Knowledge as Duty: Lorenzo Magnani’s Website
"...morality is distributed in our technological world in a way that makes some scientific problems particularly relevant to ethics. [...] One solution, I believe, is to re-examine the respect we have developed for particular externalities and then use those things as a vehicle to return value to people."
(L. Magnani, Morality in a technological World)

Jun '22

Embodied, Extended, Ignorant Minds New Studies on the Nature of Not-Knowing

S. Arfini & L. Magnani (Eds.) (2022), Embodied, Extended, Ignorant Minds. New Studies on the Nature of Not-Knowing, Synthese Library, Springer, Cham, Switzerland. 

This book offers a new and externalist perspective in ignorance studies. Agnotology, the epistemology of ignorance, and, more generally, ignorance studies have grown to cover and explore different phenomena and subjects of research, from known events in history and sociology of science to the investigation of ordinary reasoning and cognitive processing. Nonetheless, although interested scholars have discussed ignorance phenomena and their impact on cognition, most of them have only adopted an internalist perspective to approach this theme. Meanwhile, even though externalist perspectives on cognition flourished in recent literature, authors have paid little attention to the emerging field of ignorance studies. Ignorance has been generally left out from the inquiries on the extension of cognitive states, cognitive processes, and predictive reasoning. Thus, in this volume, we seek to merge the two growing areas of research and to fill this research gap fruitfully. By addressing the uncomfortable themes that pertain to ignorance and related phenomena through an externalist perspective, this book aims to provide much food for thoughts to cognitive scientists and philosophers alike, enriching the current range and reach of both ignorance studies and externalist approaches to cognition.

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Jun '22

Discoverability. The Urgent Need of an Ecology of Human Creativity

L. Magnani (2022), Discoverability. The Urgent Need of an Ecology of Human Creativity, Springer, Cham, Switzerland. 

The book analyses the concept of discoverability, and some current epistemological problems related to it, with a special attention to science. It shows that discoverability is closely related to the sustainability of human creativity in an “eco-cognitive” perspective. Advocating the need of an integral ecology and leveraging the important concept of abduction, it demonstrates that an ecology of human creativity should have priority over other needs, i.e that the first ecological duty is to protect and sustain discoverability. Enhancing discoverability will protect human creativity, and it is exactly human creativity, a form of innovative abductive cognition, that can promote the implementation of the other kinds of ecology. The author guides readers through a comprehensive discussion on the concept of discoverability, eco-cognitive situatedness, and eco-cognitive openness and closure alike. By describing some key real-world examples, he highlights the main challenges that are currently posed to human creativity and epistemic integrity. He also describes future eco-cognitive settings, discussing the problem of overcomputationalism and suggesting a reinterpretation of the role of human knowledge.

Overall, this book fills an important gap in the literature on the nexus abduction – creativity – discovery, offering a source of inspiration to philosophers, epistemologists, and cognitive scientists. Yet, it also addresses researchers in other disciplines interested in the problems of scientific discovery and epistemic integrity of research.

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Jun '22

Eco-Cognitive Computationalism. Cognitive Domestication of Ignorant Entities

 L. Magnani (2022), Eco-Cognitive Computationalism. Cognitive Domestication of Ignorant Entities, Springer, Cham, Switzerland.

 This book mainly focuses on the widely distributed nature of computational tools, models, and methods, ultimately related to the current importance of computational machines as mediators of cognition. An entirely new eco-cognitive approach to computation is offered, to underline the question of the overwhelming cognitive domestication of ignorant entities, which is persistently at work in our current societies. Eco-cognitive computationalism does not aim at furnishing an ultimate and static definition of the concepts of information, cognition, and computation, instead, it intends, by respecting their historical and dynamical character, to propose an intellectual framework that depicts how we can understand their forms of “emergence” and the modification of their meanings, also dealing with impressive unconventional non-digital cases.


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