Tag Archives: interdisciplinarity

Interdisciplinarity: goals and conditions


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

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.

Continue reading Evolutionary Theory: A Hierarchical Perspective

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. Continue reading Cultural Traits. A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Cultural Diversity

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? Continue reading Structures of Deep Time in the Anthropocene

Anthropocene Campus: Experiment in Higher Education

I participate in ANTHROPOCENE CAMPUSanthropocene, Berlin, November 14-22, 2014. I have been selected among “100 outstanding post graduates as well as actors from culture, society, and the arts”, nominated by prof. Elena Bougleux (University of Bergamo).

Encouraging new forms of transdisciplinary discourse and research THE ANTHROPOCENE PROJECT 2013/14 at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (HKW) aims to investigate the manifold implications of the Anthropocene hypothesis for cultures of knowledge. If indeed humankind has become the dominant biogeophysical force, effecting changes on a planetary scale, how can the arts, sciences and humanities contribute to a critical awareness, understanding and responsible co-shaping of these transformations? How can creative and problem-oriented modes of knowledge production and educational practices be developed?

Copyright: Globaia, Planet Under Pressure, SEI, SRC, CSIRO. This film was commissioned by the Planet Under Pressure conference, London 26-29 March, a major international conference focusing on solutions. planetunderpressure2012.net

The ANTHROPOCENE CURRICULUM addresses these questions by way of a cross-disciplinary experiment in higher education. Instigated by HKW and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin (MPIWG) the project has brought together a group of 27 renowned university teachers from science, humanities, and art & design to collaboratively develop a set of topics relevant to the Anthropocene in an attempt to encourage cross-disciplinary thinking, mutual learning, and civic commitment as integral part into the curricula of universities and research institutions.

This exemplary curriculum will be put into teaching practice at the ANTHROPOCENE CAMPUS taking place November 14-22, 2014 at HKW in Berlin. One hundred international participants will be given the opportunity to engage in this curricular experiment, contributing their own perspectives and expertise. The Campus provides a transdisciplinary co-learning space for scholars from a wide range of disciplinary, academic, and professional backgrounds and opens up a forum for exploring the scopes, scales, and designs of Anthropocene relevant knowledge. The ANTHROPOCENE CAMPUS will be a central component of a series of public events at HKW – including lectures, workshops, exhibitions, screenings, and artistic events –, by which the two-year ANTHROPOCENE PROJECT will come to its close. An essential part of the output of the ANTHROPOCENE CURRICULUM will be the collaborative production of an ANTHROPOCENE COURSEBOOK.

Emanuele at the Anthropocene Campus:

More pictures at Haus der Kulturen der Welt website.

Lasting Teachings from Gregory Bateson

Abstract: Gregory Bateson’s thinking is an enduring source of renovation for our thinking. The deep effects of his writings are here exemplified by four key-words from his philosophical vocabulary: CREATURE, MAP, METAPHOR, and GRACE. The movements correlated with this key-words are explored in the different fields of pedagogy, biographical research, philosophy, natural sciences, psychological care. In consonance with Bateson’s teaching, these fields are connected with each other, and with life and experience. In Bateson, reflections on life, knowledge, storymaking, beauty are joined in a unique and recursive unity that will not stop nourishing itself and more people.

Key words: Gregory Bateson, Epistemology, Learning, Context, Constructivism, Scientific method, Biography, Structure, Nature

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

Bella A, Galimberti A, Serrelli E, Vitale A (2014). Gregory Bateson ha ancora qualcosa da insegnare?. Paradigmi. Rivista di critica filosofica 2/2014: 155-181. ISSN 1120-3404 doi 10.3280/PARA2014-002009 [http://hdl.handle.net/10281/52024]

Cultural Traits and Multidisciplinary Dialogue

9783319243474…We have walked on a fine line: the notion of a cultural trait is interesting because it has something to say to many sciences, but, paradoxically, also because it generates harsh conflicts on top scientific journals more and more frequently. Historical linguistics and cultural evolution are two of many fields where these clashes happen, and we want to hint to those conflicts before delving into the contribution we have to offer.

