Sanja

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.

Watch us on Zoom:

 

Discussion on Democracy – “Evenings at the Moise”

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020, was at the Moise Palace on Cres Island reserved for an evening of (re)thinking democracy. The cycle of lectures for citizens continued in the scientific and educational center of the University of Rijeka, in line with the (then) upcoming parliamentary elections. The title of the public discussion held was “How Can We Improve Our Democracy?”

Democracy: Advantages, Disadvantages, Traps, and How We Could Contribute to Its Improvement

After a short introduction in the theory of democracy and a review of the basic forms of government, by dr. sc. Marko-Luka Zubčić, the discussion aimed at questioning democracy and today’s democratic principles and practices took off. It developed into a lively exchange of views with the audience attending the discussion. Is democracy the best form of government? What are its advantages, disadvantages, but also its traps and snares? Are we really well informed and what can we do about it? As people of various professions were present in the audience, the proscribed distance was kept in a non-proscribed discussion, enriched with arguments and opinions from various aspects of the immediate social body.

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!

 

“Evenings at the Moise”: From Garbage to Art

Yet another event has been added to the Moise Palace becoming Rijeka’s scientific and educational center: last Friday, June 26th, 2020 a lecture entitled “From Garbage to Art” was held by an artist Tanja Blašković.

“We Have Become a Culture of Disposing”

Tanja Blašković presented her work by re-introducing plastic bags and bottle caps, her contribution to raising awareness about the issues related to plastic waste. For example, plastic bags are not being recycled – they are not being sent to recycling factories – a management detail most people are not aware of. Therefore, plastic bags represent an almost unsolvable problem: they take up to a thousand years to decompose, and when they finally do decompose, they turn into microplastics. By stacking bags, the artist makes the so-called ironed nylon, a solid material which she uses to create paintings, scenography, decorations, and useful objects (handbags, pencil cases, backpacks, and jewelry). She has held numerous workshops with children and adults on the matter of repurposing plastic waste.

 

Fridays at the Moise Become Evenings at the Moise

The next event at the Moise is conceived as a panel discussion, and set on the eve of the upcoming Croatian parliamentary elections, on Thursday, July 2nd, 2020 at 8 PM. The topic of the discussion led by dr. sc. Sanja Bojanić and dr. sc. Marko-Luka Zubčić is “How Can We Improve Our Democracy?”

 

“Evenings at the Moise”: How Can We Improve Our Democracy?

On July 2nd 2020, at 20.00, several days before the Croatian general election, the Moise Palace will host a discussion on the topic of “How Can We Improve Our Democracy?”. The discussion will be led by Sanja Bojanić, executive director of Center for Advanced Studies Southeast Europe and a professor at Academy for Applied Arts, and Marko-Luka Zubčić, PhD from University of Rijeka and an expert associate of the Center.

Democracy produces better decisions than oligarchy. Despite the popularity of ideas about “enlightened absolutism” and technocracy, when the decision-making is delegated to small groups of people removed from the wider population, the key factor determining the quality of their decisions is not benevolence or erudition but their ignorance. History, formal models, and argumentative theories show exactly that: no group of people removed from the wider population can have access to the knowledge required for solving the unknown future problems in a dynamic and unpredictable world.

Frustration with democracy has, however, become commonplace. And while our institutional systems will never be perfect, it seems it’s time to start thinking about which aspects of our democracy reduce its potentials in problem-solving, and which aspects are lacking for it to produce better decisions.

In a democratic spirit, this Evening at Moise the public will be invited to discuss the problems and search for plausible solutions required for the improvement of our democracy.

CAS SEE Weekly Seminars with Guests – E. Glen Weyl

RadicalxChange (RxC) is a global movement advancing plurality, community, and equality through investigating and experimenting with innovative institutional designs for upgrading democratic decision-making, property regimes, markets, data economy, and collective intelligence management.

Sparked by E. Glen Weyl’s research into social technologies for widely-shared prosperity and cooperation under diversity, RxC has since developed into a research agenda and a social movement gathering social scientists, technologists, artists, activists, and entrepreneurs dedicated to discovering institutional mechanisms conducive to fair, prosperous and equal pluralistic societies.

In his talk for CAS SEE, E. Glen Weyl presented the evolving vision of RxC, first outlined through the series of fundamental reforms to existing democratic and capitalist institutional orders presented in his 2018 book with Eric Posner, Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society. These included Quadratic Voting, as a voting mechanism which allows people to communicate the degree and not only direction of their preference; Common Ownership Self-Assessed Tax, as a new property system which would block the formation of monopolies while producing higher increased returns and greater social wealth, shared equally by all; and Data as Labour, which would compensate citizens for their data and, moreover, allow them to collectively bargain for a fair data wage.

Aside from being the Founder and Chair of the RadicalxChange Foundation, E. Glen Weyl is Microsoft’s Office of the Chief Technology Political Economist and Social Technologist (OCTOPEST), advising Microsoft’s senior leaders on the relationship between the global political economy and the future of technology and leading a group of socially-engaged communicator-researchers who are working to imagine and communicate a pluralistic future for technology that empowers human collaboration, creativity and communication. Glen’s work focuses on “political economy”, a philosophically-inclined field of inquiry that gave birth to modern economics, sociology, and political science, as a way to build “social technology”, algorithmic designs for social institutions. He has developed these ideas through academic research in a range of fields, for example articles published in the American Economic Review, Science, the Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Economics and Computation, the Harvard Law Review and Politics, Philosophy and Economics and has taught at Princeton and Yale. Following Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society, his work has moved significantly beyond research and he increasingly helps mobilize activist groups, consults for governments and political parties, advises start-ups (especially in the blockchain space) and collaborates with artists.

