Philosophy of mind
Scientific aim of the project
Starting from John Searle’s diagnosis of the insufficiency of the traditional materialistic and dualistic ontologies of mind, and from the recent neuroscientific and philosophical achievements regarding the necessity of the contextualization of mental processes within the activities of the living body and those of the physical and social world, the project faces the main problems of contemporary debate (consciousness, mental causation, the nature of the self, free will, ecc.) on the grounds of a naturalistic and non-reductive approach.
It aims, more specifically, at understanding whether the developments of scientific research require us a radical revision, and perhaps an elimination (as Dennett, Kim and others apparently claim) of some central traits of the “manifest image” of mankind (such as the subjectivity of mind, its causal efficacy in structuring behavior, the reality of free will as a prerequisite of rational decision making); or if, rather, these developments are compatible with the model of a “mind in action”, capable of fitting the world and transforming it.
In this perspective the subjective mind is very far from the “passive subjectivity of the Cartesian tradition”, to use John Searle’s terminology, because, although it is irreducible to brain and functional states, it is a set of embodied and embedded processes both mediating the organism-environment relationships and dynamically structured by the multiple (physical, biological, social, cultural, ecc.) dimensions in which those relationships occur.
The project will be carried out in a constant dialogue with the academic community seen as a whole, with specific attention devoted to the interdisciplinary nature of research and to its close link with higher-education level teaching, aiming at reconstructing the historical genealogy of specific concepts and problems and the lines of thoughts debating over the themes at issue.
The Workshop of Critical Social Philosophy will organize conferences, seminars and workshops aiming at putting students from every level of the academic community (PhD, MA, BA) and young scholars in dialogue with recognized international experts on the themes at issue, aiming at giving a contribution to the internationalization of research and teaching and at framing the research into networks involved in National and European research projects.
The project aims at the dissemination of the products of research through publication of Proceedings, research monographs and papers, but it also aims at having a significant impact on academic education through the supervision of dissertations on the research themes at every level of academic education (PhD, MA, BA).