•  127
    According to a widespread view, a complete explanatory reduction of all aspects of the human mind to the electro-chemical functioning of the brain is at hand and will certainly produce vast and positive cultural, political and social consequences. However, notwithstanding the astonishing advances generated by the neurosciences in recent years for our understanding of the mechanisms and functions of the brain, the application of these findings to the specific but crucial issue of human agency can…Read more
  •  87
    This paper focuses on the emergent neo-Jamesian perspective concerning the phenomenology of art and aesthetic experience. Starting from the distinction between nucleus and fringe in the stream of thought described by William James, it can be argued that our appreciation of a work of art is guided by a vague and blurred perception of a much more powerful content, of which we are not fully aware. Accordingly, a work of art is seen as a kind of metaphor of our mental life, objectified to be able to…Read more
  •  42
    Mental Causation
    Aphex 17. 2018.
    This article aims to provide a brief overview of mental causation problem and its current proposed solutions. Indeed, mental causation turns out as one of the most difficult philosophical conundrums in contemporary philosophy of mind. In the first two sections, we offer an outline of the problem and the philosophical debate about it, and show that mental causation problem is pivotal within the contemporary philosophy of mind. In the third section, we focus on the most popular models of mental ca…Read more
  •  32
    Erasing traumatic memories: when context and social interests can outweigh personal autonomy
    Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 10 3. 2015.
    Neuroscientific research on the removal of unpleasant and traumatic memories is still at a very early stage, but is making rapid progress and has stirred a significant philosophical and neuroethical debate. Even if memory is considered to be a fundamental element of personal identity, in the context of memory-erasing the autonomy of decision-making seems prevailing. However, there seem to be situations where the overall context in which people might choose to intervene on their memories would le…Read more
  •  26
    What (or sometimes who) are organoids? And whose are they?
    Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (2): 144-145. 2019.
    In terms of ethical implications, Boers, van Delden and Bredenoord have made an interesting step forward with their model of organoids as hybrids, which seeks to find a balance between subject-like value and object-like value. Their framework aims to introduce effective procedures not to exploit donors and to increase their engagement, but it does not seem to take sufficient account of how organoids are used and how donors and society as a whole may want to act about such uses. I will concentrat…Read more
  •  25
    Cerebral organoids: ethical issues and consciousness assessment
    with Marcello Massimini
    Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (9): 606-610. 2018.
    Organoids are three-dimensional biological structures grown in vitro from different kinds of stem cells that self-organise mimicking real organs with organ-specific cell types. Recently, researchers have managed to produce human organoids which have structural and functional properties very similar to those of different organs, such as the retina, the intestines, the kidneys, the pancreas, the liver and the inner ear. Organoids are considered a great resource for biomedical research, as they all…Read more
  •  24
    A Pragmatic and Empirical Approach to Free Will
    Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia 8 (3): 247-258. 2017.
    : The long dispute between incompatibilists and compatibilists is further exemplified in the discussion between Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett. In this article I try to add to the discussion by outlining a concept of free will linked to five operating conditions and proposing its operationalization and quantification. The idea is to empirically and pragmatically define free will as we need it for moral blame and legal liability, while separating it from the debate on global determinism, local det…Read more
  •  21
    BackgroundAlthough some of the most radical hypothesis related to the practical implementations of human enhancement have yet to become even close to reality, the use of cognitive enhancers is a very tangible phenomenon occurring with increasing popularity in university campuses as well as in other contexts. It is now well documented that the use of cognitive enhancers is not only increasingly common in Western countries, but also gradually accepted as a normal procedure by the media as well. In…Read more
  •  19
    Moral bioenhancement is the attempt to improve human behavioral dispositions, especially in relation to the great ethical challenges of our age. To this end, scientists have hypothesised new molecules or even permanent changes in the genetic makeup to achieve such moral bioenhancement. The philosophical debate has focused on the permissibility and desirability of that enhancement and the possibility of making it mandatory, given the positive result that would follow. However, there might be anot…Read more
  •  16
    Cerebral organoids and consciousness: how far are we willing to go?
    with Marcello Massimini
    Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (9): 613-614. 2018.
