Recent discoveries in life sciences evidenced that changes in the composition of the microbiome and epigenetics represent two essential mechanisms at the basis of the biological evolution, since both allow a rapid change of the phenotype in response to both environmental and internal stimuli. Surprisingly, in the age of genomics we are discovering that each organism (and its evolution) cannot be explained by genes alone. The microbiome and the epigenetic machinery are frequently described as completely separate mechanisms, but actually symbionts (...) may act as epigenetic sources of heritable variation so that genomes, epigenomes and microbiomes are not independent traits, but a tripartite driver of the biological evolution of all organisms. (shrink)
Our paper aims at bringing to the fore the crucial role that habits play in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by means of natural selection. We have organized the paper in two steps: first, we analyse value and functions of the concept of habit in Darwin's early works, notably in his Notebooks, and compare these views to his mature understanding of the concept in the Origin of Species and later works; second, we discuss Darwin’s ideas on habits in the light (...) of today’s theories of epigenetic inheritance, which describe the way in which the functioning and expression of genes is modified by the environment, and how these modifications are transmitted over generations. We argue that Darwin’s lasting and multifaceted interest in the notion of habit, throughout his intellectual life, is both conceptually and methodologically relevant. From a conceptual point of view, intriguing similarities can be found between Darwin’s conception of habit and contemporary views on epigenetic inheritance. From a methodological point of view, we suggest that Darwin’s plastic approach to habits, from his early writings up to the mature works, can provide today’s evolutionary scientists with a viable methodological model to address the challenging task of extending and expanding evolutionary theory, with particular reference to the integration of epigenetic mechanisms into existing models of evolutionary change. Over his entire life Darwin has modified and reassessed his views on habits as many times as required by evidence: his work on this notion may represent the paradigm of a habit of good scientific research methodology. (shrink)
Evolutionary Aesthetics is a bourgeoning and thriving sub-field of Aesthetics, the main aim of which is “the importation of aesthetics into natural sciences, and especially its integration into the heuristic of Darwin’s evolutionary theory.” Scholars working in the field attempt to determine through the adoption of an interdisciplinary research methodology whether and to what extent Darwinian evolution can shed light on our capacity to have aesthetic experiences, make aesthetic judgments (both of art and natural beauty), and produce literary, visual, musical (...) artworks. Notwithstanding Evolutionary Aesthetics’ growing popularity in the past two decades, a look into the state of current research suggests a significant degree of haziness in the field from both epistemological-methodological and theoretical points of view. The main aim of the present paper is to make a first step towards a revision and extension of the discipline by assessing the role and potential of epigenetics in evolutionarily inspired aesthetic research. Epigenetics is among the youngest and most fascinating research fields in contemporary biology. But one of the most significant occurrences of the word “epigenesis” (the closest “ancestor” of contemporary “epigenetics”) is in Immanuel Kant’s third Critique, his aesthetic masterpiece. What might be the relationship between epigenetics and aesthetics? What is the role of epigenetic mechanisms in the development and functioning of aesthetic behavior in humans? (shrink)
The first comprehensive account of Platonism in Antiquity, from the foundation of Plato's Academy in the fourth century BC to Late Antiquity. Written in a clear language, the book shows that Platonism is philosophically engaging and very influential in the history of philosophy. Useful for both students and scholars.
