Interdisciplinarity: goals and conditions

FINALLY PUBLISHED!

paradigmi_big“Our view of interdisciplinarity takes very seriously the long training any specialist has to undertake in order to acquire the huge knowledge and the tuned epistemological attitudes necessary to master his or her research methods and protocols. Indeed, we think that a successful interdisciplinary project would educate its participants into this respectful view of anyone else’s training, getting rid of the naïve idea that others’ jobs are useless or easy to do. For sure, the expected result is not that one researcher ‘absorbs’ the others who become superfluous.”

Brambilla R, Serrelli E (2016). The goals and conditions of successful interdisciplinarity. Some critical guidelines in planning, managing and evaluating interdisciplinary projects. Paradigmi. Rivista di critica filosofica 2/2016: 151-169. ISSN 1120-3404 [DOI 10.3280/PARA2016-002012]
Continue reading Interdisciplinarity: goals and conditions

International Meeting “Evolutionary Theory: A Hierarchical Perspective”

Presentation of:

Eldredge N, Pievani T, Serrelli E, Tëmkin I, eds. (2016). Evolutionary Theory: A Hierarchical Perspective. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

With Telmo Pievani, Ilya Tëmkin, Warren D. Allmon, Gregory Cooper, T. Ryan Gregory, Stefan Linquist, William Miller III, Mihaela Pavlicev, Andrea Parravicini, Francesco Suman, Alejandro Fabregas Tejeda.

Organized by: The Hierarchy Group

Venues: National Academy of Sciences and NOVA Northern Virginia Community College

See event program on Academia.

Evolutionary Theory: A Hierarchical Perspective

9780226426228OUT NOW!

Eldredge N, Pievani T, Serrelli E, Tëmkin I, eds. (2016). Evolutionary Theory: A Hierarchical Perspective. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

About this book

The natural world is infinitely complex and hierarchically structured, with smaller units forming the components of progressively larger systems: molecules make up cells, cells comprise tissues and organs that are, in turn, parts of individual organisms, which are united into populations and integrated into yet more encompassing ecosystems. In the face of such awe-inspiring complexity, there is a need for a comprehensive, non-reductionist evolutionary theory. Having emerged at the crossroads of paleobiology, genetics, and developmental biology, the hierarchical approach to evolution provides a unifying perspective on the natural world and offers an operational framework for scientists seeking to understand the way complex biological systems work and evolve.

Coedited by one of the founders of hierarchy theory and featuring a diverse and renowned group of contributors, this volume provides an integrated, comprehensive, cutting-edge introduction to the hierarchy theory of evolution. From sweeping historical reviews to philosophical pieces, theoretical essays, and strictly empirical chapters, it reveals hierarchy theory as a vibrant field of scientific enterprise that holds promise for unification across the life sciences and offers new venues of empirical and theoretical research. Stretching from molecules to the biosphere, hierarchy theory aims to provide an all-encompassing understanding of evolution and—with this first collection devoted entirely to the concept—will help make transparent the fundamental patterns that propel living systems.

Editors

Niles Eldredge is an emeritus curator in the Division of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History and one of the founders of the hierarchy theory of evolution. He is the author, most recently, of Eternal Ephemera: Adaptation and the Origin of Species from the Nineteenth Century through Punctuated Equilibria and Beyond. Telmo Pievani is professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Padua, where he holds the first Italian chair of the philosophy of biological science. Emanuele Serrelli is a fellow at the University of Milano-Bicocca and a researcher in the philosophy of science who collaborates with several universities around the world. Ilya Tëmkin is associate professor of biology at Northern Virginia Community College and a research associate at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. All four are members of the Hierarchy Group.

Reviews

“All of the topics examined here ultimately emanate from the longstanding desire of distinguished evolutionary theoretician Eldredge to integrate what he saw as two independent hierarchies that impinge on evolution process: the genealogical hierarchy of genes, demes, species, and higher taxa, and the ecological hierarchy of individuals, populations, and communities. It is this integrative focus, viewed from a variety of perspectives, that gives the book its distinctive form. Diverse as the chapters are, linking commentaries help to make this perhaps the best-integrated edited volume I have seen. It is a conceptually homogeneous, truly unusual work that represents the state of the art in the realm of hierarchy-driven evolutionary theory and will move this field ahead in a significant way.” Ian Tattersall, American Museum of Natural History, author of “The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack and Other Cautionary Tales from Human Evolution”

