The present contribution aims at defining the relation between cybernetics and social theory from the perspective of society as order. After an historical framework of the cybernetic movement, a careful reading of the works of Norbert Wiener, in which he introduced the concept of feed-back and the idea of information society, has revealed a keen awareness about the social effects of technological innovation. Among the social scientists who had made use of cybernetic concepts, it has been considered the work of (...) Karl Deutsch, which was one of the first completely cybernetic perspective for the study of political and social phenomena. The main conclusion is that cybernetics, as a meeting point between different disciplines, has produced an image of self-regulated society in line with the image of society as order. (shrink)
After the Second World War, Italy experienced an economic miracle accompanied by the emergence of a material culture highly dense with meaning. This article adopts a second-order approach, which focuses on two concepts that emphasize the component of invention contained within the innovation process. Garbo indicates the peculiarly Italian way of solving a constrained optimization problem in the design of everyday objects. Meanwhile, the concept of cenacolo ‐ whose etymological roots indicate conviviality and good living ‐ made possible the study (...) of the peculiar social networks of the Milanese cultural landscape during the 1960s, which enabled important cross-fertilizations between industry, culture and art. To demonstrate the connections between invention and Garbo and cenacoli, the examples of Olivetti and Bialetti are used as case studies of innovative solutions to constrained problems. Following an outline of elements promoting the success of each, the article identifies historically determined mechanisms, which enable us to imagine and establish the evolutionary conditions for new pathways of invention. (shrink)
In this article Roberto Balzani, the mayor of Forlì, remembers Roberto Ruffilli, 25 years after his murder. The remembrance reconstructs the steps of his academic career and of his political commitment. Ruffilli graduated at the Catholic University of Milan; his researches in contemporary history placed him in an original position if compared with the Italian studies of the time. The constant attention towards the history of administration and the transformations of the state is the basis on which Ruffilli (...) built his proposals concerning the reform of the insitutional and political system. Balzani concludes the article by affirming that the problems of today aren't any different, that is why Ruffilli's proposals still demonstrate their modernity. (shrink)
The subject of this paper is objectivity from Kant's point of view: or better, my own perspective on Kant's perspective on objectivity. More precisely, I want to draw attention to some aspects of the latter, which I believe are too narrow and must be widened before we can benefit from a Kantian approach today.
A discussion with Roberto Andorno about global bioethics and biolaw, the Coronavirus pandemic, and its impact on human dignity and rights. Can we foresee the emerging new profile of global bioethics and biolaw in the post-Coronavirus era? How significant are they going to be in the future, after the enormous pressure that the Coronavirus pandemic has exercised on key political, legal, and ethical values? Must the voice of bioethicists -compared to the ‘hard’ scientific data- be louder in the future (...) concerning decisions about emergency social and medical measures? Is there a hope that public empowerment will support robust, global public engagement and meaningful deliberation? How much does Roberto Andorno’s view on human dignity reveal a supposed commitment to moral realism? The massive deaths of elderly people living in hospices of Sweden, Spain, and Italy, based on an implicit ‘fair innings’ view, has recently posed certain questions on the moral unacceptability of such practices. The same questions arise in the case of the legalization of euthanasia grounded on the implicit acceptance of the view that life is not worth living under certain circumstances. Is it possible that the human rights bodies worldwide will acquire executive power, and how could this become possible? How influential the ‘precautionary principle’ can become regarding clinical and research ethics in the future? How urgent is the importance of the introduction of bioethical education in the curricula of ‘hard’ empirical studies? Roberto Andorno discusses with us all these controversial and under heated public debate issues, giving sometimes provocative answers. (shrink)
This book by Roberto Esposito - a leading Italian political philosopher - is a highly original exploration of the relationship between human bodies and societies. The original function of law, even before it was codified, was to preserve peaceful cohabitation between people who were exposed to the risk of destructive conflict. Just as the human body's immune system protects the organism from deadly incursions by viruses and other threats, law also ensures the survival of the community in a life-threatening (...) situation. It protects and prolongs life. But the function of law as a form of immunization points to a more disturbing consideration. Like the individual body, the collective body can be immunized from the perceived danger only by allowing a little of what threatens it to enter its protective boundaries. This means that in order to escape the clutches of death, life is forced to incorporate within itself the lethal principle. Starting from this reflection on the nature of immunization, Esposito offers a wide-ranging analysis of contemporary biopolitics. Never more than at present has the demand for immunization come to characterize all aspects of our existence. The more we feel at risk of being infiltrated and infected by foreign elements, the more the life of the individual and society closes off within its protective boundaries, forcing us to choose between a self-destructive outcome and a more radical alternative based on a new conception of community. (shrink)
