Campus Guarulhos • Escola de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas

Philosophy Postgraduate Program

Research Focus

The Philosophy Postgraduate Program at Unifesp concentrates on the philosophical production of the tradition and the Contemporaneity, structuring itself in the following lines of research:

1. Metaphysics, Science and Language.
2. Subjectivity, Art and Culture.
3. Policy, Knowledge and Society.
4. History of Philosophy.


1. Metaphysics, Science and Language

In the origins of philosophy there is a correlation between metaphysics, science and language. It means that the research on being was born in direct connection with issues about the human capacity to know it and say it. This tripartite front of investigation lasted throughout the History of Philosophy. In Modernity, however, science and technical developments demanded a new metaphysics as well as an analysis of the nature of language and / or thought. In Contemporaneity, the connection between being, knowledge and language is one of the most acute philosophical debates since tany of these themes necessarily affects the others. Thus, we observe in our time both a continuation of the modern critical stance towards ancient-medieval metaphysics, with a consequent concentration of philosophical research in language or science, as well as a resurgence and / or reworking of metaphysics. The research area aims to investigate such a crossover. This field of research is also concerned with forms of knowledge that sometimes are considered outside the strict scope of philosophy but nevertheless offer rich opportunities to epistemological, metaphysical and linguistic debates.


2. Subjectivity, Art and Culture 

The research area is dedicated to the crisis of the classic concept of subjectivity, with special attention to its consequences to the philosophies of art and culture. From this perspective, philosophy is understood mainly as a reflection on its own tradition, a stance which requires to call into question the actuality of its assumptions and diversify the approaches to the concept of subjectivity in the light of the problems posed by contemporary debates. The issue is a main topic in many different currents of contemporary philosophy – phenomenology, existentialism, critical theory, the philosophy of difference – regarding the concept of subject in the history of philosophy, but it also arises from the dialogue of philosophy with other fields. The concept of the unconscious proposed by psychoanalysis as well as the crisis of the concept of the individual diagnosed by social theory are understood in this context.

Aesthetic reflection, in turn, takes up in several ways such crises of the concept of subjectivity, either by interrogating the various philosophies of art associated with philosophical systems, or by debating aesthetic considerations arising within the scope of modern art itself. Artistic production, reflecting on its own making, raised questions about its autonomy, with numerous consequences to the philosophical reflection on aesthetic experience and subjectivity, which challenged the tradition of philosophical aesthetics. The debates around the boundaries between art and philosophy, as well as those between art and literature, challenged philosophy to take into account forms of thinking about art inscribed in the technical problems of artistic production itself.

The non-European arts, cultures and intellectual traditions, Brazilian ones in particular, also demand a more diversified reflection on subjectivity. These phenomena, as well as the recent debates on gender issues and the decolonization of the humanities, make even more explicit the non-universal, particular, assumptions of the concept of subjectivity constituted by the European philosophical tradition. In the same way that the particularity of the modern work of art challenged the universal criteria of traditional aesthetics, many phenomena raise critical questions to the history of philosophy and require the investigation of authors, works and artists little scarcely considered until today by academic research.

By bringing together such set of themes, the research area challenges the conventional boundaries between the disciplines ad seeks new forms of approaching the history of philosophy, so that the concept of subjectivity should be thought of simultaneously as a criticism and as an expansion of tradition.


3. Politics, Knowledge and Society 

The constitution of political and social philosophy gave rise to a wide and diversified research on the concepts of legitimacy, legality, authority, power, knowledge and violence. In present times, the emergence of new phenomena challenges our conceptual framework. The return of theology in politics, the debate on human rights, the establishment of a state of exception, the fusion of science and technology, the viability of a rationalist project for politics and law, the resurgence of communitarianism, republicanism and even utopianism in reaction to the crises of liberal and class politics are all events that challenge the relevance of old categories and seem to demand the construction of new conceptual instruments. This research area approaches the tradition of political philosophy in order to construct a critical dialogue with the new discourses about politics, society and knowledge.


4. History of Philosophy 

The research area considers approaches to the philosophical texts from the perspective of their genesis and conceptual architecture, in view of a properly philosophical or systematic interpretation and in order to avoid the reduction of the history of philosophy to the history of mentalities. Therefore, different philosophical methodologies are legitimate, including contextualist, structuralist, phenomenological, hermeneutic and analytical approaches to texts. Such diversity seeks to highlight the complexity of the works of the history of philosophy. The priority of the research area is given by explicitly exegetical investigations, which distinguishes this area from the specific concerns and goals proposed by the other areas of research. The research field also includes themes and problems of philosophical historiography and methodology.


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