Franz Brentano was a leading philosopher and psychologist of the nineteenth century. Indeed, the impact of his scholarship was so great that he became synonymous with a school of thought and a new approach in scientific philosophy. The Brentano School stood against the Idealistic and post-Kantian German tradition and Brentano played a crucial role in the founding of Austrian philosophy. He had an enormous impact on the work of Husserl and Heidegger, as well as on Moore’s _Ethics_ and Stout and (...) Russell’s analysis of mind. In particular, situated between the phenomenology movement and the analytic tradition, the concept of intentionality was redefined by Brentano and has been—and remains—a key concept of twentieth- and twentieth-first century philosophy of mind. But Brentano not only reshaped philosophy of mind; he was also a remarkable and innovative thinker in several other fields of philosophy, and recent debate in metaethics, metaphysics, and the history of analytic philosophy shows a strong resurgence of interest in Brentano’s thought. Published to coincide with the centenary of Brentano’s death, this four-volume collection, a new title from Routledge Major Works, provides an essential intellectual tool for the exegetical evaluation of all aspects of Brentano’s work. Bringing together early reviews and reactions from his contemporaries—many of which have never before been translated into English—as well as the best critical assessments of Brentano’s work, this ‘mini library’ provides Brentano scholars, historians of philosophy and psychology, and phenomenologists, with a rigorous historical appraisal of Brentano’s thought and influence. Brentano’s relationships with Husserl, Heidegger, and the phenomenological tradition are examined in depth, alongside investigations of key themes from his work on Aristotle, medieval and modern philosophy, philosophy of mind, logic, ontology, ethics, aesthetics, philosophy of religion, and the philosophy of history. (shrink)
This book covers the basic guidelines of Vittorio Benussi’s research during the period at Graz and at Padua. It does so in the light of a thorough study of his Nachlass. The book re-evaluates Benussi’s work as a historical piece, and shows how his work is still relevant today, especially in the areas of cognitive psychology and cognitive science. The volume deals with this original and ingenious - though largely ignored - scholar and discusses his work as a leading experimental (...) psychologist. Benussi’s contributions as discussed in this book were particularly relevant in the fields of visual and tactile perception, time perception, forensic psychology, hypnosis and suggestion, unconscious, and emotions. His classical papers are impressive in their originality, energy, range of approaches, experimental skill, the wealth of findings, and the quality of theoretical discussions. This book demonstrates that Benussi was ahead of his time and that his themes, experiments and research programmes are highly relevant to contemporary cognitive psychology. (shrink)
This paper argues that Deonna and Teroni's attitudinal theory of emotions faces two serious problems. The first is that their master argument fails to establish the central tenet of the theory, namely, that the formal objects of emotions do not feature in the content of emotions. The second is that the attitudinal theory itself is vulnerable to a dilemma. By pointing out these problems, our paper provides indirect support to the main competitor of the attitudinal theory, namely, the perceptual theory (...) of emotions. (shrink)
This volume, originating from the centennial Second International Conference Graz 1977-2017 on Franz Brentano's philosophy, collects eighteen essays written by nineteen distinguished specialists covering the main areas of Brentano's philosophy: his epistemology, ontology, ethics, and logic, and his contributions to psychology and philosophy of mind. Its goal is to explore the significance and impact of Brentano's thought, to promote a deepening of the ongoing renaissance of interest in Brentano, and to advance the project of understanding Brentano's actual philosophical positions and (...) correcting entrenched misunderstandings. (shrink)
