About Us

Our Story

No one needs to remind us that the world is full of surprises. It fails to meet our expectations on numerous occasions. At best, this failure is of a trivial and pleasant nature, much like when someone throws a surprise birthday party for us. At worst, this failure creates confusion, puzzlement, and even tragedy, as when we lose loved ones. Once our expectations are not met in this way, we yearn to make sense of our experience. It feels as if the picture of the world has held us captive, and we have no choice but to be captivated. Somehow, the contentment of our minds relies on untangling the puzzle or realizing its outset. Of course, once we uncover the origins of the puzzle, once our captivation wanes, we find ourselves at peace, but that is only a momentary peace. Sooner or later, we find ourselves captivated by another puzzle, and that is how our life goes on.

This was how Ludwig Wittgenstein, a prominent Austrian philosopher, conceived the nature of a proper philosophical investigation. In doing philosophy, we resemble a fly that has been caught in a fly-bottle. The fly does not rest until it finds a way out. It is the very task of philosophy “to show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle.” In the Fly-Bottle, we are all philosophers, united in our quest to make sense of our life experience through communal inquiries, each of us yearning to unravel our personal puzzles. What we do is philosophy, but what we deal with might be any subject in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.

The first iteration of the Fly-Bottle emerged in 2020, when some of us, primarily based in Canada and the United States, convened virtually with an ambition to find companions in our pursuit of knowledge. A few of us, endowed with an academic background in philosophy, gathered to explore the intricacies of the philosophy of mind by discussing relevant scholarly articles. Some, with diverse areas of expertise, came together to acquaint themselves with uncharted domains of study, such as Iran’s modern history. Yet others embarked on a collective literary journey, immersing themselves in the pages of a chosen novel. These are just a few examples. The initial phase of the Fly-Bottle facilitated the formation of about 20 reading or discussion groups in about a year and half. We all enjoyed our time together. But that was not enough.

Over the years, the Fly-Bottle became a more ambitious project. Many others joined our network to discuss a wide range of ideas with other inquisitive minds. We also felt the need to serve society through running interactive meetings, producing a podcast, and other educational initiatives. This is the current state of the art. We help each other grow as individual thinkers, and we jointly strive to enhance society through our public educational events or products.

“Limits of Reason” by Paul Klee

Our vision

we want to grow ideas and let them be heard. We contribute to growing ideas by creating a social network for Farsi-speaking scholars and we contribute to having them heard by disseminating academic ideas to the public sphere.

Our mission

First, we want to create a network for Farsi-speaking scholars in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, and, second, we want to disseminate the academic ideas in the public sphere. We do the first by running reading groups or informal logic meetings or such things. We do the second by podcast and other things. 

What kind of projects do we engage in?

We assist members of our community in finding like-minded peers and forming reading groups based on their interests. Previous reading groups have covered topics such as philosophy of mind, philosophy of right, epistemology, health and society, Iranian studies, art criticism, and philosophy of music. We also organize curated symposia for in-depth learning and discussion, as well as interactive meetings with guest speakers. Furthermore, we promote public discourse by introducing intellectual ideas to a broader audience through podcasts and other online content.