For all the represented disciplines, the book constitutes a first step towards an ever-deferred interdisciplinary dialogue, and towards the construction of common working platforms. For the reader, Cultural Traits is a way to enter a representative sample of the intellectual diversity that surrounds such an important topic as culture, and a means to stimulate innovative avenues of research. Each of the involved disciplines enters the debate with a self-presenting attitude, emphasizing its own methodological practices, and explaining whether and how cultural traits have a role in its own research programs and epistemic goals. Along these lines some chapters are more methodological, while others address case studies, and methodological aspects are inferred more indirectly. Are there differences in aspects of culture that are studied by different disciplines? What definitions of cultural traits are on the table? How do we delimit a trait? How is the problem declined at different observational scales, and which scales are most in focus? Do traits travel in geographical space, and how? Are there other relevant spaces? How are traits modified in their diffusion? Is it possible and useful to build models of this diffusion? Only a strong multidisciplinary perspective can help to clarify these problems about cultural traits, by means of which we understand our precious heritage, cultural diversity…

Panebianco F, Serrelli E (2016). Cultural traits and multidisciplinary dialogue. Introduction to Panebianco F, Serrelli E, eds., Understanding cultural traits. A multidisciplinary perspective on cultural diversity. Springer, Switzerland, Chapter 1, pp. 1-20. ISBN 978-3-319-24347-4 [DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-24349-8_1] [BOA][RG]


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

The goals and conditions of successful interdisciplinarity

In this conceptual analysis, we argue that the contemporary popularity of interdisciplinarity should be complemented by a deeper, critical reflection on its goals and on the conditions for its success. The goal of producing a surplus of knowledge should be interpreted as the production of new ways of thinking, and leave recognizable traces in the involved disciplines. Interdisciplinary success is closely dependent on particular conditions, i.e. an object, a goal, regular shared practices, and the researchers’ capacities for believing in and sticking to specific attidudes. Such conditions should be taken into serious account when interdisciplinary endeavours are planned and selected. We further argue that the highest goal of interdisciplinarity consists in the transformation of society and culture. The goal, related to science’s placement in contemporary society, has to do with the meaning and effects of research. Also to those disciplines that have less familiarity with science politics reflections could and should be challenged and stimulated by the highest goal.

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

Brambilla R, Serrelli E (forthcoming). The goals and conditions of successful interdisciplinarity. Some critical guidelines in planning, managing and evaluating interdisciplinary projects. Paradigmi. Rivista di critica filosofica, in press. ISSN 1120-3404 [http://hdl.handle.net/10281/49695]

Interdisciplinary Workshop on Robustness

Goal of the workshop is to rise relevant questions as well as to encourage interdisciplinary discussions surrounding the topic of Robustness.

2014, October 14 (09.30) – 16 (17.30)

Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma
Via Álvaro del Portillo, 21
00128 Roma


October 14th
09:30 – 10.30  Plenary Session – Gerald H. Pollack
11.00 – 13:30  Session 1: The methodological and conceptual foundations of robustness
S. Caianiello – Prolegomena to a history of the notion of robustness
G. Caniglia – Robustness, Integration and What We Can Do When We Cannot Observe Something
S. Mitchell – Challenges of Robustness for Causal Explanation
P. Huneman – Robustness as an explanandum and explanans in evolutionary biology and ecology
14:30 – 17:30  Session 2: Talking about robustness
G. Vitiello – Dynamical rearrangement of Symmetry, minimum stimulus and robustness
L. Di Paola, A. Giuliani – Ecological Process Design and Robustness: the Case of Biofuels
S. Filippi – Robustness and Emergent Dynamics in Noisy Biological Systems
F. Keller – Robustness and Embodiment of Higher Cognitive Functions
M. Trombetta – Tissue Engineering and Cell Driving

October 15th
09:30 – 11:00  Session 2: Talking about robustness
A. Marcos – Difference
A. Moreno – Robustness and Autonomy
14:00 – 17:45  Working Groups

October 16th
09:30 – 12:30  Results presentation
13:45 – 17:00  Roundtable
17:00 – 17.30  Conclusions

Philosophical and Scientific Steering Committee
Marta Bertolaso – Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, FAST e Facoltà di Ingegneria
Sandra D. Mitchell – University of Pittsburgh
Jane Maienschein – Arizona State University
Simonetta Filippi – Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Facoltà di Ingegneria
Flavio Keller – Università Campus  Bio-Medico di Roma, Facoltà di Medicina

Marta Bertolaso – Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, FAST e Facoltà di Ingegneria

Local Organizing Committee
Luca Valera – Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, FAST
Anna Maria Dieli – Università Tor Vergata, Roma; IHPST, Paris

Organizzato da:
Campus Bio-Medico di Roma
Con il contributo di Fondazione Cattolica Assicurazioni

Referente organizzativo:
Silvia Caianiello

Ufficio stampa:
Luca Valera
Campus Bio-Medico


More pictures on Flickr.