Nicola Di Stefano is a post-doc research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy of Scientific and Technological Practice (FAST), Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma. His research focuses on Aesthetics, Music Perception and Cognition, Body and beauty in plastic surgery. He is working with Flavio Keller and Giampaolo Ghilardi on the 'Embodiment' project.
Skills and Expertise
Research Items (43)
The role of gesture in music has been widely investigated in different disciplines, from experimental psychology to aesthetics, from musicology to anthropology. What seems to drive the different researches is the question about the relationship arising between gestures and sound, and how this relationship affects the experience of music. In this article, I focus on the role of the hand in the production, listening and expression of music. After briefly referring to the influence of body development on language, I consider some typical responses to listening to music that involve the hand, suggesting that musical experience relies on the ability of the listener-performer to transform sound perceptions into motor units. In the conclusion, I delve deeper into the topic in a phenomenological direction, proposing that gestures can be configured as a bodily continuation of the musical material rather than mere motor reactions or conventional responses to sound perception.
In sixth century BC, Pythagoras discovered the mathematical foundation of musical consonance and dissonance. When auditory frequencies in small-integer ratios are combined, the result is a harmonious perception. In contrast, most frequency combinations result in audible, off-centered by-products labeled “beating” or “roughness;” these are reported by most listeners to sound dissonant. In this paper, we consider second-order beats, a kind of beating recognized as a product of neural processing, and demonstrate that the data-driven approach of Recurrence Quantification Analysis (RQA) allows for the reconstruction of the order in which interval ratios are ranked in music theory and harmony. We take advantage of computer-generated sounds containing all intervals over the span of an octave. To visualize second-order beats, we use a glissando from the unison to the octave. This procedure produces a profile of recurrence values that correspond to subsequent epochs along the original signal. We find that the higher recurrence peaks exactly match the epochs corresponding to just intonation frequency ratios. This result indicates a link between consonance and the dynamical features of the signal. Our findings integrate a new element into the existing theoretical models of consonance, thus providing a computational account of consonance in terms of dynamical systems theory. Finally, as it considers general features of acoustic signals, the present approach demonstrates a universal aspect of consonance and dissonance perception and provides a simple mathematical tool that could serve as a common framework for further neuro-psychological and music theory research.
- Jan 2018
- Biological Robustness
Within the field of systems theory, the term robustness has typically been applied to different contexts such as automatic control, genetic networks, metabolic pathways, morphogenesis, and ecosystems. All these systems involve either man-made machines, or living organisms. In this chapter, we will consider music as a peculiar complex system, involving both the realm of machines (the musical instrument) and the realm of biology (the player and the listeners). We will discuss some of the properties of music experience in terms of different attributes of robustness, focusing in particular on stability, the property enabling a complex system to maintain its function against a wide range of external and internal changes. We will provide examples of the human ability of isolating and maintaining stable information within the perceptual flow and despite changes in the external world that reach our perceptions, leading towards a characterization of robustness in music perception as referred both to the search for regularities and to the range of tolerance that perception admits to regularities. Finally, we will list four multiple interaction cycles that typically characterize music experience and that involve both internal properties of the organism and the environment.
- Dec 2017
Background Rhinoplasty is one of the most complex procedures in plastic surgery. In patients over 65, the procedure is even more demanding because of the coexistence of multiple complicating psychological and anatomical factors. The aims of our study were to analyze the necessity of rhinoplasty in elderly patients, to analyze the perception of patients before and after procedures and compare these patients with younger population, to review all cases done in our department over the past 20 years, and to summarize all procedures. Methods We designed a retrospective study of patients that had submitted to primary rhinoplasty by the same surgical team from 1997 to 2017. The inclusion criteria were as follows: Italian national patients of either sex over 65 years old who underwent primary rhinoplasty in our department. The exclusion criteria were as follows: psychiatric disorder, abuse of alcohol or drugs, patients who had undergone secondary rhinoplasty, or patients with previous trauma. Our final sample was 125 patients. We submitted FACE-Q rhinoplasty module to 25 patients comparing the results with a control group of younger patients. Results Of 1703 patients who underwent primary rhinoplasty in our Department of Plastic Surgery from 1997 to 2017, only 125 were over 65 years old. The average age was 68 years old, with 72 male and 53 female patients. From June 2016 to May 2017, the Italian version of FACE-Q rhinoplasty module was given to 25 elderly patients pre- and postoperatively and to 25 younger patients (control group), for comparison. All patients answered the postoperative module 6 months after their procedure. The most noticeable result was in tip perception, in fact in the > 65 years old group. Two surgeons reviewed and summarized all 125 cases and procedures, which were 89 open approach, 36 closed approach, 17 reduction rhinoplasty, 108 augmentation rhinoplasty, 47 dorsum grafts, 159 tip grafts, 9 alar region grafts, and 5 other grafts. Conclusions The tip of the nose is the focus of attention for older patients who want to undergo this surgery and require surgical procedures for increased projection and support. Augmentation rhinoplasty plays a fundamental role in the remodeling of the nose in patients over 65 years old. Level of Evidence: Level III, risk/prognostic study.
