The branch of systemic studies is currently a growing field of research. The impressive contacts and exchange of view among different and heterogeneous sciences has merged into a new general perspective that can properly be called «Systemic Philosophy», satisfying the demand for «new ideas» perceived in various fields. A brief presentation of some results achieved in this area of studies shows how this path could be theoretically promising.
This contribution presents some specifications on the phenomenological and theoretical aspects of the processes of emergence. In the framework of the theoretical incompleteness as a condition probably necessary for the establishment of processes of emergence, the need for compatibility and equivalence between the possible evolutionary steps of emerging complex systems is considered. We consider phenomena and theoretical aspects compatible with the establishment of processes of emergence. There may be aspects between them that are necessary and possibly sufficient. This in the context of the absence of a theory of emergence. Absence that could be theoreticallly necessary within the framework of the validity of the theoretical incompleteness required for emergence.
This paper addresses some aspects of the current relations between science and democracy, with a specific focus on the question of the «rightful place» of science in democratic societies, and on the meaning and implications of what is called «democratization of science». After a brief illustration of the traditional liberal and self-referential model of science, and of the supposed separatedness between science and society, the paper describes some impasses in science and the scientific community, and argues in favor of a rethinking of science in the light of the principles governing democratic societies.
It is for sure that any scientific model is very partial, depending upon the choice of a peculiar view point. This implies that the comparison of different models of the same natural phenomenon, allowing for a multiplicity of vantage pints, it is (at least in principle) the most fruitful way to knowledge. Notwithstanding that, to look for a ‘complete description’ obtained by the summation of the different models, is an almost sure guarantee of failure. The neat superiority of predictive models that consciously decide not to take into consideration the major part of the information with respect to computational intensive ‘all-inclusive’ strategies is evident. These ‘all-inclusive’ approaches are promoted by ‘Big Data’ supporters claiming for the need of approaches devoid of any ‘cognitive bias’. Here I will show how the conscious limitation to a specific viewpoint is not only a wise knowledge strategy but mirrors some facts of nature suggesting a self-generated simplification of the natural world that most generative scientific theories are able to catch.
Many people are still convinced that the indigenous medicine was in a stage of admixture with witchcraft and magic, more or less as it is believed for medicine to be practiced among so called «primitive» civilizations. This conviction is contradicted by what the first Spanish conquerors explicitly declared regarding medicine they encountered in the new land of conquest, and it is even more in contradiction with the very clear distinctions that «scientific» doctors of Mexico prior to the arrival of Cortés expressed in their texts, in which they separated clearly their way of conceiving and practicing medicine from the practices of the sorcerers, curators and charlatans.
The interpretation of music has always been a subject of intense reflection, due to the importance of its cultural, artistic, philosophical and anthropological implications. Being an interpreter means connecting the musical composition to the audience, since he is allowed to perform the musical object and to represent it perceptively in the present time, bringing it back to life through his own artistic contribution. For this reason he plays an essential role in conveying forms of transversal knowledge in various levels of description. For a long time, the musical notation constituted the only resource to leave an eternal trail of the composition and of the composer’s intentions; according to the interpreter, the latter may be a valuable source of information or a limit on freedom of expression. The codification of musical score in fact contains margins of indetermination which refer to the complexity of the musical phenomenon and makes it possible to find right in the uncertainty an exceptional resource for the interpretation. The main concept of this work is reconfiguring the interpretive function through a systemic approach and producing a permanent and continuous recreation of the music, using as reference some aspects related to the forms, stylistic models and search paths which appeared in Early Music.
Whole, parts, relation, emergence, interaction, final cause: all these words can be successfully used to focus on the Art expression? May these tools be useful when reading a picture, a fresco cycle or a sculpture? The answer is yes. This paper analyzes some well-known works of Art through the System Theory point of view and its notions. Supposedly, many things have already been said but this analysis just offers some examples of what the Systemic Theory suggests. From Kandinsky to Giotto, Parmigianino, Piero Della Francesca and Mark Rothko a new way of observing can slowly change the idea of Art.
