This is a sequel to our dialogue "Che cosa c'è e che cos'è (2003), focusing on the interplay between what there is and what there could be—between actuality and possibility—from the perspective of Hylas (here: the realist philosopher) and from the perspective of Philonous (here: the conventionalist anti-realist).
A philosophical exchange broadly inspired by the characters of Berkeley’s Three Dialogues. Hylas is the realist philosopher: the view he stands up for reflects a robust metaphysic that is reassuringly close to common sense, grounded on the twofold persuasion that the world comes structured into entities of various kinds and at various levels and that it is the task of philosophy, if not of science generally, to “bring to light” that structure. Philonous, by contrast, is the anti-realist philosopher (though not (...) necessarily an idealist): his metaphysic is stark, arid, dishearteningly bone-dry, and stems from the conviction that a great deal of the structure that we are used to attribute to the world out there lies, on closer inspection, in our head, in our “organizing practices”, in the complex system of concepts and categories that unrerlie our representation of experience and our need to represent it that way. (shrink)
Traditionally, from Aristotle to Hegel, has been considered as valuable the following sequence: Thought → Word → Writing. In this essay I claim that the right order of the sequence is utterly the opposite: oral language does not come first, gesture does; writing is independent from language both because gesture comes first and because writing, differently from language, can record; finally the capacity of recording and of communicating is typical of the soul seen as a tabula.
The essay concerns the notion of realism and its relationship with the notion of perception. The ontological meaning of aesthetics as aisthesis is in fact in the non-amendable nature of perception. From this non-amendability the essay outlines four traces through which aisthesis leads to realism: “nonconceptual content”, “object”, “naivety”, “ontology”.
Maurizio Ferraris | : L’une des réponses au paradoxe de la fiction consiste à dire que les émotions que nous éprouvons face aux oeuvres de fiction ne sont pas véritables. Mais qu’est-ce que pleurer ou rire pour de vrai ? En fait, presque toutes les formes de rire ou de larmes, et de réactions émotionnelles, sont compatibles avec la fiction, y compris celles qui sont des émotions vraies. Ce qui pose problème dans le paradoxe est la prémisse selon laquelle nos (...) croyances au sujet de la fiction doivent être vraies ou fausses. | : One of the answers to the paradox of fiction consists in claiming that the emotions that we feel about fictions are not genuine emotions. But what is it to laugh or to cry genuinely? In fact, almost all kinds of laughter and of cry are compatible with fictions, including genuine ones. What is wrong in the paradox of fiction is the premise according to which our beliefs about fictions have to be true or false. (shrink)
In this article I defend two theses. The first is that the centrality of recording in the social world is manifested through the production of documents, a phenomenon which has been present since the earliest phases of society and which has undergone an exponential growth through the technological developments of the last decades. The second is that the centrality of documents leads to a view of normativity according to which human beings are primarily passive receptors of rules manifested through documents. (...) We are not intentional producers of values. The latter, as I shall suggest in my conclusion, should be viewed as being ‘socially dependent’ rather than ‘socially constructed’. (shrink)
Il vero punto, nel confronto tra realisti e postmodernisti, non è ovviamente l’affermazione o negazione dell’esistenza del mondo esterno, ma il costruzionismo: quanto incidono gli schemi concettuali nella costruzione della realtà naturale e sociale? Infatti nessun realista negherebbe che l’IVA dipenda da schemi concettuali . Quello che il realista si chiede è, appunto, fin dove si spinge l’azione degli schemi concettuali, ed è qui che si manifesta il dissidio tra realisti e postmodernisti. Questi ultimi sono molto più generosi nella lista (...) delle parti di realtà che sono socialmente costruite, al punto da affermare, in taluni casi, che noi non abbiamo mai accesso a un mondo "là fuori”, ma solo con ciò che viene costruito dai nostri schemi concettuali.The actual issue at stake, in the confrontation between realists and postmodernists, is not whether you should accept or deny the existence of the external world, but the scope of constructionism: how far conceptual schemes bear on the construction of natural and social reality? Indeed, no realist would deny that the VAT depends on our conceptual schemes, which does not mean that it is purely subjective: you don’t decide whether you have to pay the VAT, it depends on where the purchase takes places. The realist just asks where the sphere of influence of conceptual schemes stops, and here the disagreement with the postmodernists begins. The latter are much more generous in listing the parts of reality that they consider socially constructed, up to maintaining that we do not have any access to the world “out there”, but only to what our conceptual schemes construct. (shrink)
Objects come in three kinds: physical objects that exist in space and in time, and are independent from subjects knowing them, even though they may have built them, as for artifacts ; ideal objects that exist outside of space and time, and are independent from the subjects knowing them, but which, after having been discovered, can be socialized; social objects, that do not exist as such in space, since their physical presence is limited to the inscription, but last in time, (...) and whose existence depends on the subjects who know, or at least can use, them and who, in certain cases, have constituted them. This latter circumstance display us the fact that social objects, for which construction is necessary, depends on social acts, whose inscription constitutes the object. As I show through the law Object = Inscribed Act, social objects consist in the recording of acts that encompass at least two people, and are characterized by being inscribed, on a physical substrate what so ever, from marble to neurons, passing through paper and computers. If all this is true, then a theory of social objects develops naturally into a theory of the document, understood as an inquire centered on the definition of what I call “documentality”, namely the properties that constitute, in each case, the necessary and sufficient conditions to be a social object. At last, there is no society if there are no documents, and documents are records with a particular social value. (shrink)