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Peer reviewed
Open Access

Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University

Philosophies is an open access journal “dedicated to scientific research and philosophical reflection concerning themes at the intersection of philosophical, scientific, technological, and cultural studies.” Although the core of Philosophies’ scope is founded in epistemology, the history of science, and scientific methodology, the “ultimate goal of the journal is to reach for a synthesis of knowledge using the collective wisdom of diverse methodologies.”

The editors seek “works devoted to the more traditional themes of the philosophy of science, and of the philosophies of mathematics, logic, cognition, computation, etc.” as well as “articles or essays searching for new methods of inquiry,” from those “who want to cross the borders between different scientific and philosophical disciplines or between different cultural paradigms of intellectual inquiry in the search for better understandings of traditional subjects of study.” The journal publishes research papers, reviews, philosophical essays, and short communications.

A comparison of two different, recent articles from the journal will, it is to be hoped, illustrate just how much Philosophies “cross[es] the borders between different scientific and philosophical disciplines.” The articles are these:

  • “A New Kind of Aesthetics —The Mathematical Structure of the Aesthetic,” published: 30 June 2017, Abstract: This paper proposes a new approach to the investigation into aesthetics. Specifically, it argues that it is possible to explain the aesthetic and its underlying dynamic relations with an axiomatic structure (the octahedral axiom-derived category) based on contemporary mathematics (namely category theory), and through this argument suggests the possibility for discussion about the mathematical structure of the aesthetic. If there were a way to describe the structure of the aesthetic with the language of mathematical structures and mathematical axioms---a language completely devoid of arbitrariness---then we would make possible a universal argument about the essential human activity of “the aesthetic,', and we would also gain a new method and viewpoint into the philosophy and meaning of the act of creating a work of art and artistic activities. This paper presents one mathematical structure as a foundation in constructing the science of dynamic aesthetics based on axiomatic functionalism, which is in turn based on a new interdisciplinary investigation into the generative structure of the aesthetic. (This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Computation: Attempts in Reconciliation of Dialectic Oppositions.)"
  • “Political Correctness—Between Fiction and Social Reality,” published: 4 July 2017, Abstract: Nowadays political correctness (PC) is blamed by its opponents because of a failed model of multiculturalism, an influx of migrants and the threat of terrorist acts. Obviously, a definition of tolerance given by UNESCO in 1995 has lost its meaning. In order to argue a possibility of a global ethos based on new understandings of PC, the authors refer to contemporary achievements of semiotics, hermeneutics and philosophical anthropology. We use a critical method developed in the hermeneutical tradition of P. Ricoeur, J. Kristeva, Tz. Todorov and others. Criticism is directed at (1) paradoxes of postmodern philosophical attempts for justification the idea of political correctness; (2) the way of introducing new terminology, as on a language level it leads, not to inclusion, but to exclusion, of disadvantaged people because as E. Benveniste states, the third person is rather the non-person. The conclusion is that politically correct speech should be grounded on a basis which takes into account the three persons of verb conjugation. Similar philosophical and ethical ideas can be found in works of J. Kristeva, Tz. Todorov, P. Ricoeur. An example is given for how these ideas can be implemented in the fields of film and art. This is one of the possible ways of overcoming the exclusion of disadvantaged people who are only named in politically correct terms, and not as participants, in social and political dialogue. (This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Correctness—Towards a Global Ethos.)"

The scope becomes even more interesting if we consider a third recent article, namely:

  • “Plenty of Fish in the Academy: On Marshall McLuhan’s Prose as an Anti-Environment,” published: 23 March 2017, Abstract: The purpose of this synthesis is to deconstruct the medium of Marshall McLuhan’s prose as an anti-environment for the medium of traditional academic writing. By placing McLuhan’s own theory in dialogue with the founding principles of linguistic anthropology, I will argue that McLuhan’s authorial tactics—a subject of his long-term repudiation by the academic community on the whole—adhered to the tenets of the Electric Age, and were thus inherently incomprehensible to those who negotiated academic prose as a medium locked within the media environment of the Print Age. (This article belongs to the Special Issue The Philosophy of and the Philosophical Roots of Marshall McLuhan and the Media Ecology School.)"

Although these three articles are all parts of Special Issues, they effectively represent the scale of thought and research presented in Philosophies, which is impressive. Impressive, too, is the journal's international editorial board.

Then there’s open access. Here’s the current “Open Access and Article Processing Charges (APCs)” statement posted on the journal site:

“All articles in Philosophies (ISSN 2409-9287) are published in full open access. For Philosophies (ISSN 2409-9287), there is currently no article processing charge (APC) for articles submitted this calendar year. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions. In addition to Swiss Francs (CHF), we also accept payment in Euros (EUR), US Dollars (USD) or Chinese Yuan (CNY). Current exchange rates published at XE plus 5% exchange commission apply. Philosophies (ISSN 2409-9287) is a new journal and publication fees are fully waived for papers submitted in 2017. However, a fee of 250 CHF may apply for those articles that need major editing and formatting and/or English editing.” So it remains to be seen if this will continue to be what I consider an open access journal (no cost to readers or authors) after 2017.

This is a mesmerizing title well worth inspection as an open access item. It’s to be hoped it will remain open and accessible to researchers the world over.

27 Jul 2017
Interested in contributing to an upcoming Magazines for Libraries™ Update? Contact Cheryl LaGuardia.

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