Question - To what extent do you think a jazz musician is allowed to modify a harmonic progression during his/her improvisation?
The example is very clear. Thank you for such a stimulating discussion.
P.S. I would only say that "E 7 | Eb7 | D 7| Db7" is, let's say, at least 5%. In fact, 0% should be something "random" like F#7 A7 G#b5 Bmaj7...
Question - To what extent do you think a jazz musician is allowed to modify a harmonic progression during his/her improvisation?
Dear Carmine, you got the point. Now we should go back from the cooking metaphor to music: what are "beans" in a jazz standard? Chords? Chords relationship? Major/minor modes? Can we a priori way decide what are "beans" in a specific standard? Very hard questions! Thanks again! Nicola
Question - To what extent do you think a jazz musician is allowed to modify a harmonic progression during his/her improvisation?
Thank you Carmine for such a stimulating question. I read with much interest all previous notes and comments. I would like to go back to your question about the existence of an ethical code for jazz improvisation. If "ethical" is too much here, I would talk about an "aesthetical" code for improvisation, that should be a code based both on musician's taste and harmonic rules. Does it make sense? And a second point I would like to raise deals with the relationship between improvisation and rules. Isn't the break of rules a way to follow different rules? What drives us when we change an harmonic progression playing a jazz standard? Couldn't be the "aesthetical code" the answer? In this sense, this code is the musicians ability to resolve a harmony or play a theme in an unexpected, though musically meaningful, way. You asked: "To what extent do you think a jazz musician is allowed to modify a harmonic progression during his/her improvisation?". My answer: "To what extent do you think a chef is allowed to modify the recipe of a traditional food?". Thank you all for this fruitful discussion, Nicola.
- Nov 2017
Background A patient's perspective is usually measured by patient-reported outcome instruments, which are becoming increasingly relevant to current research on clinical outcomes. The aims of our review were to identify studies that evaluated patient satisfaction after gynecomastia correction, analyze existing questionnaires, and summarize the development, psychometric properties and content of the questionnaires. Methods A multistep search of the web-based PubMed database was performed. Each potential study was examined by 2 independent reviewers for adherence to inclusion/exclusion criteria. The identified studies were categorized by title, authors, date, study type, number of patients, surgical procedures, complications, mean age, mean duration of follow-up, and outcome measurements. We summarized all the questionnaires used. Results Our search generated a total of 711 articles; we selected 28 studies for further appraisal. Eight studies were excluded based on the content of the abstracts, and an additional 8 studies were excluded based on the content of the complete article. Thus, we performed a systematic review of the 12 remaining studies. All studies identified from the literature review were assessed to determine the type of surgery used and whether or not the questionnaire used to analyze patient satisfaction had been validated. A total of 847 patients were included in these studies, which reported more than 100 complications. Conclusions The rate of patient satisfaction was high, although most studies did not use validated or quantifiable evaluation methods for assessment of satisfaction. A new self-assessment tool, which should include functional, psycho-relational, and cosmetic components, is needed to measure satisfaction and quality of life in patients who have undergone gynecomastia correction. Level of Evidence: Level III, therapeutic study
Drawing on shared research experiences and collaborative projects, this book offers a broad and timely perspective on research on the hand and its current challenges. It especially emphasizes the interdisciplinary context in which researchers need to be trained in contemporary science. From language to psychology, from neurology to the social sciences, and from art to philosophy and religion, the chapters discuss various aspects involved in hand research and therapy. On the basis of concrete and validated case studies, they approach hand function and gestures from different perspectives – not only neurological and medical, but also philosophical, evolutionary and anthropological. By highlighting the overlaps between different areas of research, the book seeks to foster better communication between researchers, and ultimately a better understanding of hand function and its recovery. It offers essential information and inspirations for students, researchers and practitioners in the fields of psychology, epistemology, bioengineering, neuroscience, anthropology and bioethics