Watch the E. Glen Weyl seminar:

“Fridays at the Moise” – Dr. Juraj Sepčić

“Fridays at the Moise” gatherings have continued on June 19th, 2020, with a lecture entitled “About Health”, and held by prof. dr. sc. Juraj Sepčić. The lecture is a part of a weekly event organized by the Centre for Lifelong Learning and the University of Rijeka.

“Health Is Silence of the Body”

Dr. Sepčić is professor emeritus at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka. His long career in working with patients and continuously studying medical science(s), enabled dr. Sepčić to introduce to us the concept of “health” through many aspects and circumstances. He began by asking – What is “health” and what does it mean to be “healthy”? Is it just the absence of disease, or does “being healthy” mean more than that? Those who visited last Friday’s lecture had the opportunity to hear about various approaches to health, as well as about the importance of an individual and a holistic approach to each person when it comes to enhancing their health.

Next Friday, on June 26th, 2020, the Moise Palace will host Tanja Blašković, an art pedagogue whose lecture entitled “From Garbage to Art” will consider the use of plastic bags as a medium for creating works of art and fashion accessories.

Thanks to Walter Salković for the photo coverage of our last Friday event and we hope to see as many interested citizens next Friday at the Moise as well.

CAS SEE Weekly Seminars with Guests – Olivia Guaraldo

On Thursday, June 25th from 10.00 to 12.00 am the fifth CAS SEE Weekly Seminar with Olivia Guaraldopresented by our Fellow Valentina Moro took place on Zoom. The seminar discussed Arendt’s imaginative reception of the Athenian democracy.

Olivia Guaraldo is an associate professor of political philosophy at the Department of Human Sciences and the director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Political Studies at the University of Verona. Her field of expertise focuses on modern and contemporary political thought. She has worked extensively on the thought of Hannah Arendt. She has also worked in the field of contemporary feminist political theory, investigating the theoretical and political relationships between the thought of sexual difference and gender theory. She has edited and introduced the Italian translations of Judith Butler’s works, Precarious Life (Rome 2004, Milan 2013) and Undoing Gender (Rome 2006, Milan 2014). Among her most recent books: Comunità e vulnerabilità. Per una critica politica della violenza, 2012;  She has have co-edited, with Angie Voela, the Gender and Education special issue “ ‘If Not Now When’: Feminism in contemporary activist, social and educational contexts” (2016). Recently, she has been working on the Arendtian theme of Public Happiness, with the aim of rethinking democracy in light of new participatory practices and a new affective lexicon that enables to frame political action in generative terms.

Caught in the midst of the catastrophic events of the 20th century, both existentially and intellectually, Hannah Arendt sought to interpret her present from a politically oriented theoretical perspective. After her original analysis of totalitarianism as an essentially unprecedented phenomenon in human history, where all the pre-existing categories of thought and action had proven insufficient to explain what happened, Arendt embarks in the difficult task to re-imagine the political, convinced as she is that the public life lived together, the ‘vita activa’, is the most meaningful dimension for the human beings. This is why she goes back to Greek antiquity to recover, with philological freedom and interpretative creativity, a notion of the political that the Western tradition has completely lost. Central to this recovery is her reading of the Athenian democracy as ‘isonomia’, a notion she reads as correspondent to an essentially anti-modern, participatory experience of ‘no-rule’.

Watch the CAS SEE Weekly Seminar with Olivia Guaraldo:

 

The translation of Olivia’s new article “Historical Minutiae: On Statues and Broken Mirrors” is available here.

Solidarity in Times of Pandemics: CAS SEE Weekly Seminars with Guests – Barbara Prainsack

On Wednesday, June 17th from 10.00 to 11.30 am we hosted the fourth CAS SEE Weekly Seminar with Barbara Prainsack, presented by Vedran Džihić.

The COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges for policymakers, public health officials, and societies. The social and economic effects are likely to be felt for years to come. Amidst these difficult times, politicians, public and social media have been highlighting a note of hope: People are really looking out for each other – we’ve heard. We have seen signs posted in virtual and physical spaces by people offering their help to strangers. Even the United Nations remarked on the “spreading” of solidarity “among people everywhere”. But is this what we have been seeing, really solidarity? And how does the supposed surge in solidarity sit with other practices that we have also been observing, such as the closure of national borders, or politicians pitching the plight of refugees against the suffering of people affected by COVID?

Barbara Prainsack began her presentation by asking what solidarity is, and by proposing a definition that enables us to distinguish it from other types of support and pro-social practice. She will then draw upon empirical findings from two on-going studies on personal and societal effects of the COVID-19 crisis in Austria to argue that, while forms of inter-personal solidarity have been shifting even during the first weeks and months of the crisis, what is becoming increasingly clear is the importance of institutionalized solidarity. The most resilient societies at times of COVID-19 have not been those with the best medical technology or the strictest pandemic containment measures, but those with good public infrastructures and a political discourse that emphasizes shared stakes and risks, instead of pitching different groups of the population against each other.

Barbara Prainsack is a Professor at the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna, and at the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine at King’s College London. Her work explores the social, regulatory and ethical dimensions of biomedicine and bioscience, with a focus on personalized and “precision” medicine, citizen participation, and the role of solidarity in medicine and healthcare (most recent book: Personalized Medicine: Empowered Patients in the 21st Century?, NYU Press, 2017). Barbara is a member of the Austrian National Bioethics Committee and of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies advising the European Commission. She is currently involved in two COVID-related studies: https://politikwissenschaft.univie.ac.at/forschung/forschungsschwerpunkte/cescos-zeitgenoessische-solidaritaetsstudien/solidarity-in-times-of-a-pandemic-what-do-people-do-and-why/, and https://viecer.univie.ac.at/coronapanel/.

CAS SEE Fellows in Dialogue Barbara Prainsack