    In his interesting commentary, Joshua Shepherd raises two points—one related to epistemology, the other to ethics—about our article on human cerebral organoids.1 2 From the epistemological standpoint, he calls into question the need for a theory of consciousness. A theory of consciousness, for him, is not necessary because of the lack of consensus about the very nature of consciousness. Shepherd suggests that ‘given widespread disagreement, applying a theory of consciousness may not be helpful w…Read more
  •  15
    Contemporary Dualism: A Defense (edited book)
    Routledge. 2013.
    Ontological materialism, in its various forms, has become the orthodox view in contemporary philosophy of mind. This book provides a variety of defenses of mind-body dualism, and shows that a thoroughgoing ontological materialism cannot be sustained. The contributions are intended to show that, at the very least, ontological dualism constitutes a philosophically respectable alternative to the monistic views that currently dominate thought about the mind-body relation
  •  11
    Human Beings and Robots: A Matter of Teleology?
    Humana Mente 11 (34). 2018.
    In this paper, I use the comparison between human beings and intelligent machines to shed light on the concept of teleology. What characterizes human beings and distinguishes them from a robot capable of achieving complex objectives? In the first place, by stipulating that what characterizes human beings are mental states, I consider the mark of the mental. A smart robot probably has no consciousness but we might have reason for doubt while interacting with it. And a smart robot shows intentiona…Read more
  •  11
    Thought Apprehension: The “True” Self and The Risks of Mind Reading
    American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 10 (1): 19-21. 2019.
  •  11
    Neuroetica e neuropolitica. Le scienze del cervello tra riflessione intellettuale e dibattito pubblico
    Iride: Filosofia e Discussione Pubblica 21 (1): 187-211. 2008.
  •  10
    A Rawlsian Version of the Opportunity Maintenance Thesis
    American Journal of Bioethics 16 (6): 50-52. 2016.
  •  10
  •  9
    What We May Forget When Discussing Human Memory Manipulation
    American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 7 (4): 249-251. 2016.
  •  9
    Neuroscienze e filosofia morale
    Rivista di Filosofia 98 (3): 327-358. 2007.
  •  9
    Operationalizing and Measuring Free Will. Towards a New Framework for Psychology, Ethics, and Law
    with Silvia Ignlese
    Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia 6 (1): 37-55. 2015.
    Free will is usually defined by three conditions: the ability to do otherwise; control of one’s own choices; responsiveness to reasons. The compatibility of free will with determinism lies at the heart of the philosophical debate at the metaphysical level. This debate, while being increasingly refined, has not yet reached a conclusion. Recently, neuroscience and empirical psychology have tried to settle the problem of free will with a series of experiments that go in the direction of so-called i…Read more
  •  8
  •  7
    The Evolutionary Perspective on Free Will Might Be Mechanistic But Not Deterministic
    American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 6 (2): 26-28. 2015.
  •  7
    Neuroetica e neuroscienza: tra spiegazione della vita e cura della mente
    with Mario De Caro
    Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia 4 (3): 249-251. 2013.
  •  5
    Neuroetica: la nascita di un nuovo tipo di antropologia?
    with Mario De Caro
    Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia 4 (3): 252-263. 2013.
    Nel presente testo si propone un approccio alla neuroetica che si prefigge di attribuirle uno specifico ambito d’indagine in quanto esplorazione di ciò che apprendiamo su noi stessi e sul nostro “funzionamento”, grazie principalmente alle neuroscienze. In altre parole, si tratta di un nuovo genere di antropologia che si occupa dell’intersezione di diverse discipline la quale acquista sempre maggiore centralità nel dibattito contemporaneo a motivo della forte naturalizzazione delle indagini sugli…Read more
  •  5
    Big Neuroscience: When a Big Number Is Not Necessarily a Great Idea
    American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 7 (1): 30-32. 2016.