Roberto Casati

Curriculum vitae

(April 2004)

Affiliation, Teaching and research positions, Education, Grants and Prizes, AOS, AOC, Languages, Teaching, Services to the profession, Publications (books, articles, editorial, translations, work in progress)

Institut | Nicod
1 bis, avenue de Lowendal
75007 Paris, France
e-mail: (as usual, please replace the “AT” with the “@”)
office +.33.1.53593284

Teaching and research positions

Present position (as from 2002): Senior Researcher (Directeur de Recherches, Tenured Position), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France. Previously Research Fellow, as from 1993.

1988-90 Research Fellow, Swiss National Science Foundation. Project "Philosophy of Perception" (director Kevin Mulligan, University of Geneva).

1991- 1994 Assistant Professor, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

1991-1993 Research Fellow, Swiss National Science Foundation. Project on the "Formal-Ontological Foundations of A.I. Research" (director Barry Smith, Schaan).

1994 (Spring) Research Associate Professor at C.R.E.A, Paris.

1994 (Summer) Faculty Member, First International Summer Institute in Cognitive Science, SUNY at Buffalo.

1996 (November) Visiting Professor, Department of Geoinformation, Technical University, Vienna.

1996-present Faculty Member, Cognitive Science Postgraduate Program, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales and Ecole Polytechnique, Paris.

1998 (Fall), Visiting Research Professor, State University of New York at Buffalo.

1999 (Fall), Visiting Research Professor, State University of New York at Buffalo.

1999, Member, National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, State University of New York at Buffalo.

2000, (Fall) Visiting Scholar, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson.

2001 (Fall), Visiting Research Professor, State University of New York at Buffalo.

2001 (Fall), Visiting Scholar, Columbia University, New York.

2001-2003, Teaching at Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris.

2003 (Fall), Visiting Professor, University of Turin (Italy).



1980/82 Polytechnic School of Design, Milan, Italy.

1982, B.A. in Visual Design.

1980/85 Student at the State University of Milan, Italy.

1985, B.A. in Philosophy. B.A. Thesis on Logical Spaces. Grade: 110/110 cum laude.

1987-1991 Doctoral student, University of Geneva.

1988 Thesis: Three Studies in the Theory of Perception: Stumpf, Hofmann, Schapp.

1991 M.A.Thesis: Secondary Qualities: Metaphysical and Phenomenological Distinctions.

1991, Ph.D. Thesis: Secondary Qualities. Grade: Très honorable (highest grade).

Thesis supervisor: Kevin Mulligan.

1989-1992 Doctoral student, State University of Milan, Italy.

Ph.D. Thesis on Events defended on 16 September 1992. Thesis supervisor: Andrea Bonomi (Milan).


1986 Grant from the Italian Department of Foreign Affairs and the Goethe Institute, Germany.

1987/88 Grant from the Italian Department of Foreign Affairs for one year's study at the University of Geneva.

1988/1989 Grant from the Society for Swiss and Italian Study Grants for one year's study at the University of Geneva.

1989-1992 Three-year grant for Doctoral studies, State University of Milan, Italy.

1996 (May-June) NATO Collaborative Research Grant, Columbia University, New York. Project on the Foundations of Spatial Representation (USD 6000).

1998 CNRS APN Grant: The Interface between Perception, Action and Conceptualization (120K FF), with Elisabeth Pacherie.

1999 MENRT Cognitique Grant: Format of Spatial Representations (100K FF), with Catherine Thinus-Blanc (Marseille).

2000 MENRT Cognitique Grant: The role of recognition in pictural representation (100K FF).

2003 EUROPEAN COMMISSION, VI Framework Programme, 4-year grant as a part of the ENACTIVE Network of the IST (200k Euros). (



1990, Geneva University Neumann Prize in Philosophy.

1996 CNRS Bronze Medal in Philosophy for 1996 (awarded to the most distinguished researcher of the year for philosophy).

2000 Nomination to the Cortina-Ulisse Prize for popular science for the book La scoperta dell'ombra.

2000 Winner of the Premio Fiesole Speciale for nonfiction, for the book La scoperta dell'ombra.

2001 Winner of the Premio Castiglioncello di Filosofia, for the book La scoperta dell'ombra.

2003 Winner of the Prix de la Science du Livre, for the book La découverte de l’ombre.

Areas of Specialization

Philosophy of Mind; Philosophy of Perception; Metaphysics; Cognitive Science; History of Psychology.

Areas of Competence

Philosophy of Language; Epistemology.


Fluent in English, French and Italian (mother tongue). Proficient in spoken and written German. Passive knowledge of Spanish.


University of Neuchâtel, Department of Philosophy:

(teaching given in French; advanced courses for undergraduates)

1990/1, Winter term: Events, Substances and States of Affairs. Spring term: Philosophy of Action.

1991/2, Winter term: Possible Worlds: The Interpretation of Modal Language. Spring term: Theories of Reference.

1992/3, Winter term: Introduction to Modal Logic (at the Logic Department); Music: Sounds and Emotions (with Christine Tappolet). Spring term: The Nature of Mental Content: Internalism and Externalism.

1993/4 Winter term: Holism. Spring term: Philosophy of Perception

1994 First International Summer Institute in Cognitive Science, SUNY at Buffalo. Course on the Philosophy of Perception

1995 Bolzano International Schools in Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence. Course on Spatial Entities (with Achille C. Varzi)

1996 (November) Guest Professor, Technical University, Vienna. Course on The Metaphysics of Dependent Entities

1996 (December) Cognitive Science Postgraduate Program, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Introductory Course on Classical Logic

1997 (October) Cognitive Science Postgraduate Program, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Introductory Course on Classical Logic

1999 (Fall) State University of New York at Buffalo. Two courses co-taught with Barry Smith: Introduction to Cognitive Science and Problems in Ontology: The Metaphysics of Spatial Entities.

2001 (Fall) State University of New York at Buffalo. Two courses: Ontology and Cognition and Problems in Ontology: The Metaphysics of Spatial Entities (the latter co-taught with Barry Smith).

2002 (Spring) Cognitive Science Postgraduate Program, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Course on Ontologie et cognition.

2002 (Spring) Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris. Séminaire La droite, la gauche et la nature de l’espace, co-taught with Jérôme Dokic and Elisabeth Pacherie.

2002 (Fall) Institut Nicod, Université Paris 4, Università del Piemonte Orientale, organiser of the Summer Course on Ontology, Certosa di Pontignano, Siena.

2003 (Spring), Institut Nicod, Université Paris 4, Università del Piemonte Orientale, organiser of the Jackendoff Seminar

2003 (Spring) Cognitive Science Postgraduate Program, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Course on Ontologie et cognition.

2003 (Spring) Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, Magistère de Philosophie. Séminaire Introduction à la philosophe de l'esprit, co-taught with Jérôme Dokic and Elisabeth Pacherie.