This paper proposes to show in a very short text how Plato activates a reflection that we can legitimately define as systemic. The Athenian philosopher is indeed convinced of the complexity of reality, both physical and ideal. Indeed, everything is an uni-many entity, i.e. both one and multiple: Plato explicitly affirms the identity of one and many. A one-sided position in favour of one or the other horn of the alternative does not stand the critical test. In short, every reality is a whole composed of parts: even an Idea is composed of Ideas and is part of a higher Idea. This vision has an ontological justification: the reality is constituted by a limiting principle that organizes a disordered reality giving rise to a mixed entity: it is an ordered disorder. On this basis we understand the processes proposed by Plato to analyse reality itself, such as the diairesis, and also the political and ethical choices that Plato proposes.
According to Cassirer, knowledge is not a passive mirroring of the world, but it is a mode of objectiving and questioning reality, which requires an active processing by the human subject. Nevertheless, Cassirer admits that this task is not the prerogative of scientific knowledge alone but is also realized by other cultural activities of men. Human cultural activities are many and manifold, nonetheless culture, like knowledge, constitutes a unity that presents the characteristics of a system, in which parts mutually condition each other.
The epistemological significance of the general theory of systems clearly emerges not only from a synchronical look at the structure of knowledge, but also from the attention to the diachronic aspects of the cognitive process, in other words to what we can call ‘systemic crisis’ and ‘systemic reconstructions’. The paper tries to show the plausibility of this thesis by examining, on the one hand, the theory/experience relationship in the controversy between Poincaré and Duhem, and, on the other hand, Einstein’s heuristic strategy to reach towards the theory of relativity. Precisely in the light of Einstein’s strategy the problem of realism is introduced and discussed in a wider philosophical perspective centred on the two correlated themes of the epistemological subject/object dualism and the sceptical instance. In the conclusion, a model of empirical realism is proposed in opposition to metaphysical realism.
In this essay I will discuss whether it is possible to derive a coherent ontological proposal from the premises of systemic thinking. I will claim that systemic thinking is committed to pluralism both in epistemology and in ontology, because pluralism is a natural consequence of the systemic distinction of objects in different and irreducible levels of observation. If we recognize that we must adopt different levels of observation to describe different systemic levels (the well-known sub-systems, systems, systems of systems), we imply that we accept different epistemologies, each having its own criteria and validation methods suitable for each level, and that there are irreducible ontological differences among entities. We are thus committed to ontological and epistemological pluralism. An interesting moral and social consequence of pluralism is a tolerant attitude towards different perspectives and cultures, that can easily be transformed into a general ‘charity principle’ inspiring the regulation of multicultural societies.
This essay examines three proofs of God, as conceived in the neoscholastic-neoclassical school of philosophy of Milan. In the twentieth century, this peculiar style of philosophical thought developed a rigorous and essential kind of natural/rational theology which, in our opinion, is worth investigating and valuing. We start with an analysis of the metaphysical thought of Amato Masnovo – the founder of this Italian tradition. We then move our focus onto the paths to God formulated by two disciples of Gustavo Bontadini: Carmelo Vigna and Paolo Pagani. We highlight the conceptual structure of their theoretical proposal, and we analyze the core elements of these ways of inferring the Transcendent.
The paper argues that the elenctic argument in defence of the Law of Non-contradiction is a Petitio Principii. In the first part of the paper, Emanuele Severino’s development of an elenctic strategy in Ritornare a Parmenide is examined and compared with Graham Priest’s defence of the truth of some contradictions. The fundamental reason why the elenctic strategy begs the question is that, in order to work, it presupposes exactly that account of negation which is challenged by the friends of contradictions like Priest. In the second part, the traditional idealistic argument against the existence of the ‘Thing in itself’ is shown to suffer from the same problem.
