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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 1 - HEGNAT (Naturalism in German Classical Philosophy: Nature, Recognition and Freedom in the Hegelian Theory of Social Interaction and Cooperation)

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2018-08-31

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.
"During the first months at GU the work has primarily focused on the philosophical and interdisciplinary literature addressing the issues of the project. Among the interdisciplinary literature, works on biology, evolutionary psychology, philosophy of biology and neuroscience has been taken into consideration. German classical philosophy, particularly Hegel, represents instead the philosophical focus of the project. Beside reading and understanding this literature, there have been several fruitful discussions both on seminar basis and by individual meetings with scholars of the field. Briefings with GU's supervisor Prof. T. Pinkard and Skype calls with the Supervisor in Italy have been held continuously.
The ER regularly joined the seminars and talks at the Department of Philosophy, many of them with relevant scholars of the field. He attended talks at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. He kept in touch with faculty members of the department and had interesting confrontation. He regularly visited and worked at the Lauinger Library.

During the Spring Term 2017 the ER attends the course on ""The Phenomenology of Spirit"" by T. Pinkard, relevant topic for the project.
April 2017: ER participates in the int. workshop ""Reconsidering Hegel's Logic"" at the University of Pittsburgh, with revenant scholars in the field.
June 2017 ER attends the International Hegel Congress, Stuttgart.

December 14-16 2017, organisation of the conference at GU, Washington D.C. on German Classical Philosophy and Naturalism (Organizers: T. Pinkard, G. Seddone, I. Testa). The recordings of the conference have been published online ( for dissemination. Talk by I. Testa on ""Habitual Actions and the Natural Conditions of Agency"". Talk by G. Seddone on ""The Truth of Life: Hegel on Mind-Life Continuity""

March 2018: The Int. Journal ""Argumenta"" accepts to host a special issue on ""Naturalism and Normativity in Hegel's Philosophy"" edited by the ER. The issue will focus on the central aspects and topics of the project and will publish contributions of world wide eminent scholars. In addition, a call for papers will broaden the list of the authors. The special issue appearance is scheduled for May 2019.

02-20-2018: Talk on ""Emotions and Practical Wisdom"" by G. Seddone, GU, Department of Philosophy

May 2, 2018 - July 20, 2018: the ER moves from Washington D.C. to Leipzig for a secondment at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. During the stay the interdisciplinary aspects of the project have been addressed.

May 16, 2018: talk by the ER at the MPI-CBS on ""Mind as an Embodied Faculty: the Biological Interdependence of Mind and Brain"".

May 25m 2018: the ER participated in a workshop at the University of Potsdam on Hegel and Kant with Prof. James Kreines, Prof. Haag and Prof. Moyar, relevant scholars in the field.

June 11-13, 2018: the ER went to Copenhagen to meet Prof. Zahavi and to discuss about future collaborations. In that occasion he attended the workshop by K. Williford on ""Self-Consciousness, Perspectival Imagination, and Intersubjectivity""

July 9, 2018: talk by the ER at the MPI-CBS on ""The Neurobiological Requisites of Language Codification""

September 17, 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 21, 2018: Research's Night at the University of Parma, talk by the ER on ""Mind-Brain: Recent Philosophical Developments"" for the General Public"
"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: The stay at the MPI-CBS from May 2018 will enhance the interdisciplinary dialogue between philosophy and neurosciences."
Hegel and his Students
Poster of the International Conference held at GU