2004 (Fall) University of Turin. Course on Art and Cognition.

2004 (Spring) Cognitive Science Postgraduate Program, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Course on Ontologie et cognition.

2004 (Spring) Organiser of the CNRS Summer School Reference to Objects (teachers: F. Recanati, D. Povinelli, P. Bloom, Z. Pylyshyn), co-financed by CNRS, RESCIF, European Science Foundation and MSH.

Services to the profession

Conferences and workshops

Co-organiser of the European Review of Philosophy workshops for doctoral students in Philosophy: Tübingen (1989), Prague (1990), Milan (1991), Karlovy Vary (1992), Karlovy Vary (1993).

Co-organiser of the workshop L'action: Ontologie et Intentionalité [Action: Ontology and Intentionality] (Neuchâtel, 15-16 Novembre 1991), with Richard Glauser et Daniel Schulthess.

Co-organiser of the 16th International Wittgenstein Symposium, Philosophy and the Cognitive Sciences (Kirchberg am Wechsel, 15-21 August 1993), with Barry Smith and Graham White.

Co-organiser of the workshop Esprit, représentation, contexte: externalisme et internalisme [Mind, Representation and Context: Externalism and Internalism], (Neuchâtel, 20-21 November 1993), with Richard Glauser and Daniel Schulthess.

Area Chairperson for the 11th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Amsterdam 1994 (section: "Philosophical Foundations of AI). Member of Programme Committee (section: "Parts and Wholes").

Organiser of the Art and Cognition Workshop, Paris, Cognitique, March 2001 (with Jerrold Levinson, Jean-Pierre Cometti, Renaud Brochard)

Organiser of the Shadow Workshop, European Society for Philoosphy and Psychology, Fribourg. August 2001 (with Jim Enns, Ron Rensink, Pascal Mamassian)

Organiser of the Category Workshop, Buffalo, 26-27.10.2001

Organiser of the Mary Peterson Workshop, Institut Nicod, June 2001.

Organiser of the Alvin Goldman Workshop, Institut Nicod, May 2002.

Organiser of the Barbara Tversky Workshop, Institut Nicod, May 2002.

Scientific advisor for the conference La structure du monde: objets, propriétés, états de choses, Grenoble, 9-13 Dec. 1999.

Co-organiser (with A. Varzi and K. Mulligan) of the workshop Minor Entities, Geneva, Jul 8-11, 2004 (



Referee for COSIT (International Conference on Spatial Information Theory), 1997, 1999.

Referee for FOIS (Formal Ontology in information Science), 2004

Referee for the journals Cognition, The Monist, Synthèse, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Noûs .

Member of the Advisory Board of the journals Facta Philosophica, The Monist, Rivista di Estetica, Sistemi Intelligenti.



Evaluator for the VI Framework Programme of the European Commission

Evaluator for the European Science Foundation



Books for the general public

2004 (with Achille Varzi) Semplicità insormontabili (Insurmountable Simplicities, 39 Philosophical Stories, in Italian). Roma-Bari: Laterza (Quality Paperbacks 22, 194 pp. in press (ISBN 88-420-7304-4). (English, French and Brazialian version in preparation)

A collection of dialogues, epistles, and imaginary documents illustrating the problems of philosophy that hide behind the wrinkles of daily life. What is there? Why can’t we sell our car to X and its pieces to Y? Do strawberries taste the same for everybody? What is the difference between right and left? Is time travel possible? Could it be of any use? Is the train we took today the same we took yesterday? Is everything interesting?


Academic books

(2003) The shadow club. New York: Knopf (Originally La scoperta dell'ombra / The discovery of the shadow, Milan, Mondadori, 2000.). English translation by Abigail Asher.

A study of the role of shadows (holes in light) in scientific discovery, pictorial representation, and psychology. The book's companion site is at

The book has been awarded the Premio Fiesole Speciale 2000, the Premio Castiglioncello di Filosofia 2001, has been nominated for the Cortina Ulisse 2000 prize in popular science, has been awarded the Prix de la science se livre 2003.


Translations in Dutch (Amsterdam : De Bezige Bij, 2001, tr. Jan Gunning), French (Paris : Albin Michel, 2002, tr. Pierre-Emmauel Dauzat), German (Berlin : Berlin Verlag, 2001, tr. Barbara Schaden) , Portuguese (São Paulo : Companhia das Letras, 2001, Tr. Eduardo Brandão) and Spanish (Madrid : Debate 2001, tr. Atilio Pentimaldi ; Greek (forthcoming, Ekdoseis).

(1999) (with Achille C. Varzi), Parts and Places: Structures in Spatial Representation, Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press/Bradford Books, ca. 200 pp.

An investigation in the foundations of spatial representation, with emphasis on the underlying metaphysical and cognitive underpinnings. Central in our study is the philosophical question of the relationship between an entity and 'its' space, and between a spatial region and the events that take place there. In the light of this, we analyse some of the notions that can be used as primitives in a spatial representation system and we investigate how the choice of any of these primitives would heavily condition the resulting representation structure. We then investigate connections between spatial primitives and spatial logics (on one hand) and various fundamental intuitive notions such as localization, occupation, penetrability, and movement (on the other). Some general issues are also examined concerning the possibility of providing a symmetric (or at least analogous) treatment of space and time, both from a formal and from a metaphysical perspective. The volume is structured as an advanced textbook.

[Reviews: M. Ferraris, Il Sole, 12/12/1999, p. 32; J.E. Tiles, Mind, 2000, 109, 856-863 ; J. E. Tiles in Mind, 109: 4 (2000), 856-863 ; Marco Aiello in Journal of Logic, Language and Information 10: 2 (2001), 269-272 ; Berit O. Brogaard-Pedersen in Studia Logica 69:3 (2001), 442-445 ; Franklin Mason in Philosophical Review 110: 3 (2001), 479-481 ; Jeffrey M. Zacks in Philosophical Psychology 15:1 (2002), 95-97 ; Peter T. Simons in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, to appear

Other Booknotes: Gary S. Vasilash, in Automotive Manufacturing & Production, October 1999, p.8 ; Scott Wilkerson in Creative Loafing Atlanta, November 22, 2000.]

E-book edition:: Boulder, CO: NetLibrary, 2000.

(1994a) (with Achille C. Varzi), Holes and Other Superficialities. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press / Bradford Books, 253 pp.

