Monday, August 15, 2016

Magazine Monday: Philosophy Now

by Steven D. Mathews, Library Assistant

The Yocum Library subscribes to both the print and electronic versions of the London-based Philosophy Now: A Magazine of Ideas. You can find the current and several recent back issues of the print edition in the magazine stacks on the third floor of the Yocum Library; if you are logged into a Yocum computer, then you can access the entire archive of the magazine, which dates back to 1991 (vols. 1–115).

To access the electronic version, go to the top of the right-hand side of the RACC homepage, click on Yocum Library under the  “– Quick Links –” drop-down menu, and then click on the Online Databases link. On the left hand side of the screen, you will find the database categories. Click on Literature and Philosophy, which will take you to a list of databases that includes the link to Philosophy Now. Again, you must be on campus to get access to the electronic version. (NB: The online database lists the publications as “volumes” as opposed to the printed “issues.” However, the numbers of each publication remain consistent: e.g., Vol. 114 and Issue 114 are the same.)   

Although Philosophy Now is only published every two months, each issue is packed with many articles, reviews, interviews, comments, and discussions. I find that every issue has a primary theme, though, which appears in the first group of articles. Take a few recent issues from 2016 (111–114), for example: 111 opens with articles related to humor; 112 focuses on free will; 113 interviews several philosophers on the topic of New Realism; and 114 discusses “philosophical science.” These main topics are also featured on the cover of the publication in the form of a surreal cartoon.  

Articles that are unrelated to the main theme are found in the “General Articles” area following the opening section. In 114, you will find authors discussing both contemporary (“Slavoj Žižek — The Elvis of Philosophy?”) and the centuries-old philosophers (“Nietzsche & The Problem of Suffering”). A few brief biographical articles of classic (“Brief Lives: Arthur Schopenhauer”) and recently deceased philosophers (“Obituary: Hilary Putnam”) are sprinkled throughout each issue, to boot, which provides excellent reminders of the contributions these people made to human thinking.

One of my favorite contemporary Italian philosophers, Umberto Eco (1932–2016), recently passed away and you can read his brief obituary on page 5 of issue 113. Eco was the novelist of the medieval thriller The Name of the Rose (1980) and also published an array of erudite books related to the field of semiotics—the study of signs. His work has inspired my scholarly pursuits in the field of music theory.

Philosophy Now
also has a robust companion web site with many of the articles published in the magazine available online. In addition, the web site publishes an audio podcast featuring UK philosophers and enthusiasts that provides excellent discussion of a single topic to supplement the magazine. You can also find this free podcast at the iTunes store.   

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