SCIENZA NUOVA (THE NEW SCIENCE)
SCIENZA NUOVA (THE NEW SCIENCE)
Institute for Advanced Studies in Philosophy and Technology at the University of Turin
1. The Documedia Revolution
The Calenda plan for Industry 4.0, approved in December 2016, consists of fiscal incentives and initiatives to support venture capital, encouraging the spread of ultra-broadband, and fostering training – from school to university – in order to help companies adapt to the fourth industrial revolution. What is the reason behind this governmental initiative? The hypothesis underlying Scienza Nuova is that today we are dealing with three crucial changes, as a consequence of the digital transformation.
In the field of business, we are witnessing the transition from goods to documents. Firstly, most goods turn out to be documents: they are manufactured by machines based on programs that have the same physical interface used to produce documents (a screen or a keyboard); moreover, even traditional goods come with increasing degrees of documentation (think of the ways to track the production process: when and how an egg was produced, the DOP and DOC classifications, etc.). Secondly, an economy based on the tertiary sector (think of the activities carried out by network providers or online stores such as Amazon) does not consist in producing artifacts, but in generating and circulating documents relating to the services offered and to their users. Thirdly, and above all, documents are the fundamental goods: consider the big data generated through the mobilization
of users on the web. This mobilization does not give those users any profit, even though they are their direct producers, nor is it conceptualized as a form of labour.
Rather than the disappearance of labour (which was predicted a few decades ago), we are witnessing a
metamorphosis and a dissemination of work forms. Far from replacing human activities, new technologies extend the human-machine interaction to every part of life. There is a real division of labour in place: the machine takes over all the dead labour, and leaves humans to deal with residual living labour, namely the bestowal of meaning. This is a new but hidden factor (often condemned as consumerism) that occurs without traditional intermediations: agreements between users to offer services, creation of alternative sources of information, or use of the web as a form of professional self-promotion (fashion blogger, influencer etc.). Above all, the essence of “Onlife” – online life – does not lie in its virtual and electronic nature, but in the lack of any distinction between work time and life time. This transformation involves three fundamental elements:
consumerism (interpretable as working from home), production (no longer separated from entertainment, for the loss of the distinction between life and work due to the diffusion of digital interfaces), and recognition, as a fundamental drive to perform unpaid functions not recognized as labour.
If we look at the form of life that takes hold in the documedia revolution, we will realize that it has very little to do with the old world of capital, and very much in common with communism understood in Marx’s ideal form:
end of alienation (variety of tasks, prevailing of the relational aspect); classless society (income brackets survive, but classes disappear as catalysts of ideas, habits, forms of thought and behaviour); a society that tends to be stateless (just consider that bitcoin takes away from the state the privilege of issuing currency); dictatorship of the proletariat (growing aversion towards the elites); end of private property (the prevalence of services reduces the convenience of private property – self-driving cars are unlikely to be owned by anyone, and, above all, in the sphere of data ownership the notion of “private property” seems to have completely disappeared); and implementation of the principle “each according to his ability” (unearned income is reduced).
2. An MIT for the Humanities
Our society is not liquid (in many respects, it is more solid and normative than ever), but it is certainly porous,
one where the exchange between science, business and the humanities has become increasingly feasible and necessary. This is the framework behind Scienza Nuova, the MIT for the humanities of the University of Turin.
Developed as part of the collaboration between the Laboratory of Ontology (LabOnt) and the University’s
“Innovation and Competitiveness” Strategic Project (Picto), the Institute of Advanced Studies “Scienza Nuova”
intends to develop the highest level of interdisciplinary collaboration to study the transformation of society,
labour, and business.
2.1. State of the Art
There are many institutes of advanced studies in Italy. A prime example is the School of Humanistic Studies in
Bologna, wanted by Umberto Eco. Scienza Nuova feels particularly close to the latter in terms of culture,
although it intends to focus more on the sphere of relations between the humanities and business. Our team has
also developed a good relationship with the IMT School for Advanced Studies in Lucca, with the Italian Institute
of Technology in Genoa, and with the IUSS Higher University School in Pavia. Scienza Nuova also has
developed collaborations with international schools operating in this sector: for example, the Centre for Ethics
and Technology (4TU.Ethics) founded in 2007 by the board of three technical universities in the Netherlands
(Delft, Eindhoven, and Twente) to study ethical issues in the development, use and regulation of technology;
and the Center for History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Aberdeen.
