Category Archives: Scientific collaborations

Borzoo Pourabdollahian – Towards a sustainable society through serious gaming

CISEPS – Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology and Social Sciences

Towards a sustainable society through serious gaming

Dr. Borzoo Pourabdollahian
Politecnico di Milano

Thursday, November 27, 12:00pm
Room U6-3143, Piazza dell’Ateneo Nuovo 1, Milano

Borzoo Pourabdollahian - Towards a sustainable society through serious gamingAbstract: The main challenge for societies is to find mechanisms to arouse among their citizens better insights about the importance of sustainability, and, more importantly, to encourage people to change their habits and behaviours towards being “sustainable citizens”. Serious games simulate real environments. They can be used as pedagogical tools in creating sustainable societies: players become motivated to behave in a sustainable manner in order to achieve the ultimate goal of the game, which represents a prosperity phenomenon. The seminar will present the audience with a set of games specifically designed to increase the player’s awareness about those activities and practices which are necessary for every specific sector of a society (e.g. Health, Science, Manufacturing, Education, Business, etc.) to turn sustainable. In particular, we will discuss the mechanisms laid in the design and implementation of each game to get better understanding of the ways in which learning contents are transferred into players’ mind and behaviour, in a scale from abstract knowledge to behavioural changes.

Borzoo Pourabdollahian obtained his PhD from Politecnico di Milano in 2014. His contribution is a guideline towards designing serious games in the areas related to manufacturing education. He has been involved in some projects funded by European Union under 7th framework program. Particularly, GaLA (Game and Learning Alliance) and TARGET (Transformative, Adaptive, Responsive and enGaging EnvironmenT). He has presented several papers in prominent conferences and is currently a reviewer of Journal of Transactions on Education.

Bio-Techno-Practice

Bio-Techno-Practice is an International and Interdisciplinary Laboratory devoted to the analysis of concepts emerging from science with philosophical, cultural and sociological relevance, and gathers researchers (scientists and philosophers) from different countries and universities. This allows foreseeing future trends for research and investments by focusing on the convergences among life and human sciences, physics and engineering.

BTP is now working on the concept of ROBUSTNESS by means of international workshops (Robustness I, Robustness II) that will lead to an interdisciplinary publication.
Future of Sci Pract

The Future of Scientific Practice: ‘Bio-Techno-Logos’ ed. by Marta Bertolaso is the first product of the Bio-Techno-Practice project. Focusing on cell dynamics, molecular medicine and robotics, contributors explore the interplay between biological, technological and theoretical ways of thinking. They argue that the direction of modern science means that these areas can no longer be explored independently but must be integrated if we are to better understand the world. The collection makes a strong contribution to current debates in the philosophy of science and the changing role of scientific practice.

Provisional table of contents:

Introduction: Philosophy within Science – Marta Bertolaso
Part I: Towards a Conceptual Clarification of the Biological Dynamics
1 Microscopic and Macroscopic Insights of Dynamic Cell Behaviour – Kumar Selvarajoo
2 Proteins: A Unique Solution to Signal Transmission Efficiency – Alessandro Giuliani
3 How Gene Regulatory Network and Cell Population Dynamics Affect Molecular Explanation in Medicine – Sui Huang
4 Embodied Intelligence in the Biomechatronic Design of Robots – Dino Accoto
Part II: Towards a Clarification of What Scientific Understanding Entails
5 Managing Complexity: The Innovative Aims and Methods of Model-Building in Systems Biology, and their Challenges for Philosophy of Science – Miles McLeod
6 Stratification and Biomedicine: How Philosophy Stems from Medicine and Biotechnology – Zsuzsa Pavelka, Federico Boem and Giovanni Boniolo
7 Are Cells Computers? Can they be Reproduced on Computers? – Vincent C Müller
8 Biological, Technological and Epistemological Aspects of Robotics – Giampaolo Ghilardi
Part III: Towards a Development of a Philosophy of Scientific Practice
9 Technology and Mechanism in Biology – Marco Buzzoni
10 Scientific Understanding and the Explantatory Use of False Models – Antonio Diéguez
11 Prediction and Prescription in Biological Systems: The Role of Technology for Measurement and Transformation – Wenceslao J Gonzalez
12 Scientific Personal Agency – Marta Bertolaso, Giampaolo Ghilardi and Alfredo Marcos

Ambiente e società. Appendice XXI Secolo

2014: scientific coordinator, together with Andrea Romano, of the volume Ambiente e società. Appendice XXI Secolo, Torino: UTET Grandi Opere (scientific director Telmo Pievani), out in September 2014.

