Ethics and Technology (ongoing)

Organizers: Sofia Bonicalzi (Roma Tre), Mario De Caro (Roma Tre & Tufts), Benedetta Giovanola (Macerata & Tufts)

27.11.2020 17:30 CET Ophelia Deroy (LMU, Munich)

Justifying vigilance toward AI

Governments and companies are calling for "trustworthy AI" : Artificial agents and algorithms that humans can trust for being fair, as well as reliable. In this talk I want to raise another concern against this quasi-unanimous agenda : some philosophers object that trust can only hold between persons, and that AI are not persons, but I accept that AI are endowed with personal-like traits that mean they can be trusted. The way we trust however, is never blind, and there are good reasons to remain vigilant towards AI. Instead of trying to promote trustworthy AI, interested communities should work on promoting the right amount of political, practical and epistemic vigilance toward these new technologies.

The registration of the talk is available here.

29.01.2021 17:00 CET Jeff Behrend (Harvard University), John Basl (Northeastern University), David Gray Grant (UTSA)

What We Owe to Decision Subjects: Beyond Transparency and Explanation in Automated Decision-Making

Moral concern with the use of “black box” systems in high-stakes decision-making contexts has largely centered around transparency: what it is, whether it can be secured in automated systems, and what to do if it cannot. We argue that centering transparency in the moral evaluation of automated decision-making is problematic, and potentially obscures rather than illuminates what is of central more importance. By beginning with a broader look at what we owe to decision subjects generally, we are able to distinguish two kinds of consideration that they are owed: evidential and moral. Giving due consideration of each kind sometimes requires that a system be transparent, but both the kind and degree of transparency depend on the fundamental normative considerations at play in a given context. Grounding our moral appraisal at that level, rather than beginning with transparency and reasoning outward from it, offers a more promising path forward.

The registration of the talk is available here.

04.02.2021 17:00 CET Adriano Fabris (University of Pisa)

L’essere umano e lo specchio delle macchine: etica dell’AI

Nel mio intervento intendo approfondire alcuni aspetti della relazione fra l’essere umano e i dispositivi dotati di AI discutendo soprattutto i processi di mimesi che vengono messi in opera in questa relazione. In particolare studierò il reciproco rispecchiamento, ovvero la mutua imitazione, che si sviluppa tra queste due tipologie di soggetti, umani e artificiali. Emergerà la necessità di evitare alcune trappole del linguaggio comune e di ripensare, insieme alla nozione di “agire”, anche la stessa concezione dell’etica, ampliandola rispetto alla concezione tradizionale.

09.04.2021 17:00 CET Natalie Gold (London School of Economics and Political Science)

Why nudge?

Many classic nudges aim to improve people’s own welfare by influencing their choices without imposing material costs on them. In these situations, people are often taking a short-term decision that is not in their long-term interests and the nudge is towards their long-term interests. Thaler and Sunnstein argue that the policy-maker is justified to intervene on the grounds of ‘Libertarian Paternalism’. I re-think why intervention is justified by starting with the individual agent’s justification for resisting temptation. There is a longstanding debate in decision theory about how and why a rational agent can themself make a decision that is in their long-term interests. I show how we can solve this problem, by using a model with multiple levels of agency, and allowing that timeslices can think of themselves either as a timeslice (and rationally give into temptation) or as a ‘team over time’ (and rationally resist temptation). I consider the normative pressures that can lead decision-makers to promote their own long-term welfare and I argue that some of these can also provide a justification for policy-makers to do likewise, one based on the value of pursuing long term projects, and on positive and republican freedom, rather than a negative libertarian freedom.

The registration of the talk is available here.

17.06.2021 17:00 CET Fiorella Battaglia (LMU, Munich)

Predictive Algorithms and Epistemic Injustice

It is well acknowledged that decision support systems hiding their internal logic to the user constitute both technical and ethical issues. It is less acknowledged that predictive decision support systems guessing propositional attitudes of individuals might undermine human’s first-person authority. It is a matter of the subject’s being wronged in their capacity as a knower, and thus it is an issue of epistemic injustice arising from the introduction of decision systems in almost every domain of our social interactions. The aim of this talk is to broaden the concept of epistemic injustice and to apply it to the debate on the ethics of AI with a view to ensuring a comprehensive assessment of these new technologies. The evolution of the concept of epistemic injustice in this field is a condition for accurately addressing the ethical assessment of predictive models. Furthermore, I will argue that it is also useful for the machine-learning and data-mining communities that those questions do not remain unaddressed.

