June 15, 2021

Ernesto Castro: “In the field of ethics, the natural is expressed through generosity”

What is your presentation about Towards an ethics of generosity?

It is an exposition of the ethical part of my philosophical system, the generic naturalism. What I am going to explain is how this naturalistic philosophy that considers genres exist, applies to the field of ethics. The thesis I want to uphold is that The main virtue is generosity above the four traditional cardinal virtues: fortitude, temperance, prudence and justice, and also above the three theological virtues: faith, hope and charity.

Explain to me, then, your philosophical system of generic naturalism.

As a basic thesis, he affirms that the natural exists, but it is not something given and fixed in advance, but rather that which generates new possibilities. The natural is not constituted as inevitable but is the ability to produce new phenomena. The natural is reified or objectified in certain genres. It is the generic or generative capacity of nature. From a philosophical point of view, what it is about is to study how this natural element appears in various fields of meaning or genres, thus, for example, in the genre of art, nature expresses itself in the form of genius.. In the field of ethics, the natural is expressed through generosity, that is, that, through it, not only does it help others, but new values ​​are created and, sometimes, new ethical subjects are included in it. community. For example, Socrates by sacrificing himself for his city is not doing good to anyone, but he is creating new values, such as critical patriotism. Or people who question speciesism are being generous because they include animals in the moral community.

Do you teach philosophy classes Youtube?

I am a philosophy professor who is invited to give lectures and these materials are sometimes published in book format and sometimes uploaded to Youtube. They are not made expressly for this channel. I have one of documentation, a file where I upload the videos of the talks and classes that I give, but not for Youtube but recorded in other contexts. I have 100,000 subscribers.

It is said of you that you have one foot in the underworld of the internet and the other in the more classical academic knowledge and that you seem to understand well how to articulate a digestible critical and constructive discourse for the youth.

Philosophy, unlike sciences or disciplines, uses colloquial language and must rise from prejudice to judgment. It should start with how people talk about certain issues and try, from there, to purify those beliefs, resolve certain paradoxes or revise certain myths, but in philosophy there is not such a clear difference between teaching and research, between dissemination and education. study, because one may be investigating things very in detail, for example, about the concept of good or generosity, but that later has a transmission and an application to the field of reality, that is, it is not so much about what I have rhetorical virtues that allow me to connect with the public but simply that philosophy per se It is a discipline that is characterized by two things: because it is interdisciplinary, it deals with multiple aspects, which in principle should be completely and should also have that affordable character, although it has its technical language it should be understandable by anyone because it deals with problems common and that anyone raises.

Your thesis is that everyone is a philosopher, right?

Everybody when he asks about questions like good, truth, beauty, justice or identity is talking about philosophical problems. When philosophy does not fight, does not return to the cave or is not present in the media, it is replaced by ideology, religion and pseudo-philosophies. Everyone philosophizes, even at a mundane and street level, and philosophers have to start from it to try to extract valid concepts and refute the false ones, the myths in that popular thought.

We all philosophize and philosophers have to try to extract valid concepts from popular thought »


It is also said of you that you are provocative, original and unorthodox. What do you think about that?

Not intentionally, that is to say that, in philosophy, as in all other fields, nothing comes out of nowhere. The originality will be because I go back to the origins not because I pretend to be creative, spontaneous or arbitrary. My intention is to address fundamental issues, not to beat around the bush and, in that sense, I suppose that people who go to the origins and roots of things are radical and original.

Is he an offender with a showmanship?

The aesthetic and rhetorical aspects of philosophy are not something negligible and to make themselves understood and noticed one has to resort to tricks that, moreover, are in Plato, because both in him and in Socrates there are provocation, irony, recourse. literary or poetry. The only thing I do is follow that philosophical line that understands that it does not have to be boring, an impossible thing to read, but that, as I say, it has to start from that worldly philosophy to rise towards the more general concepts and ideas.

He did his Master’s Final Project on the question of consent from a Parfitian point of view. Explain this to me.

I studied my degree at the UAM. Then I did the master’s degree in Analytical Philosophy in Barcelona and the doctorate in the Complutense, where I have taught, as well as at the University of Zaragoza and currently at the UAM. In Barcelona, ​​it was at Pompeu Fabra that I presented my final master’s thesis that studied the relationships between the concept of consent and that of good. The difference between the two is that the first is a question of yes or no, without a middle ground, while the good, as Plato has already studied, has degrees, that is, you can always think that something is better or worse than something else. The good is a grayscale versus consent, white or black. Parfitiano was an author that interested me a lot, Derek Parfit, an analytical philosopher in whose book About what matters He exposes his criticisms of the idea of ​​consent and of how he should not identify with the good, that is, one can consent to things that are negative to him or, on the contrary, receive goods without consenting to it.

He has multiple published books …

Yes, for example, The trap It was a study on Spanish urban music seen as the meta music of the crisis, that is, not just a sound but a lifestyle. It was quite successful, with a third edition already. Ethics, aesthetics and politics It is a book of essays in which I address the connections between these three fields, seeing how the good sometimes does not have to be beautiful or politically useful and that it is normal that there are conflicts between ethics and politics. Post-continental realism was my doctoral thesis where I analyze contemporary authors, including Markus Gabriel. Memories and libels of 15M includes a review of what happened in the squares and camps of 2011 and the book that has just been published, Another stick to the water, collects a set of cultural criticism texts where I analyze the philosophical issues that may exist in literature, the reality shows, television, movies or television series.

It also has several poems …

I started writing literature and I was always interested in the formal aspect of how philosophy also has an aesthetic, artistic and beautiful component, with which I have various poems that have been anthologized in various collections of poetry. Now I find myself writing dialogues in the Platonic way, playing with the limits between philosophy and literature because the former is a form of the latter. Philosophy is the discipline halfway between science and literature, which addresses issues that are not purely gratuitous, but neither strictly scientific or factual. They usually describe me as a thinker and as a writer because I am not only interested in philosophy as content but also as form and there literature is fundamental.


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