We seek to answer two basic questions: do holes exist, and if so, what are they? Holes are among entities that down-to-earth philosophers would like to expel from their ontological inventory. We argue in favor of their existence and explore the consequences of this approach. We examine the ontology of holes, their geometry, their part-whole relations, their identity, their causal role, and the ways we perceive them. Three basic kinds of holes are distinguished. Treating these uniformly as immaterial bodies, we develop a morphology of holes, focusing on how a hole can be filled. Standard topology is proven insufficient to capture the common-sense morphological complexity. A two-object topological account is developed. Holes are parasitic upon the surface of their hosts; they can move, fuse into one another, split; they can be born, develop and die. Finally, we examine how some morphological features of holes are represented in perception, and we argue for a revision of the traditional figure/ground dicothomy. The book includes a formal appendix which axiomatizes the notion of hole, and a rich annotated bibliography. Paperback edition, with a new index, 1995. Chapter II has been reprinted as "Immaterial Bodies" in Steven D. Hales, ed., 1999, Contemporary Metaphysics, Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing, 428-435, with some exercise questions by the Editor. The formal appendix to Holes has been incorporated into the project of the Standard Upper Ontology (SUO) Working Group of the The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

E-book edition: Boulder, CO: NetLibrary, 1999.

[Reviews: T. Banchoff, Nature, vol. 368, 1994, p. 374; D. and S. Lewis, Philosophical Review, vol. 105, 1996, pp. 77-79; D. M. Armstrong, The Journal of Philosophy, 93, 1996, 585-86; D. Hofstadter, Lingua Franca, February 1996, p. 16; B. Rotman, Sub-stance, 1995, 184-86; S.A. Gross, The Harvard review of Philosophy, Spring 1994, pp. 76-80; Reference and Research Book News, June 1994, p. 3; R.H. Cormack, Choice, September 1994, p. 136; G.S. Vasilash, Automotive Production, February 1996, p. 58; Reviewer's Bookwatch, February 1996, p. 8; P. Simons, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 1997.]

Italian translation by L. Sosio, Buchi e altre superficialità, Milan: Garzanti, 1996. [Reviews: Il Mondo, 14 Sep. 1996, P. Mauri, La Repubblica, 16 Sep. 1996; P.Granzotto, Il Giornale, 18 Sep. 1996; M. Belpoliti, Il Manifesto, 29 Sep. 1996; P.Bianucci, La Stampa, 2 and 3 Oct. 1996; U. Eco, L'Espresso, 10 Oct. 1996, B. Placido, La Repubblica, 30 Oct. 1996; R. Morini, Il Sole, 15 Dec. 1996; M. Palmaro, Il Cittadino, 18 Dec. 1996; F. Maj, Il Messaggero, 4 Jan. 97; S. Modeo, Corriere della Sera, 5 Jan. 1997; S. Modeo, Le Scienze, Mar. 1997; A. Tagliapietra, Capital, Apr. 1997; C. Magris, Corriere della Sera, 8 May 1997; E. Vignassa de Regny, L'indice, May 1997.]

(1994b) (with Jérôme Dokic), La philosophie du son [The Philosophy of Sound], Nîmes: Chambon, 211 pp. (In French.)

We discuss the distinction between the sensory modalities; the metaphysics of sounds; and the structure of sound space. We defend a physicalist conception of sounds, without accepting the identification of sounds with sound-waves in the medium. Sounds, we hold, are events in resonating objects. We evaluate the two main accounts of orientation in perceptual space: relationism (the theory that an object's position in the perceptual field is determined only by its relation to other objects) and absolutism (the theory that an object's position in the perceptual field is determined only by intrinsic, non-reducible orientation properties). We then address Strawson's problem of whether the logical space of sounds could be spatial in the full sense of the term. In the Appendix, we discuss the logic of perceptual auditory reports, and show their compatibility with our theory of sounds.

(1990) L'immagine [Pictures]. Florence: La Nuova Italia, 175 pp. (In Italian.)

I defend a cognitive theory of pictures, according to which the central paradigm of our concept of a picture is the representative picture, i.e., the one which induces recognitional abilities in the perceiver. I show how to classify different pictorial styles in terms of their distance from the paradigm, and I criticize alternative accounts. Bibliograhy of the book.

Articles (a number of these are online)

(2004a) ‘The shadow knows: a primer on the informational structure of cast shadows’, to appear in Perception.

(2004b) “Methodological Issues in The Study of the Depiction of Cast Shadows”, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 62, 2, 163-174 .

The relationships between art and cognition constitute a very wide set of largely unexplored and at times undefined or much too speculative problems. The field is narrowed down by imposing some constraints. It is proposed that the depiction of cast shadows, in its early history, could provide an ideal case study which conforms to the constraints. This paper addresses some methodological problems of the study of this case. A sample of relevant Renaissance images is discussed. A typology of depicted cast shadows is proposed upon which further empirical research could be built.

(2004a) (with Achille Varzi) ‘Counting the Holes’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 82:1 (2004), 23-27 (special issue on “The Philosophy of David Lewis”).

      To appear also in Frank Jackson and Graham Priest (eds.), Lewisian Themes. The Philosophy of David K. Lewis, New York: Oxford University Press.

Criteria for counting holes are as troublesome as criteria for counting objects. Argle claimed that holes supervene on their material hosts, and that every truth about holes boils down to a truth about perforated things. This may well be right, assuming holes are perforations. But we still need an explicit theory of holes to do justice to the ordinary way of counting holes---or so says Cargle.

(2004b) “Introduction” to the special issue of Sistemi intelligenti, 15:3, on Ontology, 401-406 (in Italian).

A report on the state-of-the-art in ontology construed as a multidisciplinary effort in philosophy, computer science and cognitive science.

(2004c) (with Achille Varzi) ‘Sfondo e Figura’ [Background and Figure], in Rivista di estetica (special issue in honor of Paolo Bozzi), 24:3, 42-44.

Background and figure have a delicate interplay, with philosophical implications.
(2004d) (with Nicolas Bullot, principal author, and J.Dokic), ‘Représenter l'espace des objets physiques: La thèse de la dépendance réciproque entre l'identification des objets et celle des lieux’, in C. Thinus-Blanc and J. Bullier, eds. Agir dans l'espace.
A discussion of the traditional philosophical thesis of the mutual dependence between mental representations of physical objects and of places in the light of recent findings in the cognitive sciences on topographical representation and indexical representation. The thesis of mutual dependence is open to charges of circularity. We suggest that the circularity is problematic at the conceptual level but not at the perceptual level.
(2003a) “Representational Advantages”, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 281-298.

Descriptive metaphysics investigates our naive ontology as this is articulated in the content of our perception or of our pre-reflective thought about the world. But is access to such content reliable? Sceptics about the standard modes of access (introspection, or language-driven intuitions) may think that investigations in descriptive metaphysics can be aided by the controlled findings of cognitive science. Cognitive scientists have studied a promising range of representational advantages, that is, ways in which cognition favours one type of entity over another. The notion of representational advantage is investigated and some scepticism is expressed as to its appropriateness for use in descriptive metaphysics.

 (2003c) “Play it”, in P. Kotatko, ed. Pierre Menard, forthcoming.

(2003d) “Qualia Domesticated”, in A. Chatterjee, ed., Perspectives in Consciousness, Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 33-42.

