Dianoia, Boston College’s undergraduate philosophy journal, is a medium for philosophical minds across BC and around the world to come together and discuss their findings, according to Noah Valdez, the journal’s editor-in-chief.
“Dianoia sort of occupies this place where if you wrote a paper for one of your core philosophy requirement classes, you can extend your analyses there and potentially contribute to Dianoia,” Valdez, MCAS ’21, said. “So that other undergraduates, not only on our campus, but all around the world, can sort of grapple with what you’ve either discovered or extrapolated upon.”
Dianoia, which is composed of several undergraduate essays, will be releasing its eighth issue on Monday, as well as hosting a digital symposium featuring guest speakers from the journal’s recent publications.
“The digital symposium is going to be essentially a showcase of the fruit of this year’s labor,” Valdez said. “And what we’ll do is we’ll have four different speakers from six of our recent publications give a short presentation on the topic that they’ve published on, some matters that are important to them, and potentially some points of conversation for those that attend the symposium.”
The symposium will be split into two parts, with the first half dedicated to the speakers’ presentations and the second dedicated to a question and answer session that will give attendees an opportunity to talk directly with the speakers.
Valdez said that Dianoia is unique among undergraduate philosophy journals because of the variety of essays it publishes, including interviews and reviews of recent philosophical books and articles. Through these essays, Dianoia brings philosophy directly to an undergraduate audience, he said.
“I think if I could summarize Dianoia’s main role in undergraduate philosophy, or even just in undergraduate institutions, it would really be in attempting to bring philosophy to an undergraduate level and see how undergraduates respond to it,” Valdez said.
Valdez also noted the significant growth of Dianoia in recent years. The journal, which accepts essay submissions from all over the world, received over 210 submissions this year, a 200 percent increase from its first issue in 2012.
“Aside from just being humbled, it’s a pleasure to be part of a project that is so cosmopolitan in nature, and we’ve come a long way, that’s for sure,” Valdez said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges to the publication process, Valdez said. The onset of the pandemic last spring meant that no physical issues could be printed, which was a disappointment, he said.
“Last year … we weren’t allowed to have a print copy, which is always kind of a letdown because the print copy, you know, is sort of the culmination of everything you’ve been working towards the entire year,” Valdez said.
Fortunately, 100 copies of last year’s issue will be printed alongside this year’s issue and will also be exhibited during the symposium, Valdez said. He also noted the strength of this year’s issue and said that all the essays provide unique and interesting philosophical commentaries.
“I think that [all the essays] are unique in their separate ways, and that they’re all innovative and thought-provoking in their various disciplines,” Valdez said.
Valdez said that for him in particular, Dianoia has been an invaluable experience that has helped shape his undergraduate career.
“Dianoia has meant everything to me,” Valdez said. “I think that as great as classroom experience and learning can be with professors, the majority of my educational career at BC has been through Dianoia.”
Valdez recommended that anyone with an interest in a particular field of study get involved with one of the many undergraduate journals on campus.
“I would recommend, if not Dianoia, just participation in any undergraduate journal, given how much you can potentially learn and the friendships and relationships that you can cultivate as well,” Valdez said.
Featured Image by Nicole Vagra / Heights Staff