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Naturalism in German Classical Philosophy: Nature, Recognition and Freedom in the Hegelian Theory of Social Interaction and Cooperation

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - HEGNAT (Naturalism in German Classical Philosophy: Nature, Recognition and Freedom in the Hegelian Theory of Social Interaction and Cooperation)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2019-08-31

The main topic of the project is about naturalism in Hegel's philosophy. This topic has many philosophical and interdisciplinary outcomes that we can summarize in 4 issues.

Issue 1: Mind-life continuity.
Impact: free will and disembodied mind
Overall objectives:Mind-life continuity addresses the question if it is possible to have a disembodied mind like a mind in a computing machine and to understand the difference between autonomous thinking and thinking by virtue of external programming. It is also important for understanding the biological and natural features of the rational faculty and the difference between mechanical computation and self-conscious reflection.

Issue 2: Human history as outcome of the dialectics of the human species
Impact: investigation on history directionality and coherence
Overall objectives: The main objective of this issue is to investigate if the human kind and its historical evolution can be defined by the self-consciousness’ disposition to place the external reality and the course of external events under an order of values and concept autonomously yielded.

Issue 3: Feelings and habits
Impact: The nature of human behavior
Overall objectives: this issue aims to tackle the nature of the normative in Hegel’s theory of habits and to point out that social practices are the outcome of biological characteristics related to the homeostasis of the organism. This should demonstrates that habits and human practices have a concrete biological background originate from humans’s attitude to organize the environment through socially codified activities. The issue also deals with the relation habits have with self-conscious life and human world history.

Issue 4: Mind-Brain Problem
Impact: understanding brain processing and its relation to the human mindful, logical and linguistic disposition
Overall objectives: This issue has relevant interdisciplinary aspects as it is also addressed by the cognitive and brain sciences. It deals with the question concerning the cerebral processing as it can observed by modern devices and its consistency with conventional linguistic practices and logical and formal principles of inferring concepts and principles of thinking.
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September 17th, 2018: ER starts teaching a 30 hrs. course on the ""Interdisciplinary Aspect's of Hegel's Philosophy of Mind"" at the University of Parma.

September 21st, 2018: Research's Night at the University of Parma, talk by the ER on ""Mind-Brain: Recent Philosophical Developments"" for the General Public

November 20th, 2018: Attendance at the inter-sectoral training course: ""Come massimizzare l'impatto di una proposta collaborativa in Horizon 2020"", University of Parma

December 12th, 2018: Attendance at the inter-sectoral training course: ""Business Plan in Horizon 2020"", University of Parma.

October-December 2018: writing of a monographic book about the topic of the project. ER keeps in touch with an editor (Cambridge University Press).

January 23rd, 2019: Attendance at the inter-sectoral webinar: ""Effective Leadership for Successful Research and Innovation"" organized by Bridging Science and Business working group of Marie Curie Alumni Association.

January 2019: The organization of an international Conference at the University of Parma (June 2019) starts.

February 2019: 3 weeks stay at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. 14/15th February International Conference on Naturalism and Sociality organized by G. Seddone and I. Testa jointly with local organizers. During his stay the ER met H. Ikäheimo's research team and attended his seminar on Hegel's Encyclopedia Logic. Talk by I. Testa: ""Are We Creatures of Habits? Some Pragmatist Approaches"" and Talk by G. Seddone: ""The Dialectics of Self-Conscious Life and the Constitution of Social Practices: Life, Concept and History in Hegel’s Logic""

March-May 2019: Writing of the book proceeds

May 2019, a peer reviewed Special Issue on Naturalism and Normativity in Hegel's Philosophy edited by G. Seddone has been published. It contains the contribution of important international researchers.

June 2019, 19th-21st: International conference at the University of Parma on ""Contemporary Relevance of Hegelian Naturalism"" with relevant scholars in the field (Renault, Yeomans, Rödl, Illeterati and others). Talk by I. Testa: ""Mindedness and Embodied Cognition"" and Talk by G. Seddone: ""The Life-Shaped Mind""."
"Progress 1: The investigation on the continuity of mind and life in the Hegelian philosophy points out that there are several aspects in common with more recent developments in the philosophy of biology. However, the philosophy of biology till now has focused on the notion of teleology in order to understand both life and mind, whereas the Hegelian contribution supplies us with interesting perspective on the affinity between biological and cognitive patterns.

Progress 2: By means of a naturalistic approach it is possible to investigate the relation between the Hegelian notion of species and his philosophy of history. In fact, the human species is determined in the way of self-consciousness, while historical evolution represents an act of actualized freedom of self-conscious life.

Progress 3: Since February 2018 the ER has kept in touch with the MPI-CBS and with its director, Prof. A. Friederici. The ER would be seconded to this institute from the 1st May 2018 till mid of July 2018. During this secondment the ER investigated the interdisciplinary aspects of the Hegelian theory on mind and social behavior and acquired methodologies of investigations in the cognitive field.

Progress 4: A special Issue on ""Naturalism and Normativity in Hegel's Philosophy"" edited by the ER will gather the contributions of important scholars who will address the topics and arguments of the project HEGNAT.

Progress 5: Stay at the MPI-CBS from May 2018, enhancement of the interdisciplinary dialogue between philosophy and neurosciences.

Progress 6: Organization of an International Conference on Naturalism and Sociality at the UNSW, Sydney (February 2019), enhancement of the research network of the beneficiaries.

Progress 7: Organization of an International Conference on Contemporary Relevance of Hegelian Naturalism at the University of Parma (June 2019)."