“The editors of Evolutionary Theory are all respected scholars with important track records as advocates of an understanding of evolution that does not conform to the standard, received version—the so-called Evolutionary or Modern Synthesis. The central point of disagreement between the two camps turns on the role of natural selection: while neither denies its role, the editors of and contributors to this volume consider that it is not the only factor that plays a role in speciation—especially the origin of species. Clear and readable, chapters explore themes of information, integration, organization, mereology, context, time—and the constraints responsible for bringing hierarchies into being and keeping them in existence while allowing them to change. The crucial significance of these conceptual issues, and how they are made manifest in biology, development, and evolution, can no longer be ignored.” Alicia Juarrero, Prince George’s Community College, emerita, author of “Dynamics in Action: Intentional Behavior as a Complex System”

Table of contents

Introduction The Checkered Career of Hierarchical Thinking in Evolutionary Biology
Niles Eldredge

Part 1 Hierarchy Theory of Evolution

Linking Section General Principles of Biological Hierarchical Systems
Ilya Tëmkin and Emanuele Serrelli

Chapter 1 Pattern versus Process and Hierarchies: Revisiting Eternal Metaphors in Macroevolutionary Theory
Bruce S. Lieberman

Chapter 2 Lineages and Systems: A Conceptual Discontinuity in Biological Hierarchies
Gustavo Caponi

Chapter 3 Biological Organization from a Hierarchical Perspective: Articulation of Concepts and Interlevel Relation
Jon Umerez

Chapter 4 Hierarchy: The Source of Teleology in Evolution
Daniel W. McShea

Chapter 5 Three Approaches to the Teleological and Normative Aspects of Ecological Functions
Gregory J. Cooper, Charbel N. El-Hani, and Nei F. Nunes-Neto

Part 2 Hierarchical Dynamics: Process Integration across Levels

Linking Section Information and Energy in Biological Hierarchical Systems
Ilya Tëmkin and Emanuele Serrelli

Chapter 6 Why Genomics Needs Multilevel Evolutionary Theory
T. Ryan Gregory, Tyler A. Elliott, and Stefan Linquist

Chapter 7 Revisiting the Phenotypic Hierarchy in Hierarchy Theory
Silvia Caianiello

Chapter 8 Multilevel Selection in a Broader Hierarchical Perspective
Telmo Pievani and Andrea Parravicini

Chapter 9 Systems Emergence: The Origin of Individuals in Biological and Biocultural Evolution
Mihaela Pavličev, Richard O. Prum, Gary Tomlinson, and Günter P. Wagner

Part 3 Biological Hierarchies and Macroevolutionary Patterns

Linking Section Ecology and Evolution: Neither Separate nor Merged
Emanuele Serrelli and Ilya Tëmkin

Chapter 10 Unification of Macroevolutionary Theory: Biologic Hierarchies, Consonance, and the Possibility of Connecting the Dots
William Miller III

Chapter 11 Coming to Terms with Tempo and Mode: Speciation, Anagenesis, and Assessing Relative Frequencies in Macroevolution
Warren D. Allmon

Chapter 12 Niche Conservatism, Tracking, and Ecological Stasis: A Hierarchical Perspective
Carlton E. Brett, Andrew Zaffos, and Arnold I. Miller

Chapter 13 The Stability of Ecological Communities as an Agent of Evolutionary Selection: Evidence from the Permian-Triassic Mass Extinction
Peter D. Roopnarine and Kenneth D. Angielczyk

Chapter 14 Hierarchy Theory in the Anthropocene: Biocultural Homogenization, Urban Ecosystems, and Other Emerging Dynamics
Michael L. McKinney

Conclusion Hierarchy Theory and the Extended Synthesis Debate
Telmo Pievani

List of Contributors

Index

In silico modeling: the human factor

HumanaMente_Issue30_Cover3The editors thank Dr. Emanuele Serrelli for his editorial assistance in realizing this monographic issue:

Marta Bertolaso and Miles MacLeod, eds., In Silico Modeling: The Human Factor, Issue 30 of Humana.Mente, June 2015.

The work was done as a Project Manager of the Bio-Techno-Practice Research Empowering Hub. Continue reading In silico modeling: the human factor

Cultural Traits. A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Cultural Diversity

Out now!

9783319243474Understanding Cultural Traits: A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Cultural Diversity, Edited by Fabrizio Panebianco and Emanuele Serrelli.

