I co-curated Gotham Philosophical Society’s philosophy series at the Cornelia Street Café from January 2015 until the Café closed on January 2, 2019. Below are some highlights from the series.
MAGICAL ART: THE POWER OF IMAGES IN HITCHCOCK’S VERTIGO
Date: Monday, March 19 2018. Time: 6 pm. Place: Cornelia Street Café (29 Cornelia Street, near Sixth Avenue and West 4th Street)
Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo is a brilliant, suspenseful mystery exploring the often dangerous intimacy between love, compulsion, and death. It is also a profound meditation on the power of art. While it invites us to go on seeing art as a mimesis – a “representation,” or “imitation” of life – it also cryptically asks whether art objects might do more than merely represent life, even whether they might exercise power over death.
James Stewart’s Scotty has been compared to Orpheus in quest of Eurydice; I suggest that he’s worth comparing to Admetus, who wished he could be Orpheus, and who imagines clinging to a statue to recapture his lost wife. The spell cast by Hitchcock in Vertigo shows us just how bewitching art can be when it has us under its sway.
Nickolas Pappas is Professor of Philosophy at City College and the Graduate Center, CUNY, where he has taught since 1993. He is the author of several books and around 40 articles, mostly on topics in ancient philosophy. His books include the Routledge Philosophical Guidebook to Plato’s Republic, now in its third edition; and most recently The Philosopher’s New Clothes (Routledge, 2016).
My former logic student, Jason Cutmore, gave a piano performance and a talk on music ontology.
BEYOND THE MARKETPLACE MELTING POT: A RETURN TO MEANINGFUL MUSIC CLASSIFICATION
Date: December 11, 2017. Time: 6:00-7:30 pm. Place: Cornelia Street Café (29 Cornelia Street, near Sixth Avenue and West 4th Street)
It has been said that there are not different types or categories of music, only good music and bad music. How can we know the difference between good and bad music however? Well, on some accounts, there are indeed different types (‘low’ vs ‘high’ art), some of which are by definition bad, others good. Yet, on other accounts, music is music – there are no essential differences in kind, and it is simply each listener’s favorable or unfavorable reaction to any given song or piece of music that decides its quality. In this presentation, a novel way to identify musical types is proposed, one that seeks to illuminate meaningful musical distinctions in the natures and functions of three musical kinds (folk, mass, and art music), with some surprising results. A brief piano performance will precede the talk.
Jason Cutmore is a concert pianist, teacher, and the founder and director of the Canadian music festival, Alberta Pianofest. He has performed across much of North America, Europe, and India, and has published articles in peer review journals and trade magazines. Mr Cutmore lives in New York City, and is currently completing a Master’s degree in Philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center.
I read “Mystery of the Mirror” from Leonard Cohen and Philosophy: Various Positions at the Cornelia Street Cafe. (See below.) Leonard Cohen and Philosophy is reviewed in The Hopkins Review <https://muse.jhu.edu/article/615172> and in the CAML Review, the official publications of the Canadian Association of Music Libraries <http://caml.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/caml/article/view/40270>.
LEONARD COHEN AND PHILOSOPHY