Two biases affect the idea of beauty often embodied in aesthetic surgery. The first one is that the living body is the sum of different parts; the second one claims that beauty results from the sum of beautiful elements. Taken together, these 2 biases explain most of the aesthetic surgery procedures, in which a localized improvement is supposed to impact on the whole body image. In this article, I put into question these 2 problematic assumptions, showing that Western and Eastern aesthetics, on one side, and philosophical reflections, on the other side, support a different conception of beauty. In particular, an alternative idea that opens to authenticity and imperfection and focuses on the living body rather than on the mere anatomical surface is proposed here as a more adequate concept of beauty for aesthetic surgery.
- Sep 2017
- The Hand
In diverse interaction processes that characterize music experience, the human hand can be seen as a mediator and facilitator for the brain’s processing of musical expressive patterns. After a brief overview on the human expressive system for music, we consider gestures and hand articulations in music production and performance, focusing on hand dexterity and hand dystonia. Then, we discuss the role of the hand in music listening, conducting, and learning, showing that both in sound-generation and sound-accompaniment the hand mediates and facilitates action and perception in relation to musical expression. The recent use of technology in the domain of music is also considered throughout the chapter, with particular reference to sensing and motion technologies that allow users to control music parameters through hand–body movements. The hand can be considered as a co-articulated organ of the brain’s action–perception machinery. Therefore, future research on hand and music should adopt a multiperspective approach that integrates different disciplines, from motor control to music performance and expression theories.
- Feb 2017
Background The aims of our study were to identify studies that evaluated patient satisfaction after transsexual surgery, analyze existing questionnaires, and summarize their development, psychometric properties, and content. MethodsA systematic review of the English-language literature was performed. Patient-reported outcome measures designed to assess patient satisfaction and quality of life following transsexual surgery were identified. Qualifying instruments were assessed for content and adherence to international guidelines for development and validation. ResultsFrom 796 articles, 19 studies had sufficient data and met the inclusion criteria. Included were a total of 2299 patients and 17 patient-reported outcome measures: 10 generic instruments that assessed quality of life, 4 specific for female genital or sexual satisfaction, 2 specific for transsexual body image or gender dysphoria, and 1 specific for plastic surgery. The questionnaires were analyzed by reviewers to assess the adherence to the rules of the US FDA and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Medical Outcomes Trust. We identified 17 individual questionnaires that were included. All measures were limited by either their development, their validation, or their content. Conclusions There is a need for a new self-assessment tool, which should include functional, psychorelational, and cosmetic components, to measure satisfaction and quality of life of patients who have undergone transsexual surgery. Level of Evidence IIIThis journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors www.springer.com/00266.
- Jan 2017
In the present paper we describe an instrumented toy to study auditory preferences in young children. After brief considerations on the theoretical framework, the design of the mechanical, electronic and software components of the system is presented. The system allows for: (a) producing audio stimuli according to how children play with the toy; (b) assessing children’s motor behaviour during the interaction. The device is provided with a sensor core enabling the assessment of manipulation in terms of angular displacement with errors lower than 1°. The laboratory validation is presented and discussed in details. Moreover, a pilot trial on two children aged 34 and 35 months is described and discussed. Results show the appropriateness of the technology to the experimental aims, and encourage research on methods based on the interaction between perception and action to investigate music preferences in young listeners.
