The Polish Journal of Aesthetics
64 (1/2022)

Editors: Ineta Kivle (University of Latvia, Riga), Lenart Škof (Science and Research Centre, Koper), Maja Bjelica (Science and Research Centre, Koper)

“Listening and Polyphony: Philosophy, Aesthetics, Arts” is a special issue of The Polish Journal of Aesthetics which will be focused on questions of listening and polyphony qua unifying concepts for discovering the overlapping horizons of philosophical insights and aesthetical experience. Listening could be studied as an openness to others, a gesture, and activity. As the mutual coexistence of one’s own and surrounding environments, polyphony provides new opportunities for transdisciplinarity, starting in the field of philosophy, expanding through aesthetics and the arts, and insinuating in ethics, anthropology, and sociality.

Listening is an activity of the conscious auditory perception of sound stimuli often marked by a touch of passivity, obedience, a state of subordination, and inferiority. However, on the other hand, it can be understood as a very active and intentional gesture of a subject who establishes a relationship with their environment through auditory perception. Listening includes a dual discourse: listening to oneself and listening to others, hearing one’s inner voice and the voice of the other, and listening to the world around us. In his echoing essay, Listening, Jean-Luc Nancy states that listening can be perceived as an opening to resonance, echoing, which simultaneously opens a person to oneself and another self while gaining and giving meaning. An opening in silence, where the ear stretches and its tension already carries its meaning, exposes the listener to sensual meaning and sense. Meaning(s) and sense(s) are co-created from listening to polyphony—being in the world is always polyphonic. The vibrations of polyphony keep meaning and sense dynamic, infinite, and intersubjective. The notions of listening and polyphony can be encountered in the phenomenology of Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer. These problems are also raised by researchers in the philosophy of music such as Don Ihde, Joseph Smith, Tomass Clifton, Lawrence Ferrara, Roman Ingarden, and others. Polyphony, understood as a particular form of dialogue, is developed from Plato’s Socratic dialogues. Polyphony characterizes complications of multi-layered phenomena: literature, theater, painting, or performance.

This special issue aims to deepen transdisciplinary approaches to listening and polyphony based on various disciplines like aesthetics, philosophy, ethics, and anthropology. We encourage authors to seek original perspectives and offer echoing conceptualizations on listening and polyphony in their articles.

We invite authors from various research areas to submit articles related, but not limited, to the following questions and aims:
to explore the importance of listening for the constitution of polyphonic surroundings, and thus to give new interpretations to humans and environments;
to observe how contemplative listening includes kinaesthetic perception and experience of various elements like the audible, visible, thinkable, et cetera; how these elements manifest themselves in artworks and performances;
to address polyphony as a methodological tool that enables the opening up of the coexistence of different elements and that develops original artistic and philosophical interpretations;
to study the “givenness” of polyphony and its immanent processes of perception, therefore leading to a more profound understanding of humanity, art, literature, society, nature, and the environment;
to examine the human voice and the sonority of language from philosophical, aesthetical, and anthropological approaches;
to investigate into listening qua openness to others, as co-creation, and explore polyphony as mutual coexistence, or co-being;
to elaborate on listening in an ethical sense.

Submission deadline: October 31, 2021.

We accept submissions in English only.