Philographics Presents a Visual Dictionary of Philosophy: 95 Philosophical Concepts as Graphic Designs

We so often hear pic­tures described as worth a thou­sand words apiece, but the Philo­graph­ics project seems to have found a way to increase that val­ue by at least 27,218. Or it has if you believe its blurb from Co.Design: “It takes the Stan­ford Ency­clo­pe­dia of Phi­los­o­phy 28,250 words to explain the wool­ly con­cept of rel­a­tivism. It takes Genis Car­reras 32 words and a sin­gle image.” When the Girona, Spain-based graph­ic design­er har­nessed his pro­fes­sion­al back­ground in graph­ic design to his inter­est in phi­los­o­phy, some­thing hith­er­to unseen result­ed: a visu­al dic­tio­nary of phi­los­o­phy.

“I start­ed the project two years ago with the inten­tion to merge the world of phi­los­o­phy and graph­ic design,” writes Car­reras on the page of the Philo­graph­ics Kick­starter dri­ve, which raised £65,217 in 2013. “In the begin­ning it was a set of 24 posters, explain­ing philo­soph­i­cal the­o­ries like Dual­ism, Free Will, Exis­ten­tial­ism or Ide­al­ism using only shapes and colour. But so many impor­tant ‘isms’ were left out that I decid­ed to add more designs to the col­lec­tion. Today the project con­sists of 95 designs, each of them depict­ing a dif­fer­ent ‘ism’ using a unique com­bi­na­tion of geo­met­ric shapes, col­ors and a short def­i­n­i­tion of the the­o­ry.”

The video above shows some exam­ples, more of which you can browse one-by-one at Stu­dio Car­reras’ site, which also sells art prints, post­cards, and the book Philo­graph­ics: Big Ideas in Sim­ple ShapesBrain Pick­ings’ Maria Popo­va calls the results, which look a bit like the kind of high-design mid­cen­tu­ry paper­back cov­ers that have late­ly come back into vogue, “a play­ful and thought­ful cel­e­bra­tion of sym­bol­ic and metaphor­i­cal think­ing — that dis­tinct­ly human fac­ul­ty that is the hall­mark of our imag­i­na­tion,” and one meant to “tick­le our curios­i­ty and spark deep­er inter­est in influ­en­tial the­o­ries of human nature and human pur­pose that those of us not for­mal­ly trained in phi­los­o­phy may not have pre­vi­ous­ly been inspired to explore.”

These images cer­tain­ly make the famous­ly wordy field of phi­los­o­phy — and one so often lam­pooned for that wordi­ness — infi­nite­ly more invit­ing for the philo­soph­i­cal­ly inclined visu­al thinkers among us. If Car­reras is con­sid­er­ing Kick­start­ing anoth­er edi­tion of Philo­graph­ics posters, might we sug­gest black­light ver­sions? Dorm-room philo­soph­i­cal dis­cus­sions the world over may attain a new lev­el of rig­or as a result.

via Brain Pick­ings

Relat­ed Con­tent:

55 Cov­ers of Vin­tage Phi­los­o­phy, Psy­chol­o­gy & Sci­ence Books Come to Life in a Short Ani­ma­tion

The His­to­ry of Phi­los­o­phy, from 600 B.C.E. to 1935, Visu­al­ized in Two Mas­sive, 44-Foot High Dia­grams

8‑Bit Phi­los­o­phy: Pla­to, Sartre, Der­ri­da & Oth­er Thinkers Explained With Vin­tage Video Games

Phi­los­o­phy Explained With Donuts

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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Comments (6)
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  • Travis says:

    Big­ger font in the video, please.

  • Petteri says:

    Philo­graph­ics as in love of graph­ics, yes. I like the visu­als. But I was a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ed in that I was look­ing for sopho­graph­ics, if you will… I stopped at the dol­lar sign/sales graph of “cap­i­tal­ism” (clever by itself). It looks as if most­ly sim­ple intu­ition is used accord­ing to what first came to mind, which is often com­mon iconog­ra­phy, with­out uni­fy­ing prin­ci­ples. (It still might be that even the “cap­i­tal­ism” is also using more sophis­ti­cat­ed color/shape codes and inge­nious­ly man­ages to com­bine them with the dol­lar sign etc, but I did­n’t get there…) So I’m not con­vinced how much these will help under­stand philo­soph­i­cal con­cepts, at least as a log­i­cal­ly inter­re­lat­ed whole.

  • Craig Keeling says:

    You tipped your hand with the athe­ism poster. An upside-down cross sym­bol­izes a bib­li­cal, chris­t­ian antag­o­nist or satanist, not a lack of belief in a high­er pow­er.

    The sub­ti­tle is cor­rect, but the icon is very wrong. Great project though.

  • Jake Fobean says:

    Vital­ism ris­es. We are sure­ly with­in the Deleuz­ian Cen­tu­ry. I have great opti­mism about the prop­a­ga­tion of life-affirm­ing phi­los­o­phy.

  • Markus Ketola says:

    I agree that the icon is wrong, as it’s asso­ci­at­ed with Chris­tian­i­ty rather than the­ism in gen­er­al. But the sub­ti­tle was also incor­rect. Athe­ism isn’t mere­ly an “absence of belief”, but rather the active belief that no god exists (oth­er­wise lit­tle chil­dren and even ani­mals would count as athe­ists, not help­ful!).

    The def­i­n­i­tion of the­ism sounds also a bit hazy in the video, as if God of the­ism did­n’t tran­scend space.

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