Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics is an open access philosophical journal, being published only in an electronic format. The journal aims at promoting research and reflection, both historically and theoretically, in the field of moral and political philosophy, with no cultural preclusion or adhesion to any cultural current.
Contributions should be submitted in one of these languages: Italian, English, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish. All essays should include an English abstract of max. 200 words. The editorial staff especially welcomes interdisciplinary contributions with special attention to the main trends in the world of practice. The journal has an anonymous double peer review referee system. Three issues per year are expected. All products on this site are released with a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA 2.5 IT) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/it/
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Comitato Scientifico Nazionale / Italian Advisory Board:
A. AGNELLI † (Trieste), G. ALLINEY (Macerata), S. AMATO (Catania), M. ANZALONE (Napoli), D. ARDILLI (Modena), F. ARONADIO (Roma), G. AZZONI (Pavia), F. BACCHINI (Sassari), E. BERTI (Padova), M. BETTETINI (Milano), P. BETTINESCHI (Venezia), R. CAPORALI (Bologna), A.A. CASSI (Bergamo), G. CATAPANO (Padova), L. COVA (Trieste), S. CREMASCHI (Vercelli), G. CEVOLANI (Modena), U. CURI (Padova), G. DE ANNA (Udine), P. DONATELLI (Roma), P. DONINI (Milano), M. FARAGUNA (Trieste), M. FERRARIS (Torino), L. FLORIDI (Oxford), R. FREGA (Bologna), S. FUSELLI (Verona), C. GALLI (Bologna), R. GIOVAGNOLI (Roma), P. KOBAU (Torino), E. IRRERA (Bologna), E. LECALDANO (Roma), E. MANGANARO (Trieste), G. MANIACI (Palermo) R. MARTINELLI (Trieste), F.G. MENGA (Tübingen), R. MORDACCI (Milano), V. MORFINO (Milano), B. DE MORI (Padova), M. PAGANO (Vercelli), G. PELLEGRINO (Roma), V. RASINI (Modena-Reggio Emilia), M. REICHLIN (Milano), M. RENZO (Stirling), A. RIGOBELLO (Roma), P.A. ROVATTI (Trieste), A. RUSSO (Trieste), M. SBISÀ (Trieste), S. SEMPLICI (Roma), A. SCHIAVELLO (Palermo), A. SCIUMÈ (Bergamo), M. SGARBI (Venezia), F. TOTO (Roma), F. TRABATTONI (Milano), F. TRIFIRÒ (London), M.S. VACCAREZZA (Genova), C. VIGNA (Venezia), S. ZEPPI † (Trieste).
Comitato Scientifico Internazionale / International Advisory Board:
J J. ALLAN (New Zealand), K. BALLESTREM (Germany), T. Bedorf (Germany), G. BETZ (Germany), W. BLOCK (USA), M. BYRON (USA), S. CHAMBERS (Canada), J. COLEMAN (UK), C. COWLEY (Ireland), W. EDELGLASS (USA), C.L. GESHEKTER (USA), A. KALYVAS (USA), J. KELEMEN (Hungary), F. KLAMPFER (Slovenia), M. KNOLL (Turkey), C. ILLIES (Germany), D. INNERARITY (Spain), A. LEVER (Switzerland), H. LINDAHL (Netherlands), J. MARTI (Spain), M. MATULOVIC (Croatia), J. MCCORMICK (USA), N. MISCEVIC (Croatia), A. MOLES (Hungary), L. PAULSON (France), A. PRZYLESBSKI (Poland), J. QUONG (USA) V. RAKIC (Serbia), A. SCHAAP (UK), N. TARCOV (USA), D. WEBB (UK), J.P. ZAMORA BONILLA (Spain).
In this article, I will examine the relations between antipaternalism and coercion theories. According to antipaternalism over himself, over his body and mind, the individual is sovereign, but if his actions are rational and free of coercion. Secondly, I will clarify if the so called unconscionability doctrine about contract law is antipaternalistic or not.
This contribution aims at highlighting some fundamental motifs (reasons) of that particular philosophical anthropology which can be found in the works of G. Anders, who sets at the center of the analysis, with strong clarity, the figure of man as human being, who comes into the world as “incomplete” and “undetermined”: according to Anders this concretizes itself through the critical confrontation with the philosophical anthropology which becomes philosophy of the tekhne in A. Gehlen and with the Kafkian representation of an existence radically incomplete.
Axelrod’s work on the prisoner’s dilemma is one of the most discussed models of social cooperation.
While many aspects of his computer simulations have been debated, their evolutionary
mechanism has not yet received the same attention. We know people do not differ
only in the way they act, but also in how they change their behavior – some may like safe
routines, others risk with the new. Yet in formal models cultural evolution is taken to be
an homogeneous process, such as the imitation of successful peers. In this paper we challenge
this view and we propose an agent-based model that takes into account heterogeneity
among individuals’ learning strategies. The evolutionary dynamic is an adaptation of the
so-called consumat approach, originally developed by Wander Jager and Marco Janssen in
order to integrate different models of individuals behavior.
