Alessandra Scotti

CAS SEE Seminars with Guests – Giovanni Maddalena

On Thursday, July 16th, 2020, the CAS SEE Seminar with Giovanni Maddalena, presented by our fellow Alessandra Scotti has taken place on Zoom. The seminar was dedicated to the presentation of Maddalena’s new book – The History and Theory of Post-Truth Communication.

Giovanni Maddalena is an Associate Professor of History of Philosophy and Philosophy of Political Communication at the University of Molise. His academic work focuses on American Philosophy, especially on Charles S. Peirce and classical pragmatists. He is Senior Fellow of the Institute of American Thought (IUPUI, Indianapolis) and Member of the Scientific Board of the Philosophy Department at École Normale Supérieure (Paris). He is the founder and executive editor of the Journal European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy. He is the author of The Philosophy of Gesture, Montreal, McGill-Queen’s University Press (2015).

In The History and Theory of Post-Truth Communication, Palgrave 2020, co-written with Guido Gili, Maddalena explores the notion of Post-Truth, its history, and meaning for human beings. Philosophy, as it is understood and practiced in the West, is and has been generally considered to be the search for truth. Nevertheless in the history of “a-philosophy”, conceived as the historical attempt to reverse the “official philosophy”, from Nietzsche’s idea of truth as “a mobile army of metaphors” to Foucault’s investigations of the nexus of truth, subjectivity, and discourse, many have attempted to deconstruct ‘Western’ claims to objective and universal truth. If these are the roots of Post-Truth, what is behind the current rise in interest and alarm about the concept?

Chosen by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘word of the year’ in 2016, post-truth has entered both journalistic and common languages. There is, however, much confusion and suffocating rhetoric about what it is, how it became such a powerful force, and its positive or perverse effects.

Discussing philosophical concepts, sociological theories, communication strategies, and original interpretations of historical events from the birth of mass media until today, we did our best to better understand current times and what is going on in our politics and society.

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CAS SEE Spring Fellowship 2020 Seminars – Alessandra Scotti and Xenia Chiaramonte

As the CAS SEE Spring Fellowship 2020 is coming to an end, we realize that it has been one of the most interesting fellowships so far: we have extended our work into our private spaces instead of leaving them to meet each other in the Moise Palace, to say the least. Because of this reason, of the private and the professional, the “formal” and the “natural” being so interwoven, last Thursday’s lectures felt “on spot”.

On July 2nd, 2020 we heard from Alessandra Scotti, Professor of Bioethics at the Department of Humanities of University of Naples who began her presentation with what she calls “a forceful division between the human subject and natural objects”, stressing out that “the current environmental crisis requires a new reflection on the human relationship with Earth, one that can find valuable support in phenomenological thinking”. She went on to give us insight into “how Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of nature and his notion of flesh can offer important support, both methodological and ontological, to ethical studies on the environment and the ecological crisis”. Scotti’s project consists of “a theoretical inquiry involving the rethinking of the problem from an ethical and political point of view, through an ontology of the visible. Its purpose is to contribute to: a) a new centrality of the corporeality; b) the building-up of a bodily ecology as a way to an environmental ethic; c) the analysis of social phenomena through the concept of visible”.

After Scotti’s “ecological thinking”, our next Fellow presenter, Xenia Chiaramonte, a jurist and a sociologist of law, took over in the most natural fashion and sense, beginning her presentation with a question about the economy of nature and its legal context. “In most cases”, Chiaramonte pointed out, “law is used against grassroots movements, and protests are criminalized. Ecological struggles are widespread around the world, but they are discouraged from employing the law to advance their rights, as the law seems to be a tool for the ‘Haves’ rather than an instrument for ‘First Players’. Yet, people mobilize and they ask for climate justice. Admittedly, the most recent studies on law and social movements demonstrate the positive influence of strategic use of the law to advance the rights of nature and populations, especially when they are subject to a restriction”. Reminding us of the fact that “law is a technique, a means, and as such, it can serve several masters”, Chiaramonte proposes to explore “the instituent ability of legal means and apply it to the rights of nature”. Xenia Chiaramonte teaches Critical Criminology at the University of Padua and Bologna.

CAS SEE Weekly Seminars with Guests – Mauro Carbone

In the aftermath of the first global pandemic, some of us are facing far more screen-time than usual, is considered healthy, others… Screens are evolving rapidly to complement our bodies and senses, while the virtuality of life (online vs. offline version of life) is being legitimized around the world, inviting new standards regardless of our being prepared for them. On July 9th, 2020 at 10:00 AM we have discussed the philosophy of this phenomenon with Mauro Carbone, the author of “Philosophy-Screens”, presented to us by our fellow Alessandra Scotti.

Mauro Carbone is Professor of Aesthetics at the Department of Philosophy, University of Jean Moulin Lyon 3, and an Honorary Member of the Institut Universitaire de France. He is the founder and co-editor of the journal Chiasmi International. Trilingual Studies concerning Merleau-Ponty’s Thought. Among his books translated into English: An Unprecedented Deformation: Marcel Proust and the Sensible Ideas, Suny Press 2010; The Flesh of Images. Merleau-Ponty between Painting and Cinema, Suny Press 2015. In Philosophy-Screens: From Cinema to the Digital Revolution, Suny Press 2019, Carbone intertwines continental philosophy and phenomenological studies with contemporary media and visual studies.

Since Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, philosophers have been struggling with the issue of screens: according to the tradition, if screens are an expression of illusion, then philosophy’s duty is to overcome their deceiving power. Carbone engages in a dialogue with several scholars such as Henri Bergson, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-François Lyotard, and Gilles Deleuze, and ends up reversing the Western main philosophical paradigm that opposes real and ideal or virtual, and states the primacy of stable identities with respect to relationships. This reversal is carried out through a series of notions like those of arche-screen, sensible ideas, quasi-prosthesis, and dividualization, which provide new criteria for considering our present condition starting from a new conceptualization of screens and its implications. Indeed, if screen experiences change over time as much as our way of conceptualizing them, how have our relationships with screens changed in these times of pandemic (or post-pandemic)? And how does a “Philosophy-Screens” sound like in this light?

Watch us on Zoom!