The starting point of Scienza Nuova is the obvious observation that the humanities can no longer rely on the
automatic and quasi-religious prestige that was reserved for intellectuals in traditional societies (including Italy
until not long ago). This was a positive change, which pushed the humanities to learn new languages (English,
for example, but taking care not to forget the others, like Italian); to dialogue with the rest of society; and to
understand that humanistic culture is not the opposite of science and technology, but rather itself a kind of
technology (made of writing, interpretation, archiving and invention) that is particularly powerful and useful also
for science. Due to the transformations brought about by the documedia revolution, the conditions are now in
place for the emergence of what Jacques Derrida called “the humanities to come”, capable of interacting not only
with science, but also with technology and professional life, increasing their inherent interdisciplinarity. It is
highly probable that in fifty years university faculties will be organized very differently from the way they
traditionally used to be. What is certain is that this restructuring will be all the more effective the more one
understands that between science, technology and humanism there is no contrast, but rather an essential
connection. We are technological and scientific animals, and this is what makes us human.
In this context, the inspiring principle of Scienza Nuova is twofold. Firstly, the contribution of the humanities to
the three spheres of business, labour and society must not adapt to transformations occurring outside the
university, but rather anticipate and invent new forms of collaboration and intervention in which the humanities
can unfold their peculiarity and originality. Secondly, Scienza Nuova aims at working together with the
Polytechnic University of Turin at all three levels of teaching: Bachelor, Master, and PhD. Scienza Nuova has
three main goals: the establishment of a research incubator to enhance the international competitiveness of the
University; the implementation of a three-level inter-university education, aimed at improving the synergy between
the University and the Polytechnic; the accomplishment of the third mission to better represent the function and
the field of the humanities within the framework of the documedia revolution.
3 Research Incubator
At this level, the goal is to create a training structure not only for individual research, but for cooperation in
competitive projects and for the presentation of findings in prestigious publications. There are four initiatives
conceived to achieve this goal: Acamedia, Acanext, Acaweb and Acadigit.
For the past two years, Collegio Carlo Alberto and LabOnt have coordinated Acamedia
(https://www.acamedia.unito.it), a system to improve the quality of research. It is a pilot project in thehumanities, in collaboration with the Department of Philosophy and Education Sciences, the Department of Psychology, and Collegio Carlo Alberto. The project is financed by Compagnia di San Paolo, which aims to provide the tools for the internationalization of research activities to UniTo researchers, and eventually to all
Acanext has three objectives: training competent staff to support the drafting of European projects; attracting young researchers to work on Erc or Marie Curie projects (Scienza Nuova supports promising scholars with the commitment that they will stay at the University of Turin if the funding application is successful); attracting senior researchers through research incentives (structures, connections with professional services, research awards, fellowships).
Acaweb consists in the creation of several international academic networks focused on objectives and aimed at
the circulation of PhD students (through the assignment of ad hoc scholarships), as well as junior and senior
fellows (through the establishment of fellowships). For example, one can mention:
– Spazio europeo della ricerca (European Research Area). This circuit, coordinated by Emanuele Conte, comprises
the following international institutes in Rome: École française de Rome, Germanic Historical Institute,
Germanic Archaeological Institute, Hertziana Library (Max Planck Institute for Art History), British
Institute, American Academy in Rome, Danish Institute in Rome, Swedish Institute in Rome, Academia
Belgica, Finnish Institute, Dutch Institute, Swiss Institute, Austrian Institute. These Institutes will be asked
to advertise some of their PhD positions on shared research networks. Scienza Nuova, as the Italian
coordinator of the European Research Area, is responsible for offering high-level seminars in each line of
research, to encourage the interaction between PhD students from the various institutions.
– Spazio filosofico europeo (European Philosophical Area), in collaboration with Alexander von Humboldt-
Stiftung. Center for Advanced Studies South East Europe (Rijeka); Internationales Zentrum für Philosophie
Nordrhein-Westfalen (Bonn); Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (München); Université de Paris I; University
– Law and Humanities. Käte Hamburger Kolleg „Recht als Kultur“ (Bonn); Università di Roma Tre: Winter
school in Law and humanities; Cardozo Law School, McGill University Montreal, Birkbeck, London.
– Humanities for Europe. Center for European Modernist Studies (Perugia); University of Utrecht, Ghent
University: Humanities for Europe (conferences and doctoral schools); Luiss Guido Carli: research on
Europe and global justice (research on intergenerationality); Université Paris Nanterre; European
Movement; Economic and Social Committee (EU):
– Work, mobilization, society. St. Mary’s University, London; Saint Petersburg State University.
