The general title of the present issue is “Re-thinking Democracy”, which is the main subject discussed in the first section of this volume, “La Questione Filosofica”. Gianfranco Pasquino’s Introduction presents the topic in general terms, providing a thorough overview on the many problems connected to contemporary democracies. As it is underlined in all the essays, democracy requires to be profoundly reconceived in light of an analysis of its increasingly evident issues. In his Notes on the crisis of representative democracy Umberto Curi reviews the historical and contemporary contradictions that lurk in today’s theory and practice of the democratic system through an analysis of the Italian political situation. Furthermore, he indicates as an antidote to the degeneration of democracy the role played by volunteer organisations of citizens in city politics. Luigi Ferrajoli’s essay The crisis of the democratic principle of equality passionately denounces form an ethical, political, and juridical perspective the failings of contemporary democracies in tackling the spreading of inequalities related to the denial of human rights – as happens most notably in the case of migrants – and the distribution of wealth in our societies. On the controversial boundaries between ethics and politics: the debate between political liberalism and populist agonism, by Paolo Monti, provides a wide review of different stances (from Rawls to Mouffe, from Lacau to, more specifically, Habermas) targeted at underlying the importance of raising and strengthening a public debate that would update the ethical and political principles of our coexistence. Finally, the shortcomings of liberal democracy that Andrea Apollonio highlights in his essay, Liberal democracy between crisis and renaissance, may found a proper response – so the author argues – in the framework of the foundation of a European Federal State, as already suggested in Altiero Spinelli’s well-known Ventotene Manifesto.
Section II, “Laboratorio”, includes two interesting essays. Alessio Caselli, the author of Giorgio Colli’s Nietzschean critique of constructive reason, delves into a relevant, even though little known, aspect of Colli’s philosophy, who subtly challenges no less than Aristotelian deduction, the mathematical notion of limit, and Dedekind’s postulate of continuity. Through a thorough discussion of such pillars of logics and mathematics, Colli elaborates an original critique aimed at devaluing the “asceticism of reason” and restore the worth of a fruitful, direct connection between reason and life. In Agamben, Homo Sacer and the emersion of the biopolitical “secret tie” in the contemporary age Giulio Pignatti explores the connection between the structure of sovereignty and the state of exception in which the sovereign legally positions himself outside the law on the basis of a modality of “exclusive inclusion” by which what is illegal becomes legal. The secret tie is the sovereign power over naked life – a tie, this one, that tragically comes to surface during the XXth century in the concentration camps. In the last part of the essay Pignatti distances himself from Agamben’s thought and shows that the emersion of the secret biopolitical tie in the contemporary age can be traced back to the fact that the character of humanity, crushed as it is by the wave of Nihilism, has lost its ethical traits and has become a mere biological nakedness fully manipulated by sovereign political power.
Section III, “Culture”, hosts David Assael’s essay Judaism and the democratic ridge, where he sheds light on the ambivalent cultural heritage of Judaism, in which a universalist perspective and typically ethnic-centred or hierarchical traits coexist. On this ridge between these two contradictory slopes stands, as the author claims, the modern state of Israel, heir to the ancient wisdom enshrined in the Bible. Besides, European antisemitism can be very well interpreted as the toxic predominance of ethnic elements on the universalist perspective in the understanding of Judaism. Whence it follows – although this is left implicit in Assael’s article – that the state of Israel will have to face the hard challenge of untying this knot.
Section IV, “Intersezioni”, consists of Andra Meneganzin’s What relationship between science and philosophy? Perspectives from evolutionary biology, a rich and well-argued essay that opens with a reference to a line of Jasper’s Philosophy of existence where the limits of science and the need for philosophy to get involved in its discourse are clearly outlined. In the following paragraphs the author focuses on the case of biology in general – and, in particular, of evolutionary biology – in its many differences from other sciences (exemplified by its irreducibility to physicalism and its peculiar recourse to the notions of force, causality, chance, explanation and correlation). It is against this problematic background that the studies on the notion of selection become relevant. Thus, Meneganzin reviews the contributions of many scholars (such as Sober, Mayr, Williams, Okasha, Godfrey-Smith). Such complexity, plurality and richness make of evolutionary biology a perfect case study to test on a methodological and epistemological level the opportunity of establishing an interdisciplinary connection with philosophy of science and, more generally, with theoretical philosophy.
In Section V, “Controversie”, we thank Roberto Finelli for his essay God watches us (and may keep us from) the One. Notes on a hurried critique to lacanism, where the author clarifies the main theoretical reference points of his last book Per un nuovo autoritarismo. Presupposti antropologici e politici. The essay features an articulated response to a series of objections to this book advanced by Felice Cimatti in a review published on December 17th, 2018 on “Fata Morgana web”. In his article, Finelli calls into question Cimatti’s contradictory conception of the body and embarks in a meticulous discussion of many positions defended in the history of psychoanalysis which points to an argument that draws on Freud, Klein, and Bion, as opposed to Cimatti’s line of reasoning, that on the contrary draws mostly on Lacan. Finelli criticises Lacan as the one who dissolved psychoanalysis into heideggerianism, thus reducing the mind-body relationship into a theory of the One beyond which contemporary scholars should move once for all. Finelli’s article, in its thoroughness and complexity, may perhaps be better understood (and enjoyed) in the light of what written in his review by Cimatti, whose eventual reply we would be very happy to publish in the next issue.
In Section VI, “Corrispondenze”, Paolo Beretta lively describes his personal experience of study in the German capital in his Philosophical research in Berlin; whilst in Section VII, “Pratiche Filosofiche”, Marta Libertà De Bastiani offers an interesting report on the activities carried out at the MacroAsilo in Rome, as she writes in her MacroAsilo: the philosophical practice of the dictionary. Section VIII, “Letture ed Eventi”, hosts reviews of the following books: Pietro Montani’s Tre forme di creatività: tecnica, arte, politica, by Gianni Trimarchi; Stefano Berni’s Potere e capitalismo. Filosofie critiche del politico, by Verbena Giambastiani; Marco de Paoli’s La disintegrazione del semiotico. Saggio sulla dissociazione neurologica, by Katia Cannata; and Adriano Fabris’s Etica delle tecnologie dell’informazione e della comunicazione, by Fabio Fossa. Finally, Sara Fumagalli reports on Massimo Cacciari’s lecture on “Indifferent Europe” held at the Shoah Memorial in Milan, whilst Riccardo Lazzari presents the event “Re-thinking Heidegger” that took place at Pavia University with the participation of Friedrich-Wilhelm von Hermann.