Roberto Marchesini is an ethologist, and philosopher who has been involved in the study of animals since the 1980s. He combines scientific and philosophical perspectives to address a range of questions about evolution, behaviour, mind, subjectivity, culture, and ethics. With colleagues he developed a school of animal interaction and training that is based on treating animals (dogs, horses, cats, others) as minded interlocutors in a social interaction, rather than the using negative reinforcement and simple conditioning. He is the best known exponent of zooanthropology and post humanism in Italy, and he has developed unique versions of both that can contribute to the anglophone literature on them. His zooanthropology holds that culture is present among nonhuman animals and that human culture and identity are built upon animal references and interactions at every level. His account of posthumanism focusses on ending the centuries-long delusion by which humans convinced themselves that they were distinct from the animal realm in paying heed to our animality and our deep constitutive ties to other animals. His writings span the gamut from lyric poetry (The God Pan 1988) to cognitive science (Multiple Intelligences 2008), zooanthropology (Zooanthropology 2005, 2007, 2014), posthumanism (Posthuman 2002, The Twilight of the Human 2009), and bioethics (The Chimera Factory 1999, Against Animal Rights? 2014). He was a student of the Italian entomologist and ethologist Giorgio Celli and had a long collaboration with the astrophysicist Margherita Hack.
"Praising Hybridization: Techne as Openness to Otherness"
Used to think techno-poiesis in ergonomic and disjunctive terms, we reiterate the humanist tradition which regards the techno-sphere as a kind of amnios capable to singling our somatic dimension from the rest of the world. The post-humanist philosophy suggests a new culture of techne, by viewing it as viral and overlapping, able to shape the body according to new coordinates, as well as ready to inaugurate new umwelten and situations of unbalanced adaptations. The post-humanist thought introduces new interpretations of the techno-poietic emergency and the results produced by it, by starting from the concept of hybridization. That means, first of all, stressing the conjugative and partecipative role of techne, its increase of needs and conjugation with alterity, the determination of ontological and epistemological metamorphoses which invest not only the operative relationships of the human being, but also her identitarian coordinates and existence. The goal of this paper is showing how the principle of hybridation radically changes our way of approaching techne.
Invited talk #2
"Ethics of Robots According to Posthumanism"
Often, we confuse computing ability with intelligence. The latter is connected to the capacity of intus-legere, that is, letting a possible configuration of the real emerge by a specific question. This dialogic-emerging dialogue between being and reality is done only if a motive is present: this dialogue is not the result of an objectifiable process, but the outcome of an inner desire. A true AI should be equipped with a dispositional system defined by motivations and desires, able to make the AI autonomous and not just a passive tool. What would be the ethical consequences? First of all, we should distinguish between ethical issues related to programming computational machines and ethical issues related to intelligence, whatever kind they are. As far as the formers, the issue concerns the rules we use to program systems. As far as the latter, only an anthropo decentred approach can help us to develop a relationship between human subjectivities and non-human subjectivities based on respect. Secondly, we should reconsider the way we deal with moral dilemmas. The world is not made of objective problems to be solved by individuals, but of subjective goals that individuals desire to achieve. That means that moral choices depend upon our motivational-affective system. So, if even we cannot think according to univocal general principles, which is why the trolley problem has no solution, then why should a computer do this?