Editors: Edgardo Cañón-Tapia and Alexandru Szakács
Humankind has been aware of volcanic activity in this planet since ancient times. Consequently, it is only fair to say that at present almost everyone has an “intuitive” knowledge of what a volcano is. Nevertheless, as this book reveals, attempting a formal definition of a “volcano” that includes the most recent advances and discoveries is not trivial. As shown by the chapters in this book, it is possible to advance more than one formal definition of such an apparently simple term. By discussing the pivotal concept of the discipline—volcano—the contributors roam around the fundamental conceptual core of volcanology. While it is not claimed that a person who reads all nine chapters will arrive at a final answer to the question posed by the book’s title, fundamental concepts are discussed in the light of the philosophy of science and classical philosophy, providing those approaches a more general intellectual flavor beyond the strictly scientific and technical aspects. Conceptual approaches included in this book also allow for highlighting possible new avenues of basic volcanological research in the future.