There are two main ways in which the notion of mereological fusion is usually defined in the current literature in mereology which have been labelled ‘Leśniewski fusion’ and ‘Goodman fusion’. It is well-known that, with Minimal Mereology as the background theory, every Leśniewski fusion also qualifies as a Goodman fusion. However, the converse does not hold unless stronger mereological principles are assumed. In this paper I will discuss how the gap between the two notions can be filled, focussing in particular (...) on two specific sets of principles that appear to be of particular philosophical interest. The first way to make the two notions equivalent can be used to shed some interesting light on the kind of intuition both notions seem to articulate. The second shows the importance of a little-known mereological principle which I will call ‘Mild Supplementation’. As I will show, the mereology obtained by adding Mild Supplementation to Minimal Mereology occupies an interesting position in the landscape of theories that are stronger than Minimal Mereology but weaker than what Achille Varzi and Roberto Casati have labelled ‘Extensional Mereology’. (shrink)
Fr. Roberto Busa was an Italian Jesuit. In this article his biography will briefly be presented, and some issues raised by his philosophy analyzed. Busa was known as a pioneer of computerized research in the humanities. With the support of IBM he constructed the Index Thomisticus, containing all the works of St. Thomas Aquinas. He believed that expressions of the human can be mathematically modeled. He was the originator of a specific conception of hypertext, in which logically structured programs (...) are able to challenge the general linguistic mode of thinking, in order to make better communication and understanding possible. However, Busa was also con- scious of the general ethical problems involved (Babel), and he hoped that the basic logic of objects could progress towards the truth of being. (shrink)
Grounding contingentism is the doctrine according to which grounds are not guaranteed to necessitate what they ground. In this paper I will argue that the most plausible version of contingentism is incompatible with the idea that the grounding relation is transitive, unless either ‘priority monism’ or ‘contrastivism’ are assumed.
I present an argument proving that there are no fundamental facts, which is similar to an argument recently presented by Mark Jago for truthmaker maximalism. I suggest that this argument gives us at least some prima facie, defeasible reason to believe that there are no fundamental facts.
In this paper I will present three arguments (based on the notions of constitution, metaphysical reality, and truth, respectively) with the aim of shedding some new light on the structure of Fine’s (2005, 2006) ‘McTaggartian’ arguments against the reality of tense. Along the way, I will also (i) draw a novel map of the main realist positions about tense, (ii) unearth a previously unnoticed but potentially interesting form of external relativism (which I will label ‘hyper-presentism’) and (iii) sketch a novel (...) interpretation of Fine’s fragmentalism (which I contrast with Lipman’s 2015, 2016b, forthcoming). (shrink)
According to Composition is Identity, a whole is literally identical to the plurality of its parts. According to Mereological Nihilism, nothing has proper parts. In this note, it is argued that Composition is Identity can be shown to entail Mereological Nihilism in a much more simple and direct way than the one recently proposed by Claudio Calosi.
Roberto Esposito is one of leading figures in a new generation of Italian philosophers. This book criticizes the notion of the person and develops an original account of the concept of the impersonal - what he calls the third person.
As the worlds of economics, politics, culture, and communications face a growing wave of globalization that will likely continue, ethical challenges for journalists have also gone global. I propose a clear division between ethics codes for media owners, the public, and professional journalists and present a set of considerations and specific rules applicable only to the last group. In this article I advocate a universal code of journalistic ethics but point out problems and warn against dangers that have made the (...) application of such codes difficult in the past. A universal code should consider the voluntary nature of such an endeavor, the cultural and economic differences in various journalistic traditions, and the problem of producing solutions acceptable to all involved. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThe ability of providing an adequate supervenience base for tensed truths may seem to be one of the main theoretical advantages of both the growing-block and the moving-spotlight theory of time over presentism. However, in this paper I will argue that some propositions appear to be as problematic for growing-block theorists as past-directed propositions are for presentists, namely propositions stating that nothing will be the case in the future. Furthermore, I will show that the moving-spotlight theory can adequately address all (...) the main supervenience challenges that can be levelled against A-theories of time. I will, thus, conclude that, at least as far as the supervenience principle is concerned, the moving-spotlight theory should be preferred over both presentism and the growing-block theory. (shrink)
Fine (2005, 2006) has presented a ‘trilemma’ concerning the tense-realist idea that reality is constituted by tensed facts. According to Fine, there are only three ways out of the trilemma, consisting in what he takes to be the three main families of tense-realism: ‘presentism’, ‘(external) relativism’, and ‘fragmentalism’. Importantly, although Fine characterises tense-realism as the thesis that reality is constituted (at least in part) by tensed facts, he explicitly claims that tense realists are not committed to their fundamental existence. Recently, (...) Correia and Rosenkranz (2011, 2012) have claimed that Fine’s tripartite map of tense realism is incomplete as it misses a fourth position they call ‘dynamic absolutism’. In this paper, I will argue that dynamic absolutists are committed to the irreducible existence of tensed facts and that, for this reason, they face a similar trilemma concerning the notion of fact-content. I will thus conclude that a generalised version of Fine’s trilemma, concerning both fact-constitution and fact-content, is indeed inescapable. (shrink)