– Emerging media. Department for emerging media, Boston University; Collège d’études mondiales (Paris,
FMSH): post-truth, documediality, social science.
For some years the “Innovation and Competitiveness” Strategic Project of the University has developed a new relationship between University and Territories, based on the overcoming of the Technology Transfer in favor of the Knowledge Interchange model, which recognizes the Academy as a junction between different local actors
(Researchers Network, Entrepreneurs Network, Funders Network, Citizens Network). Acadigit aims to develop
interdisciplinary research paths on the impact of the digital transformation on society, on individual users, on markets and on companies, with reference to the development of research in the field of technology and, specifically, of Artificial Intelligence.
4. Inter-university teaching
At Scienza Nuova, teaching is aimed at ensuring interaction and cooperation between the University and thePolytechnic, integrating the insights and competences offered by the Polytechnic in the educational path of the former, as well as providing humanistic teaching in the courses offered by the latter.
4.1. Bachelor’s Degree
Humanities courses at the Polytechnic. The classes already available in 2017-18 include: Ethics of Technology; Philosophy of Engineering; Communication and Writing Techniques; Ontology of Design. The classes available in 2018-19 include: Art and Science. These courses should evolve into RtDA positions funded by thePolytechnic; the teaching and research activity exceeding the Polytechnic’s working-hours will be dedicated to the scientific and didactic activities promoted by Scienza Nuova.
4.2. Master’s Degree
There will be a Master’s program in collaboration with Ernst & Young (work 4.0) and with the Italian
Notarization Foundation (documents in the documedia age). Many professionals are unaware of the
transformations brought about by the documedia revolution; on the other hand, Scienza Nuova can be enriched on a theoretical level by dealing with concrete problems.
Innovative doctorate programme (with partners in the professional area) in Philosophy of Technology. As part of the collaboration between the Laboratory of Ontology (LabOnt) and the University’s “Innovation and
Competitiveness” Strategic Project, there will be seminars to discuss and refine the scientific pedagogical aspect of the doctorate. A good overview of the state of the art in the field of Philosophy of Technology can be found in the courses available at Harvard, http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/course/philosophy-of-technology-spring-
2017/; in the activities proposed by the Society for Philosophy and Technology, http://www.spt.org/board/;
and in the following departments and doctoral programs from which to take inspiration for the structure and curricula of the programme http://www.spt.org/resources/academic-departments. It is also useful to hear the opinion of professionals with philosophical competences, such as Luca Morena, who has a PhD in Philosophy, has long worked with LabOnt and is now in charge of an innovative business https://www.nextatlas.com/.
The doctoral program will involve collaboration between three colleges, to guarantee an exhaustive educational offer:
Internal college. The internal doctoral college consists of Unito and Polito teachers.
Extended college. The extended college will comprise staff from other doctorate programmes, while also valorizing the members of LabOnt, as part of the “Innovation and Competitiveness” Project: Philosophy of Gender (Vera Tripodi), Philosophy of Biology (Elena Casetta), Philosophy of Generations (Tiziana Andina), Philosophy of Engineering (Enrico Terrone), Philosophy of Bureaucracy (Gianluca Cuozzo), Philosophy of Digital Trust (Jacopo Domenicucci), Philosophy of Notarization (Angela Condello), Philosophy of Art (Davide Dal Sasso), Philosophy of Mind and Complexity (Erica Onnis), Culture of innovation and territories (Germano Paini). International college: Jocelyn Benoist, Paris 1 Sorbonne; Julian Nida Rümelin, University of Monaco; James Katz and Juliet Floyd, Boston University; Ronald Day, Indiana University; Petar Bojanic, Belgrade University; Bernard Stiegler, Ars Industrialis; Barry Smith, Buffalo University; Graham Harman, St. John’s College; Marc De Vos, Ghent University.
5. Third Mission
Last but not least, Scienza Nuova is committed to accomplish the so-called third mission, where the humanities
are currently showing no continuative and organic engagement.
Firstly, Scienza Nuova will implement dissemination to ensure a broad interdisciplinary impact and a working relationship with professionals. There will be many publications, alongside seminars and conferences. LabOnt manages three journals, two of which are international. One of those is indexed on ISI and Scopus, and appears on the main international databases. The journals include:
– Rivista di Estetica (http://LabOnt.it/rivista-di-estetica): one of the historical Italian journals, published in Open Access (https://www.openedition.org/15282);
– Brill Research Perspectives in Art and Law (http://LabOnt.it/brill-research-perspectives-in-art-and-law).
