Desire and philosophy

  • One Tuesday or Wednesday per month at 7 p.m.
  • Led by Dr Magdalena Bosch, Faculty of Humanities

Tuesday 10 November

Dr Xavier Escribano

Hunger, thirst and desire

Hunger and thirst signal states of deprivation that must be urgently satisfied for the sake of individual survival. These states, beyond their physical function, allow us to experience an undeniable need characterised by two fundamental considerations: Alteration and interiorisation. These considerations are common to other superior vital biological functions and for this reason, in human culture, food and drink acquire a social, symbolic and even religious significance of the highest degree and transcendence.

Wednesday 16 December

Dr Bernat Torres

Plato, Eros and desire

From its physiological dimension to its sense of transcendence, as well as its political or psychological dimension, Plato views desire as one of the fundamental building blocks of the human soul. During this session, we will explore these dimensions using two images and a myth. We will take the first image from Plato’s Philebus, and his basic description of desire as a search for “filling”. Then, looking at the myth of Eros in Symposium, we will see how desire can always be considered as aspiring to an almost transcendental beauty. Finally, we will revisit the renowned image of the tripartite soul found in dialogues such as Republic, where the formation of human desire is a fundamental feature of citizen education.

Wednesday 13 January

Dr Abel Miró

Desire and beauty in Thomas Aquinas

The spontaneous emergence of intellectual life, from St. Thomas Aquinas’ point of view, involves an implicit ethical education. The connection between intellectual contemplation, based on "truth", and moral life, based on "human goodness", is aesthetic experience. In every authentically personal contemplation, there shines forth an element that cannot be reduced to objective content: A "radiance" of divine beauty. Every observation of truth is destined to become, when it is sufficiently mature, an aesthetic observation.

Tuesday 9 February

Dr Gabriele Millesi

Desire and the technological subject

Technology plays a central role in today’s society, invading almost everything we do. We know it benefits our lives in many ways, but it can also be problematic. From a philosophical point of view, we ask ourselves: What is the route of the problems sparked by technology? Once we’ve clarified this matter, we will know how to use it to satisfy our deepest longings, that is, our essential desire for that which makes us more human.

Tuesday 9 March

Dr Magdalena Bosch

The infinite desire of Romanticism

Human desire is infinite. Never has this fact been so evident or this field of study so fertile as in the 1800s. Early Romanticism is characterised by a reflection on desire, accompanied by intense experience: Ideals, feelings and passion can be unattainable yet unabating desires.

Tuesday 13 April

Dr Albert Moya

The aesthetics of desire and the rhetoric of spectacle

The aesthetic experience of the contemporary world, far from being circumscribed to art and artistic production, is habitually directed towards immediate desire and the strict fruition of sensitivity. In this sense, the rhetoric of spectacle and entertainment, from kitsch to mass media, often sparks the creation of desire and previously non-existent needs. Through exploring a selection of contemporary authors who have reflected upon these and other matters, we will explore the use of desire as a mechanism to generate expectations and needs.