Using an original approach, Mauro Dardo recounts the major achievements of twentieth-century physics--including relativity, quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics, the invention of the transistor and the laser, superconductivity, binary pulsars, and the Bose-Einstein condensate--as each emerged. His year-by-year chronicle, biographies and revealing personal anecdotes help bring to life the main events since the first Nobel Prize was awarded in 1901. The work of the most famous physicists of the twentieth century--including the Curies, Bohr, Heisenberg, Einstein, Fermi, Feynman, Gell-Mann, (...) Rutherford, and Schrödinger--is presented, often in the words and imagery of the prize-winners themselves. Mauro Dardo is Professor of Experimental Physics at Amedeo Avogadro University. He has served as Dean of the new Faculty of Sciences at the University of Turin in Alessandria, Piedmont, and has also served as Director of the university's new department of Sciences and Advanced Technologies. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to offer a new theory of moods, according to which moods are perceptual experiences that represent undetermined objects as possessing specific evaluative properties. I start by listing a series of features that moods are typically taken to possess and claim that a satisfactory theory of moods must be able either to explain why moods genuinely possess these features or to explain these appearances away in a non-ad hoc way. I show that my account provides (...) a plausible explanation of all the main features of moods. I conclude by addressing some objections against my account. (shrink)
In this paper, we propose a defence of Value Realism that relies on the unusual combination of Values Realism with Sentimentalism. What this account, which we call “Sentimental Realism”, holds, in a nutshell, is that what makes evaluative facts special is their relationship to emotions. More precisely, Sentimental Realism claims that evaluative facts are fully objective facts, but that such facts are picked out by concepts that are response-dependent, in the sense that they are essentially tied to emotions. Our plan (...) is as follows. We shall start with a presentation of Sentimental Realism and a discussion of its main virtues. On the basis of this, we shall discuss an objection to Value Realism that draws on evolutionary considerations, the Evolutionary Debunking Argument. We shall argue that Sentimental Realism safely escapes from this dilemma. (shrink)
There is an intuitive connection between well-being and happiness. Accordingly, many theories of well-being hold that well-being consists in (either unqualified or properly qualified) happiness. Traditional happiness-based theories are subject, however, to several important objections. The goal in this chapter is to offer a new happiness-based theory that is immune to the main objections raised against traditional happiness-based theories. The authors’ own fitting happiness theory of well-being can be seen as the combination of the following claims. The first is that (...) happiness consists in a broadly positive balance of affective states such as emotions, moods, and sensory pleasures. The second is that emotions, moods, and sensory pleasures are different kinds of perceptual experiences of evaluative properties. The third claim is that, insofar as happiness is constituted by states that have fittingness conditions, it is possible to assess happiness itself as fitting or unfitting. The last claim is that well-being consists in fitting happiness thus defined. (shrink)
In The Flesh of Images, Mauro Carbone analyzed Merleau-Ponty's interest in film as it relates to his aesthetic theory. Philosophy-Screens broadens the work undertaken in this earlier book, looking at the ideas of other twentieth-century thinkers concerning the relationship between philosophy and film, and also extending that analysis to address the wider proliferation of screens in the twenty-first century. In the first part of the book, Carbone examines the ways that Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Lyotard, and Deleuze grappled with the philosophical (...) significance of cinema as a novel aesthetic medium unfolding in the twentieth century. He then considers the significance of this philosophical framework for understanding the digital revolution, in particular the extent to we are increasingly and comprehensively connected with screens. Smart phones, tablets, and computers have become a primary referential optical apparatus for everyday life in ways that influence the experience not only of seeing but also of thinking and desiring. Carbone's Philosophy-Screens follows Deleuze's call for "a philosophy-cinema" that can account for these fundamental changes in perception and aesthetic production, and adapts it to twenty-first century concerns. (shrink)
_Thinking, Knowing, Acting: Epistemology and Ethics in Plato and Ancient Platonism_ aims to offer a fresh perspective on the correlation between epistemology and ethics in Plato and the Platonic tradition from Aristotle to Plotinus, by investigating the social, juridical and theoretical premises of their philosophy.
Engelmann’s short book is clearly written and presents the central arguments of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus in good form. I recommend it for all those who try to understand this most intricate but also most influential philosophical work published in the last hundred years. My critical remarks only try to further clarify his interpretation.
