New Journal: Avant. Journal of the Philosophical-Interdisciplinary Vanguard

Project Avant was originally initiated by students, yet it is currently realized with the help of both PhD students and young academics. This feature of the project (one may call it “the freshness“) is an especially important part of the entire idea. Our project is under supervision of the Institute of Philosophy in the Department of Humanities of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland (hereafter: NCU)  and the Academic Association of the Philosophical-Interdisciplinary Vanguard as the organizational base. The work on the project relies on the professional help of people interested in the ideas. If we are going to point out the main (yet still evolving) aims of the project, we ought to mention the following: promoting both dialogue between contemporary philosophy and the sciences & art and international cooperation between young researchers… To make a long story short: we are young, seeking and interdisciplinary.

What is the outcome of this project? We hereby deliver to your hands the debut issue of Avant. Journal of the Philosophical-Interdisciplinary Vanguard. This bilingual quarterly will include interesting and significant translations of both international and Polish articles, interviews with acknowledged scholars, a selection of articles from young researchers from all over the world, as well as the presentation of the most compelling debates and finally – dialogue with artists (regardless of whether it means: interviews, studies or joint projects). We wish to emphasize the excellence and the meaning of the graphic design of our journal. Moreover, ensuring the highest quality of realization of the project, we made an effort to organize (and are still willing to extend) the international Advisory Board (that consists mainly of young but acknowledged professionals in the research fields that fascinate us).

A significant trait of our activity (as embodied in Avant) is to steer towards the above mentioned dialogue, cooperation and confrontation. By that we mean not only the interviews and debates, but we also create contrastive and polemic rather than a one-track minded conception of each issue. Meanwhile, we are setting up a special working papers online forum. The academic draft papers placed there are for the creative debate of forum members and competent scholars. The open and mutual nature of this practice may serve – if efficient – as an optimal way to raise the quality of articles submitted later for publication, as well as giving a measurable contribution to our Advisory Board.

We also ought to explain why there is the word ‘vanguard’ in the title of our journal and portal – a word not of scientific or philosophical origin, which some people regard even as pretentious. There are several reasons for this – they all arise from different semantic grounds, but taken together they result in the expression of curiosity, creativity and nonconformity (vide: the metaphorical figure of Discordia on the ‘Avant’ cover). ‘Vanguard’ above all means that we are attracted to new voices and new ideas. We are open to young, interesting authors, for whose publications we are waiting. ‘Vanguard’ is also undoubtedly related to contemporary art, which is invited here to the dialogue with science and philosophy. Moreover, if we take the exact meaning of this word – that is, ‘avant-guarde’ – we can say that in a sense we try to monitor the vitality of human knowledge as well as its human face. In the end, ‘vanguard’ applies to the situation of both modern philosophy and philosophy in general in Poland, which is still located in a rather small niche of the Polish academic world.

The first issue of our journal proudly presents the heart of ‘classic vanguard’ of cognitive science, namely three texts dedicated to neurophenomenology, that highly require an introduction to Polish readers. The first issue of our journal proudly presents important „classic vanguard” of cognitive science, namely: three texts concerned with neurophenomenology. The aim of these texts is to show the fruitfulness of pursuing the science of consciousness in such a way that it constitutes the essential part of cognitive science. What is more, they take up a more ambitious endeavor: the attempt to solve the hard-problem of consciousness. In opposition to that, the subsequent section of Avant presents some inspirational statements of Rick Grush, the creator of the cognitive theory of emulation that can be located in the Kantian tradition of analytical metaphysics and epistemology (Kant – Strawson – Evans). Also, we present an interview with a highly regarded representative of improvised music – Krzysztof Knittel. Among other attractive articles in this issue, the talk with Mr. Knittel results in a very interesting attempt to confront the musical practice with a scientific (and philosophical) approach to this field of art.

Project Avant met with quite unexpected interest and overwhelming kindliness. Given that, we are extremely grateful for the number of important contacts, the interviews and the assents for the translationed articles. On the other hand, while trying to obtain the debut articles from young Polish authors from outside Nicolas Copernicus University, we faced a problem analogous to the quadrature of the circle – the reaction usually was: we are interested, but first of all show us the first issue. For that reason, however, our goal is to represent the wide universe of the academic world, and this issue consists mainly of articles by authors from our university.

We are also pleased to give warm thanks to the people who enabled or noticeably helped to make this journal happen. Most of all, we want to show our gratitude to Dr Tomasz Komendziński (NCU) without whose deeply wise yet discreet suggestions (concerning the organization of the journal) and unlimited number of contacts (with both scientific and philosophical worlds) Avant would consist of considerably poorer content. Furthermore, we also want to express our thanks to the following staff of NCU for their kindly manner, comprehension and help with the organization: Prof. Adam Szahaj (Dean of the Departament of Humanities, NCU), Prof. Adam Grzeliński (Head of the Institute of Philosophy, NCU), Dr Aleksandra Derra (NCU) and Dr Krzysztof Arbiszewski (NCU). And last but not least, we want to thank the personnel and the “spirit” of the KADR club in Toruń (who knows if without that place the idea of Avant would ever appear…).

Editors of Avant. Journal of the Philosophical-Interdisciplinary Vanguard,

translation: Jakub Matyja

Torun, 27.10.2010