Link to participate here. ID meeting: 950 6540 6997 Passcode: 674726

This cycle of events is part of the PRIN 2018-2020

Agency and the World (ongoing)

Organizers: Sofia Bonicalzi (Roma Tre), Mario De Caro (Roma Tre & Tufts), Fiona Ellis (University of Roehampton), Benedetta Giovanola (Macerata & Tufts)

10.02.2021 17:00 CET Philip Kitcher (Columbia University)

On Moral Progress

The registration of the talk is available here.

12.02.2021 17:00 CET Robert Audi (University of Notre Dame & the ACU)

Action, Manner, and Motive: Two Dimensions of Moral Conduct

Philosophical literature in normative ethics has often concentrated on (1) what we should do—what acts we should perform (as is central for Mill’s utilitarianism)—or (2) the role of motivation in appraising agents and actions (as is important in Kant’s ethics). Far less philosophical attention has been paid to a third dimension of human behavior: the manner in which actions are performed. The manner of an action can be morally right or wrong, an object of intention, and a kind of behavior for a reason. This presentation will first explore the metaphysics of manners of action, argue that they do not reduce to kinds of actions, and illustrate how they are morally important. It will then explore whether motivation is parallel to manner in being (apparently) a higher-order property of action. Is it true that, just as one can, at will, do certain deeds in a particular manner, one can, at will, do certain things for a particular reason? This question is crucial for understanding ethics. Kant, for instance, denies moral worth even to right acts when they are performed for the wrong kind of reason. Should he be read, then, as holding that our basic obligation is not just to fulfill our obligations but to fulfill them for the right reason(s)?

26.02.2021 17:00 CET Daniel Dennett (Tufts University)

The Role of Consciousness in Self-Control

The registration of the talk is available here.

26.03.2021 17:00 CEST John Cottingham (University of Reading)

Which Naturalism?

The ‘naturalizing’ agenda that dominates contemporary secularist philosophy is often presented in opposition to the outlook of traditional theism. But a look at the philosophical history of the terms ‘nature’ and ‘natural’ reveals a radical discontinuity between how these terms are currently understood and how they were understood in the past. The modern ‘naturalist’, in insisting that all phenomena should be brought within the domain of the natural, is advancing a thesis that many classical, medieval and early-modern philosophers and theologians would have regarded as pretty much self-evident. What has changed is not that there is a new determination to include within the natural domain what was previous excluded from it, but rather that there has been a radical shift in how the natural domain is to be understood. This paper will argue that the philosophically interesting question in this area is not whether or not we should be naturalists, but which of two naturalisms we should adopt: secular naturalism, with its neutralist conception of the domain of nature in general and of our own human nature in particular, or theistic naturalism, according to which both the natural world and our own nature bear the stamp of the divine. Perhaps surprisingly, it turns out the former (secularist) view is vulnerable to serious difficulties, on both the epistemic and the moral fronts.


1. The shifting concept of the natural

2. Nature and the supernatural

3. Enframing

4. Human nature

5. Conclusion: so which naturalism?

The registration of the talk is available here.

23.04.2021 17:00 CEST Fiona Ellis (University of Roehampton, London)

Desire and the Meaning of Life

I offer an approach to the problem of life’s meaning which poses a radical challenge to some of the familiar terms of this debate. First, I defend an expansive form of naturalism which involves a rejection of the common assumption that naturalism and theism are logically incompatible and offers a framework from which to rethink some of the central concepts operative in discussions of life’s meaning. Second, I defend a ‘desire solution’ to the problem of life’s meaning. My initial inspiration is Richard Taylor’s version of such a position as articulated in his book Good and Evil. I argue that this solution is best articulated from within an expansive naturalist framework, raise some doubts about Taylor’s metaphysics, and make a connection with the Nietzschean problem of nihilism.

The registration of the talk is available here.

30.04.2021 17:00 CEST Sofia Miguens (Universidade do Porto)

The Human Face of Naturalism - Putnam and Diamond on religious belief and the ‘gulfs between us’

Hilary Putnam and Cora Diamond both wrote on Wittgenstein’s Three Lectures on Religious Belief. They did it quite differently; my ultimate aim in this talk is to explore such difference. Putnam’s view of religion is largely a view of ethical life; I look thus into his writings on ethics and his proposals to face the relativist menace therein. Still, in his incursions into philosophy of religion, describing religious experience through authors such as Rosenzweig, Buber, or Levinas, Putnam deals with what Diamond calls, after Wittgenstein, ‘the gulfs between us’. Such gulfs, and the threat of relativism they bring, need to be accounted for. With that purpose in mind I complement Putnam’s reading of the Three Lectures with Diamond’s own reading.

The registration of the talk is available here.