- Dec 2016
To date, behavioural procedures adopted to assess sound preferences in young children have evaluated the responses of participants while listening to the stimuli administered by the experimenter. Due to the difficulties which may arise in the interpretation of the results, recent studies have suggested some limitations to these procedures, stimulating the further development of behavioural methods. Here, we introduce a new method for testing sound preferences in children, in which participants actively produce the stimuli during the experimental session. The apparatus consists of a musical lever which emits different sounds depending on its rotation around a hinge. The device was programmed to emit consonant and dissonant harmonic intervals. The procedure has been tested with 22 participants from 19 to 40 months of age. Results show that: (a) sound emission strongly stimulates toy manipulation; (b) the examined participants distinguished the two types of sounds, showing a preference for producing consonant over dissonant stimuli. This method could be used to study a wide range of sound qualities in young listeners, such as rhythm or pitch. Grounded in the mutual interaction between perception and action, this procedure is in line with recent research highlighting the role of embodiment in the perception of music.
- Dec 2016
- Towards a post-Bertalanffy Systemics
Starting from two different case studies—cancer explanatory theories and musical consonance and dissonance perception theories—we aim to show how different analytical aspects of complex phenomena can be grasped by apparently divergent accounts. Reaching a more adequate understanding of these phenomena thus needs an integrated systemic view in which every partial solution enlightens a particular aspect of the very same phenomenon. Such systemic viewpoint shifts the focus from different explanations to analytic dimensions that integrate the multidimensional phenomenology of our case studies: cancer pathology and music perception. Taking into consideration these dimensions means understanding the relationship between the systems and the environment in a discrete, continuous and embodied, i.e. context-dependent, way. To this purpose, we need to integrate the understanding activity through an authentic transdisciplinary approach.
- Oct 2016
The literature still lacks a review regarding PROs applied for rhinoplasty. Thus, we performed a systematic review of the literature to identify PROMs that assess patient satisfaction and quality of life after rhinoplasty. The aim of our study was to identify existing questionnaires and to summarize their development, psychometric properties, and content. A multi-step search of the web-based PubMed database from the National Library of Medicine was performed to identify PROMs that are designed to evaluate satisfaction and quality of life following rhinoplasty. Each potential PROM was examined by three independent reviewers for adherence to inclusion/exclusion criteria. Questionnaires included in the analysis were appraised for their adherence to international guidelines for the development and validation of health outcome questionnaires, as outlined by the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Medical Outcome Trust and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Our search generated a total of 457 articles, 351 that were retrieved in the primary search, and 106 that were found in the references of the first set of articles. The process of development and validation of each of the included PROMs was examined. Only ten of these were identified as surgery-specific questionnaires about rhinoplasty. These were divided into three categories: (1) functional self-assessment (Nasal Surgical Questionnaire, Nasal Obstruction Symptoms Evaluation Scale, and Nasal Obstruction Septoplasty Effectiveness); (2) aesthetic self-assessment (Utrecht Questionnaire, FACE-Q rhinoplasty module, Glasgow Benefit Inventory); and (3) aesthetic and functional self-assessment (Rhinoplasty Outcomes Evaluation), Functional Rhinoplasty Outcome Inventory 17, RHINO Scale, and Evaluation of Aesthetic Rhinoplasty Scale).
In this work we describe a new sensing technique to study auditory preferences in young children based on the interaction between perception and action. Manipulation is assessed thanks to a novel device instrumented with a magneto-inertial sensing core. This system allows estimating the manipulation in terms of angular displacements with errors lower than Io. The laboratory validation is presented and discussed in details. Moreover, a pilot trial on two children aged 34 and 35 months is reported to evaluate the appropriateness of the technology to the experimental aims. Preliminary results foster the application of this method to investigate music preferences in young listeners.
The paper discusses an ethical analysis of three common cases involving the most popular requests in rhinoplasty. As the nose plays a fundamental role in the aesthetics and physiognomy of the human face, the request for rhinoplasty may be an expression of both subjective discomfort and objective dysfunction. The paper aims, therefore, to fill the gap between qualitative-subjective impressions related to bodily self-perception and its quantitative-objective assessment. Ethical evaluation should start with consideration of the formal object and circumstances of the act, by posing the following question: Is this a real clinical case? Only after an undoubtedly positive answer to this question, should we consider specific case-related aspects; i.e., the best scientific evidence, available nosography and informed consent, before conducting an ethical evaluation of the case.