LabOnt also manages several scientific publication series (http://LabOnt.it/publications/le-collane-del- LabOnt), including an international one: Aesthetics and Contemporary Art (http://LabOnt.it/international-series).
There will be two publications specifically dedicated to the topics addressed by Scienza Nuova: “Scienza Nuova” (Rosenberg & Sellier) and the series “Philosophy of Technology” (Il Mulino)
From November 2018 to June 2019, Scienza Nuova, in collaboration with Circolo dei Lettori, will organize the “Umberto Eco Readings”, with the participation of international thinkers in dialogue with Nuova Scienza academics. The aim will be to provide an account of the problems faced and a presentation of the role of the humanities in the documedia society. In order to address the business world, we have built relationships with Tim, General Motors, Confindustria, Sole 24 ore (especially Nova, through Luca De Biase), Small business associations (API etc.). We will also collaborate with Rai Scuola, Associazione Italiana Formatori, Ernst and Young and the Camogli Communication Festival.
5.3. Lifelong Learning
The seminars and conferences will be filmed and shared on Eduflix as part of a permanent education program. Currently Eduflix uses one of the most advanced platforms to provide training through online video streaming,
on the model of Netflix or TED talks. The skill of Eduflix in the creation of “intellectual conversations”
involving the most authoritative figures of Italian and international culture (including numerous Nobel prize winners) and its decennial experience in the field of education allow us to propose and implement a system for training and continuous updating that will evolve in harmony with the needs arising from the ongoing technological evolution. The goal is to provide training courses made up of hundreds of video units involving leading experts (in the humanities and in science) so as to ensure the latest updating on the new factors emerging in relation to the technological evolution.
Scienza Nuova will follow the development lines and research activities promoted by LabOnt (www.LabOnt.it).
The latter is structured as an Interdepartmental Research Center (including the Departments of Philosophy and Education Sciences as well as Law and Cognitive Sciences) and as a Cultural Association (based at the Department of Philosophy and Educational Sciences), in the framework of the “Innovation and Competitiveness” Project of the University of Turin (innovazione.unito.it).
Scienza Nuova will have a president, a director, a secretary, a scientific board and a president of the scientific board. The first team will be appointed by the Dean, then the structure will be self-governed.
President: Maurizio Ferraris
Director: Tiziana Andina
Coordination of scientific research: Elena Casetta
Coordination of institutional relations: Angela Condello
Secretary: Erica Onnis
President: Gian Maria Ajani
Director: Germano Paini
Juan Carlos De Martin
Luca De Biase
The temporary headquarters of Scienza Nuova is the LabOnt office at the Luigi Einaudi Campus, and the
organizational structure is provided by the staff of LabOnt. The research will be carried out within the infrastructure “HSSH with and for Industry 4.0” of the “Innovation and Competitiveness” Project
(https://innovazione.unito.it/hssh-with-and-for-industry-4-0). We will also introduce a site for research, conferences and residential seminars at the Turin University Center in Savigliano (https://www.unito.it/mediagallery/ detail/2142/4439). We are evaluating other solutions for the central headquarters of the institute, which will be used by staff – local and visiting -, fellows and PhD students.
To implement its initiatives, Scienza Nuova currently relies on four types of funding.
– The “HSSH with and for Industry 4.0” Strategic project for “Innovation and Competitiveness” of the
University of Turin.
– The funding given to the Department of Philosophy and Educational Sciences as part of ministerial
funds for departments noted for excellence (2018-2020).
– The following research projects managed by LabOnt: Chaire Derrida funds; Jean Monnet Project “I
work therefore I am (European)” (Director Maurizio Ferraris) – institution: European Commission, Jean
Monnet programs (2017/2018); Jean Monnet Module “Human Rights Culture in the European Union”
(Director: Angela Condello) – Institution: European Commission, Jean Monnet Programs (2017/2018/2019/2020); Altiero Spinelli prize for Outreach for the project “Humanities for Europe” –
Institution: European Commission (2018); Project “Documenta” – institution: Italian Notarization
Foundation (2017/ 2018); Project “Ermeneutica tecnologica” – institution: National Notarization
Council (2018/2019); Project “Futuro del lavoro 4.0” – institution: Ernst & Young.
