Is the Hobbesian state of nature a valid paradigm for international relations between states? Starting from the territory of ICT ((Information and Communication Technologies), this paper explores some issues related to cyberwar and cyberspace and their implications for international relations. My conclusion is that there are good reasons to be sceptical about the very existence of international law, just because this explanatory paradigm should also apply to this area.
Stefan Lorenz Sorgner's ‘We Have Always Been Cyborgs’ is an opinionated and original take on what it means to be a transhumanist. Although I find myself in agreement with a lot of what Sorgner has to say, I nevertheless object to some of the core philosophical underpinnings to his views. In particular, in this article, I will argue that his relativistic, pessimistic, and anti-utopianist stance should be rejected. Instead, transhumanists should embrace objectivism, optimism and utopianism.
The immunity/community plexus has found an extraordinary and tragic bench test in the recent years of the pandemic. The idea that the community can only survive if it activates a problematic dispositive of immunisation touches, in these years more than ever, the question of democracy. The latter struggles between identity as immediacy and representation as transcendence. Roberto Esposito has tried to envisage a mediation between these two principles by means of the idea of ‘institution’, which serves to counter the furious identification of all in one. But does this idea of immanence and horizontality not risk evoking other forms of spontaneous morphogenesis of political-legal orders? Doesn’t the critique of sovereignty end up resolving itself in the vitalistic exaltation of the unbridledness of those powers that underlie it? Does the institution succeed in standing between these two perspectives (Weberian formalism and Foucauldian biopolitics)?
In We Have Always Been Cyborgs (2021), Stefan L. Sorgner argues that, given the growing economic burden of desirable welfare programs, in order for Western democratic societies to continue to flourish it will be necessary that they establish some form of algocracy (i.e., governance by algorithm). This is argued to be necessary both in order to maintain the sustainability and efficiency of these programs, but also due to the fact that further integration of humans into technical systems provides the only effective means to bridge gaps in functionality and governance. However, Sorgner’s position is entirely insensitive to the design turn in applied ethics, which argues against the neutrality of technology, instead maintaining that technology and society co-construct each other with persistent feedback loops. This, I argue, is a problem for his account inasmuch as technologies, as they become more ubiquitous, likewise become pervasive and inextricable from our sociotechnical infrastructures. As such, less-than-beneficent forces, as current trends illustrate, can appropriate these seemingly banal infrastructures to gear them towards oppressive ends, thereby ultimately threatening the social democracies that Sorgner’s position aims to buttress.
The author attempts to develop five critical research guidelines from Tommaso Greco’s work entitled “The Law of Trust”. The five critical perspectives are dedicated to: the autonomy of the subject; the nature of solidarity; the paradigm of equity; the claim of the subject as the foundation of the legal system; the responsibility in obeying and disobeying a legal system. The premise of these five perspectives, which are both an instrument of analysis and proposals for in-depth study, is recognised in the general merit of Greco’s book of attempting a refounding of law on the basis of the recognition of the protagonism of the human subject.
In this reply I focus on three issues related to the reading of Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality : that of the pure state of nature, that of the relationship between self-love and pity, and that of the history of ethical and political corruption. Furthermore, I draw attention to the role that the Social Contract, in continuity with the Discourse, attributes to revolution.
In this article I respond to the questions raised in the forum discussing my book La legge della fiducia (Laterza, 2021). I focus in particular on the role of the philosophy of law, as well as on ways to develop further our understanding of the relationship between law and trust.
In Tommaso Greco's book, La legge della fiducia, a kind of double game is used to radically read the law: on the one hand, the verticality/horizontality relationship is observed, and on the other hand, the social and normative mechanisms of recognition are read as the result of a circular relationship between the subjects of law and institutions.
Stefan Sorgner’s We Have Always Been Cyborgs is a more conservative book than it seems. It advances a bioconservative, ‘cishuman’ approach to transhumanism that might have met the approval of Julian Huxley, who coined ‘transhumanism’ in the 1950s, but would be seen as too limited by the people who revived the movement in the 1990s. In particular, Sorgner stresses the biomedical side over the artificial intelligence side of cyborganization. Indeed, his arguments tend to be dismissive of the latter’s aspirations, which I argue is likely to put him on the wrong side of history, given how science and technology has radically reshaped our sense of both who we are and what is possible. In addition, Sorgner fails to take seriously the emergence of ‘cyborg rights’ movement as a ‘posthumanist’ phenomenon.
The article proposes an interpretation of the notion of familiarity through a cross-reading of the mode of philosophical enquiry in Bergson and Heidegger. The argument builds on two examples of short-circuited metaphors. The first metaphor, that of Bergson's swimmer, is structurally flawed, and for this very reason allows one to think of the impossibility of the passage from land to water. The second, that of the fish on dry land by Heidegger, appears in an unexpected place, namely precisely where Heidegger ontologically separates the human being from the animal. The need to think about the mode of questioning is shared by the two authors and is fruitful in identifying the difference between the adventure of philosophy and an adventurous philosophy. The figure of the Charlot, as Jankélévitch renders it, accompanies the investigation of the quelque part, which does not resolve itself in the identification of a spatial elsewhere, but rather in a reflection on interiority that does not leave temporality unscathed.
