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)

Thu
10
Oct '13

“Model-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology. Theoretical and Cognitive Issues” is now available

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L. Magnani (ed.), Model-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology, Theoretical and Cognitive Issues: Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics, Vol. 8.

This book contains contributions presented during the international conference on Model-Based Reasoning (MBR´012), held on June 21–23 in Sestri Levante, Italy. Interdisciplinary researchers discuss in this volume how scientific cognition and other kinds of cognition make use of models, abduction, and explanatory reasoning in order to produce important or creative changes in theories and concepts. Some of the contributions analyzed the problem of model-based reasoning in technology and stressed the issues of scientific and technological innovation. The book is divided in three main parts: Models, Mental Models, Representations; Abduction, Problem Solving and Practical Reasoning; Historical, Epistemological and Technological Issues. Go to Springer website

Wed
13
Jun '12

Philosophy and Cognitive Science

cda_displayimage.jpg L. Magnani & P. Li, Philosophy and Cognitive Science. Western & Eastern Studies. Series: Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics, Vol. 2.The book addresses a number of recent topics at the crossroad of philosophy and cognitive science, taking advantage of eastern and western perspectives and conceptions that emerged and were discussed at the PCS2011 Conference recently held in Guangzhou. The ever growing cultural exchange between academics and intellectuals belonging to different cultures is reverberated by the juxtaposition of papers, which aim at investigating new facets of crucial problems in philosophy: the role of models in science and the fictional approach; chance seeking dynamics and how affordances work; abductive cognition; visualization in science; the cognitive structure of scientific theories; scientific representation; mathematical representation in science; model-based reasoning; analogical reasoning; moral cognition; cognitive niches and evolution.Go to Springer website
Mon
19
Sep '11

Understanding Violence

Understanding Violence. The Intertwining of Morality, Religion and Violence: A Philosophical Stance. Series: Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics, Vol. 1.This volume sets out to give a philosophical “applied” account of violence, engaging with both empirical and theoretical debates in other disciplines such as cognitive science, sociology, psychiatry, anthropology, political theory, evolutionary biology, and theology. The book’s primary thesis is that violence, also understood as violence beyond the domain of physical harm, is inescapably intertwined with morality and typically enacted for “moral” reasons. To show this, the book compellingly demonstrates how morality operates to trigger and justify violence and how people, in their violent behaviors, can engage and disengage with discrete moralities. By employing concepts such as “coalition enforcement”, “moral bubbles”, “cognitive niches”, “overmoralization”, “military intelligence” and so on, the book aims to spell out how perpetrators and victims of violence systematically disagree about the very nature of violence. The author’s original claim is that disagreement can be understood naturalistically, described by an account of morality also informed by evolutionary perspectives. Go to Springer websiteItalian Edition, translated by T. Bertolotti, Filosofia della violenza, Il Melangolo, Genoa, 2012.
Tue
14
Jun '11

Book Series “Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics” (SAPERE)

Editor-in-Chief
Lorenzo Magnani, Department of Philosophy and Computational Philosophy Lab, University of Pavia, Pavia, ITALY

Editorial Board
Atocha Aliseda, Mexico
Giuseppe Longo, France
Chris Sinha, UK
Paul Thagard, Canada
John Woods, Canada&UK

Description
Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics (SAPERE) publish new developments and advances in all the fields of philosophy, epistemology, and ethics, bringing them together with a cluster of scientific disciplines and technological outcomes: ranging from computer science to life sciences, from economics, law, and education to engineering, logic, and mathematics, from medicine to physics, human sciences, and politics. The series aims at covering all the challenging philosophical and ethical themes of contemporary society, making them appropriately applicable to contemporary theoretical and practical problems, impasses, controversies, and conflicts.

Go to Series Webpage at Springer

Sat
14
Aug '10

Model-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology

The volume is based on the papers that were presented at the international conference Model-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology (MBR09_BRAZIL), held at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas, Brazil, December 2009.

The presentations given at the conference explored how scientific cognition, but several other kinds as well, use models, abduction, and explanatory reasoning to produce important or creative changes in theories and concepts. Some speakers addressed the problem of model-based reasoning in technology, and stressed the issue of science and technological innovation.

The various contributions of the book are written by interdisciplinary researchers who are active in the area of creative reasoning in logic, science, and technology: the most recent results and achievements about the topics above are illustrated in detail in the papers. The book is divided in three parts, which cover the following main areas: part I, abduction, problem solving, and practical reasoning; part II: formal and computational aspects of model based reasoning; part III, models, mental models, representations.

http://www.springer.com/engineering/book/978-3-642-15222-1?changeHeader

Mon
22
Jun '09

“Abductive Cognition. The Epistemological and Eco-Cognitive Dimensions of Hypothetical Reasoning”

Abductive Cognition. The Epistemological and Eco-Cognitive Dimensions of Hypothetical Reasoning (Springer, in press) explores abductive cognition, an important but, at least until the third quarter of the last century, neglected topic in cognition. It integrates and further develops ideas already introduced in a previous book, which I published in 2001 (Abduction, Reason, and Science. Processes of Discovery and Explanation, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York).