Drawing upon Martin Heidegger’s philosophical reflections on the concept of care and developing a theoretical framework that may rethink the concept itself, this paper explores and outlines the different forms and meanings that caring takes in a technological society. Specifically, the aim of this paper is to investigate the relationship-based care in its ontological, anthropological and ethical aspects, with a special focus on two fundamental and paradigmatic concepts: Besorgen and Fürsorgen. These Heideggerian concepts, defined by their theoretical opposition, are still alive as they continue to provide significant contributions to current ontological, ethical and political debate. Heidegger refused to produce an ethics and rather focused, in an almost exclusive way, on the question of Being; likewise, the German philosopher never referred to moral virtues to analyze the technological society. However, Heidegger’s thought is still necessary to investigate the relationship-based care within complex scenarios such as those of modernity. As matter of fact, with the advance of specializations and professionalism, we have witnessed an overturning of the therapeutic relationship, which is no longer ‘a twoway relationship’ because of the interference of a medium: the machine. Too much specialization combined with hyper-medicalization processes have thus undermined the practice of caring; as a result, an urgent problem of justice has become a political issue.
This paper mainly focuses on a passage of Theophrastus’ work On First Principles – generally known as Metaphysics – (8b 10-17), in which the Peripatetic philosopher deals with the relationship between sense-perception (aisthesis) and the faculty of thought (dianoia/nous). Thanks to the close analysis of this text one can argue that according to Theophrastus sense-perception is the irrefutable starting point of the process of knowledge, but, since aisthesis could produce aporia, it cannot be identified with the scientific and firm knowledge (episteme/sophia). This is the most remarkable difference with Epicurus, who maintains that all sensations are always true. Some scholars argue that the Epicurean method of multiple explanations (pleonachos tropos) of celestial phenomena (meteora) basically depends on the ‘same’ method employed by Theophrastus in his naturalistic enquiries. The main goal of this article is to show that these methods are very different especially because Theophrastus and Epicurus disagree about the role and the domain of sense-perception, which lies at the basis of both these epistemological procedures.
This article tries to introduce a new reading and understanding of Pico della Mirandola’s famous ‘oratio’ by subdiving substantial parts of the texts and indicating the respective relations. The creational constitutio of man has its counterpart in the autopoietic constitution of the self as the basic fundament of the individual human being, the idea of unfolding the potentials and dynamics of the divine principle has its counterpart and analogon in the unfolding of the potentials and dynamics of the initially undifferentiated image of the divine principle that becomes its ‘visible’ shaping through educational operations discussed in the second part. The unfolded being of any individual is in the same moment a real image of the divine principle and its implications and a ideal autopoietic and singular realization of anthropological potentialities, particularly expressed through the energies of scientific processes and intellectual insights. Pico’s text is a manifesto of renaissance anthropology, introducing new ideas, for example the concept of an ‘indiscrete’ or ‘non differentiated’ image (indiscreta imago), which I interpret as the core-image of the absolute, every difference transcending archetype or divine principle.
Hegel represents a significant exception to the dominant absence of theoretical reflections on birth, an absence which, in the twentieth century, was denounced in particular by Hannah Arendt, Hans Saner and Peter Sloterdijk. Hegel’s theoretical proposal focuses on three fundamental aspects of birth. Firstly, the relationship between mother and unborn child in intra-uterine life and shortly after birth, with the related issue of the ontological status of the embryo. Secondly, the interpretation of natural birth through the category of the «unheard jump (ungeheurer Sprung)». Finally, the investigation of the «double birth», with particular attention for the «second birth», i.e., the birth that (thanks to education) takes place at the spiritual and ethical level. The Hegelian philosophy of birth has its roots in his rich and multi-faceted philosophy of family. The issue of birth also allows us to grasp, from a peculiar perspective, the dialectic dimension of Hegel’s thought and his conception of the relationship between «natural» and «ethical».
In the book Les revés et les moyens de les diriger, published in 1867, Hervey de Saint-Denys offers an exploration of the ‘dreaming self’, which aims to explain how to maintain awareness while sleeping and to guide the dreams. If the proposed method is a mixture of confession, training and empirism, his dreams reveal themselves as the reverberation of a daily ‘oniric’ experience, populated by ornamental and technical objects. His journal of dreams marks the point where two histories intertwine: that of the practices of the self or life technologies, in the terms of Foucault’s genealogy, and that of commodity fetishism, as conceived by Adorno and Benjamin. While attempting to develop ‘the dream’ as an epistemic object, Saint-Denys discloses the power of the imagines in a specific sense, as immaterial appearances, manipulable illusions of reality, able to cause and soddisfy the most intensive desires.
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