Philosopharmacology


A few months ago I learned about the brilliant conceptual artwork of Dana Wyse. Since the mid 1990s she has been producing a series of fake pharmaceuticals packaged to look as if they were supposed to be sold at a convenience store in the 1970s or ordered from the back of a magazine or comic book. And she actually sells them—mainly at museum shops and now online.

The Guardian called her fictional drug company, Jesus Had A Sister Productions, “perhaps the most provocative and accomplished example of a fictitious business venture undertaken by an artist,” and if you browse through the 180 or so drugs shown on her site, you’ll find a a mix of products aiming to help you with problems ranging from existential despair to an inability to understand video art to forgetting where you left your keys, as well as enhancement pills for “instant happy childhood memories” or to “catch a fish every time” or to address various sexual matters, plus a range of other items.

Quite a number of them are explicitly philosophical in content, and many would provoke interesting discussions, both in and out of the classroom. For example:

It was tempting to include many more examples of her work in this post but you should really check them out on her site here.

I love the artistic device Wyse uses with this project and wondered what similar products academic philosophers would come up with. Repurposing some of Wyse’s packaging, I came up with a few. Normally on Tuesdays there would be a comic strip but there won’t be one this week, so I thought today would be a good day to share them. Here they are (with apologies to Wyse, and to you all, too):

And, since I knew there would be a request for one like it, here, with empathy:

Your suggestions for additions to this product line are welcome.


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