- Jun 2016
Perché alcuni suoni stanno bene insieme e altri no? Da più di due millenni, questa semplice domanda è al centro della riflessione di filosofi, scienziati e teorici della musica. Da Pitagora a Keplero, da Galilei a Helmholtz, fino alle ricerche sperimentali contemporanee, il fenomeno della consonanza e della dissonanza è tra i più dibattuti della teoria musicale. Il volume presenta una ricostruzione storico-critica della nozione di consonanza, evidenziando i mutamenti concettuali ed epistemologici che la attraversano. Dall'esposizione emergono modelli esplicativi di riferimento – aritmetico, fisico-acustico, psicoacustico, fenomenologico, estetico-valutativo – che riassumono alcune impostazioni ricorrenti, senza tuttavia esaurirne la profondità. Il problema della consonanza apre così la riflessione ad alcune questioni tradizionali dell’estetica: da che cosa dipendono gli effetti che l’oggetto di percezione provoca sul soggetto? Si può spiegare la gradevolezza di un intervallo musicale a partire dai rapporti aritmetici tra le frequenze fondamentali? Che rapporto c’è tra regolarità degli impulsi e piacere della sensazione? Esistono “universali musicali” o l’esposizione a una specifica cultura modifica il giudizio? Senza la pretesa di dare una risposta definitiva a queste domande, il libro mira a evidenziarne le premesse e le tensioni teoriche, intrattenendosi nel tentativo di capire in quale modo le preferenze che si manifestano nella percezione dei suoni corrispondano a una predisposizione innata o a disposizioni acquisite.
- Jan 2016
- About the Living Body: Introduction to Philosophical Anatomy
Since the beginning of human history, music appears to be one of the most transcultural and permanent characters of mankind, as the discovery of ancient musical instruments suggests. Though different animal species use complex sounds for communication, the development of a structured musical language is unique to humans. In this chapter we focus on the role of emotions and movement as essential features of music perception and production in human beings. From ancient Greek philosophy to contemporary neuroscience, music has always been characterized by an extraordinary ability to evoke powerful emotions. As emotions strongly stimulate motor reaction, movement and dance represent the natural response of the body to music perception. In the last section we focus on the use of music for supporting or encouraging mental and emotional wellbeing. The effect of music on health can be analyzed at several levels, from cognitive functions to emotional experiences, from relationships among individuals to social and cultural practices.
Il fenomeno della consonanza è oggetto di indagine nella tradizione teorico-musicale occidentale sin dalle sue origini. Ad oggi, non esiste una teoria della consonanza la cui validità sia universalmente riconosciuta. Nella prima sezione dell’articolo, presentiamo quattro modelli di spiegazione della consonanza – quello aritmetico, psico-fisico, fisico-acustico e culturale – che, da Pitagora ad Helmholtz, possono distinguersi nell’arco dell’evoluzione storica della riflessione. Nella seconda sezione, consideriamo la ricerca sperimentale degli ultimi decenni in ambito di psicologia della musica. Se, negli studi sulla percezione della consonanza, le metodologie dirette rappresentano una fonte quasi inesauribile di dati, quelle comportamentali sembrano oggi attraversare un periodo di crisi, che porta ad una forte riflessione critica sul metodo e sui risultati. Nella conclusione, a partire da lavori di recente pubblicazione, delineiamo alcuni interessanti sviluppi che rinnovano, e in parte rivedono, l’apparato teorico-empirico tradizionale.
The search for beauty and its value has been a discussion topic since the ancient Greeks composed their myths. The advent of safer and more advanced modern plastic surgery techniques and the spread of aesthetic medicine have renewed the search for beauty. Today, beauty seems possible, accessible, and more democratic than ever before. To be beautiful is going to become an imperative, and from this standard, new and more subtle discriminations will arise: natural beauty will become more precious than artificial beauty, so that naturally beautiful bodies are privileged .With regard to clinical practice, one of the most fundamental and interesting questions in aesthetic surgery is whether an objective indication exists for such procedure.