The status of abduction is very controversial. When dealing with abductive reasoning misinterpretations and equivocations are common. What are the differences between abduction and induction? What are the differences between abduction and the well-known hypothetico-deductive method? What did Peirce mean when he considered abduction both a kind of inference and a kind of instinct or when he considered perception a kind of abduction? Does abduction involve only the generation of hypotheses or their evaluation too? Are the criteria for the best explanation in abductive reasoning epistemic, or pragmatic, or both? Does abduction preserve ignorance or extend truth or both? How many kinds of abduction are there? Is abduction merely a kind of “explanatory” inference or does it involve other non-explanatory ways of guessing hypotheses?

The book aims at increasing knowledge about creative and expert inferences. The study of these high-level methods of abductive reasoning is situated at the crossroads of philosophy, logic, epistemology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, animal cognition and evolutionary theories; that is, at the heart of cognitive science.

More info at: Springer’s website

Tue
4
Sep '07

Morality in a Technological World

My book Morality in a Technological World. Knowledge as Duty (Cambridge University Press) is now available on Amazon and other leading bookstores.

Here’s the synopsis:

In the eighteenth century, Immanuel Kant held that we should regard other human beings as ends in themselves, never as mere means. In Knowledge as a Duty, however, Lorenzo Magnani contends that one of the best hopes for achieving social justice is to do exactly what Kant warned against: we must treat people as if they were things. By acknowledging the “thingness” of human beings, Magnani argues, we can learn to value people in important new ways and extend to them the kind of worth we have lavished on certain non-human entities. This shift in perspective, however, requires a great deal of new ethical knowledge as well as modern approaches to moral deliberation, and to achieve these goals Magnani provides compelling analyses of such problems and offers a variety of strategies we might use to solve them.
Viewing human beings through an updated moral framework is especially important given the profound changes that have occurred since Kant’s time, for modern technologies have brought about consequences of such magnitude that old policies and ethics can no longer contain them. Magnani believes that producing and applying recalibrated moral knowledge has become a duty, one that is just as important as making scientific or medical advances. Among the troubling issues he addresses here are cyberprivacy, globalization, bad faith, cloning, biotechnologies, and ecological imbalances; the right knowledge, Magnani maintains, can manage these challenges and counter many of technology’s ill effects by preserving ownership of our own destinies, encouraging responsibility, and enhancing freedom. Also discussed are how objects, structures, and technological artifacts serve as moral carriers and mediators; the problem of free will; and the nature of practical reasoning. Using an entirely new methodology that blends epistemology with cognitive science, Magnani seeks to overthrow some traditional philosophical perspectives that have become obsolete in today’s technological era.

More info at: CUP website

Italian Edition of the first two Chapters: Rispetta gli altri come cose, Il Melangolo, Genoa, 2013.

Mon
3
Sep '07

Proceedings of the International Conference MBR06_CHINA

The Proceedings of the International Conference MBR06_CHINA, edited by L. Magnani and P. Li, is now available online on Springer.com, and on Amazon.com and other international bookstores.

Here’s a passage from the Introduction:

The volume is based on the papers that were presented at the international conference Model-Based Reasoning in Science and Medicine (MBR’06 China), held at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, P.R. China in July 2006. The presentations given at the conference explored how scientific thinking uses models and explanatory reasoning to produce creative changes in theories and concepts. Some addressed the problem of model-based reasoning in technology, and stressed the issue of technological innovation and medical reasoning. The various contributions of the book are written by interdisciplinary researchers who are active in the area of creative reasoning in science and technology: the most recent results and achievements about the topics above are illustrated in detail in the papers.

Thu
30
Aug '07

My book “Abduction, Reason and Science” translated in Chinese

[意] 洛伦佐·玛格纳尼 / 著;李大超,任远 / 译,《溯因、理由与科学——发现和解释的过程》,中国广州:广东人民出版社2006年. Translated by Dachao Li and Yuan Ren, Guangdong People’s Publishing House, Guangzhou, 2006).

溯因目前是认知科学(心灵和智能的跨学科研究)的一个关键的研究课题。洛伦佐·玛格纳尼的这本新书对于这一领域有很多有价值的贡献。首先,它把科学哲学和人工智能的关注点紧密地联系在一起,例如,表明了科学思维和医学专家系统之间的联系。其次,它给出一个有用的一般框架,可以讨论各种溯因。第三,它发展了关于溯因推理的某些特征的重要思想,这些特征在认知科学中一直比较受到忽视,包括视觉表达和时间表达的运用,溯因在假说撤销中的作用等等。作者对于解释性推理的研究复兴的确做出了杰出的贡献。

保罗·萨伽德(Paul Thagard)

Tue
31
Jul '07

Communications and Discoveries from Multidisciplinary Data

A number of urgent problems are rising to human life: The attack of terrorists is hard to predict, due to the hidden leaderships. New diseases are hard to extinguish, due to their new causes. Products may be shortly abandoned, due to the appearance of new desires.A common feature of recent socially high-impact problems, such as detecting the causal virus of SARS, is that they are open to multiple scientific domains. In order to respond to this social requirement, this book collects selected papers by authors for CODATA 2006, which are relevant to the discoveries of knowledge, risk, and opportunities by combining data from multiple disciplines.By presenting papers in this book, we aim at urging the development of data-based methods and methodologies for interdisciplinary and creative communications for solving emerging social problems. The reader shall view the direction to combine three methodological frameworks: data mining, data sharing, and communication in the contexts of sciences and businesses. http://www.springer.com/engineering/book/978-3-540-78732-7