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Journal NotaBene Issue 58 (2022) Editor: Iva Manova

Topic of the issue: The paths of humanism

Humanism in/and Romanticism: Reception of the Image of Giordano Bruno in Bulgarian Literature

Developed primarily as a modern literature during the 19th and 20th centuries, Bulgarian literature seems to have been influenced by West European and Slavic Romanticism, thus remaining almost unreceptive to earlier stages of Western culture such as the Italian Renaissance. Nevertheless, elements of the Renaissance and humanist culture, sedimented in the Western tradition, were transferred to Bulgarian literature, mediated by a strongly Romantic interpretation. We will attempt to demonstrate the entanglement of Humanism and Romanticism in Bulgarian modern literature, analyzing the reception of the figure of Giordano Bruno in two literary works – the poem The Drunkard (1900) by the almost unknown Bulgarian author Slavcho Kesyakov and the historical-biographical novel Giordano Bruno: Lights from the Pyre (1966) by the Bulgarian philosopher Slavi Boyanov. In these two texts the figure of Bruno will appear in the guise of the typical Romantic hero, an image which, in its historical context, was summoned to reaffirm the sought-for Modernity of Bulgarian literature. The argument unfolds retracing the sources, used by the Bulgarian authors in their representation of the controversial figure of Giordano Bruno. All these sources will prove to be marked by the stamp of Western and Slavic Romanticism with their interest in ideas like the strength and liberty of the human spirit and the spirit’s relation to the universal, the ideal, and the eternal.

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Max Scheler’s Philosophical Anthropology and the Humanism of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola

The text examines a historical-philosophical parallel between the ambiguity of the concepts of “humanists”, “humanism” and “human”: the hierarchical structure of human potency in the text of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (15th century) and Max Scheler’s theory of the “strata” of psychophysical being (20th century). The problem of the starting point of the question about the place of the human is analysed, through the assumption of a natural original being or non-being, and the consequences for the question itself of these differences. Then the author traces the consequences of the question about the historical-philosophical premises from which the current issues of transhumanism arise.

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Artificial Intelligence, the Hype, the Hope and the Lopsided Lore

The article explores the parallel evolution of the technical aspects of artificial intelligence with its technological applications and the growing misinformation or misinterpretation of the scientific results, ostensibly reported by the mass media. It delves into the problem of endemic hype (promoting or publicizing extravagantly) cultivated in our society by the soundly constructed terminology when it comes to what the current state of the field could achieve. The author’s premise is that the goal and prospect of every scientific inquiry should not be intentionally enshrine with artificial enigma, in the prospect of drawing public interests and funding, but at the same time risking inflammation of societal expectations and anxieties. This paper will analyze why the research field of artificial intelligence is particularly susceptible to the so-called public hype, and how the hype could be a good index of an upcoming scientific Winter, since the lore of the field has already showed this tendency a couple of times in the past.

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Alienation of Labor and Post-Apocalyptic Capitalism

The article interprets A. Zupancic’s definition “The Worker doesn’t exist” as a post-apocalyptic vision about capitalist social relations through Istvan Meszaros’s theory of alienation of labor and the paragraph about Master and Bondsman from “Phenomenology of The Spirit”. Тhe author constructs an imaginary discussion about Zupancic’s definition between the Slovenian philosopher and I. Meszaros.

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Epigenetics and Overcoming the Natural–Social Dichotomy

The paper presents a new trend in biology, epigenetics, and its Importance in reconsideration of the relationship between the natural and the social. The roots and the evolution of ideas of epigenetics throughout the centuries have been revealed, with emphasis being laid on its contemporary stage. Epigenetics marks the end of genetic determinism pointing out the basic fact that genes expression is regulated and controlled by the complex cell environment. The basic mechanisms of that process have been indicated. In close connection to that, attention is paid to another important aspect: outer environment also made an epigenetic imprint on gene expression, and in its turn that imprint influences structures, functions and behaviour of the respective organism, and quite often on its descendants. With humans almost all outer environment factors are social or contain a significant social element. In this respect, one can claim that the social is biologised by its epigenitic imprint and the biological in the shape of that imprint generates social consequences. There are facts testifying that epigenetic mechanisms lead to biologising, to racialising of social stratification. In this respect epigenetics is a great challenge to social sciences which remain beyond the scope of Bulgarian social science.

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Biopolitical Incursions of Self-Fashioning and Revaluing Life through Social Media in the Context of the War between Russia and Ukraine. Part I

This paper tackles the role of social-media in performing biopolitical incursions into the so-called “immunization” process that harmed communities and collateral victims of the Russian-Ukrainian war deal with, in overcoming abusive actions policies applied by aggressors. My argument is that within the era of post-truth, social-media transgresses a biopolitical turn through which affected communities and their supportive actors create a new social contract based on preventing violence, combating fake-news, and increasing real interest for truth beyond political narratives and mediatic appetite for drama. The first part of the article deals with the Nietzschean roots of self-fashioning and self-constitution practices that are easily commutable into the virtual environments provided by social-media that concentrates on content that excessively aestheticizes life. The second part of the article highlights Nietzsche’s philosophy as proto-biopolitics that has at its heart the intention to explore life between masters and slaves, between aggressors and victims, between dominant social actors and excluded communities. Engaging Foucault’s, Agamben’s and Esposito’s biopolitical arguments, I will explain to what extent the traumatic experience of war reframes a digital social-contract that, by means of networking and virtual self-fashioning, reconsider the value of life, the experience of premeditated death, the responsibility behind guilt and the need for an authentic and uncompromised memory, by placing at their core the interference, uses and abuses of social-media.

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Correlation of War in the Former Yugoslavia with the Conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh and Ukraine. Part I

The paper considers the broader social context of the wars in the territories of the former states of SFRY and the USSR. The war in the former Yugoslavia resulted in enormous human casualties, material destruction and refugees. The essential reasons consist in major centuries-long confrontations between countries on ethnic and religious grounds. Objective indicators indicate that there are permanent contradictions in interstate relations, as well as risks of conflict recurrence. It is obvious that there is a correlation between the post-Yugoslav war and the wars between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the current one in Ukraine. The conflicts are a consequence of the aspirations for the formation of national-states, the triumphalist policy of the great powers and the efforts of the United States and its allies to control the territories of the former socialist republics. The fact is that the institutions of the international community are not able to resolve numerous contemporary conflicts in the world, so their radical reorganization is necessary.

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Homosexuality in Bulgaria. Part I

The article analyzes the real development of homosexuality and the attitude towards it in Bulgaria in the period called “socialism” and in the period after November 10, 1989. The main reasons for changes in policy towards homosexuality are analyzed, as well as the main indicators of these changes. A number of ideological and manipulative statements claiming to be scientific are taken into account.

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Homosexuality in Bulgaria. Part II

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Minima moralia

On Axiological Orientation and the Ethical Functions of Philosophy

Determining the axiological orientation and ethical functions of philosophy implies a search for an answer to the questions: What is axiology? What is its research subject? Why is it studied? Adopting the notion that philosophers are like “a group of interconnected climbers who, in order to progress, need stakes that had long been placed on the wall” (Jean-Clé Martin), this article attempts to answer some of these questions , which outline the axiological orientation and ethical functions of philosophy.

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A New Book by Prof. Anguel Stefanov – “Suggested Answers to Philosophical Puzzles”

Review of: Stefanov, A. S. Suggested Answers to Philosophical Puzzles, Newcastle upon Tune: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2022, 120 pp. ISBN: 978-1-5275-8940-7

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