Interested in writing a review? Read it online for free and get your free hardcopy! Go on the dedicated homepage and then “Access an Online Book Review Copy” via the link under “Service for this Book”. After successful registration on Springer site, you will be provided access to the online content of the book for a period of 6 months. After publication of the review in the journal, you will receive a hard copy of the book.

A most needed book on cultural traits

cultural traits networkThis volume constitutes a first step towards an ever-deferred interdisciplinary dialogue on cultural traits. It offers a way to enter a representative sample of the intellectual diversity that surrounds this topic, and a means to stimulate innovative avenues of research. It stimulates critical thinking and awareness in the disciplines that need to conceptualize and study culture, cultural traits, and cultural diversity.   Culture is often defined and studied with an emphasis on cultural features. For UNESCO, “culture should be regarded as the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group”. But the very possibility of assuming the existence of cultural traits is not granted, and any serious evaluation of the notion of “cultural trait” requires the interrogation of several disciplines from cultural anthropology to linguistics, from psychology to sociology to musicology, and all areas of knowledge on culture. This book presents a strong multidisciplinary perspective that can help clarify the problems about cultural traits.

Table of contents

1 Cultural Traits and Multidisciplinary Dialogue
Fabrizio Panebianco and Emanuele Serrelli
(see epistemologia.eu page)

2  Understanding Cultural Diversity. Culture, Cultural Traits and Cultural Changes Between Global and Local Scales
Vincenzo Matera

3  Cultural Traits and Identity
Ugo E.M. Fabietti

4  The Diffusion of a Museum Exhibit: The Case of the Transparent Man
Elena Canadelli

5  The ‘Incompetent Subject’ in the Kingdom of Technical Terms. A Possible Role of Pedagogy in the Study of Cultural Traits
Rossana Brambilla

6  The Unary Trait of Psychoanalysis. Identification, Transmission, Generation
Matteo Bonazzi

7  Cultural Diversities Across and Within Cultures: The Bicultural Mind
Olivia Realdon and Valentino Zurloni

8  Birth and Evolution of Jazz as Effects of Cultural Transfers
Stefano Zenni

9  Geographical Boundaries as Places of Meeting and Diffusion of Cultural Traits
Stefano Malatesta, Marcella Schmidt di Friedberg,
and Enrico Squarcina

10  Maps, Diagrams and Charts: Making the Cultural Trait Visible Fulvio Carmagnola

11  Evolutionary Genetics and Cultural Traits in a ‘Body of Theory’ Perspective
Emanuele Serrelli
(see epistemologia.eu page)

12  Cultural Traits in Economic Theory
Fabrizio Panebianco

13  International Cooperation and Cultural Transmission
Isa Gama

14  Rethinking Organizational Culture: The Role of Generational Subcultures
Alessandra Lazazzara

15  From Material Remains to Culture: The Possibilities
and Limits of Archaeology in Reconstructing Ancient People
Viviana Ardesia

16  Homology and Phylogenetic Inference in Biological and Material Cultural Evolution
Ilya Tëmkin

17  On the Origin of Technologies: The Invention and Evolution of the Bow-and-Arrow
Giuseppe Carignani

18  Trees, Languages and Genes: A Historical Path
Federica Da Milano and Nicoletta Puddu

19  Signaling in Style: On Cooperation, Identity and the Origins of Visual Art
Larissa Mendoza-Straffon

20  Aesthetic Preferences: An Evolutionary Approach
Mariagrazia Portera and Lorenzo Bartalesi

21  Nothing But Survival: On the Origin and Function of Literature
Mario Barenghi

22  Concluding Remarks – Removing Barriers in Scientific Research: Concepts, Synthesis and Catalysis
Emanuele Serrelli

Book presentations 2016


Look for it in the Publications page (with additional links):

Panebianco F, Serrelli E, eds. (forthcoming). Understanding Cultural Traits. A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Cultural Diversity. Springer. [http://hdl.handle.net/10281/49987]

Structures of Deep Time in the Anthropocene

Emanuele Serrelli presents:

2016, Jun 10 (h.16-19) – 6th Ethnography and Qualitative Research Conference, University of Bergamo, Italy: Structures of deep time in the Anthropocene. With Elena Bougleux organizer of the session “Diffracting ethnography in the anthropocene”. Conference talk. [Ac]

Talk abstract “Structures of deep time in the Anthropocene”

Anthropocene puts incommensurable time scales in contact with each other, to show the relevance of what humanity has been realizing in historical times, and to emphasize the impact of our everyday behaviours and choices. To enable cross-referencing of geologic formations and events from different places on the planet, geologists have subdivided the Earth’s history in periods and eras. Among the concluded periods, the shortest one, Neogene, lasted for more than 20 million years, while the longest periods amounts to over 200 million years. The enormity of these time intervals is hard to imagine, yet necessary to capture and define all the phenomena that are meaningful for the history of such a huge and old system as the Earth.

