Castello Aragonese d'Ischia

23-25 September 2022

La filosofia, il Castello e la Torre

International Festival of Philosophy

8th edition: Beauty - Can it really save the world?
1 - 25 September 2022

Information and programme:

Friday 23 September 2022, Church of the Immaculate Conception, 8:30 p.m.
LECTIO MAGISTRALIS: La bellezza è un prodotto in vendita. Benedetta Barzini.

Saturday 24 September 2022, Church of the Immaculate Conception, 8:30 p.m.
LECTIO MAGISTRALIS: Il mondo salverà la bellezza? Stefano Zecchi.

Sunday 25 September 2022, Church of the Immaculate Conception, 8:30 p.m.
L'INTERVISTA: Milovan Farronato.


What is beauty? Can it serve to improve human relations, our community condition? Can beauty really save the world?
Questioning beauty implies many difficulties, especially when the question arises on the ethical horizon.
It is in fact something that reaches the subject through the senses. Its perception depends on the worldly conditions in which the recipient 'hosts' a given reality that is foreign to him. It depends on experience.
A work of art, a landscape, a sensation, a living being through its body, expresses beauty, passing it on to others in the mode of judgement. It is dependent on pleasure, on a chemical reaction that is activated in us.
It is a predicate, a means that allows so many ideal concepts to be constituted into a real identity, capable of declining ever differently in the present time, in the fashions, in the cultural currents that it runs through. But beauty puts a multiplicity of subjects at odds.
In ancient philosophy, the concept of kalokagathia best represented this ethical disagreement. What is beautiful is not always good.
Does beauty exist without the human being? How many types of beauty then exist within us and outside us?
Human beings have therefore tried to capture beauty, to create it: just think of the production of art, the manipulation of matter, of objects; beauty is perceived in all forms and in all spheres of human knowledge, from philosophy to mathematics, from art to physics, it runs through the concepts of symmetry, harmony. But when does it really become good?
Is it true that it has no cognitive value?
Yet, when it 'translates' into something else, it is recognised as a means of practical reunion with concepts that are difficult to understand: beauty 'becomes' goodness, truth, virtue, the common good.
Everything we create tends towards this aesthetic dimension capable of arousing admiration in us, reaching the ethical dimension to the extent that it unites and adds shared value to the experience itself.
What then is the feeling that emanates from it towards the human, towards that feeling that brings us together under the sign of a common destiny?
Beauty, fleeting, is expressed in the human will to enclose it in works, in artefacts. It best represents the feeling of transience in our existence: when it abandons us, it distresses us. And that is why the human being pursues, finds - idealises, even - beauty everywhere, even in its opposite, trying to ferry it from the subjective to the objective sphere. This is why it is an expression of peace in contemplation, but even more, of inner 'war' because it obsesses those who wish to represent it, to produce it.
It is universal solely because it can be perceived by all human beings.

In the light of these questions - tuned to the history of human thought - what is the value of beauty in a world that paradoxically pursues it as a subjective common good?
If it is an expression of a common good and can be translated as such, activating in us a salvific motion towards the world, how can we redefine it? How can we share the eschatological tension it contains and expresses? If nature has always been an expression of beauty, why then do we human beings dominate it by making it ugly, by destroying our and only dwelling place to gain Dante's hell? Is it possible that ideality - which beauty expresses and has always expressed - has alienated us from the real world?

Beauty is a Common Good, something that expresses sharing in existence and beyond. Could knowledge intervene in the aesthetic sphere by tuning the subjective sphere to the objective one? Can the world - understood as a global community - save beauty?