Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The IXth International Wassard Elea Symposium: call for papers


May 27-30, 2019
Ascea, Italy

~call for papers~

Parody, the term, is in common usage. Many writers seem to suppose it applies mainly to theater and literature; while virtually absent in several genres (Sokal’s an exception), it is certainly not only a category of style. It’s also considered a bright tool in humour’s arsenal. In philosophy parody is a rare and neglected concept. Yet parody raises prompts myriad/a host of questions, most of which lack precise answer. Some such as: Parody’s exact difference(s) from travesty, allegory, satire, farce, irony, comic, pastiche, caricature, parable, (indirect?) quotation, etc.? The value of parody? Are they necessarily abstractions? Are there several types of parody? Does parody produce, present, insight? The conditions of (failing) parody? The charm of parody? Parodies exhibit the logic of the absurd? When does a parafrase, an analogy, turn into a parody? Are parodies arguments? critique? Do they necessarily imitate or refer to some (prior) thing, can one parodise nothing? Are series of theories, the path of despair, each a parody of the former? (Example: I think therefore I am, I laugh therefore I am, I drink therefore I am, etc.). This call is for fresh and detailed examinations of the logic of the concept of ‘parody’. Treatment of particular works or groups of works, current or historical, are only considered relevant insofar they significantly advance philosopical explication of the concept of ‘parody’.

This, the IXth International Wassard Elea Symposium, is dedicated to thorough investigation of this common concept. We seek to engage philosophers and scholars in a conceptual analysis of what parody means.

Wassard Elea invites philosophers and scholars to submit papers on the topic of this year’s theme. Sessions of 90 min. include speaker, commentator and open discussion (40/20/30). Participants whose papers are accepted are expected to also prepare a commentary on another presentator’s paper at the meeting. All suitable contributions are published in our journal, Wassard Elea Rivista.

Inquiries are welcome. Full papers (format: word) should be sent directly to: Prof. Lars Aagaard-Mogensen, Italy:

Deadline for submissions: February 1, 2019.

Registration fee: 10 €. Information on base rate accommodations will be posted in due course.

Wassard Elea
Refugium for writers, artists, composers, and scholars in Southern Italy

Jane Maria Petersen: painting

Bart Verschaffel: book

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Sur La Laideur

Easily available at, Amazon, and in bookstores.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Conference Report: WE VIIIth International Symposium

Conference Report
Taste, Bad Taste and Tastelessness
May 25 – 28, 2018, Ascea Italy

Wassard Elea, a refugium for artists and scholars, held its VIIIth International Symposium this year, dedicated to a conceptual analysis of the concept of taste. Taken as a commonsense notion, almost everyone thinks that they have taste – indeed, thinks that they have good taste – in such things as art, music, dress, design, cuisine, and so on. But can we make sense of the idea that at least some of them may also be wrong? Frank Sibley described taste as an ability involving perceptiveness, sensitivity, aesthetic discrimination, and appreciation, and further noted that taste “is a somewhat more rare capacity than other human capacities”; relativists and skeptics would dispute this, and argue that taste is little more than liking, or preferring, some things over others, and that its phenomenology is essentially private and subjective. Both positions (and those in between) involve complex epistemological, ontological and phenomenological questions, which participants were tasked to explore.

Our invitation attracted an international slate of scholars, from Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Sweden, the UK, and the United States, whose approaches to the topic were equally as diverse. Over two and a half days of intensive sessions, presentations included those arguing for a relativist conception of aesthetic taste, those suggesting that taste provides a privileged access to truth and knowledge, those who considered the moral ramifications of taste in education and cultural conflict, as well as papers that concentrated on the phenomenology and science of gustatory flavour sensations. As our remit was to move beyond rehearsals of well-trodden Kantian or Humean philosophies of taste on the one hand, and sociological studies like those of Bourdieu on the other, we were rewarded with truly innovative and contemporary works that explored the notion of taste in sometimes surprising ways. One paper argued that digital media has made the relation between form and function in design arbitrary, affecting the basic criteria for judgements of taste; another that flavour sensations are intrinsically valenced and temporal such that no two people can actually taste the same flavour in a food. While some argued that taste is indeed a capacity that can be trained, an opposing view suggested that taste is in fact the confrontation of the impossibility of discernment altogether.

Participants voiced appreciation at the particular format at Wassard Elea: longer sessions for detailed presentations of 40 minutes, with each participant also providing a 20 minute commentary on another paper, plus 30 min discussion. This arrangement encouraged an intimate and engaged atmosphere of discussion and the exchange of ideas. The organizers would like to thank all those who submitted papers, and the contributors themselves for what we hope was a fruitful and successful meeting. Papers and their commentaries are published in Wassard Elea Rivista, V, no.4, VI, nos. 1 and 2, (2018) and VI no. 3 (forthcoming). Wassard Elea Rivista is indexed in the Italian National Bibliography.

Lars Aagaard-Mogensen and Jane Forsey

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Bjørn Berge: Terre Scomparce

Il nuovo libro dell'architetto Bjørn Berge è uscito in una bellissima edizione italiana: Terre Scomparce leggerlo o ordinarla presso la vostra biblioteca!
Bjørn Berge’s new book is out in a beautiful Italian edition: Terre Scomparce, read it or get it at your library!