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Riccardo Fedriga

Associate Professor

Department of the Arts

Academic discipline: M-STO/08 Archival Science, Bibliography and Librarianship


Keywords: Social ontology History and Epistemology of Reading History of Ideas Cultural Heritage ;edieval Philosophy Intentionality Publishing Studies Digital Objects Digital Transformation Digital Repositories Digital Humanities Philosophy of Technology Philosophy of Mind Free Will Encyclopaedic Models and Semantics


The research is carried out along two lines. The first is historical-philosophical and the second is linked to the history and epistemology of reading. The two research themes are interconnected in relation to the theme of intentionality.

a) As far as the philosophical field is concerned, we move around the reality between the notions of mind and soul, free will and its acts in a historical-philosophical and systematic theoretical perspective. A first area of investigation focuses on the study of mental acts and their objects in the texts of psychology and theology of late school and systematic comparisons with contemporary theories. The notion of the intentional act, the role of the will in knowledge, that of the subject in the perception of the external world, the analysis of the theories of knowledge that includes standard cases such as experiences of illusions, both at the perceptual and intellectual level, is at stake. These are the notions of mind, of object as perceived and thought and the dialectic between their ontological status and the noetic activity of the subject. A second line of philosophical research, directly linked to the first, focuses on the relationships between late medieval theology (Scotus Aureoli, Ockham) understood as an analysis of the conditions of possibility of a phenomenology of religious experience (Vignaux). In this case, too, one wonders about the ontological status of the objects of investigation, and in particular about the dialectic between objects conceived by the human mind, free will, counterfactuals and the divine mind in the perspective of a radical critique of theological fatalism. Particular interest, in this conception, is dedicated to the study of contingency. The basic idea is to take up the theme of contingency and, in particular, an even more circumscribed topic - able, however, to leave free interpretations and readings of authors and themes - is that of the analysis between the contingency and the stability of the past, understood both as the stability of the natural and logical laws that govern its order and as a relationship with a past thought of as stable. This does not exclude, obviously, precisely because it is the domain of instability par excellence, the future contingents. This is associated with an effort of historiographical understanding of the relationship of continuity and opposition between medieval discussions and modern and contemporary philosophical discussions, with particular reference to the distinction between historiographical truth and justification, reconstruction and translation of historiographical concepts, the history of ideas and the secular nature of the work of the historian in relation to religious themes and experiences.

b) As far as the epistemology of reading is concerned, in a conception deliberately contrary to the concept of perennial truth, ahistorical and independent of the social context, we dedicate ourselves to the study of the problems linked to the modalities of fruition of editorial contents, to the ontological status (from the point of view of a social ontology) of the different supports and to their relation with the different modalities of reading that the supports of contemporaneity authorize and determine in the community of readers on the basis of the notions of collective intentionality (Searle) and documentality (Ferraris). Also in this case, the analysis is constantly confronted with the systematic, but not deterministic, evolution of the modes of reading understood as the coexistence of free intentional choices. The research aims to indicate aspects of continuity and rupture that orient epistemology and the ontological definition of documentary supports for the transport, control and circulation of knowledge, with the alternation of paper screens and the development of technologies that determine on the one hand the convergence, and on the other hand the differentiation of the consumption of culture. As Roger Chartier argues, "the fear of erasure tormented European societies at the beginning of the modern era"; written documents had the role, at a certain stage of human history, of avoiding the obsession with loss; yet, the full attainment of the writing phase, and of its cultural transmission procedures, entails the danger of an uncontrollable textual proliferation, of a discourse without order or limits (Chartier). Books, in short, as well as vehicles of texts and the embodiment par excellence of cultural transmission, are perishable objects in which memory is deposited, proliferated, or pulverized. This perspective is particularly interesting at a time of profound historical changes in the consumption of books and culture. These are due on the one hand to the digitization of books, which determines the migration of texts, and on the other hand to the spread of alternative materials to paper. The research intends to deepen these themes through the study of the epistemological relationship of reading as an intentional and/or documental act.