powys)
For me, philosophy is not about discovering THE TRUTH. Philosophy is about giving voice to the many different voices of life and reality. So last night I was delighted to find the following passage in the masterpiece novel Wolf Solent by John Powys (1872-1963), the English philosopher and novelist (page 79):   “I’m afraid I’m hopeless expressing myself”, she said. “I don’t think I regard philosophy in the light of ‘truth’ at all”. “How do you regard it then?” …”What I mean to say is,” she w...
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Miranda and her Philosophical Trio (Chapter 2)

Miranda and her Philosophical Trio (Chapter 2)
It’s the second weekly meeting of the Philosophical Trio, and Miranda is glad to see again her two new companions. Linda, the philosopher and facilitator, invites David and Miranda to share their experiences from last week’s reading of Martin Foss’ text on death (AGORA, October 2016). “Like you told us,” David says, “I read every day a couple of sentences from the text. But I couldn’t connect to it at all. I was depressed most of the week. I had a huge fight with me girlfriend, and she left me. ...
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Miranda and her Philosophical Trio (Chapter 1)

Miranda and her Philosophical Trio (Chapter 1)
Miranda is sitting alone in her room, holding the philosophical text which her philosophical practitioner had given her. Today, like always, she is extremely busy – work, family, cleaning, buying – but she is forcing herself to devote five minutes to do her philosophical “homework.” She is in a new philosophical group, a “Philosophical Trio.”   Last week, Miranda had a shocking realization: that she had become an “automatic working machine” as she called it. She works all the time, like a r...
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Marcel in Philosophical Practice: a proposal

Marcel in Philosophical Practice: a proposal
How can we use the ideas of a philosopher as a starting point for our own thoughts? In the spirit of philosophical practice I am sharing here some personal thoughts that this text of Gabriel Marcel provoked in me. “We must therefore focus on the condition of a person who isn’t fully identified with his actual surroundings. Some coincidence has exiled him to where he is now, and his place is his place only by chance. In the current conditions to which he must submit, this real place can only be s...
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Precious texts on Agora

Precious texts on Agora
I look at Agora’s “Topics” section – it has so many beautiful philosophical texts from 2500 years of Western philosophy. I go through the monthly pages, month by month, and I see texts by famous philosophers and forgotten philosophers, poetic philosophers and logical ones, ancient thinkers and modern and those in between, spiritual thinkers and materialist thinkers, abstract theoreticians and intuitive ones, mainstream and revolutionaries. Each text is a precious diamond, shining with new surpri...
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Do good arguments lead to good actions?

Do good arguments lead to good actions?
Is it possible that also our feeling of what is right and wrong is part of our animality? In this sense our sense of morality is not learned by culture nor reason, but it comes from the depth of our beings. If good actions are not the result of good reasoning (rationalising interests) and in general if reasoning is not the main factor of our decision making and acting, why should philosophy focus so much on analyzing good arguments? We should perhaps instead look closer into what really makes us...
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Esposto non esibito

Esposto non esibito
L’esibizionismo del nostro tempo è soltanto una pallida imitazione, una deformazione, una perversione della naturale condizione esposta dell’uomo. La messa in scena dell’intimità nel grande spettacolo televisivo, l’esibizione esasperata, ossessiva, di sé, nel sistema dei media, l’esposizione individuale nelle forme della comunicazione, il vivere per messaggi, cento, mille al giorno, con i quali ci si fa presenti agli altri con un accanimento allucinato, ecco, tutto questo ha certo il suo fondame...
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Philosophy and self-transformation

Philosophy and self-transformation
Throughout history, many important Western philosophers discussed how philosophy can help transform our lives. Plato, Marcus Aurelius, Spinoza, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Bergson, and many many others – they all believed that philosophy is not just for intellectual interest. They believed that philosophy can help to change us – to make our life fuller, wiser, deeper, more meaningful. I wrote about it in detail in my book "Stepping out of Plato's Cave," so I will not repeat it here. But how come my phi...
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Why is "Deep" so important?

Why is "Deep" so important?
In my book Handbook of Philosophical Companionships (2016), I say: “ We contemplate because we treasure profound ideas and profound understandings in togetherness. We cherish the profound, just as in music we cherish the beautiful, and in cooking we cherish the tasty. Profoundness is, so to speak, the ‘beauty’ or ‘tastefulness’ of philosophical contemplation .” (Chapter 1, page 4) One might say that I am “obsessed” with profoundness, or depth. Why? My basic intuition is this: When I think and ph...
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Filosofia nel quotidiano

Filosofia nel quotidiano
Sei esposto  Nasci nello sguardo di tua madre, sei esposto al suo affetto, sei nei suoi occhi fin dal primo istante di vita, fin dal primo respiro. Ecco, da questo momento, dal momento in cui nasci sei esposto: sei esposto al mondo, sei di fronte allo sguardo degli altri, genitori, parenti, amici, conoscenti, estranei, vicini, una schiera infinita, un pubblico immenso di fronte al quale ti devi presentare, ti devi far riconoscere, se devi essere tu, devi esserlo sempre di fronte a qualcuno,...
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SOPHONAUTICA

SOPHONAUTICA
​Sometimes you have to do it upside down, to do it right: navigating towards 2017...
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Pascal: Sobre los peligros de aspirar a la perfección en la virtud /About the danger of too much virtue

Pascal: Sobre los peligros de aspirar a la perfección en la virtud /About the danger of too much virtue
Blaise Pascal decía que el exceso de virtud es dañino para el hombre. En relación a esta idea de Pascal, a modo de broma, en la foto de la izquierda uno de estos trabajadores que descansa plácidamente en su horario de trabajo, en vez de producir más dice: "Quiero ser una buena persona. Por eso no quiero trabajar demasiado." Muchos critican que en muchos países de América Latina la gente no se toma muy en serio ni los horarios, ni el trabajo, ni otros compromisos.  Pero esto que puede parece...
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What is deep?

What is deep?
We often say: "This is a profound idea," or "She was lost in deep thoughts," or "It touched me deeply," or "He is a profound person," or "She had a deep spiritual experience," or "He is deeply attached to his mother," or "We were in deep trouble," or "I was deeply disturbed," and so on. What does "deep" (or "profound") mean? Strangely, there are almost no philosophical discussions about the concept of "deep." Philosophers have discussed many, many concepts - courage, virtue, power, games, the su...
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