John Doe

If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.

Mary Taylor

You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up everything you have.

Between philosophy and science and between identity and difference

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A fine book by Davide D’Alessandro, a senior collaborator with Huffington Post, has just come out. The book is called “Guendemia: The Worst Years of Our Lives 2020-2022” (Moretti and Vitale Publishing House). It is a collection of interviews with advocates of Italian culture who aim to understand what is happening between and within us in times of war and pandemic.

The author is careful to thoroughly explore the area of ​​his indirect investigation and to put his interlocutors in the best position to express their thoughts. Among the many issues the book raises, there are two that require more attention: the comparison of philosophy and science and the link between identity and difference.

One portion is sufficient Of scientists towards philosophy, Eduardo Boncinelli put it well: “A philosopher does not dig a spider out of a hole, a scientist works out problems and slowly, trying and trying again, succeeds.” The geneticist takes sides with the technologist who has “literally changed the world by making it more efficient”.

Through the interviews, the disagreement emerges clearly between those who believe that true knowledge is the privilege of technological science and those who argue that critical thinking, thinking that does not lose sight of the forest when looking at the forest, is the basis of all knowledge.

Efficiency has become a religion and the reduction of science to technology narrows the cognitive field in the study of material reality, and reduces thinking about the subjectivity of lived experience (which gives meaning to our existence) and about human relations. “Natural science” suffers first. The discoveries that revolutionized his perspective are rooted in the field of observation that measures objective reality with precise calculations and in the field of intuitive contemplation of the human world. Thus he was able to reflect the physical world in human experience and vice versa.

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Technoscience solves So many material problems in our lives and they can make our environment more welcoming, but they often serve bad bosses. It knows nothing of the state of exception to life (including wars and depopulation) into which we are mired and is used to foment the false belief that we can create reality in our own image and likeness. It is reckless to refuse to protect vaccines, but they cannot tell us anything about the quality of our existence. Without the humanities, the technology of art and poetry will not save us from self-destruction.

The identity obsession that threatens our future arises from the disconnect between identity and difference. Francesco Remotti gives a good starting definition of identity in the book: “The identity of a thing is what remains of it over time, that which fits itself and cannot be shared with other things.”

The definition clarifies the limits of narcissistic identity, but it does not resolve the issue of distinguishing ourselves from others which makes the differences articulate and livable. Our psychological and physical material is made up of elements that we share with others (as do our genes and our biological beings). The difference that constitutes us as individuality occurs through their incorporation into us, the basis of our personal “personality” (no one is equal to another).

this mixture It is deeply relational, and it is formed in understanding the differences that allow us to be willing, psychologically alive. It is based on the principle of continuity in discontinuity, on the interaction between persistence and transformation. Wine has no identity of its own if it is not persisted and no complexity if it is not transformed. Our real problem is the divergence between us that creates not identities, but ramifications, anonymous, undifferentiated entities.

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