We solicited, supervised, and revised to publication 28 chapters by major Italian and International authors on many topics concerning environmental challenges and sustainability.

Ilya Tëmkin – Perils and promises of cultural phylogenies: evolution of the Baltic Psaltery

CISEPS – Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology and Social Sciences

Perils and promises of cultural phylogenies: Evolution of the Baltic Psaltery

Ilya Tëmkin
National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution) and NOVA (Northern Virginia Community College)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013, 12:00pm
Room U6/3061, Piazza dell’Ateneo Nuovo 1, Milano

psaltery-phylogenyAbstract: The new millennium has brought a new impetus for rigorous historical reconstruction into the field of material cultural evolution by applying phylogenetic analysis (originally developed for discerning evolutionary relationships among living organisms). A detailed study of the Baltic psaltery, a plucked stringed instrument that has enjoyed popularity in Northeastern Europe since the Middle Ages, reveals perils and promises of these methods, particularly of novel network-based approaches. Every group of people that has preserved the instrument, regards it as an essential symbol of their ethnic identity with its presumed origin and significance deeply rooted in traditional culture, as evidenced through mythology, epic poetry, songs, and ritual. Despite its cultural significance, the history of the Baltic psaltery has been a controversial subject for over a century. The patterns of historical relationships revealed by phylogenetics-inspired approaches may help settling the controversy and link disparate data on the iconography, archaeology, and cultural anthropology of the Baltic psaltery.

The seminar is part of the CISEPS project The diffusion of cultural traits, whose goal is to trigger interdiciplinary debates, emphasizing common problems and peculiarities among economics, philosophy, anthropology, geography, history, biology and many more fields. Thinking in terms of cultural traits – i.e., characters depending in some way on social learning – doesn’t imply exhaustion of cultural processes; rather, it means thinking critically to scientific models and metaphors for studying culture.

Malatesta, Schmidt, Squarcina – Not just limits: the geographical boundaries as places of meeting and diffusion of cultural traits

CISEPS – Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology and Social Sciences

Not just limits: the geographical boundaries as places of meeting and diffusion of cultural traits

Stefano Malatesta, Marcella Schmidt di Friedberg, Enrico Squarcina
Università di Milano Bicocca

May 16th, 2013, 2:30 pm
Room U6/3061, Piazza dell’Ateneo Nuovo 1, Milano

Fonte dell’immagine: Bianchi E., Perussia F., Il centro di Milano: percezione e realtà, 1978.
Fonte dell’immagine:
Bianchi E., Perussia F.,
Il centro di Milano:
percezione e realtà, 1978.

Abstract: Boundaries are a consolidating subject in the contemporary study of human geography. Newman’s observations justify an analysis of the persistent geopolitical and cultural action played by these objects in all their forms, even if consider contemporary spaces as de-territorialized and borderless and regions only as elements of a global network. In fact material and non-material limits are meaningful sources of information for reading the structure of territories and for understanding their social, cultural political, ecosystemic and historical relationships: boundaries leave landmarks (material and non-material) on landscapes, immediately related to their own geopolitical function, these landmarks become objects of human perception (primarily visual) and are also the subject of political representation (landscapes); boundaries are the primitives of spatial knowledge on which peoples build their own geographical images of places; boundaries are a mighty basis of the mimetic function played by the cartographic language. Therefore, considering both their physical and narrative dimensions, we can state that geographical boundaries rather than being limits or barriers, are places directly involved in the diffusion of cultural traits. This issue will be discussed focusing on the role played by limits and boundaries on landscapes, cartography and mental representations of space.

The seminar is part of the CISEPS project The diffusion of cultural traits, whose goal is to trigger interdiciplinary debates, emphasizing common problems and peculiarities among economics, philosophy, anthropology, geography, history, biology and many more fields. Thinking in terms of cultural traits – i.e., characters depending in some way on social learning – doesn’t imply exhaustion of cultural processes; rather, it means thinking critically to scientific models and metaphors for studying culture.