J. S. Mill regards individuality as the most fundamental of human interests – the principal condition of and main ingredient in self-development. But in addition to the individualist-functionalist element in Mill’s thought there is also a strong element of fallibilism derived from an empiricist view of the nature and possibilities of human knowledge. A corollary of Mill’s fallibilism is his conception of human nature as essentially open and incomplete. His doctrine of individuality and self-development, on the other hand, implies that the individual is definable by certain necessary and permanent characteristics. Following a discussion of the empiricist and fallibilist strain in Mill’s liberalism, the present paper offers an interpretation of Mill’s view that reconciles these two seemingly discordant elements in his understanding of man.
Epistemic trust figures prominently in our socio-cognitive practices. By assigning different
(relative) degrees of competence to agents, we distinguish between experts and novices and
determine the trustworthiness of testimony. This paper probes the claim that epistemic
trust furthers our epistemic enterprise. More specifically, it assesses the veritistic value of
competence attribution in an epistemic community, i.e., in a group of agents that collaboratively
seek to track down the truth. The results, obtained by simulating opinion dynamics,
tend to subvert the very idea that competence ascription is essential for the functioning of
epistemic collaboration and hence veritistically valuable. On the contrary, we find that, in
specific circumstances at least, epistemic trust may prevent a community from finding the
The aim of this essay is to show Bayle’s influence upon the Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick”, showing some aspects of their ideological affinity. A key example of themes directly inspired by Bayle is an untiring research for theodicy, as a plausible answer to the question “Why God allows Evil to exist?”, a question designed to know a dramatic failure in its different solutions.
Using the approach known as ‘Economics of Scientific Knowledge’, this paper defends the view of scientific norms as the result of a ‘social contract’, i.e., as an equilibrium in the (second order) game of selecting the norms under which to proceed to play the (first order) game of scientific research and publication. A categorisation of the relevant types of scientific norms is offered, as well as a discussion about the incentives of the researchers in choosing some or other alternative rules.
After tracing a brief history of how the relationships between metaphysics and politics in Spinoza’s philosophy have been interpreted, the author deals with Steven Nadler’s most recent book and displays its main features and ideas. Following Nadler, Caporali highlights the militant character of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, whose theoretical and political centre is focused on the unsolved problem of the establishment of democracy through the exclusion of the vulgus (whereas the demos should actually be the democratic subject par excellence). This theoretical impasse historically corresponds to the political defeat of Dutch Republicans and leads Spinoza to centre his last, unfinished work (the Tractatus Politicus) on the notion of “multitudo”.
The Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD) is widely used to model interaction between unrelated individuals in the study of the evolution of cooperativeness. Many mechanisms have been studied which allow for small founding groups of cooperative individuals to prevail even when all social interaction is characterised as a PD. Here, a brief critical discussion of the role of the PD as the most prominent tool in cooperation research is presented, followed by two new objections to such an exclusive focus on PD-based models. It is highlighted that only 2 of the 726 combinatorially possible strategically unique ordinal 2x2 games have the detrimental characteristics of a PD and that the frequency of PD-type games in a space of games with random payoffs does not exceed about 3.5%. Although this does not compellingly imply that the relevance of PDs is overestimated, in the absence of convergent empirical information about the ancestral human social niche, this finding can be interpreted in favour of a rather neglected answer to the question of how the founding groups of human cooperation themselves came to cooperate: Behavioural and/or psychological mechanisms which evolved for other, possibly more frequent, social interaction situations might have been applied to PD-type dilemmas only later.
Anders was a preeminent critic of technology and critic of the atomic bomb as he saw this hermeneutico-phenomenologically in the visceral sense of being and time: the sheer that of its having been used (where the Nietzschean dialectic of the ‘having been’ reflects the essence of modern technology) as well as the bland politics of nuclear proliferation functions as programmatic aggression advanced in the name of defense and deterrence. The tactic of sheerly technological, automatic, mechanical, aggression is carried out in good conscience. The preemptive strike is, as Baudrillard observed, the opponent’s fault: such are the wages of evil. Violence in good conscience characterizes the postwar, cold war era and the present day with its mushrooming effects of neo-fascism under the titles of national security and anti-terrorism. Karl Krauss’ 1913 bon mot regarding psychoanalysis as the very insanity it claims to cure [Psychoanalyse ist jene Geisteskrankheit, für deren Therapie sie sich halt] has never been more apt for political translation — straight into the heart of what Lacan called the Real which has ‘always been’ the political register. Where Habermas and heirs have tended to disregard Anders (as they also sidestep Heidegger and Nietzsche), just as most philosophers of technology (and indeed philosophers of science) have ignored the political as well as the ethical in their eagerness to avoid suspicion of technophobia, we continue to require both critical theory and a critical philosophy of technology, a conjunction incorporating Ander’s complicated dialectic less of art in Benjamin’s prescient but still innocent age of technological reproduction but and much rather “on the devastation of life in the age of the third industrial revolution.” Thus rather than reading Anders’ critique of the bomb as limited to a time we call the Atomic Age — as Anders himself varied Samuel Beckett’s 1957 Endgame (Fin de partie) as Endzeit that is “Endtime,” here invoking the eschatological language of Jacob Taubes as Anders does — this essay connects his reflections on the bomb with his critique of technology and the obsolescence of humanity as of a piece with our dedication to hurling ourselves against our own mortality. This concern with the violence of technology, this hatred of the vulnerability of having been born and having been set on a path unto death (the mortal path that is the path of life) inspires Anders’ engagement with the sons of Eichmann — the heirs of those who designed and executed the Nazi death camps and extermination chambers of the Holocaust — and the sons of Claude Eatherly — the heirs of both those who designed and those who as pilots (banality of banality) deployed the bombings that exploded nothing the stuff of the sun itself against the Empire of the Sun in the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We, embroiled as we are in wartime after wartime,suppressing public protest on a scale like never before, in country after country across the globe, cannot dispense with Anders today.
