Friday, 20 March 2015 20:00

1. Forgotten voices of philosophy

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Since the origins of philosophy in ancient Greece, reason has been regarded as the highest quality of mankind. Conceptual thinking is actually what in the West we consider to make us superior to all other living creatures. Western philosophy builds on creating complex conceptual frameworks such as those Kant, Hegel or the first Heidegger.

Only a few Western philosophers share the view that conceptual thinking alone is insufficient for true knowledge. Some examples of these forgotten voices of philosophy include the French Blaise Pascal (1623-1662): "The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of"; the Danish Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) who insists on what he calls Reduplication: existing/behaving according to what we understand; the German Max Sheler (1874-1928) with his ordo amoris; or the Spanish María Zambrano (1904-1991) with her poetic reason.

Ancient Greek philosophy distinguishes two opposite forms of logos: a musical logos of Heraclitean-Pythagorean origin and a semantic logos of Parmenidean-Aristotelian origin. In Western thought the semantic logos prevailed, the musical logos inherent in the philosophy of Heraclitus and the Pythagorean school being forgotten. The semantic logos privileges space and puts a special emphasis on vision; the musical logos is temporal, characterized by special emphasis on hearing.

According to the semantic logos the ideas are forms that make up the reality setting things in themselves. Each view corresponds to the identity, the essence of each thing remains unchanged despite all apparent modifications of the phenomenal world. Knowledge aims to access the idea of things that are essential and permanent.

In contrast, the musical logos argues that phenomena are not actually substantial. What we commonly call "thing" accounts for only a moment in which there is a synchronization of different movements that temporarily assume the configuration of that which we say is one thing. The main categories are otherness and relation that point to the constant movements of reality. While the semantic logos lays emphasis on being, in substances they consider to be knowable, the musical logos focuses on transformable being.

The stream of semantic logos by its nature extremely objective and cold, is so separated from the lives of ordinary men that it has become useless: fencing with sophisticated concepts, reason imposing itself in an arrogant way. There has been an incapacity to transform philosophical knowledge into a way of life. A meaningful life needs thought, but thought should nourish like food. It is not enough that truths are known, they must be assimilated; they need to transform the human being who receives it. Could philosophical practice be a way to rescue the forgotten musical logos?




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Maria Joao Neves

I am a portuguese philosophical practitioner having established my practice in Tavira (Algarve, Portugal) in 2006 and published a book on my methodology, Método RVP© - Prática Filosófica no Quotidiano (The RVP Method - Poetical Ratiovitalism: Philosophical Practice in Ordinary Life), in 2009. Phenomenology of dreams is a particularly important part of the RVP Method.

I currently work as a post-doctoral scholar at Universidade Nova de Lisboa (UNL), where under a grant from the Foundation for Science and Technology of Portugal I do research on musical aesthetics. I received my Ph.D. in Contemporary Philosophy from UNL in 2002 with a dissertation on María Zambrano. As a professor, I lecture mainly on Ethics and Aesthetics.

I began piano studies at the age of four, singing and dancing instruction following slightly later. I completed my training as a vinyasa flow yoga instructor in 2011. While not pursued professionally, these activities were never abandoned because it is impossible to leave what nourishes the soul.

I contribute regularly to indexed scientific journals, please see my page at:ãoNeves

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