– Scienza Nuova, with Ferraris as PI, has applied for the ERC call which expires on 30th August. Potential funding will be reinvested in the structure, which will hopefully also benefit from funding from an EIT Food Grand Challenge, whose outcome will soon be known (we have passed the first two phases).
7. Implementation Phases
The concept that inspired Scienza Nuova has been the core of LabOnt’s production over the past decade, and is
analyzed in detail in the book Scienza Nuova, by Maurizio Ferraris and Germano Paini, due out in October as the first volume of the homonymous yearbook.
From 9 January to 20 February 2018 the documedia revolution has been the center of a series of weekly seminars at the Collège d’études mondiales in Paris. Experts were called to talk about issues related to the relationship between new technologies, the humanities and social sciences. The guest speakers included: Bernard Stiegler,
Michele Spanò, Claire Scopsi, Marc De Vos, Alberto Romele, Matteo Treleani, Jeanne Nielsen, Jacek Smolicki, Andrea Pinotti, Jocelyn Benoist, Carlo Freccero, Gianmaria Ajani, Markus Gabriel. During other meetings, the speakers have engaged in conversations with Maurizio Ferraris, Enrico Terrone, Angela Condello and Sara Guindani.
These principles were further elaborated by Ferraris during the joint activities with the chair of Moral and Political Philosophy at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Monaco of Professor Julian Nida-Rümelin, as part of the Humboldt Preis conferred to Ferraris this year. They will also be the object of the international conference “Versions of Realism” (8-9 June), with the participation of Nida-Rümelin, Ferraris, Paul Boghossian, Markus Gabriel, Charles Larmore, and Herlinde Pauer-Studer.
7.2. Articulation On 20 June, there will be a meeting in Rome with representatives of other cultural institutions interested in the project, so as to develop synergies and collaborations on a national and international scale. The participants include: Gianmaria Ajani, Dean, University of Turin; Maurizio Ferraris, Vice Dean at Humanities 4.0, University of Turin; Germano Paini, in charge of the “Innovation and Competitiveness” Project of the University of Turin; Andrea Prencipe, Pro-Dean, LUISS Guido Carli; Tiziana Andina, Associate Professor of Theoretical Philosophy, University of Turin; Angela Condello, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy of Law, University of Turin; Sebastiano
Maffettone, Professor of Political Philosophy, LUISS Guido Carli; Maria Luisa Catoni, Professor of Ancient Art History, IMT Lucca; Emanuele Conte, Professor of History of Law, University of Roma Tre; Florence Ferran, Institut Français of Rome. Before the summer, Dean Ajani, Ferraris, Andina, Paini and the Dean of the Polytechnic Saracco will meet with Durbiano, De Martin and Robiglio, as well as with representatives of Compagnia di San Paolo and of Collegio Carlo Alberto, to determine the levels of cooperation on a local scale.
The official inauguration of Scienza Nuova will take place in October 2018, on two separate occasions: the first for the international scientific community, the second for the city and its governing bodies.
4-6 October – The Documedia Revolution, DOCAM Annual Meeting. The annual meeting of the Document Academy scheduled for October (4 – 6) 2018 will be hosted by the Department of Philosophy and Educational Sciences ofthe University of Turin. The launch of the Institute of Advanced Studies “Scienza Nuova” will take place at this meeting. The theme of this year’s investigation, as announced by the event’s title itself, will be the so-called “documedia revolution” and will involve prominent scholars from the international scene, such as Michael Buckland, Gregory Currie, Ronald Day, Claire Scopsi and Barry Smith. These thinkers, employing heterogeneous approaches but driven by the same interest, have turned their attention to the phenomenon of documentality in its various ontological, social and technological implications. The conference will also involve Professor Maurizio Ferraris and Professor Angela Condello of the University of Turin as co-chairs.
15-16 October – Scienza Nuova. Chaire Derrida. The international “Chair of Philosophy Jacques Derrida, Law and Culture”, while commemorating one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century, aims to intensify the relationship between philosophy and the social and legal sciences. There will be three events related to “Chair of Philosophy Jacques Derrida, Law and Culture”: an international conference, to confer the annual award of the Chair; a cycle of seminars aimed at analysing the themes discussed at the international conference, which this year is dedicated to Humanities 4.0; and, indeed, the public presentation of the Institute of Advanced Studies “Scienza Nuova”, promoted by the Interdepartmental Center “Laboratory of Ontology”, through a press conference on 16 October with the participation of both political authorities and academics.