CULTURE

Cogito brings philosophy to the masses

With his «Tractatus,» Ludwig Wittgenstein believed he had solved all philosophical problems. However, books and journals on philosophy have never ceased to spring up. Wittgenstein, it seems, got it wrong. Paradoxically, the notoriously impenetrable Austrian philosopher permeates much of Cogito, a brand-new quarterly journal on philosophy that claims to differ from similar publications in one defining aspect: accessibility. «Cogito is not a scientific journal, but a (Greek-language) publication aimed at a larger audience,» said Fay Zika, a member of the journal’s editorial team, in an e-mail interview with Kathimerini English Edition. «We want the texts to be serious yet accessible to a wider pubic outside the restricted community of people with a specific interest in philosophy or similar subjects,» she explained. Philosophy for the lay reader, then, but not only that. «We also hope that this restricted community will be expanding,» Zika said. This is an ambitious project – and it shows. Ignoring the well-worn adage, few can resist the temptation of judging a publication by its cover. A stylish, glossy layout distinguishes Cogito from the run of scientific journals which hit the market in a smaller, book-sized format. Pull quotes and interesting, mostly black-and-white photos, as well as drawings break the text and lend a nice artistic touch to a very fine publication. The last page hosts a comic strip by the subversive cartoonist Dimitris Hantzopoulos. Philosophy, of course, is mostly about substance and content. Cogito, which is published by Nefeli, combines a central theme with subsections on a wide range of issues «from ethics and politics to gardens and dreams,» as editor in chief Vasso Kinti writes in her introduction to the first issue. In between, one will find bits on theater, music, cinema, the arts, plenty of food for thought and even a page on food. This issue focuses on «friendship and philosophy,» but one can also read an analysis on the moralization of politics, the (mis)uses of the word «liberalism,» a dialogue on Sofia Coppola’s «Lost in Translation,» and interesting pieces on the absurd, colors, and the works of Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein saw philosophy as a human activity whose success is as uncertain as all other human activities. Cogito seems to have equally humble aspirations for philosophy. «We want to highlight its perspective… because the unexpected profundity it lends every analysis brings us great satisfaction and offers an enjoyment that gives life meaning,» Kinti writes. Those who see philosophy as a source of rock-solid certainties will be disappointed. «We do not consider philosophy to be the queen of sciences, whose discourse can lead to the clarification of every intellectual quest,» she wrote. Cogito, Issue No. 1, Nefeli.