Pierluigi Cuzzolin – Fatiche e miserie dell’espressione iuxta propria principia

CISEPS – Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology and Social Sciences

Fatiche e miserie dell’espressione iuxta propria principia

Pierluigi Cuzzolin
Università di Bergamo

February 28th, 2013, 12pm
Room U6/3061, Piazza dell’Ateneo Nuovo 1, Milano

telesioAbstract: Nel De rerum natura iuxta propria principia (prima edizione nel 1565) Bernardino Telesio utilizzava questo sintagma per propugnare uno studio dell’oggetto d’indagine secondo principi e criteri di indagine propri di quell’oggetto. Da allora l’espressione iuxta propria principia è stata spesso usata in modo strumentale. Intento di questa presentazione non è quello di ripercorrere questo capitolo di storia delle idee, peraltro ancora da scrivere, ma di vedere come l’invocazione ai propria principia in linguistica sia stato un fenomeno più travagliato e complesso che per altre discipline. Da questo punto di vista, parlare di propria principia in linguistica significa aver chiamato in causa, quasi a volerle porre a proprio fondamento teorico, molte altre discipline, dalla filosofia alla biologia alla fisica alla economia alle scienze cognitive più in generale, e sempre con alterne fortune.

The seminar is part of the CISEPS project The diffusion of cultural traits, whose goal is to trigger interdiciplinary debates, emphasizing common problems and peculiarities among economics, philosophy, anthropology, geography, history, biology and many more fields. Thinking in terms of cultural traits – i.e., characters depending in some way on social learning – doesn’t imply exhaustion of cultural processes; rather, it means thinking critically to scientific models and metaphors for studying culture.

Mario Barenghi – Nothing but survival: On the origin and spread of literature

CISEPS – Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology and Social Sciences

Nothing but survival: On the origin and spread of literature

Mario Barenghi
University of Milano Bicocca

January 31, 2013, 2:30pm
Room U6/3061, Piazza dell’Ateneo Nuovo 1, Milano

literature-survivalAbstract: For a long time literary theorists have been concerned with the question “What is literature?”. This issue does not raise the same interest in our days. After all, what really matters is what we do with literature, whatever it is. Time has come for a comparison between literary and evolutionary studies. The question we should ask is: “Why is literature?” Where do poetic uses of language rise from? For what reason or reasons, in a remote era of our history, our ancestors have started to spend (or lavish) both time and mental energies in seemingly free and relaxed verbal activities which are unrelated to immediate needs? Which are the features of human behaviour that literature tends to foster and strengthen? In this workshop Mario Barenghi argues that literature’s aim is nothing but survival.

The seminar is part of the CISEPS project The diffusion of cultural traits, whose goal is to trigger interdiciplinary debates, emphasizing common problems and peculiarities among economics, philosophy, anthropology, geography, history, biology and many more fields. Thinking in terms of cultural traits – i.e., characters depending in some way on social learning – doesn’t imply exhaustion of cultural processes; rather, it means thinking critically to scientific models and metaphors for studying culture.

Tracing traits in linguistics, economics, and evolutionary biology. An interdisciplinary workshop

CISEPS – Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology and Social Sciences

Tracing traits in linguistics, economics, and evolutionary biology. An interdisciplinary workshop

  • Federica Da Milano, Linguist, University of Milano Bicocca
  • Nicoletta Puddu, Linguist, University of Cagliari
  • Fabrizio Panebianco, Economist, University of Milano Bicocca
  • Emanuele Serrelli, Philosopher of Biology, University of Milano Bicocca

Thursday, December 13, 2012, h 14:00
Room U6/367, Piazza dell’Ateneo Nuovo 1, Milano

networks-cisepsAbstract: The seminar will present and compare the methods used in linguistics, economics, and evolutionary biology to study traits in their different domains: language features, behaviors and beliefs, genes and phenotypic characteristics. Federica Da Milano and Nicoletta Puddu will present phylogenetic models of language change and illustrate them with the particular geo-linguistic case of Sardegna. Fabrizio Panebianco will outline evolutionary kinds of models in economics. Emanuele Serrelli will explain tree and network analyses used to study shared traits and contacts between organisms. The open discussion will bring some reflections on the transfer of models and ideas between different fields, bringing about productive interchange with the participants and the audience of different specializations.

