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)
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.
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)
Thinking about space is thinking about spatial things. The table is on the carpet; hence the carpet is under the table. The vase is in the box; hence the box is not in the vase. But what does it mean for an object to be somewhere? How are objects tied to the space they occupy? This book is concerned with these and other fundamental issues in the philosophy of spatial representation. Our starting point is an analysis of the interplay between (...) mereology (the study of part/whole relations), topology (the study of spatial continuity and compactness), and the theory of spatial location proper. This leads to a unified framework for spatial representation understood quite broadly as a theory of the representation of spatial entities. The framework is then tested against some classical metaphysical questions such as: Are parts essential to their wholes? Is spatial colocation a sufficient criterion of identity? What (if anything) distinguishes material objects from events and other spatial entities? The concluding chapters deal with applications to topics as diverse as the logical analysis of movement and the semantics of maps. (shrink)
This high-level study discusses Newtonian principles and 19th-century views on electrodynamics and the aether. Additional topics include Einstein's electrodynamics of moving bodies, Minkowski spacetime, gravitational geometry, time and causality, and other subjects. Highlights include a rich exposition of the elements of the special and general theories of relativity.
A critical survey of the main philosophical theories about events and event talk, organized in three main sections: (i) Events and Other Categories (Events vs. Objects; Events vs. Facts; Events vs. Properties; Events vs. Times); (ii) Types of Events (Activities, Accomplishments, Achievements, and States; Static and Dynamic Events; Actions and Bodily Movements; Mental and Physical Events; Negative Events); (iii) Existence, Identity, and Indeterminacy.
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)
Contents: List of Contributors VII; Roberto Poli: Foreword IX-X; Roberto Poli: The Brentano puzzle: an introduction 1; Dallas Willard: Who needs Brentano? The wasteland of philosophy without its past 15; Claire Ortiz Hill: Introduction to Paul Linke's 'Gottlob Frege as philosopher' 45; Paul F. Linke: Gottlob Frege as philosopher 49; John Blackmore: Franz Brentano and the University of Vienna Philosophical Society 1888-1938 73; Alf Zimmer: On agents and objects: some remarks on Brentanian perception 93; Liliana Albertazzi: Perceptual saliences (...) and nuclei of meaning 113; Jan Srzednicki: Brentano and the thinkable 139; Claire Ortiz Hill: From empirical psychology to phenomenology. Edmund Husserl on the 'Brentano puzzle' 151; Serena Cattaruzza: Brentano and Boltzmann: the Schubladenexperiment 169; Karl Schuhmann: Johannes Daubert's theory of judgement 179; Evelyn Dölling: On Alexius Meinong's theory of signs 199; Robin Rollinger: Linguistic expressions and acts of meaning: comments on Marty's philosophy of language 215-225. (shrink)
A magisterial study of the philosophy of physics that both introduces the subject to the non-specialist and contains many original and important contributions for professionals in the area. Modern physics was born as a part of philosophy and has retained to this day a properly philosophical concern for the clarity and coherence of ideas. Any introduction to the philosophy of physics must therefore focus on the conceptual development of physics itself. This book pursues that development from Galileo and Newton through (...) Maxwell and Boltzmann to Einstein and the founders of quantum mechanics. There is also discussion of important philosophers of physics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and of twentieth-century debates. In the interest of appealing to the broadest possible readership the author avoids technicalities and explains both the physics and philosophical terms. (shrink)
This article develops the affirmative biopolitics that Roberto Esposito intimates in his trilogy – Communitas, Immunitas and Bı´os. The key to this affirmative biopolitics lies in the relationship between the munus, a form of gift that is the root of communitas and immunitas, and the gift discourse that developed throughout the 20th century. The article expands upon Esposito’s interpretation of four theoretical sources that are crucial to his biopolitical perspective: Mauss and the gift-exchange tradition; Hobbes’s social contract theory, which (...) Esposito presents as the anti-gift that founded modernity’s thanatopolitical ‘immunization paradigm’; Bataille’s dangerous concept of sacrifice, which gestures toward an affirmative biopolitical community; and, finally, Jean-Luc Nancy’s essay, L’Intrus, which reflects on the near-decade Nancy lived as the recipient of the gift of a transplanted heart. This discussion of Mauss, Hobbes and Bataille is used to further develop Esposito’s interpretation of L’Intrus in a manner that supports his conception of an affirmative biopolitics ‘of, not over, life’. (shrink)
This article argues for the elimination of the concept of life worth living from philosophical vocabulary on three complementary grounds. First, the basic components of this concept suffer from multiple ambiguities, which hamper attempts to ground informative evaluative and classificatory judgments about the worth of life. Second, the criteria proposed to track the extension of the concept of life worth living rest on unsupported axiological assumptions and fail to identify precise and plausible referents for this concept. And third, the concept (...) of life worth living is not shown to serve any major evaluative or classificatory purpose besides those served by already available axiological concepts. By eliminating the concept of life worth living, philosophers will free themselves of the task of addressing ill-posed axiological questions and ground reflection about the worth of life on more rigorous conceptual foundations. (shrink)
"A pleasure to read. Gracefully written by a scholar well grounded in the relevant philosophical, historical, and technical background. . . . a helpfully clarifying review and analysis of some issues of importance to recent philosophy of science and a source of some illuminating insights."--Burke Townsend, Philosophy of Science.