The article calls into question the very possibility of a post-human aesthetics, starting from the following premise: rather than post-human, it is more correct to speak of post-natural, indicating by this expression a reality produced through a new type of evolution, which does not simply change human nature, but de-natures it, radically transforming it into an artefact. This post-nature which aspires to be perfect, immortal, invulnerable, is entirely devoid of beauty. In fact, while there may be an aesthetic of the artificial and of the artefact if it is in relation to objects, there is, however, no aesthetic of the post-human body. This is because is configured as a non-body and does not have the characteristics for what is commonly intended as beauty (harmony between matter and form, a reflection of inner life, uniqueness). Also in this case, it is more correct to speak of post-beauty, which in its properties appears to be the mirror image of beauty and ultimately, represents its complete dissolution.
- Jan 2015
L’articolo esamina i contenuti filosofici de Il settimo sigillo di Bergman, a partire da un confronto diretto con la sceneggiatura del film. Oltre che su aspetti generali dell’estetica di Bergman, ci soffermiamo sul ruolo che alcuni nuclei tematici assumono all’interno della pellicola : in particolare, sul rapporto tra fede e conoscenza, sul ruolo di Dio nell’esistenza dell’uomo, e sulla finitezza umana come destino ineluttabile, da un lato, e come possibilità di salvezza, dall’altro. Nell’analisi, particolare attenzione viene riservata al nesso che lega i contenuti del film ad alcune figure paradigmatiche del pensiero contemporaneo, quali lo Zarathustra di Nietzsche o Sisifo di Camus, che presentano molti punti di contatto coi personaggi di Bergman. Allo stesso tempo, ci soffermeremo su alcune nozioni centrali elaborate nella filosofia di Heidegger che sembrano costituire l’orizzonte teorico di riferimento naturale di molti dialoghi del film. Accanto ai tratti nichilistici dei personaggi di Bergman, l’analisi che suggeriamo permette così di cogliere la tensione profondamente esistenzialista che percorre la pellicola, e che ne rappresenta, forse, il tratto più peculiare.
Different accounts have been given in order to face the problem of the emergence of musical consonance and dissonance. Getting a more adequate comprehension of such phenomenology may require a systemic view to integrate such multidimensionality into a unitary picture in which every partial solution enlightens a particular aspect of the very same problem. Such a systemic viewpoint shifts the focus from different explanations to analytic dimensions that seem to be embedded in music perception. Taking into consideration these dimensions means understanding consonance and dissonance in an embodied context, in which arithmetic, physics, psychology and physiology are part of a complex and dynamic process of understanding, which is not reducible to any privileged explanatory level.
Moving from the Aristotelian definition of human as the only animal endowed with the gift of speech, we focus on the reasons why rhetoric has to be considered an essential dimension of human being. As humanity is strictly related to speech, rhetoric became a fundamental medium for knowledge of truth. Plato, in Gorgia’s dialogue, underlines the risks of rhetoric conceived as a mere instrument of manipulation, while Aristotle sees in rhetoric a useful technique, drawing the attention on the necessary relationship between rhetoric and truth. In bioethics, more than in other disciplines, rhetoric seems to be very important, since the scientific content of the argument must fit into an adequate linguistic form. Bioethical debates often grow on lack of clarity in terms used: if the ambiguity remains unclear, the debate becomes raw and worthless. It is necessary to understand both the scientific and the rhetoric level of the argument to clearly discriminate between true and sophistic statements. The distinction between progressive rhetoric and degenerative rhetoric highlights different attitudes in bioethics: constructive and positive vs. defensive and regressive. In the conclusion, we reflect on nature of rhetoric as discipline that mixes both affective and rational dimension of human. In between of logic and aesthetics, rhetoric constitutes an opportunity for bioethics to grow in rationality, unity and solidity. Moving from the Aristotelian definition of human as the only animal endowed with the gift of speech, we focus on the reasons why rhetoric has to be considered an essential dimension of human being. As humanity is strictly related to speech, rhetoric became a fundamental medium for knowledge of truth. Plato, in Gorgia’s dialogue, underlines the risks of rhetoric conceived as a mere instrument of manipulation, while Aristotle sees in rhetoric a useful technique, drawing the attention on the necessary relationship between rhetoric and truth. In bioethics, more than in other disciplines, rhetoric seems to be very important, since the scientific content of the argument must fit into an adequate linguistic form. Bioethical debates often grow on lack of clarity in terms used: if the ambiguity remains unclear, the debate becomes raw and worthless. It is necessary to understand both the scientific and the rhetoric level of the argument to clearly discriminate between true and sophistic statements. The distinction between progressive rhetoric and degenerative rhetoric highlights different attitudes in bioethics: constructive and positive vs. defensive and regressive. In the conclusion, we reflect on nature of rhetoric as discipline that mixes both affective and rational dimension of human. In between of logic and aesthetics, rhetoric constitutes an opportunity for bioethics to grow in rationality, unity and solidity.