What is the relation between parts taken together and the whole that they compose? The recent literature appears to be dominated by two different answers to this question, which are normally thought of as being incompatible. According to the first, parts taken together are identical to the whole that they compose. According to the second, the whole is grounded in its parts. The aim of this paper is to make some theoretical room for the view according to which parts ground (...) the whole they compose while being, at the same time, identical to it. (shrink)
In this article, Roberto Esposito lays out the genealogical pathways linking the three major concepts around which his most recent work has wound its way: community, immunity, and biopolitics. Although immunity is necessary to the preservation of our life, when driven beyond a certain threshold it forces life into a sort of cage where not only our freedom gets lost but also the very meaning of our existence – that opening of existence outside itself that takes the name of (...) communitas. A hermeneutics informed by immunity can allow the category of community to regain a new political significance, without ending up in a substantialist metaphysics. This task is dictated by the urgent need for an affirmative biopolitics – a horizon of meaning – in which life would no longer be the object but somehow the subject of politics. But what sort of shape would this take? Where would we trace its symptoms? And with what objectives? A preliminary answer focuses on breaking the vise grip between public and private that threatens to crush the common, by seeking instead to expand the space of the common, in the fight, for example, against the planned privatization of water and the battle over energy sources. (shrink)
This article underlines and draws attention to critical insights Esposito makes regarding the prospects of rethinking community in a globalized world. Alongside Agamben and Nancy, Esposito challenges the property prejudice found in mainstream models of community. In identity politics, collective identity is converted into a form of communal property. Borders, sovereign territories, and exclusive rights are fiercely defended in the name of communal property. Esposito responds to this problem by developing what I call a “deontological communal contract” where being and (...) ethics are prioritized over having and economics. I examine this new perspective on community in relation to mainstream models found in contemporary and classical social theory. (shrink)
According to ‘Strong Composition as Identity’, if an entity is composed of a plurality of entities, it is identical to them. As it has been argued in the literature, SCAI appears to give rise to some serious problems which seem to suggest that SCAI-theorists should take their plural quantifier to be governed by some ‘weak’ plural comprehension principle and, thus, ‘exclude’ some kinds of pluralities from their plural ontology. The aim of this paper is to argue that, contrary to what (...) may appear at first sight, the assumption of a weak plural comprehension principle is perfectly compatible with plural logic and the common uses of plural quantification. As I aim to show, SCAI-theorists can simply claim that their theory must be understood as formulated by means of the most ‘joint-carving’ plural quantifier, thus leaving open the possibility of other, less joint-carving, ‘unrestricted’ plural quantifiers. In the final part of the paper I will also suggest that SCAI-theorists should not only allow for singular quantification over pluralities of entities, but also for plural quantification over ‘super-pluralities’ of entities. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with certain ontological issues in the foundations of geographic representation. It sets out what these basic issues are, describes the tools needed to deal with them, and draws some implications for a general theory of spatial representation. Our approach has ramifications in the domains of mereology, topology, and the theory of location, and the question of the interaction of these three domains within a unified spatial representation theory is addressed. In the final part we also consider (...) the idea of non-standard geographies, which may be associated with geography under a classical conception in the same sense in which non-standard logics are associated with classical logic. (shrink)
In this paper I address two important objections to the theory called ‘ Composition as Identity’ : the ‘wall-bricks-and-atoms problem’, and the claim that CAI entails mereological nihilism. I aim to argue that the best version of CAI capable of addressing both problems is the theory I will call ‘Atomic Composition as Identity’ which consists in taking the plural quantifier to range only over proper pluralities of mereological atoms and every non-atomic entity to be identical to the plurality of atoms (...) it fuses. I will proceed in three main steps. First, I will defend Sider’s Composition as identity. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 211–221, 2014) idea of weakening the comprehension principle for pluralities and I will show that :219–235, 2016a) it can ward off both the WaBrA problem and the threat of mereological nihilism. Second, I will argue that CAI-theorists should uphold an ‘atomic comprehension principle’ which, jointly with CAI, entails that there are only proper pluralities of mereological atoms. Finally, I will present a novel reading of the ‘one of’ relation that not only avoids the problems presented by Yi Composition as identity. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 169–191, 2014) and Calosi :429–443, 2016b, Am Philos Q 55:281–292, 2018) but can also help ACAI-theorists to make sense of the idea that a composite entity is both one and many. (shrink)
The possibility of changing the past by means of time-travel appears to depend on the possibility of distinguishing the past as it is ‘before’ and ‘after’ the time-travel. So far, all the metaphysical models that have been proposed to account for the possibility of past-changing time-travels operate this distinction by conceiving of time as multi-dimensional, and thus by significantly inflating our metaphysics of time. The aim of this article is to argue that there is an intuitive sense in which past-changing (...) time-travels are metaphysically possible also in one-dimensional time. (shrink)
This is Dr. Roberto Assagioli's second book on the psychological system he formulated known as Psychosynthesis. It continues where his first book left off and delves into the important process of willing as a psychological function based on a higher self rather on guilt or determination as in the Victorian concept of the will.