Consider the following argument (1) If panpsychism is true, then the hard problem of consciousness is solved (2) Physicalism is true (3) Physicalism entails panpsychism. We conclude that (4) The hard problem of consciousness is solved. This is a valid argument, and one whose conclusion has a certain appeal. What about the premisses? How exactly is panpsychism a solution to the problem of phenomenal consciousness? Who can take panpsychism seriously, and how can panpsychism be entailed by physicalism? A little forcing is assumed in suggesting to consider a philosophical argument whose conclusion is panpsychism. But I think the exercise is worthwhile, provided we spell out all the consequences of forcing.

(2003e) “Immagine e conoscenza”, in G. Di Napoli, ed., Il pensiero visivo, Monza: ISA, 205-222.

(2003f) “The Unity of the Kind Artwork”, Rivista di Estetica, 23, 43, 3-31. (Earlier version, with replies by discussants, on )

A defence of a meta-representational theory of artworks, accounting for the unity of the kind. Artworks are surmised to be artefacts that are produced with the intention of being recognised as having been produced with the intention of eliciting a conversation.

(2003g) “The availability of large size from shadow: looking for hidden assumptions”, Perception, 32, 1021-1023.


Size-from-shadow arguments requires tinkering in many a case as the geometry of the situation is often not determinate. I then make a remark about the availability of indications about size in perceptual content.

(2002) "The secret of shadow". The Secret of Light and Shadow, Frankfurt: Deutsches Architektur Museum.

(2002a) With Achille C. Varzi, "Events", Encyclopedia entry for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

A review of the philosophical literature on events.

(2002b) "Topology and cognition", Encyclopedia Entry for the L. Nadel, chief ed., Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, McMillan Nature Publishing Group, vol. 4, 410-417.

An overview of the role of topological primitives (connection, contact) in cognition.

(2002c) (with Achille C. Varzi) « Un altro mondo? » [A Different World? In Italian], Rivista di estetica, 19:1, 131-159.

A study of the idea that there is one single world and many world descriptions.

 (2001a) "The Structure of Shadows", in A. Frank, J. Raper, and J.P. Cheylan, Time and Motion of Socio-Economic Units, London: Taylor and Francis, 99-109.

In the first part of the paper, I discuss an application of the descriptive tools of the theory of space representation I developed together with Achille Varzi to shadows, here conceived of as holes in light. Some adjustments of the theory seem necessary because shadows are dependent not only upon material objects (as holes are) but also upon processes. In the second part, I assess the philosophical relevance of shadows, in particular the extent to which their lack of internal causal structure (their freedom from immanent causality) is to be considered a metaphysical problem.

(2001b) (with Achille C. Varzi) "That Useless Time Machine", Philosophy, 76, 581-583.

Dear "Time Machine" Research Group: if in order to travel to the past one has to have been there already, and if one can only do what has already been done, then why build a time machine in the first place? A quoi bon l'effort?

(2001c) Review Article, P. Rossi, ed., La Filosofia, Dialectica, 55, 1, 74-84.

(2001d) ‘Intuitive Topology’, to appear in Monima Chadha and Ajay K. Raina (eds.), Basic Objects: Case Studies in Theoretical Primitives, Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study.

Understanding of elementary topological equivalencies is impaired by preconceptions about the topological structure of ordinary objects, so that the equivalencies turn out to be counterintuitive. Here I will discuss some of these preconceptions, namely (1) the dominance of gestalt properties of the visual display of the configuration, (2) the neglect of holistic properties, (3) the dominance of transformations the preserve metric properties over those that preserve topological properties only, (4) the assumption that holes (empty regions of space) are objects of their own. These factors delineate an empirical research field, intuitive topology. An explanatory hypothesis for the preconceptions suggests that they are hard-wired.

(2001d) "What the Internet Tells Us about the Real Nature of the Book", on

The so-called "virtual world" is often described with the help of metaphors derived from ordinary discourse on perception and action. This should not be surprising, since virtual objects were partly conceived on the basis of these metaphors. Yet, it is not a given that these metaphors are appropriate; one might need to begin using different concepts and eventually to invent new ones, more appropriate to the phenomena they describe. It might even happen, as I shall show, that these new concepts will themselves be used in situations described by the discourses on perception, action and social behaviour in a way that so far seems perfectly natural, but that, in turn, might reveal itself to be entirely inadequate. One could use these new metaphors, born as they are of new practices and new usages, for the reinterpretation of the non virtual world. The subject of this piece is the metaphysics of the book. I shall look at the way in which the Web frees it from our inadequate conception of it. This emancipation, strangely, seems to involve an economic liberation.

(2001e) "Cognitive Aspects of Gerrymandering", Topoi, 20, 203-212.

Some philosophical and cognitive aspects of political gerrymandering are investigated. The basic assumption of gerrymandering practices is that regions be connected. This assumption is questioned, as it seems to result for a cognitive bias for connectedness (a preference for unitary objects).

(2000a) "Une note sur les mileux perceptifs" [A note on perceptual media], in P. Livet, ed., De la perception à l'action, Paris: Vrin 147-153.

Heider's solution to Meinong's problem: How is it that we see (hear) objects and not the medium?

(2000b) "Space, Objects and Intuition", in S. Colonna, ed. Space or Spaces, Milan: Fondazione Carlo Erba, 123-133.

An analysis of the invalid pattern of inference: "There is a hole in these trousers; these trousers are in this cupboard; hence there is a hole in this cupboard".

(2000c) (with Achille C. Varzi) "True and False: An Exchange", in Anil Gupta and André Chapuis (eds.), Circularity, Definitions, and Truth, New Delhi: Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 365-370.

Classically, truth and falsehood are opposite, and so are logical truth and logical falsehood. In this paper we imagine a situation in which the opposition is so pervasive in the language we use as to undermine the very possibility of telling truth from falsehood. The example exploits Ramsey’s suggestion to the effect that negation be expressed simply by writing the negated sentence upside down. The difference between ‘p’ and ‘~~p’ disappears, the principle of double negation becomes trivial, and the opposition of truth and falsehood becomes a perfect vehicle for expressing duality—so perfect as to give rise to the question of what distinguishes truth from falsehood. Our moral is that this undermines the idea of inferential role semantics.

(2000d) (with Achille C. Varzi) "Topological Essentialism", Philosophical Studies, 217-236.

Extends mereological essentialism to topological essentialism and discusses some counterexamples.

(1999a) (with Achille C. Varzi) "I trabocchetti della rappresentazione spaziale" [Traps in Spatial Representation], Sistemi Intelligenti, 11, 7-28.

We list a number of a priori difficulties for theories of spatial representation. Target article, with commentaries.

(1999b) "Formal structures in the phenomenology of movement", in J. Petitot, F.J. Varela, J.-M. Roy, eds., Naturalizing Phenomenology: Issues in Contemporary Psychology and Cognitive Science. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 373-384.

