Aleksandra Stevanovic

Symbols, found in every culture and every aspect of life, represent the beginning of the world. Every symbol has its meaning and manifestation. What is important is to recognize the idea in it. Plato spoke about the world of ideas and their representations, that can in fact be understood as symbols – there is an idea and a symbol as its embodiment. Symbols can undergo alterations and manifest themselves in a plethora of ways, while the idea, which is universal and perfect, is always the same and unaltered. The recognition of the idea is a key point – the Greek word “symballein” from which “symbol” originates means “to recognize“. In Platonic sense, it also means that nothing can be learned, but recollected and recognized from within. Every (re)cognition stems from recollection, according to Plato’s philosophy, and people remember ideas when they recognize their manifestations, that is, symbols.

Most commonly, symbols appear in dreams, but freely combined so that a clear image cannot be easily grasped. In that sense, they are elusive and bring confusion to our reason. Since they are free and not determined by any conditions, it is difficult to control and interpret them in a methodological way. In other words, if one considers symbols in a Cartesian sense, and in the rational way of Descartes, conclusions are obscure, illusory and misleading. Understanding symbols implies going away from objectivity and recognizing them as a part of oneself, not as something external and thus unrelated to us, and that is a challenge, especially in the world following the legacy of Cartesian thought.

keywords: Plato, recognition, idea
synonym: recognition, entanglement, integrity, unity, freedom
antonym: difference, disintegrity, objectivity
hypernym: idea
hyponym: natural, artificial

Platon. Drzava [Plato. Republic]. (1933). Beograd: BIGZ.

COST Action IS1307 New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on 'How Matter Comes to Matter'.

Here you will find background material, current activities, calls for papers, working group information, and project outputs.

With the changing of societies on local, national and international scales owing to economic, ecological, political and technological developments and crises, a reorganized academic landscape can be observed to be emerging. Scholarship strives to become increasingly interdisciplinary in order to grasp and examine the unfolding complexity of ongoing ecological, socio-cultural and politico-economic changes. Additionally, academics forge... Read more or find out Who's Who

News Show More

Information relating to activities undertaken, including conferences, training schools, short-term scientific missions, and annual meetings, are archived here.

Filter activities by:
Training School7

Show More
Working Groups

Working Groups focus on four key areas of research

Working Group One

Genealogies of New Materialisms; examines and intervenes in canonization processes by compiling a web-based bibliography, coordinating the OST 068/13 8 EN... Read more

Working Group Two

New Materialisms on the Crossroads of the Natural and Human Sciences; seeks to develop new materialisms at the boundaries of the human and natural sciences. The group focuses on how European new materialisms can rework the ‘Two Cultures' gap... Read more

Working Group Three

New Materialisms Embracing the Creative Arts; brings together European researchers, artists, museum professionals, and other activists with a keen interest in the material... Read more

Working Group Four

New Materialisms Tackling Economical and Identity – Political Crises and Organizational Experiments... Read more


A space for COST Action members to share reading material and experiences.

Explore entries below or find out how to contribute here

COST Action IS1307

New Materialism —
Networking European Scholarship on 'How matter comes to matter’

An intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in Science and Technology
European Union
COST is supported by the the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020

Website by Second Cousins