Aesthetics, Politics & Knowledge


The main aim is the development of a research work within three core areas: aesthetics, politics and theory of knowledge. The research program articulates two subgroups Aesthetics, Politics and Arts and Modes of Thought and Philosophical Systems.

Aesthetics, Politics & Knowledge

Reference: RG-502-2083 Aesthetics, Politics and Knowledge

Principal investigator Maria Eugénia Vilela

This Group deals with three core areas (Aesthetics, Politics and Theory of Knowledge) and comprises two subgroups: Aesthetics, Politics and Arts, coordinated by Eugénia Vilela, and Modes of Thought and Philosophical Systems, coordinated by Paulo Tunhas. It comprises three integrated researchers with nuclear CVs (Maria Eugénia Morais Vilela, Paulo Jorge Delgado Pereira Tunhas e Maria Manuela Barros) and three other integrated researchers (Diogo Frederico Lemos C. Alcoforado, Jorge Leandro Rosa, Rui Bertrand Baldaque Romão). The Group also counts with the collaboration of researchers who develop their PhD and Masters projects within the framework of its central thematic areas. Other researchers, not belonging to the main core of the Group, contribute with their investigations to the development of the main aims of APK Group, namely through different types of scientific and artistic activities: seminars, conferences and publications.

The IPs of both subgroups define the research program of the entire RG, and decide all the budget matters as to assure the convenient resources to achieve the planned activities. The integration of the two subgroups in a common research program is expected to potentiate the philosophical importance of the achievement and the dissemination of the results at a national and international levels.

The RG articulates its activities with the groups of the Research Line and is opened to the collaboration with the other groups of the Research Unit. The participation of both IP's in the Scientific Council of the Instituto will be instrumental to achieve this main goal.



The upcoming research within the sub-group Aesthetics, Politics and Arts will focus on the intersection between the philosophical work and three central areas: Aesthetics, Contemporary Political Philosophy and Arts. The aim is to build a body of thought that considers the political contemporary space in a reciprocal nature relation with action, gesture, production and the emerging points of sensibility within the real.

This research deals with categories usually regarded as aesthetical, political and artistic, so as to renew the philosophical thinking that summons them. It is a research work on the production of a philosophical discourse that may flow between the polemological interior of its heritage, as well as of its exterior. Consequently, the problematization of the notion of contemporary in its paradoxical ontological vocation will be sought. The intersections that occur at an ontic level will be regarded as a consistency block formed in contemporaneity.

The research will be centered on the reevaluation of a philosophical modernity that is conscious of the crisis of its metaphysical vocation. The latter shall be considered by invoking authors who produce a transfiguration of the classical notions of historical time and of history. Following this approach, we will try to think critically about the relation between experience, history, memory, forgetfulness, archive and, subsequently, to deconstruct the classical notions of testimony, tradition and transmission. This will lead to the questioning and reconfiguration of the relation between the notions of discourse, narration, body, phantom, silence, resistance, unconscious, language and potency. The line of research will follow closely the works of W.Benjamin, Heidegger, G.Bataille, M.Blanchot, H.Arendt, M.Foucault, G.Deleuze, J.Derrida, JL.Nancy, J.Rancière, G.Agamben.

The Modes of Thought and Philosophical Systems subgroup will focus on three different but interconnected topics. The first one concerns the centrality of the question "What is thinking?" to philosophical enquiry, dealing with such themes as intentionality, consciousness, language, logic, the relation of thought to the external world, neurophysiology, artificial intelligence, transcendental arguments, categorial frameworks, imagination, representation, desire and intuitive knowledge. The second refers to the ways thinking develops itself into different modes related to different objects of thought. There are three very general types of objects which are the subject of philosophical investigation: nature, beauty and ethics/politics. Modes of thought are built upon the very specificity of these objects. Our main research interest concerns the ontological criteria that underlie different forms of akribeia in the relation of thought to its objects. These different forms of akribeia are connected to three different epistemological concepts: proof (in the case of the objects of natural sciences), self-evidence (regarding aesthetical experiences) and argumentation (on ethical and political matters). The third topic deals with the relations the modes of thought entertain amongst themselves, particularly in the context of philosophical systems. Philosophical systems are experiments on the absolute fulfillment of the whole space of thought through the articulation of modes of thought stimulated by different objects of thought. Many philosophical systems, from the Stoics to Kant and the post-kantian heritage (e.g., Cassirer and Husserl), provide precious material to this kind of study.

The APK Group will organize a number of seminars, conferences, translations and publications (papers, books) dedicated to its main lines of thought. It will also provide support for the participation of its members in international meetings dedicated to its main research topics.