Violence manifests itself in many forms but in modern times it has to be faced mainly as political power and technological development. Both forms of power demote the human individual to an "inferior” being, diminished in potential and in nature. This thoughtless and superficial diminution risks creating something inhuman and monstrous, as happened under Nazism with its totalitarian system, and then occurred again with the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But the problem does not reside only in the past, and the threat is all too present and must be faced with seriousness and determination. With impeccable theoretical consistency and deep moral sense, Anders reflects on the obligation that in order to recover man's humanity against technocratic and political violence, it is necessary to resort by actions that are in turn also "violent" in order to be genuinely effective.
In Survival and Freedom: the impossible dilemma, the violence issue in late Anders’ philosophy is examined starting from his philosophy of technology, rather than a moral perspective which would deeply characterize and compromise it. It has come to light both his thesis’s extreme nature and their ratio essendi, furthermore some primary clues about: 1) the matter concerning the philosopher’s role within his age and time, 2) the nexus between the problem regarding the conditions of possibility of a human existence, and the problem of freedom.
We use a public good game with rewards, played on a dynamic network, to illustrate how
self-organizing communities can achieve the provision of a public good without a central authority
or privatization. Given that rewards are given to contributors and that the choice
of whom to reward depends on social distance, free-riders will be excluded from rewards
and the (almost efficient) provision of a public good becomes possible. We review the related
experimental economics literature and illustrate how the model can be tested in the
Günther Anders has explained some polemical theses about the taboo of violence against the use of nuclear power in a conversation with Manfred Bissinger in December 1986. This conversation has triggered numerous reactions that were published in the book Gewalt –Ja oder nein. Eine notwendige Diskussion. In the course of this fascinating dialogue, Günther Anders clarified an original philosophical and political statement: according to him, it has become necessary to deal with a new form of political threat, because the nuclear one is the greatest threat that humanity has ever experienced. This threat, which I will call in this paper “passive legal violence”, has begun in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then she continued to live with Chernobyl. This events were two of the most important philosophical “objects” that Günther Anders treated. With him, we would like to ask one question: what could we do against the nuclear threat? Would pacifism be adequate against a new Fukushima?
This paper discusses critically what simulation models of the evolution of cooperation can possibly prove by examining Axelrod’s “Evolution of Cooperation” (1984) and the modeling tradition it has inspired. Hardly any of the many simulation models of the evolution of cooperation in this tradition have been applicable empirically. Axelrod’s role model suggested a research design that seemingly allowed to draw general conclusions from simulation models even if the mechanisms that drive the simulation could not be identified empirically. But this research design was fundamentally flawed, because it is not possible to draw general empirical conclusions from theoretical simulations. At best such simulations can claim to prove logical possibilities, i.e. they prove that certain phenomena are possible as the consequence of the modeling assumptions built into the simulation, but not that they are possible or can be expected to occur in reality I suggest several requirements under which proofs of logical possibilities can nevertheless be considered useful. Sadly, most Axelrod-style simulations do not meet these requirements. I contrast this with Schelling’s neighborhood segregation model, the core mechanism of which can be retraced empirically.
The aim of this paper is to compare two different interpretations of the figure “the action of each and everyone” as put forth by Hegel in the Phenomenology of Spirit; in the passage of his work where this figure is described, the intersubjectity of the Spirit arises from the dynamics of human action. I will examine Herbert Marcuse’s and Jean Hyppolite’s understanding of this figure; the former’s is contained in Marcuse’s license work Hegel’s Ontology and the Foundation of a Theory of Historicity. In this work, Marcuse explains Hegel’s figure starting from the concept of life and from a heideggerian and an aristotelian perspective; he also appeals to the categories of possibility and reality; Hyppolite’s understanding of the Hegelian figure is exposed in the well-known commentary Genesis and structure of the Phenomenology of Spirit Hegels, and it appears to be existentialist in kind. Therefore, in my analysis I will compare these different understandings of the same figure, and I will sketch these authors’ philosophical theses and positions by explaining the points they share and the differences in their interpretations. For this reason elements crucial to my analysis will be the structure of action as a circle, the concept of individuality, the element of the light, the process of production of a work, the intersubjective dimension and the “thing itself” as one of the incarnations of the spirit.