Mechanisms are a way of explaining how biological phenomena work rather than why single elements of biological systems are there. However, mechanisms are usually described as physiological entities, and little or no attention is paid to malfunction as an independent theoretical concept. On the other hand, malfunction is the main focus of interest of applied sciences such as medicine. In this paper I argue that malfunctions are parts of pathological mechanisms, which should be considered separate theoretical entities, conceptually having a (...) priority over physiological sequences. While pathological mechanisms can be described in terms of a Cummins-like mechanistic explanation, they show some unnoticed peculiarities when compared to physiological ones. Some features of pathological mechanisms are considered, such as outcome variability, ambivalence and dependence on a range. (shrink)
In The Pursuit of Unhappiness, Daniel Haybron has defended an emotional state theory of happiness, according to which happiness consists in a broadly positive balance of emotions, moods, and mood propensities. In this paper, I argue that Haybron’s theory should be modified in two ways. First, contra Haybron, I argue that sensory pleasures should be regarded as constituents of happiness, alongside emotions and moods. I do this by showing that sensory pleasures are sufficiently similar to emotions for them to be (...) included within the class of happiness-constituting states. Second, I argue that a plausible theory of happiness should not include mood propensities, since their inclusion is either counterintuitive or unnecessary. (shrink)
In this first English publication of a well-known and widely respected Italian scholar, readers will encounter the preeminent interpreter of the works of Maurice Merleau-Ponty engaged in a dialogue of critical concern to contemporary philosophy. In subtle and sensitive language eminently suited to the style and substance of Merleau-Ponty's own writings, Mauro Carbone fashions four essays around a central theme-the relations of the sensible and the intelligible, and of philosophy and non-philosophy-that occupied Merleau-Ponty in his later work. An original (...) and innovative interpretation of the ontology of Merleau-Ponty--and themselves a significant contribution to the field of Continental thought--these essays constitute a sustained exploration of what Merleau-Ponty detected, and greeted, as a "mutation within the relations of man and Being," which would provide him with the basis for a new idea of philosophy or "a-philosophy." In lucid, often elegant terms, Carbone analyzes key elements of Merleau-Ponty's thought in relation to Proust's Recherche, Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit , the new biology of Von Uexkull, Rimbaud's Lettre du voyant , and Heidegger's conception of "letting-be." His work clearly demonstrates the vitality of Merleau-Ponty's late revolutionary philosophy by following its most salient, previously unexplored paths. This is essential reading for any scholar with an interest in Merleau-Ponty, in the questions of embodiment, temporality and Nature, or in the possibility of philosophy today. (shrink)
En los últimos años, la relación entre la filosofía de la Ilustración y el cinismo ha logrado atraer la atención de los especialistas. En ese marco, los críticos suelen identificar las filosofías de Diógenes y Diderot. El objetivo del presente trabajo es revisar el vínculo que existe entre ambos con el fin de demostrar que el mismo es problemático y que, por esa razón, desborda las interpretaciones que se han presentado hasta el momento. Esto, por otra parte, arrojará luces sobre (...) la relación entre el materialismo de Diderot y su teoría ético-política. In recent years the relationship between the philosophy of the Enlightenment and cynicism has managed to attract the attention of scholars. In this framework, critics often identify Diogenes and Diderot's philosophy. The aim of this paper is to examine the relationship between Diderot and Diogenes in order to demonstrate that it is a problematic relationship that goes beyond the interpretations that have been presented so far. This, on the other hand, will shed light on the relationship between Diderot's materialism and his ethical and political theory. (shrink)
This paper offers a critical assessment of the current state of the debate about the identity and individuality of material objects. Its main aim, in particular, is to show that, in a sense to be carefully specified, the opposition between the Leibnizian ‘reductionist’ tradition, based on discernibility, and the sort of ‘primitivism’ that denies that facts of identity and individuality must be analysable has become outdated. In particular, it is argued that—contrary to a widespread consensus—‘naturalised’ metaphysics supports both the acceptability (...) of non-qualitatively grounded (both ‘contextual’ and intrinsic) identity and a pluralistic approach to individuality and individuation. A case study is offered that focuses on non-relativistic quantum mechanics, in the context of which primitivism about identity and individuality, rather than being regarded as unscientific, is on the contrary suggested to be preferable to the complicated forms of reductionism that have recently been proposed. More generally, by assuming a plausible form of anti-reductionism about scientific theories and domains, it is claimed that science can be regarded as compatible with, or even as suggesting, the existence of a series of equally plausible grades of individuality. The kind of individuality that prevails in a certain context and at a given level can be ascertained only on the basis of the specific scientific theory at hand. (shrink)
What is the relation between virtue and wellbeing? Our claim is that, under certain conditions, virtue necessarily tends to have a positive impact on an individual’s wellbeing. This is so because of the connection between virtue and psychological happiness, on the one hand, and between psychological happiness and wellbeing, on the other hand. In particular we defend three claims: that virtue is constituted by a disposition to experience fitting emotions, that fitting emotions are constituents of fitting happiness, and that fitting (...) happiness is a constituent of wellbeing. What follows is that, under certain conditions, virtue disposes the individual to experience wellbeing-constituting states. We end with a discussion of two objections that may be raised against our proposal. (shrink)