In this paper, we aim to show that behind the utilization of a progressive rhetoric always lies a progressive existential behavior. Therefore, starting from the linguistic level of rhetoric, we move to the anthropological one. Here we present three fundamental elements for promoting a progressive strategy for bioethics: 1. to strongly desire that the world should develop in a specific way, which represents the starting point for any further progressive attitude towards life. For this reason, we react against any standardized way of thinking, which really destroy the necessity of a personal thinking; 2. to have a long-term-mission in bioethics, or “Meta-Project”. The Meta-Project shows a clear target and orients every single project toward the global target; 3. to translate medieval terms of the debate into more understandable and common terms. It is a worthwhile goal, if bioethics wish for a real dialogue with modern sensitivity. In conclusion, we underline the importance of having a deep and personal way of thinking, from which a progressive attitude towards life should properly grow. For this reason, the analytic methodology may help in facing classical problems.
- Jul 2013
Abstract: A new paradigm about machine-design in robotics, currently defined as ‘Embodied Intelligence’, has recently been developed. Here we consider the debate on the relationship between the hand and the intellect, from the perspective of the history of philosophy, aiming at providing a more suitable understanding of this paradigm. The new bottom-up approach to design is deeply rooted in a new kind of empiricism, which tries to overcome issues connected with the previous approach strongly committed with the Artificial Intelligence (AI) debate and its origin. Since Turing’s time, the AI debate showed a rationalistic bias which remained undisputed until now. The paradigm shift we are witnessing nowadays is a reply to that bias in order to achieve not only a better way to design robots, but also to understand some underlying epistemological remarks. Keywords: embodied intelligence, artificial intelligence, amputee case, robotics, bottom-up approach.
In this paper we reflect on the philosophical and epistemological connections between a new technology recently developed within robotics, and the previous mechanical approach. We will perform this task introducing the cyber-hand case: a very particular kind of bio-mechatronical prosthesis designed by bio-engineers in University Campus Bio-Medico in Rome. This technology encompasses the adoption of new nanotechnological solutions to fix some rejection issues and opens a new way to think the body-mind problem. The epistemological framework within which we want to study this innovative approach has been presented by R. Brooks and defined by R. Pfeifer as Embodied Intelligence: an emerging paradigm within Robotics that highlights the need to overcome the classical top-down approach, somehow imbued with a rationalistic bias, and leads to a different conception of intelligence encompassing different kinds of causalities, i.e. material, formal and final causes. Key words: Embodied intelligence, hand prosthesis, amputee case, robotics, bottom-up approach
- Jan 2012
Aim of this paper is to analyse Nuages gris, a short piano piece composed by Franz Liszt in the last period of his life. These two pages, totally 48 bars, are quite easy to play and very far from transcendental and virtuoso style which still characterizes Liszt’s late production. Despite of its apparent simplicity, Nuages is to be seen as a very modern and innovative composition, both from a harmonic and an aesthetic point of view. Through the investigation of the basic elements of music – such as intervals, triads, melodic lines and relations between melody and harmony –, the composer highlights hidden aspects and unexpected meanings of western tonal language. Due to these reasons, this short composition looks ahead to the development of music in the Twentieth century, particularly the transition’s process from tonality to atonalism.