He has always been fascinated by non-human things

With a similar interest in science and philosophy, Laura Tribaldi has written a stimulating article that invites us to rethink both traditions based on the innovations implemented in recent decades by chemistry, nanotechnology and materials science. Trained in these disciplines and in line with the new philosophical materialism, the Italian thinker expanded the concepts of life, consciousness, intelligence, memory or experience in light of radical innovations that support interaction with mechanical or inorganic entities (robots). octopuses, cells, and synthetic materials).

The future of unexpected technologies is then predicted Parallel mindsthe influential book that Tribaldi comes to speak about in Cordoba (at an event organized by the Italian Institute of Culture), is also a theoretical political statement calling for a horizontal, cooperative and decentralized epistemology in sensitive relations with the environment.

Parallel Minds book by Laura Tribaldi

“I started studying chemistry when I was 19 years old. From the beginning, I was interested in trying to understand the physical world around me, and explaining why nature is able to express such a great variety of forms. “I have always been fascinated by the non-human,” says the author. Science allows you to get closer to it to understand it better and create a connection.”

He continues: “It was not until I was completing my doctoral thesis that I discovered my interest in the more speculative aspects of science and the philosophy of science. I then tried to make connections with the works of authors and philosophical thinkers who were doing fascinating research on the question of materialism. For a long time, the focus of the humanities and arts has been on language and culture, and now there is a new interest in science. “We realize that matter, matter and bodies cannot be ignored, and that they are not just negative things that we carry around, but that they have their own agency and ability to influence human culture.”

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– What does it mean to extend the concept of life that you address in your work?

The definition of life has been debated for a long time in science and philosophy, because the barrier between what is and is not a living being is not as defined as one might think. There are many inorganic objects and objects that behave similarly to living organisms, the most common example being crystals, which can be inorganic and grow like a living organism in a regular, predictable, and precise manner over time. We can also think of viruses, about which there is debate in biology about whether they are alive or not. There are many systems in nature that straddle that boundary between living and non-living. So it makes sense to think of life not as a strict definition, but as a domain, where different objects can occupy different positions in this domain, and be more or less alive depending on their behaviors and the processes in which they participate.

– How does the political dimension play in your work? What are the characteristics that define this?

– There is a connection between my work and my political vision, and it is not a coincidence that many people of new materialism are interested in new feminism and are actively working on it. Science has been seen as opposed to feminism, perhaps because there is a view of science as knowledge that tends to reify and exploit nature. Of course this aspect exists. We were told in school that science is based on a clear distinction between subject and object, and that this relationship with things is not only a relationship of knowledge, but also a relationship of power and domination. More specifically, science has been used as a tool to oppress women, people of color, and marginalized communities. The key is to be able to think about ways of relating to matter that go beyond the dynamics of objectification and exploitation, to see whether we can regard these objects as subjects and what the implications and consequences are. There is an element of optimism in my book, as it is important to imagine alternative futures in a historical time when it is difficult to think about the future in a positive way.

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– Why do myths like the Frankenstein myth that you cite so strongly come back?

We believe that science is based on objective facts and data, but science is very mythical. Scientific progress has been influenced by literary ideas, stories, narratives, and even myths and legends that we carry in our cultural subconscious. It is important to understand what secret narrative hides beneath the science, and which presents itself outside the culture. In the nineteenth century, positivism focused on understanding the world in a completely rational and objective way, and myths such as Frankenstein expressed the fundamental concern that perhaps the world is not easy to understand. This teaches us something about today’s world, because in a way we also believe that everything is enlightened and understandable, but we have our own myths, and the cyborg is one of them. While there are many gray areas to explore, it is reassuring to think that we live in a world that we cannot fully decipher and control.

Conference in Cordoba

Laura Tribaldi will present the conference “Parallel Minds.” Materialism, Agency, and Cognition” this Thursday, May 16, at 6 p.m., at the Carafa Museum (401 Lugones Street). Admission is free.

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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