A different logic – the logic of “deep time” and “macroevolution” – is necessary to reflect on a time scale where the history of not only species, but whole Families and Groups, is nothing but the blink of an eye. The current period, Holocene, has started only 11.700 thousand years ago, at the end of the last glacial Age, but a serious scientific proposal was advanced to consider that a different period, the Anthropocene, has already taken over from the Holocene. What are the dilemmas, paradoxes, challenges, and implications of this mental operation, that implies the contaction of temporal scales, and the comparison of everyday life time with deep evolutionary time?

Session abstract “Diffracting ethnography in the anthropocene”

cropped-logo-erq-conf-2016-copyThe theoretical framework of Anthropocene has quickly spread across several disciplinary areas, from Anthropology to History, from Ecology to Economics, as a critical tool for the investigation of the contemporary, in the attempt to provide a multidisciplinary context where to confront and compare different sensitivities and competences on the issues of environment, shared responsibility, public interest and common visions about the future.

The concept of Anthropocene provides a sort of metascenario where a multiplicity of separated critical aspects of the contemporary crisis acquire common and mutually depending meanings: climate refugees, food insecurity, energetic crisis, restrictions to water accesses. These are all independent signs converging to assemble a severe criticism of the dominating paradigm of development, based on markets and profits, that has been imposed as a unique model and that has largely contributed to generate all the mentioned criticalities.

The discourse on Anthropocene tries to promote the enhancement of a global awareness of shared belonging, emphasizing the invisible and indirect connections between human actions and their environmental consequences, connecting large and micro scales, superposing individual causes and global effects. The pluri-semantic figurations of diffraction and transversality are powerful metaphors borrowed from disciplines such as philosophy and natural sciences that describe at best the new network of meanings, both theoretical and material ones, needed to grasp all these mutual dependencies.

The panel seeks to discuss this framework characterized by instabilities with the support of ethnographic description and case studies discussion, focussing in particular on:

  • the mutual relations between small scale (human) actions and large scale (environmental) effects, many of which still need to be accurately understood, in their multidisciplinary dimension
  • the new social unbalances emerging as consequences of the environmental exploitation, worsening existing gaps and unbalances among genders, classes, communities; in particular documenting poor housing, decreasing education, worsening of health conditions
  • new environmental sensitivities originated with the crisis and generated by the inadequate managing of resources, producing new patterns of engagement and collective behaviours; in particular documenting social movements, their environmental commitment, their strategies of aggregation and claim

Session program “Diffracting ethnography in the anthropocene”

Convenor: Elena Bougleux (Università di Bergamo)

Friday, June 10th 16.00-19.00 — Room 1P

  • Sara Baranzoni, Simone Belli, Daniel Ross & Paolo Vignola (Yachai Tech): Ethnography of controversies of our time. Anthropocene, climate change and sustainable development
  • Nadia Breda (Università di Firenze): Intimate visions of water in the anthroposophical contemporary philosophy and practices
  • Ghiringhelli Barbara (Libera Università IULM di Milano): Some questions about multi-species ethnography
  • Enrico Micheli (Università di Bergamo): Complex problem solving. Patterns of education in the anthropocene
  • Emanuele Serrelli (Università di Milano Bicocca): Structures of deep time in the anthropocene

From everyday life to deep evolutionary time: Anthropocene and contacting temporal scales

New forthcoming talk:

2015, Dec 19 (h.11-13) – III Convegno Nazionale SIAA Società Italiana di Antropologia Applicata, Polo Universitario Città di Prato: From everyday life to deep evolutionary time: Anthropocene and contacting temporal scales (Session “Mitigation, Adaptation, Vulnerability. Analisi di strategie, pratiche e retoriche delle comunità nel contesto dell’Antropocene”). With Enrico Giustiniano Micheli, Elena Bougleux, Nadia Breda et al. Conference Talk. [Ac]