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)
Confirmation of a hypothesis by evidence can be measured by one of the so far known incremental measures of confirmation. As we show, incremental measures can be formally defined as the measures of confirmation satisfying a certain small set of basic conditions. Moreover, several kinds of incremental measure may be characterized on the basis of appropriate structural properties. In particular, we focus on the so-called Matthew properties: we introduce a family of six Matthew properties including the reverse Matthew effect; we (...) further prove that incremental measures endowed with reverse Matthew effect are possible; finally, we shortly consider the problem of the plausibility of Matthew properties. (shrink)
Introduction -- Inquiry as the logic of practical reasoning -- From reasoning to judgment -- Expressive inquiry -- The public sphere -- Pragmatism, pluralism, and the fact of relativism -- A pragmatic theory of objectivity -- Why justification matters? -- Pragmatism as an epistemology of practice.
Rejected options -- The perennial philosophy and its enemy -- Pragmatism reclaimed -- The core conception: constraint, incompleteness, resistance, reinvention -- Time and experience: antinomies of the impersonal -- The reality of time: the transformation of transformation -- Self-consciousness: humanity imagines -- What then should we do? -- Society: the perpetual invention of the future -- Politics: democracy as anti-fate -- A moment of reform: the reinvention of social democracy -- Religion: the self awakened -- Philosophy: beyond superscience and self-help.
Roberto Esposito has extended the deconstructive theory of the gift into political philosophy, theorizing the gift as the transcendental form of political obligation. In Esposito's philosophy of communitas, the munus consists of the single obligation to give, a logic of donors without receivers, yet it simultaneously establishes relations of reciprocity, mutuality, debt and gratitude. I argue that that indebtedness and reciprocity are not logically possible in a gift system where donors are bound by the single obligation to give, as (...) the donor has no other and the gift no recipient. These inconsistencies may be addressed by distinguishing two forms of gift in communitas: the impersonal gift characterized solely by the obligation to give to the gods/communitas and the reciprocal gift characterized by the obligations to give, receive and return the gift. Esposito's philosophy of communitas would additionally be strengthened by conceptualizing symbolic practices, specifically collective representations, as intrinsic to the munus. As impersonal gift, the munus is a symbolic practice through which the members of communitas represent to themselves their being-in-common. The munus operates as a vertical relation of expenditure made possible by the collective representation of the political we. The reciprocal gift, in contrast, constitutes differentiated social ties and networks: the being-in-difference of communal life. The distinction between the impersonal and the reciprocal gift gives rise to a minimal division between the political and the communal within the transcendental structure of communitas. (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)
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)
What are the relationships between an entity and the space at which it is located? And between a region of space and the events that take place there? What is the metaphysical structure of localization? What its modal status? This paper addresses some of these questions in an attempt to work out at least the main coordinates of the logical structure of localization. Our task is mostly taxonomic. But we also highlight some of the underlying structural features and we single (...) out the interactions between the notion of localization and nearby notions, such as the notions of part and whole, or of necessity and possibility. A theory of localization—we argue—is needed in order to account for the basic relations between objects and space, and runs afoul a pure part-whole theory. We also provide an axiomatization of the relation of localization and examine cases of localization involving entities different from material objects. (shrink)
Responding to Hasok Chang’s vision of the history and philosophy of science as the continuation of science by other means, I illustrate the methods of HPS and their utility through a historico-critical examination of the problem of “time’s arrow‘, that is to say, the problem posed by the claim by Boltzmann and others that the temporal asymmetry of many physical processes and indeed the very possibility of identifying each of the two directions we distinguish in time must have a ground (...) in the laws of nature. I claim that this problem has proved intractable chiefly because the standard mathematical representation of time employed in the formulation of the laws of nature “forgets‘ one of the connotations of the word ”time’ as it is used in ordinary language and in experimental physics. (shrink)
This paper argues that some of the misunderstandings surrounding the meaning and function of the concept of human dignity in bioethics arise from a lack of distinction between two different roles that this notion plays: one as an overarching policy principle, and the other as a moral standard of patient care. While the former is a very general concept which fulfils a foundational and a guiding role of the normative framework governing biomedical issues, the latter reflects a much more concrete (...) and context-specific understanding of the patient as a “person”. The importance of dignity as a policy principle will be described by appealing to the distinction between principles and rules as developed by some legal philosophers. The value of dignity as a standard of patient care will be illustrated with the help of concrete examples and by drawing on the taxonomies of dignity proposed by Jonathan Mann and other scholars. The overall scope of the article is to highlight this double and complementary role of human dignity in bioethics. (shrink)
The duality theory established by Halmos in  for boolean hemimorphism applies of course to the diagonalizable algebra, because ντν is an hemimorphism. For commodity in working on diagonalizable algebras we recall the basic facts and give the characteristic conditions on the dual of ντν.