According to common sense, the Earth does not move. We do have such false beliefs, and we have many more about motion in general, not only about a particular moving object. Some of these arise quite directly from the underdetermination of perception. We are simply not equipped for perceiving the Earth as moving on its axis (over a sufficiently short lapse of time). We use objects that are still relative to the Earth, such as mountains or coasts, as a frame for locating perceptually moving obiects, such as people or boats. The dialectic of rest and motion has a firm perceptual ground; our concepts err because our percepts do. But we can suspend our judgment as to the truth or falsity of these beliefs and consider their structure. In what follows I propose a reconstruction of the dialectic for rest and motion and show how far we can go in trying to classify kinds of motion. I shall rely on the notions of absolute and relative rest and motion, regiment them axiomatically, and show that we can capture very much of the complexity of the ontology of motion without even considering space and time.

(1998a) Encyclopedia articles: ‘Qualia’, ‘Images mentales’, in J. Proust, ed., Vocabulaire des Sciences Cognitives, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

(1998b) Encyclopedia article ‘Dreaming’, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge. (Ms. 5 pp.)

Reviews theories of dreaming in the philosophical tradition since Descartes.

(1998c) (With Barry Smith and Achille C. Varzi), Ontological Tools for Geographic Representation, in N. Guarino (ed.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems, Amsterdam: IOS Press, 1998, pp. 77–85.

This paper is concerned with certain ontological issues in the foundations of geographic representation. It sets out what these basic issues are, describes the tools needed to deal with them, and draws some implications for a general theory of spatial representation. Our approach has ramifications in the domains of mereology, topology, and the theory of location, and the question of the interaction of these three domains within a unified spatial representation theory is addressed. In the final part we also consider the idea of non-standard geographies, which may be associated with geography under a classical conception in the same sense in which non-standard logics are associated with classical logic.

(1997a) "Qu'est-ce qu'une horloge?" [What is a Clock?], in F. Recanati, ed., Cahiers de philosophie analytique, 1, 189-219. (In French.)

What is a clock? There is simple answer: a clock is an instrument for tracking and telling the time, and thus is an instrument for generating in clock-users true beliefs about the time; and most clocks track the time by measuring and counting time intervals. A clock is thus an epistemic instrument, as a magnifying lens or a book are: one uses it in order to improve the quality of one's epistemic states. In the class of epistemic instruments, clocks fall in the subclass of measuring instruments, together with rods and counters. I try to make clear what is the grain of truth in the thesis that clocks are instruments for tracking or measuring time (by considering cases in which it is not always so clear whether some given thing is or is not a clock).

(1997b) "Les espaces de qualia" [Qualia Spaces], in J. Proust, ed., Perception et intermodalité: Approches actuelles de la question de Molyneux. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 57-80. (In French.)

I discuss some recent approaches to the problem of explaining qualia, from Dennett's eliminativist proposal and Dretske's representationalism to Hardin's functionalism and Clark's physicalism. The two latter authors propose a structural analysis of qualia spaces such as the color circle. I examine the structural constraints on the notion of a qualia space and I raise some objections as to the explanatory power of Hardin's and Clark's proposals. In particular, I suggest that explanation is incomplete: even though it succeeds in ensuring the uniqueness of the functional or neurophysiological structure that is supposed to correlate with a given quality space, it does not succeed in ensuring the uniqueness of the qualia space that is supposed to correlate with a given functional or neurophysiological structure.

(1997c) "Il linguaggio psicologico" [On Psychological Language], in D. Marconi, ed., Tutto Wittgenstein. Roma-Bari: Laterza, 193-239. (In Italian.)

A review of Wittgenstein's philosophy of psychology.

(1997d) (with Achille C. Varzi) ‘Spatial Entities’, in Oliviero Stock (ed.), Spatial and Temporal Reasoning, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 73-96.

Ordinary reasoning about space—we argue—is first and foremost reasoning about things located in space. This suggests that any theory concerned with the construction of a general model of our spatial competence must be grounded on a general account of the sort of entities that may enter into the scope of the theory. Moreover, on the methodological side the emphasis on spatial entities (as opposed to purely geometrical items such as points or regions) calls for a re-examination of the conceptual categories required for this task. Building on material previously presented in [1995c], in this work we offer some examples of what this amounts to, of the difficulties involved, and of the main directions along which spatial theories should be developed so as to combine formal sophistication with some affinity with common sense.

(1996a) (with A.C. Varzi) "The Structure of Spatial Localization", Philosophical Studies, 82, 205-239.

What are the relationships between an entity and the space at which it is located? And between a region of space and the events that take place there? What is the metaphysical structure of localization? What its modal status? This paper addresses some of these questions in an attempt to work out at least the main coordinates of the logical structure of localization. Our task is mostly taxonomic. But we also highlight some of the underlying structural features and we single out the interactions between the notion of localization and other notions in nearby areas, such as the notions of necessity and possibility, or of part and whole. We show that in addition to mereology and topology a theory of localization is required in order to account for the basic relations between objects and space. We provide an axiomatization of the relation of localization, and discuss non-standard cases of localization, involving entities different from material objects.

(1996b) (with A.C. Varzi), "Introduction" to the volume Events in the series International Research Library of Philosophy, Aldershot: Dartmouth, pp. i-xxxviii.

A map of various theoretical positions on events.

(1996c) (with A.C. Varzi), "Holes", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (ISSN 1095-5054). Second edition, 2003.

An overview of the main philosophical problems concerning holes.

(1995a) "Temporal Entities in Space", in Time, Space and Movement. Toulouse: IRIT, 66-78.

In this paper I examine the spatial structure of temporal entities such as events and processes. I hypothesize that some spatial and temporal concepts are not completely domain-specific. I contend that this hypothesis, in short the hypothesis of complementarity or HC, is crucial in the heuristic of the investigation of spatial and temporal concepts, and that it ought to be used for importing into the unfocussed problem of temporal entities in space some results about the much neater problem of spatial entities in time. I discuss the cases of event movement and of object rotation, and I consider some broader hypotheses about the architecture of cognition that might back HC.

(1995b) (with A.C. Varzi) "Basic Issues in Spatial Representation", Proceedings of the 2nd World Conference on the Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence 1995, Paris: Angkor, 63-72. reprinted in Carlo Penco and Giovanni Sarbia (eds.), Alle Origini della Filosofia Analitica. Atti del Convegno Nazionale della Società Italiana di Filosofia Analitica, Genova: Erga, 1996.

This is a preliminary report of part of a long term project on the foundations of spatial representation. In prospective, our aim is to unfold a general framework where the major results and open problems in this field can be set up and approached in a uniform fashion. Here, our concern is mainly with (i) analysing some basic notions that can be (or have been) used as primitives for this purpose (geometric points, places, regions, and bodies in the first place), and (ii) assessing the degree and significance in which the choice of any of such primitives may condition the resulting representation system.