This cycle of events is part of the PRIN 2018-2020

Philosophy and Music (ongoing)

Organizers: Mario De Caro (Roma Tre & Tufts), Valentina Deriu (Roma Tre), Francesco Ferretti (Roma Tre), Lisa Giombini (Roma Tre), Chiara Palazzolo (Roma Tre)

Here is a flyer with the program and links to participate in the webinar.

05.03.2021 17:00 CET Alessandro Ansani (Sapienza Università di Roma) e Isabella Poggi (Roma Tre)

Musica e (non solo) emozioni: il valore narrativo della colonna sonora

The registration of the talk is available here.

12.03.2021 17:00 CET Jerrold Levinson (University of Maryland)

Musical Sublime

The registration of the talk is available here.

16.04.2021 17:00 CEST Jane O'Dea (University of Lethbridge)

Ethical Challenges in Musical Performance

The registration of the talk is available here.

30.04.2021 17:00 CEST Alice Mado Proverbio (Università di Milano Bicocca)

Neuroestetica: basi biologiche delle sensazioni emotive in musica

Neuroaesthetics is an interdisciplinary approach aiming at understanding the neural bases of aesthetical experience from a biological and psychological point of view. Neuroscientists have shown that listening to different types of tonal and atonal music may modulate differently psychological mood and physiological responses associated with the induced emotions. We will describe neuroscientific studies performed in composers, musicians and naïve listeners, with behavioral and neuroimaging techniques, aiming at understanding whether, besides personal taste, culture and musical expertise, some intrinsic harmonic or melodic properties might be identified in the architecture of a piece, able to interact with innate neurobiological structures of the brain in a predictive and pretty universal manner.

The registration of the talk is available here.

21.05.2021 17:00 CEST Julian Dodd (University of Leeds)

Authenticities in Western Classical Music

Link to participate here. ID meeting: 950 6540 6997 Passcode: 674726

11.06.2021 17:00 CEST Luca Aversano (Roma Tre)

Le prassi esecutive tra musicologia e filosofia dell'interpretazione

Link to participate here. ID meeting: 950 6540 6997 Passcode: 674726

Dentro il giudizio. Dialoghi di diritto e filosofia (ongoing)

Organizers: Antonio Carratta (Roma Tre), Mario De Caro (Roma Tre & Tufts), Giorgio Pino (Roma Tre)

Here is a flyer with the program and links to participate in the webinars. For information, please contact Matija Žgur and Arianna Colonna at

24.03.2021 17:00 CET Giovanni Tuzet (Università Bocconi, Milano)


Link to participate here.

14.04.2021 17:00 CEST Silvia Zorzetto (Università degli Studi di Milano)

Ragionamento giuridico e ragionevolezza

Link to participate here.

28.04.2021 17:00 CEST Marco Brigaglia (Università degli Studi di Palermo)

La psicologia del giudizio

Link to participate here.

19.05.2021 17:00 CEST Gaetano Carlizzi (Magistrato, Università degli Studi Suor Orsola Benincasa)

Il ragionamento probatorio

Link to participate here.

09.06.2021 17:00 CEST Giorgio Resta (Università degli Studi Roma Tre)

Algoritmi e decisione giuridica

Link to participate here.

Machiavelli (December 2021)

December 2021 Inaugural Conference of the International Machiavelli Society

For more info, visit

Fear and Disruption of Habits During the Global Pandemic (concluded)

Organizers: Corinna Guerra (LabEx, Hastec, Paris), Marco Piazza (Roma Tre)

December 16th and 17th, 2020. Here is a flyer with the program and links to participate in the webinar.

Information: Corinna Guerra (

The initiative is part of the research activity of:

- “The Public Dynamics of Fear and Inclusive Citizenship” Project, funded by the Roma Tre University under Action 4: Experimental action to finance innovative and interdisciplinary research projects

- National PRIN Project “New challenges for applied ethics” coordinated by Mario De Caro (Roma Tre University)

Terra e Cieli: astrologia, etica e politica tra umanesimo e rivoluzione scientifica (concluded)

Organizzatori: Antonio Clericuzio (Roma Tre) e Mario De Caro (Roma Tre & Tufts)

25.11.2020 17:00 Pietro Daniel Omodeo (Ca' Foscari, Venezia)

Astrologia e fisica cartesiana - link per partecipare

2.12.2020 17:00 Guido Giglioni (Università di Macerata)

Marsilio Ficino, ovvero come il prete-astrologo contribuisce alla "vita e prosperità pubblica" - link al video dell'evento

16.12.2020 17:00 Giuliano Mori (Università Statale di Milano)

Il De libero arbitrio di Lorenzo Valla: Letture quattrocentesche e ipotesi interpretative - link per partecipare

Here is a flyer with the program.