Most of the theories of location on the market appear to be ideologically parsimonious at least in the sense that they take as primitive just one locative notion and define all the other locative notions in terms of it. Recently, however, the possibility of some exotic metaphysical scenarios involving gunky mixtures and extended simple regions of space has been argued to pose a significant threat to parsimonious theories of locations. The aim of this paper is to show that a theory (...) taking as primitive a notion of plural pervasive location and allowing for irreducibly plural locative facts can account for all the putatively problematic scenarios for parsimonious theories of location. Furthermore, I will also argue that the notion of plural pervasive location is compatible with the possibility of multilocation. (shrink)
Joseph Keim Campbell has recently criticized Peter van Inwagen's Third Argument against compatibilism for its reliance on the existence of a remote past. In response, Anthony Brueckner has offered a new version of the Third Argument showing that determinism and free will are incompatible for all times t relative to which there is a past . In this paper I argue that although Brueckner's retooled argument fails to prove anything in favour of incompatibilism, its conclusion can be exploited to provide (...) another version of van Inwagen's original argument that doesn't rely on the existence of past times, thus withstanding Campbell's criticism. (shrink)
Antonio Gramsci's _Prison Notebooks_ have offered concepts, categories, and political solutions that have been applied in a variety of social and political contexts, from postwar Italy to the insurgencies of the Arab Spring. The contributors to _Gramsci in the World_ examine the diverse receptions and uses of Gramscian thought, highlighting its possibilities and limits for understanding and changing the world. Among other topics, they explore Gramsci's importance to Caribbean anticolonial thinkers like Stuart Hall, his presence in decolonial indigenous movements in (...) the Andes, and his relevance to understanding the Chinese Left. The contributors consider why Gramsci has had relatively little impact in the United States while also showing how he was a major force in pushing Marxism beyond Europe—especially into the Arab world and other regions of the Global South. Rather than taking one interpretive position on Gramsci, the contributors demonstrate the ongoing relevance of his ideas to revolutionary theory and praxis. Contributors. Alberto Burgio, Cesare Casarino, Maria Elisa Cevasco, Kate Crehan, Roberto M. Dainotto, Michael Denning, Harry Harootunian, Fredric Jameson, R. A. Judy, Patrizia Manduchi, Andrea Scapolo, Peter D. Thomas, Catherine Walsh, Pu Wang, Cosimo Zene. (shrink)
What is the relationship between persons and things? And how does the body transform this relationship? In this highly original new book, Roberto Esposito - one of Italy’s leading political philosophers - considers these questions and shows that starting from the body, rather than from the thing or the person, can help us to reconsider the status of both. Ever since its beginnings, our civilization has been based on a strict, unequivocal distinction between persons and things, founded on the (...) instrumental domination of persons over things. This opposition arose out of ancient Roman law and persisted throughout modernity, to take its place in our current global market, where it continues to generate growing contradictions. Although the distinction seems to appear clear and necessary to us, what we are continually witnessing in legal, economic, and technological practice is a reversal of perspectives: some categories of persons are becoming assimilated with things, while some types of things are taking on a personal profile. With his customary rigour, Roberto Esposito argues that there exists an escape route out of this paradox, constituted by a new point of view founded in the body. Neither a person nor a thing, the human body becomes the decisive element in rethinking the concepts and values that govern our philosophical, legal, and political lexicons. (shrink)