The seminar is part of the CISEPS project The diffusion of cultural traits, whose goal is to trigger interdiciplinary debates, emphasizing common problems and peculiarities among economics, philosophy, anthropology, geography, history, biology and many more fields. Thinking in terms of cultural traits – i.e., characters depending in some way on social learning – doesn’t imply exhaustion of cultural processes; rather, it means thinking critically to scientific models and metaphors for studying culture.

Elena Canadelli – The unexpected migration of Transparent Man

CISEPS – Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology and Social Sciences

The unexpected migration of Transparent Man from Germany to the U.S. in 1930s and 40s

Dr. Elena Canadelli
Historian of Science, University of Milano Bicocca

Thursday, November 8, 2013, 2:30pm
Room U6/372 (3rd floor), Piazza dell’Ateneo Nuovo 1, Milano

canadelli-transparent-mancanadelli-transparent-man CANADELLI-Fig2Abstract: The Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden, founded in 1912, was considered by its contemporaries as “a teaching institution for giving health instruction to the general public”. From 1930 on, the absolute symbol of the museum was the Transparent Man, made in plastic materials. Created in various editions, the Transparent Man, which was soon followed by the Transparent Woman, went on tour in Europe. Perhaps unexpectedly, it migrated in the U.S. during 1930s and ‘40s. In 1935 the popular American journal Popular Science Monthly significantly entitled its report on this exhibition Wonders of the Human Body reproduced in Museum by Machines and Electricity. By means of interactive displays, transparent models, lighting effects and mechanical apparatuses, “every important organ in the human machine is brought to light for visual instruction of the onlookers”. Although strongly compromised by eugenics, by hygienism, and by the ideology of National Socialism, the German Hygiene-Museum inaugurated a new way of displaying the human body, which was taken up and developed, albeit in different ways, by American temporary exhibitions about the human body.

The seminar is part of the CISEPS project The diffusion of cultural traits, whose goal is to trigger interdiciplinary debates, emphasizing common problems and peculiarities among economics, philosophy, anthropology, geography, history, biology and many more fields. Thinking in terms of cultural traits – i.e., characters depending in some way on social learning – doesn’t imply exhaustion of cultural processes; rather, it means thinking critically to scientific models and metaphors for studying culture.

Nathalie Gontier – Cultural evolution models and the extended synthesis

CISEPS – Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology and Social Sciences

Cultural evolution models and the extended synthesis. Symbiogenesis and punctuated equilibria theory in the study of cultural transmission

Nathalie Gontier
Dutch Free University of Brussels (Belgium)

Thursday, May 10, 2012, 12:00pm
Room U6/367, Piazza dell’Ateneo Nuovo 1, Milano

gontier-reticulationAbstract: Reticulate evolution, symbiogenesis and punctuated equilibria theory are fast-rising areas of research in evolutionary biology that are part of what is today sometimes called the “Evolutionary Extended Synthesis”. These theories have major consequences for how we study and define the evolution of life as well as how we depict the tree of life. From an evolutionary epistemological point of view, they also have possible applications in studies on human culture. Scholars who are currently engaged in “evolutionizing” the sociocultural sciences, however, tend to work form within selectionist frameworks. These approaches definitely have their merits, but the application of selectionist theory to sociocultural phenomena has also brought to light that horizontal cultural transmission processes, and fast cultural evolutionary processes prove to be quite difficult to model from within a selectionist framework. I will focus on how biological horizontal evolutionary theories can provide the theoretical framework and methodological toolkit to model horizontal cultural evolution processes; and how punctuated equilibria and drift theory can be implemented in the sociocultural domain.

The seminar is part of the CISEPS project The diffusion of cultural traits, whose goal is to trigger interdiciplinary debates, emphasizing common problems and peculiarities among economics, philosophy, anthropology, geography, history, biology and many more fields. Thinking in terms of cultural traits – i.e., characters depending in some way on social learning – doesn’t imply exhaustion of cultural processes; rather, it means thinking critically to scientific models and metaphors for studying culture.