To enable cross-referencing of geologic formations and events from different places on the planet, geologists have subdivided the Earth’s history in periods and eras. Among the concluded periods, the shortest one, Neogene, lasted for more than 20 million years (My), while the longest periods amount to 200+ My. The enormity of these time intervals is hard to imagine, yet necessary to capture and define all the phenomena that are meaningful for the history of such a huge and old system as the Earth. A different logic – the logic of “deep time” and “macroevolution” – is necessary to reflect on a time scale where the history of not only species, but whole Families and Groups, is nothing but the blink of an eye. The current period, Holocene, has started only 11.700 thousand years (Ky) ago, at the end of the last glacial Age, but a serious scientific proposal was advanced to consider that a different period, the Anthropocene, has already taken over from the Holocene. Homo Sapiens as a biological species is 200 to 150 Ky old. The beginning of cognitively modern humans and their diffusion on global scale is even more recent: 80 to 60 Kya (the period traditionally described as the Palaeolithic Revolution or the “great leap forward”). Rhetorically, Anthropocene puts incommensurable time scales in contact with each other, to show the relevance of what humanity has been realizing in historical times, and even of our everyday behaviors and choices. What are the dilemmas, paradoxes, challenges, and implications of this mental operation?

Catholic Theology and Biology: Origin of Life, Chance and Necessity, and the Place of Homo sapiens in the Living World

A dialogue in four steps between theology and biology, with a particular focus on evolutionary biology. The first meeting will explore the differences and similarities between biological and theological knowledge, calling into play the respective knowledge communities and their own way of “progressing”. We will talk about the necessity of a dialogue, especially from the biographical point of view of believers who want to benefit from both sources of knowledge with an open but not cynical mind. In the subsequent three meetings we will examine some of the most fascinating and difficult issues for both biology and theology: the origin of life on Earth, the often artificially emphasized opposition between chance and necessity, and the place of man – or, biologically speaking, Homo sapiens – in the living world and its dynamics. Emanuele Serrelli, philosopher of science, will interact with experts in theology such as don Ettore Colombo, Gianni Cervellera e Dario Gellera. The perspective of curiosity and research will join biological and theological knowledge, without hiding the different ways of interpreting and the paradoxes of a dialogue which seems, at times, difficult.

Lunedì 05 ottobre 2015, ore 21
Non guardarmi non ti sento
Il senso di un dialogo tra scienza e teologia Relatori: Emanuele Serrelli e Don Ettore Colombo

Lunedì 12 ottobre 2015, ore 21
A casa nell’universo? Conoscenze e questioni aperte all’origine della vita
Relatori: Emanuele Serrelli e Don Ettore Colombo

Lunedì 19 ottobre 2015, ore 21
Gli alberi non crescono fino al cielo: Caso, necessità, predestinazione
Relatori: Emanuele Serrelli e Gianni Cervellera

Lunedì 26 ottobre 2015, ore 21
L’uomo è una scimmia nuda? Dati scientifici e riflessioni sul posto dell’uomo nella natura
Relatori: Emanuele Serrelli e Dario Gellera


Look for it in the Talks page (with additional links):

2015, Oct 5, 12, 19, 26 (h.21:00) – Oasi di Preghiera Santuario S. Maria, Cernusco sul Naviglio (MI): Scienza e fede: dialogo tra biologia e teologia. With don Ettore Colombo, Gianni Cervellera, Dario Gellera. Conference.

The narrative encounter: Tales and fairytales and systemic perspective on helping relationships

Riflessioni Sistemiche 12A new article on the journal Riflessioni Sistemiche, after the ones on “Visions of change in evolutionary biology and education” (2012) and “Evolutionary Biology: Processes and Patterns” (2011).

Narrative and systemic perspectives in caring relationships are absolutely complementary under several respects, in spite of some debates that have assumed the contrary. The article explores this topic before illustrating how systemic counseling can employ a peculiar narrative genre: fairytale.

Keywords
Counseling – caring relationship – narrative therapy – pragmatics of communication – CMM Coordinated Management of Meaning – collective narrative practice


Look for it in the Publications page (with additional links):

Serrelli E, Tosini F (2015). L’incontro narrativo: narrazione e fiaba nella relazione d’aiuto a orientamento sistemico. Riflessioni Sistemiche 12 (Jul 2015), “Narrazioni”, pp. 90-102 (online on http://www.aiems.eu). ISSN 2281-3373