This essay raises three key questions concerning Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Second Discourse by building on Francesco Toto’s book L’origine e la storia: 1) the theoretical transition to the contractarian paradigm between the Second Discourse and the Social Contract; 2) the problem of arbitrary power vis-à-vis the Discourse’s analysis of despotic rule; 3) the status of capital with reference to the passage from wealth to property in the Social Contract. Through a brief discussion of these issues, the essay intends to stimulate a deeper investigation into both the continuities and the discontinuities between Rousseau’s earlier political thought and his mature contractarianism.
In the preface to the Theological Political Treatise Spinoza presents uncertainty as an intractable problem in political and social life. Scholars have indirectly examined uncertainty’s role in TTP, focusing on fear, hope, and superstition. This article takes a comprehensive view of the multiple parts of uncertainty, ultimately showing uncertainty to be both a problem and a source of social vitality. It argues that Spinoza’s central means of addressing destructive forms of uncertainty is through the advancement of what I call constructive forms of uncertainty. Instead of recognizing only the potential dangers and pitfalls accompanying uncertainty, this paper argues that uncertainty can constructively support political stability and a free state. This interpretation presents a fresh reading of the role of uncertainty in the TTP and points toward Spinoza’s abiding concern with uncertainty throughout his oeuvre.
The figure of the legislator is one of the most controversial elements of Rousseau's entire political system. It is a symptom of difficulties: safeguard the contents of the social pact from possible degeneration and ensure that the general will can be translated into effective criteria for the decisions of citizens, who are called upon to be their own legislators. In this paper, it is hypothesized that the legislator is called upon to carry out a work of transformation of mankind that finds its profound reason in the failure to develop sociability in human beings. For this purpose, an analysis of Rousseau's anthropology is indispensable. Furthermore, it is necessary to dwell on Rousseau's constant criticism of the Enlightenment. The issue reveals some peculiar profiles of Rousseau's thought such as, not least, a latent disillusionment.
Arendt assigns to humanity as a political actor the ‘cosmopolitan’ responsibility to defend the right to have rights. A prerequisite for this to be at least possible is that a reform of the state and international organisation is initiated in order to establish a ‘cosmopolitan system of relations’, a system of federal entities based on the council system of government, where the right to have rights can be agreed upon and guaranteed and, at the same time, recognised by citizens and always actively defended locally. In anticipation of this reform, Arendt would be in favour of guaranteeing all residents, including de jure and de facto stateless people, the possibility of participating in political life in the country of arrival, and thus acquiring a political even before legal citizenship.
Although Hannah Arendt considered cosmopolitanism extraneous to her political theory, Angela Taraborrelli proposes her own original reading of a number of motifs that show how the theory of a more "viable" cosmopolitanism than traditional conceptions is present in Arendt's thought. Taraborrelli believes that for the analysis she wants to conduct the “right to have rights” and “plurality” play a relevant role and that statelessness and crime of genocide are the very starting point of Arendt's political thought. She also analyses several other themes, such as: the federal principle, the council system, the International Criminal Court and Code, and cosmopolitan citizenship, highlighting their close conceptual connection and interdependence. Coexisting in this conception of cosmopolitanism is the need for human beings to relate to one another on an equal footing and, at the same time, to preserve their diversity of history, culture traditions.
Trans-humanism and post-humanism converge on the importance of promoting the birth of the post-human, an individual with capacities “greatly exceeding the maximum attainable by any current human being without recourse to new technological means”. A project of this type indeed has nothing therapeutic about it, so it does not concern the field of medicine. However, this does not mean it cannot be a morally acceptable project. If we consider the use of biotechnologies approvable when their purposes are therapeutic, then we should all the more accept (or see as mandatory) the use of these technologies for the purposes of improvement, in that at times only enhancement allows the quality of life to be improved. Even if we agree with Stefan Lorenz Sorgner that plans for human enhancement cannot be considered intrinsically immoral, we intend to demonstrate that enhancing human skills is not the only reason that can justify a programme to replan human nature and promote the ‘posthuman’. In our opinion, a more coherent posthuman plan should take into account the possibility of overcoming the traditional conception of the human more radically than we have thus far done.
In this paper I analyze Tommaso Greco's proposal regarding the relationship between Law and trust, focusing on some points and showing its complex and multidimensional nature; and showing some consequences related to the concept of Law.
La legge della fiducia by Tommaso Greco is not just a good book: it is an important book. Its well-deserved success clearly testifies such a relevance. In my comment, however, I propose a reading of trust in terms of a gift, and not of a law. Crucially, taking up the work done by Jacques Derrida on his essay devoted to Marcel Mauss’s analysis of gift, I will attempt to show how trust can be interpreted as a pure – and not only as a ceremonial – gift.
This paper reflects upon the book “La legge della fiducia” by pointing out three main issues: a) the urgency of bringing back to the fore the ‘horizontal’ dimension of the law, looking at it as a precious form of social engineering; b) the need to overcome the unrealistic model of human personality embedded in the idealtype of homo oeconomicus; c) the usefulness of legal education reforms aimed at emphasizing the interdisciplinary dimension and the cooperative attitude of the law.
The article reconstructs and discusses some aspects of the interpretation of Rousseau’s thought developed by Francesco Toto in his book L’origine e la storia. In particular, the themes touched upon are the following: the role of instinct and rational faculties in governing the behaviour of individuals in the state of nature; the law of nature and the question of morality; Rousseau’s condemnation of amour propre and the question of recognition; the value and meaning of the unequal pact.