(1995c) "Philosophical Remarks 205-207: Phenomenology and Visual Space", in: R. Egidi and B. McGuinness, eds, Wittgenstein: Mind and Language. Dordrecht, Boston, London: Kluwer, 185-192.

An argument purporting to show that visual space is provided with absolute coordinates and an argument in favor of the demonstration of the existence of an absolute distance in the visual field. I scrutinize the first argument and defend some of Wittgenstein's points.

(1995d) (with Gianfranco Soldati) "On the perception of abstract objects", in J. Hill, P. Kotatko, eds., Karlovy Vary Studies in Reference and Meaning, Praga: Filosofia- Publications, 89-113.

Examines and taxonomizes several theories of abstraction in view of the criteria of abstractness they adopt. Defends a causal theory of the perception of abstraction, which loosens the constraints on the causal factor.

(1994a) "The Concept of Sehding from Hering to Katz", in: S. Poggi, ed., Gestalt Theory. Its Origins, Foundations and Influence. Florence: Olschky, 21-57.

Historical reconstruction of the rise and fall of the paradigm of visual entities (phenomenal objects) in the psychology of perception at the beginning of the 20th Century. Discusses the influence of Husserl on Gestalt psychologists, providing unpublished material from his Nachlass.

(1994b) (with Barry Smith) "Naïve Physics: An Essay in Ontology", Philosophical Psychology, vol 7, 2, 227-247. [French translation in Intellectica, 17, 1993, 173-97].

The project of a 'naive physics' has been the subject of attention in recent years above all in the artificial intelligence field in connection with work on common-sense reasoning, perceptual representation and robotics. The idea of a theory of the common-sense world is however much older than this, having its roots not least in the work of phenomenologists and Gestalt psychologists such as Köhler, Husserl, Schapp and Gibson. This paper seeks to show how contemporary naive physicists can profit from a knowledge of these historical roots of their discipline, which are shown to imply above all a critique of the set-theory-based models of reality typically presupposed by contemporary work in common-sense ontology.

(1994c) (with A.C. Varzi) "Sulla rappresentazione dello spazio" [On space representation], AI*IA Notizie, vol. 7, 3, 18-21. (In Italian)

The methodological anarchy that characterizes much recent research in artificial intelligence and other cognitive sciences has brought into existence (or resurrected) a large variety of entities from a correspondingly large variety of (sometimes dubious) ontological categories. The relation between philosophical issues and issues in A.I. is particularly evident in the field of space representation. A philosophical discussion of the primitives involved in different systems of spatial representation can help when it is necessary to choose between these systems. We discuss some attempts at reducing topology to mereology and mereology to topology. Our aim in this paper is to suggest some ways of reconciling such a luxurious proliferation of entities with the sheer sobriety of good philosophy.

(1994d) "America!", Stanford French Review, 17, 129-132.

A metaphilosophical defence of the primacy of philosophy over the history of philosophy.

(1994e) "Are Colour Predicates Vague Predicates?", Acta Analytica, 10, 129-134.

Do color predicates need to be vague predicates? This is indeed widely assumed, and the assumption receives confirmation from one simple intuition: of some parts of the spectrum between red and orange we cannot tell whether they are red or orange; of some parts of the spectrum, similar to others which are red, we would not say that they are red, and for some others the question seems to remain unsettled. This is what makes colour predicates like ‘red’ vague. Nevertheless, we can resist the assumption. I offer a revisionist proposal, according to which primary color predicates are assigned points on the continuum, and other color predicates are assigned open intervals, limited by the points corresponding to the primary color predicates. Though there is no last orange shade, no shade is such that it is left undecided whether it is orange or, say, red. Vagueness comes in only as soon as we deal with similarity between shades.

(1994f) "Mentale Landschaften" [Mental Landscapes], Kriterion, 6. (In German. Italian translation.)

Why do we do philosophy? Because it is a very pleasurable contemplative activity.

(1994g) "Introduction" to the French translation of Hermann von Helmholtz, L'optique et la peinture, Paris: ENSBA, 7-18. (In French).

Defends Helmholtz' theory of painting as a cognitive activity.

(1993a) "United Colours of Wittgenstein", Sistemi Intelligenti, 5, 316-321. (In Italian

Criticizes a defence of color dualism made by Walter Gerbino. All the cases that suggest the existence of apparent or subjective color alongside real colour are shown to arise from a confusion between metaphysics and epistemology.

(1993b) "Gestaltpsychologie", Enciclopedia Garzanti di Filosofia. Milan: Garzanti, 430-431. (In Italian)

Historical presentation of Gestalt psychology in a philosophical perspective.

(1993c) (with A.C. Varzi) "An Ontology for Superficial Entities I: Holes", in: N. Guarino and R. Poli, eds., International Workshop on Formal Ontology and Conceptual Analysis in Knowledge Representation. Padova: Ladseb-CNR, 127-148.

A presentation (including some novel developments) of the formal theory of holes adumbrated in the appendix of our book Holes and Other Superficialities [I:1994]. Several domains come to interact: ontology (holes are parasitic entities), mereology (holes may bear part–whole relations to one another); topology (holes are one-piece things located at the surfaces of their hosts); morphology (holes are fillable).

(1992a) "Introduction" to the French translation of Helmholtz (see Translations, 1992a), Philosophie 33, 1992, 5-15. (In French.)

The allegedly Helmholtzian theory of unconscious inferences is to be found nowhere in Helmholtz's writings. Helmholtz conceives of the transition from sensation inputs to cognitive outputs as analougous to inference, without implying that the transition is conceptually driven.

(1992b) "De re et de corpore". Revue de Théologie et Philosophie, 1992, 271-89. (In French.)

An argument which adapts Kant's proof of the absoluteness of physical space and purports to show that perceptual space is an individual. As concepts referring to one's body (de corpore concepts) include reference to portions of perceptual space, they can be both de re and internalist.

(1991a) "Colori 1980-1990" [Colours 1980-1990], Lingua e Stile, 25, 513-61. (In Italian)

Complete review of the philosophical literature on colour (over 50 articles) in the decade 1980-1990.

(1991b) "Wittgenstein, Phenomenological Laws, and McGinn's Interpretation", Reports of the 14th International Wittgenstein Symposium. Vienna: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky, 80-83.

McGinn's discussion of Wittgensteinian phenomenological laws in his The Character of Mind does not enable him to draw a distinction between primary and secondary qualities. Wittgenstein's remarks are in fact compatible with a range of different ontological accounts of colour. It is therefore pointless to use them as premisses for an argument in favor of the primary/secondary distinction. The latter must be justified separately.

(1991c) "Primary and Secondary Qualities: A Reply to Kienzle". Studia Leibnitiana, 22, 194-8.

