Individuals and Collectivities: SIFA midterm 2017 conference

Conference & Symposium

The divide between individual entities and subjective viewpoints on one hand, and collective entities and intersubjective perspectives on the other shapes many traditional debates in metaphysics, theory of action, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, ontology, as well as moral, social and political philosophy. However, the way in which we think of this divide is constantly called into question, both descriptively and normatively.

Descriptively, the challenge comes from new discoveries about the functioning of the human mind and language functions, from the deep changes that we are witnessing in the organisation of our social world and the ways in which social structures affect individual behaviour, and from the decline of the political institutions and actors that used to shape the political life of Western democracies. Which discoveries or which theories of language and mind help rethinking the relation between individual and collective viewpoints? Which social, technical and institutional changes require a reformulation of our idea of collectivity?

Normatively, in light of these changes in our social landscape and our knowledge about human conduct, we need to rethink the main ethical and political questions related to the divide individual/collective and the relation between these two ways to categorize our social life: what forms of individual commitment are called for if political agency must be successful and legitimate? How should we conceive the relation between our personal moral convictions and the point of view of the collective social entities we belong to? To which extent the changing modes of collective organisation relieve individuals from their personal responsibility, or deepen their moral involvement?


The Conference will host a symposium sponsored by the Italian Society of Analytic Philosophy on Personal Identity across the Lifespan.




The Conference is sponsored by SIFA, the Italian Society of Analytic Philosophy.

The Conference is supported by the Genoa Section of the PRIN Project 2015L3BC35: The problem of Indeterminacy: Meaning, Knowledge and Action









— Aoki Tetsuo – Illustration