B. Kienzle ("Primäre und Sekundäre Qualitäten bei John Locke', Studia Leibnitiana, XXI/1, 1989, pp. 21-41) has presented an interpretation of Locke's theory of primary and secondary qualities, arguing that these are identified by their epistemological role, and furthermore claiming that Alexander's account, which identifies color with textures of corpuscles, is overcome by his own account. I criticize Keinzle's attempt, by claiming that: (1) The definition Kienzle gives of secondary qualities does not allow him to avoid putting primary qualities in the same class as secondary qualities; (2) Kienzle's account is severely threatened by a confusion between the properties of determinable and determinate qualities; (3) The theory of secondary qualities he presents is either implausible or (if we can adjust it so that it makes sense) compatible with Alexander's proposal to identify (some) secondary qualities with corpuscular textures. In the course of the discussion, I propose a new criterion for demarcating primary from secondary qualities, namely: A property is secondary if it is possible that one of its monadic determinates (or a determinate such that no relation is built in the predicate expressing it) is dissective (down to a certain size). Otherwise a property is primary.

(1991d) (with Jérôme Dokic), "Brains In A Vat, Language and Metalanguage". Analysis, 51, 91-93.

Putnam's argument against the hypothesis that we are brains in a vat is formally reconstructed and shown to manifest several flaws, i.e.: (1) The lack of a precise distinction between object- and metalanguage; (2) The improper use of the Tarskian Convention T in one major premiss: (3) The lack of a definition of the meaning and scope of the operator 'in-the-image'; (4) The difficulty of specifying, under the hypothesis that we are brains in a vat, the status of the utterances of our sentences.

(1991e) "Cornelius", "Stumpf", "Verschmelzung", three articles in: H. Burkhardt, B. Smith, eds., Handbook of Ontology and Metaphysics. Munich, Vienna, Hamden: Philosophia Verlag.

(1990a) "Dizionari e termini di colore" [Dictionaries and Colour Terms], Lingua e Stile, 1, 71-87. (In Italian)

An analysis of dictionary definitions of colour terms. An Aristotelian paradigm of definition (colour names are introduced by pointing to specifically coloured objects) is defended against the scientific paradigm used by most dictionaries.

(1990b) "What is Wrong in Inverting Spectra?", Teoria, 10, 183-6.

The hypothesis of a chromatic spectrum inversion involves a series of consequences which plainly contradict an important set of features of our experience. This comes about because colour properties are holistically related to other visual properties. Thus spectrum inversions should in principle be detectible. [I now think that the argument of this paper only proves that if we accept chromatic inversions, then we should accept other inversions too; I do not believe that this would render any of these inversions detectible].

(1989a) "Wittgenstein and Psychology: The Case of Transparency", Reports of the 13th International Wittgenstein Symposium, Vienna: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky, 251-4.

Why don't we ascribe transparency to white? Are white transparent objects possible? Some interpretations of this question are discussed. An ontological account (no white transparent object exists) and a linguistic account ("transparent white" is not a well-formed term, in various senses of `well-formedness') are ruled out. Subsequently a phenomenological explanation is offered, based on the perceptual properties of white surfaces and of transparent surfaces. White is unable to convey transparency because of its indifference to degrees of brightness. Westphal's interpretation, based on physical properties of white and transparent objects, is criticized. One conclusion to be drawn is that phenomenological explanation - some perceptual properties are grounds for some others - is distinct from description and from physical or conceptual explanation.

(1989b) "Considerazioni critiche sulla filosofia del suono di Husserl" [Critical Remarks on Husserl's Philosophy of Sound], Rivista di Storia della Filosofia, 4, 140-58. (In Italian)

Although Husserl never worked out a systematic philosophy of sound, some hints can be found in published and unpublished works on perception. I provide here a reconstruction of Husserl's ideas, against the background of Brentano's theory of phenomenal qualities and Stumpf's theory of auditory perception. I try to point out that Husserl's analyses are at odds with most of our commonsensical intuitions because his concern is mainly with the problem of the 'constitution' of the material world. This concern constrains Husserl's account of the experience of sounds. Further developments, such as those of Schapp and Conrad-Martius, are presented, along with a selection of unpublished Husserlian texts.

(1987) "Magritte: variatio eidetica e invarianti rappresentative" [Magritte: Eidetical Variation and Representational Invariants], Fenomenologia e scienze dell'uomo, 5, 51-62. (In Italian)

Magritte's pictorial work is interpreted as a variety of conceptual analysis, performed through display of pathological or limit cases.


(2007)   (with Achille Varzi) Lesser Kinds (The Monist, Vol. 90/3), in preparation. Call for papers at :

Metaphysicians tend to deal with large categories – substance, universals – and oversize issues-the nature of being, existence, necessity, causation. But there is plenty of room at the bottom for lesser categories and entities. Small or undersize problems can be interesting entry points for deep metaphysical enquiries. What is a sound? Do holes exist? Are events fact-like or object-like? Do shadows have a causal structure? What is the nature of the boundary that separates water from air – is it water, is it air? By looking into such questions, this issue of the Monist plans to explore the thesis that metaphysical concerns can be domain-specific without ceasing to be metaphysical in an important sense.

(2004) (with Carola Barbero, Roberto Casati, and Maurizio Ferraris, co-editors), Bozzetti [Rivista di estetica, Vol. 25], in press.

 A volume in memory of Gestalt Psychologist Paolo Bozzi (1930-2003). Contributors: T. Agostini, T. Andina, A. Arbo, C. Barbero, M. Bertamini, I. Bianchi, V. Braitenberg, N. Bruno, R. Casati and A. C. Varzi, S. Cattaruzza, A. Costall with M. Sinico and G. Parovel, M. L. Dalla Chiara with R. Luciani and G. Toraldo di Francia, A. Dell’Anna, G. Derossi, M. Ferraris, D. Floreano, V. Girotto, D. R. Hofstadter, P. Kobau, M. Kubovy, P. Legrenzi, M. Losito, C. Magris, N. Miscevic, K. Mulligan, L. Pizzo Russo, L. Repici, A. Saccon, U. Savardi, B. Smith, L. Taddio, G. Torrengo, G. Vicario.

(2003) Ontologia (Issue of Sistemi intelligenti), 15:3.

A special issue with the state of the art on ontology. Contributions by Barry Smith, Werner Ceusters; Alessandro Oltramari, Stefano Borgo, Carola Catenacci, Roberta Ferrario, Aldo Gangemi, Nicola Guarino, Claudio Masolo, Domenico M. Pisanelli; David R. Koepsell; Maurizio Ferraris; Milena Nuti; Elena Pasquinelli; Achille C. Varzi; Luca Morena; Kevin Mulligan; Peter M. Simons.

(1999) Présences de la Gestalt, special issue of Intellectica.

An interdisciplinary discussion of the presence of gestalt themes in contemporary cognitive psychology. Contributions by P. Bozzi, R. Luccio, S. Palmer, H. Simon, B. Smith, J.M. Morel, M. Peterson. With an Introduction (in French).

(1998) with C. Tappolet Response-Dependence, monographic issue of the European Review of Philosophy.

Papers on secondary qualities, values, moral properties. Contributions by A. Byrne, M. Powell, A. Miller, H. Price, A. Denham, P. Menzies, P. Pettit, C. Wright, P. Railton, R. Wedgwood.

(1997) (with Achille C. Varzi) Fifty Years of Events: Annotated Bibliography 1947–1997, Bowling Green, OH: Philosophy Documentation Center, 402 pp. (preliminary edition preprinted as Events: An Annotated Bibliography, Milano: CUEM [Preprints in Logic and Philosophy of Language], 1994, 139 pp.)

This bibliography is concerned with recent literature on the nature of events and the place they occupy in our conceptual scheme. The subject has received extensive consideration in the philosophical debate over the last few decades, with ramifications reaching far into the domains of allied disciplines such as linguistics and the cognitive sciences. At the same time, the literature is so wide and widely scattered that it has become very difficult to keep track of all lines of development. This work seeks to overcome this difficutly by offering as comprehensive a record as possible, in the persuasion that good ideas are sometimes hidden in neglected work. The listing includes over 1600 entries by more than 900 authors. Most entries are annotated, sometimes including brief quotations and cross-references. Detailed Index of Subjects, Index of Names, and Index to Second and Subsequent Authors are included.

Reviews: H.E. Bynagle, ARBA 98, p. 580.

(1996a) (with Achille C. Varzi), Events, Aldershot: Dartmouth Publishing [The International Research Library of Philosophy, Vol. 15], 1996, xxxviii + 519 pp.

The topic of events has been extensively treated by philosophers under the impact of Davidson’s 1967 paper ‘The Logical Form of Action Sentences’. It is nowadays quite popular also among linguists and cognitive scientists, who often draw from philosophical material. This volume brings together for the first time a representative selection of papers that have indelibly marked the progress of the debate on this topic. Authors include G. E. M. Anscombe, E. Bach , K. Bach, J. Bennett, M. Brand, R. M. Chisholm, C. Cleland, M. J. Cresswell, J. E. Cutting, D. Davidson, L. Davis, F. Dretske, K. Gill, A. Goldman, P. M. S. Hacker, J. Higginbotham, T. Horgan, J. Kim, D. K. Lewis, L. B. Lombard, A. P. D. Mourelatos, T. Parsons, P. L. Peterson, W. V. O. Quine, J. J. Thomson. A comprehensive introductory essay (pp. xi–xxxviii) and a name index are included.

(1995a) Prosthetic Epistemology, special issue of The Monist, vol 78, 2, 229 pp.

Philosophy has arrived at a rather sophisticated understanding of the nature of artifacts, on the one hand, and of the conditions for obtaining reliable knowledge, on the other. The theory of measurement provides some interesting examples at the intersection between these two domains. But a general account of epistemic artifacts such as clocks, rulers, microscopes (and also of lamps, books and maps) is still badly needed. This issue of The Monist includes contributions towards a general theory of those artifacts which process information, measure, and assist perception and reasoning. Original contributors include K. Lehrer, R. Hilpinen, R. Teichmann, F. Wilson.

(1995b) Co-founder and managing co-editor of the European Review of Philosophy, Stanford, CSLI Publications.

(1, 1994, Philosophy of Mind, ed. G. Soldati; 2, 1997, Cognitive Dynamics, ed. J. Dokic; 3, 1998, Response Dependence, ed. Roberto Casati and Christine Tappolet: 4, 1999, The Nature of Logic, ed. Achille Varzi.)

(1994) (with Barry Smith and Graham White), Philosophy and the Cognitive Sciences. Proceedings of the 16th International Wittgenstein Symposium. Vienna: Hölder/Pichler/Tempsky., 488 pp.

Contributors include J. Searle, M. Boden, G. Rey, F. Jackson, N. Tennant, J. Haugeland, F. Dretske, E. Sosa, M. Tye, G. Bealer, F. Pelletier, A. Woodfield, M. Devitt, F. Recanati, J. Hintikka.

(1993) (with Graham White), Philosophy and the Cognitive Sciences. Preprints of the 16th International Wittgenstein Symposium. Kirchberg am Wechsel: The Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society, 616 pp.


(1995) "Quattro categorie", review of Paolo Rossi, ed. La Filosofia, Torino, U.T.E.T. In: L'Indice dei libri del mese, 9, 44.

(1994a) (with Alberto Voltolini et al.) M. Santambrogio, ed. Introduzione alla filosofia analitica del linguaggio, Bari: Laterza, 1992. In: Acta Analytica, 10, 166-95.

(1994b) R. Schantz, Der sinnliche Gehalt der Wahrnehmung. Munich, Vienna, Hamden: Philosophia Verlag, 1990, in: European Review of Philosophy, 1, 184-86.

(1990) P.M.S. Hacker, Appearance and Reality. Oxford: Blackwell 1987. In: Paradigmi, 24, 679-85. (In Italian)

(1989a) L.C. Hardin, Color For Philosophers. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1988. In: Lingua e stile, 4, 541-45. (In Italian)

(1989b) (with Christine Tappolet), F. Schier, Deeper into Pictures. Oxford 1987. In: Studia Philosophica, 48, 220-3. (In Italian)

(1989c) "Le 'Osservazioni sui colori' di L. Wittgenstein in una recente interpretazione", [Wittgenstein's Remarks on Colors in a Recent Interpretation. Critical Notice of J. Westphal, Colour. Some Philosopical Problems from Wittgenstein. Oxford: Blackwell, 1987], In: Teoria, 1, 251-5. (In Italian)

(l987) G. Frege, Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik. Centenärausgabe. Hamburg: Meiner. In: Teoria, 3, 1985, 210-11. (In Italian)

(l986) B. Smith, ed., Parts and Moments. München: Philosophia. In: Fenomenologia e scienze dell'uomo, 3. (In Italian)


(1993) K. Mulligan, "Proposition, State of Affairs and Other Formal Concepts in Husserl and Wittgenstein" / "Proposizione, stato di cose ed altri concetti formali nel pensiero di Husserl e Wittgenstein", L'uomo, un segno. Genova: Marietti, 41-64.

(1992a) (with Jérôme Dokic) Helmholtz, H. v., "Über die Natur der menschlichen Sinnesempfindungen"/"Sur la nature des impressions sensibles de l'homme" (1852), Philosophie 33, 1992, 16-32.

(1992b) A.J. Ayer, 1972, Russell. Milano, Mondadori.

(1989) G. Frege, Logische Untersuchungen/Ricerche Logiche, Milano: Guerini.




Papers in the Italian press on general issues (mainly for IlSole24Ore).