Metabasis N. 15
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Each essay of this journal is reviewed by two anonymous referees and their comments are sent to the authors .

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Utopia and myth in the age of technology

Utopia and myth in the age of technology

May 2013 - Year VIII - Number 15

Philosophical Horizons

Postmodernity and mythic ritual spaces: from «reflexive metacommentary» to liminoid community.

Alessio Berto

DOI: 10.7413/18281567001

Is contemporary secularized society free from sacred aspect and mythic ritual expression? If not, what is changed between ancient society and the present day? Going through the reflections of Victor Turner and Mircea Eliade, the purpose of this paper is to track the social structural changes that have transformed the fundamental value of myth and ritual in a dangerous explosion of semiotic images that are no longer the archetypal expression of an ancient tradition able to give meaning to the life of the subject, but simple spaces of communitary aggregation in which man can escape from social structure without beginning a «reflexive metacommentary» about society and his role in order to recover the lost reference with the others and his environement. Only going through the mist of death images that populate the collective imaginary of postmodernity man can find the way that leads to the liberation of the Self from the chains of illusion.

Carl Schmitt: amicus-hostis theory as model for anti-utopian philosophy

Davide Gianluca Bianchi

DOI: 10.7413/18281567002

In Begriff des politischen (Concept of Politics) Carl Schmitt describes politics as something based on dicothomy “us and them”: foe and friend are the “categories” of politics, as good and evil are the same about morality, beauty and ugly on aesthetics and so on. This means to look at politics moving from the conflict: the latter is always possibile because there are more (than one) political communities where humankind lives. Thereby for philosophy of “political realism”, politics is the opposite of utopian approach that underlines the armony in the best world we can imagine. Born under Weimar Republic, Schmitt’s theory has became shortly a classic political text: we can say that is last “machiavellian” contribution on realitic understanding of politics.

Jules Verne’s Technological Dystopias

Corin Braga

DOI: 10.7413/18281567003

Jules Verne inherits, in his extraordinary voyages, the rich corpus of images and symbols from the Medieval and Classical ”marvels of the East”. However, in spite of this fascination with the “supreme points” of the world and other earthly paradises, the French author most often ends its novels with the destruction or implosion of the utopian spaces. Our hypothesis is that Jules Verne’s pessimism is due to the contradiction between the Pre-modern magical vision of the world and the positivist, scientist, technological and atheist Modern vision. In the absence of God or other manifestations of the sacred, the human architects of utopias are inevitably bad demiurges, who can only produce destructive artifacts and social dystopias.

Technosciences and human complexity. The concepts of ‘error’ and ‘noise’ and the risks of reductionism.

Rosanna Castorina

DOI: 10.7413/18281567004

This article aims to analyse the philosophical impact of the diffusion of human technosciences, with specific respect to the effects of anthropological reductionism on the distinction between human nature and human condition. In particular, two technoscientific sectors are investigated: genetic engineering and artificial intelligence, in order to identify the two concepts around which the risks of reductionism are focused: the concept of genetic ‘error’ and the one of ‘noise’ in the process of construction of meaning. Human complexity needs of appropriate ‘problematization’ considering the exponential contemporary increase of contingency of social systems and the techno-scientific challenge to create, in the next decades, thinking machines and computer systems which could substitute humans.

Asdiwal’s experience: the exploits of postmodern hero?

Emanuela Civilini

DOI: 10.7413/18281567005

Often you hear about decline of humanity, loss of fundamental values of life, loss of sense of things. As a matter of fact, humanity today is rapidly changing, losing the old way to choose a new one, depending on the changes of the world. In so hard epochal moments, the choice of unconscious falls again on the trip, on the metamorphosis, on the way to face up to change. The myth of Asdiwal, in this context, could be interpreted as the myth of a postmodern hero.

Between the hammer and the anvil: from Hephaestus to touch screen

Luisella Ferrario

DOI: 10.7413/18281567006

The new technology changes relationship between the humans and the matter. The study of Hephaestus’s mythology enables us to make a comparative analysis of the primitive handicraft and actually digital system design. The Greek God of Fire and metallurgy represents also the blacksmith’s archetype and he is too the patron of all craftsmen.
The advent of new technologies, such as software design descriptions and touch screen, have profoundly changed the way we create new objects: the craftsman has been replaced by creative talent or designer and the virtual planning is used in place of a handwork.
The aim of this essay is to make anthropological and symbolic comparison of the archetypal craftsmen and new operating technological system.

The Libertines and the demonology : Histoire comique de Francion by Charles Sorel, Première journée by Théophile de Viau, Les Etats et Empires de la Lune et du Soleil by Cyrano de Bergerac.

Karine Gauthey

DOI: 10.7413/18281567007

The libertine world enjoys ridiculing those beliefs, those “devilries”, particularly through baroque works, such as L’Histoire comique de Francion, Première journée and Les Etats et Empires de la Lune et du Soleil. The article aims to be interested in the manifestation of this imaginative world and the reason for which the libertines delighted in narrating about it. Then we are going to study at first the demonic manifestations’ modes of representations in these three works before moving on the critical value of these demonic narratives. We will demonstrate that the three authors took a similar attitude in their work about the representation of demons and the questioning of demonology. They tend to be sceptical, while they adopt a non-resolutive enunciation, given that they just report facts they bring back at the level of demonic beliefs.

Bodies Colonized by Artifice: from the Femme Fatale to the Cyborg-Woman

Patrizia Guida

DOI: 10.7413/18281567008

Through the analysis of some works of the XX Century Italian Literature, this paper aims to investigate the controversial relationship between artifice and the female body. From the image of the femme fatale, to the cyborg-woman, manipulation becomes the privileged means to building the post-human female identity. However, it comes to an identity that is unable to create new images and representations. Nowadays, the figure of the woman is still suspended between its erotic power and the desire of male appropriation.

New monsters and new utopias

Paolo Mottana

DOI: 10.7413/18281567009

The paper treats of the transformations of the modernity that have produced the emergency of forms and things that are recognizable as monstrous. The end of the myths leaves the footstep to the narrations of merchandise and the reports of the most aware art. In the desert of the sense nevertheless still it is possible to think about the horizon of the utopias, particularly in the sign of a new “realitarian” perspective and in the name of the the fireflies that Pasolini thought lost for ever.

The witch, the hysteric and the cyborg - woman. Ambivalences of power

Emma Palese

DOI: 10.7413/18281567010

The paper highlights the connection between female body and power. It is a relationship that is based on reducing the role of women to their organic origin. The witch and the hysteric are models linked by a strong ambivalence and by the appropriation of their sexuality. And if, apparently, the cyborg-woman seems to free the female physicality, there is still an unsolved issue between the strengthening of the body and a power considering the woman as a mere object of desire.

The power of simulacrums

Giuliana Parotto

DOI: 10.7413/18281567011

The paper dwells with one of the most interesting phenomena of the post-democracy. Post democracy is, according to Colin Crouch, the deprivation of its original meaning as consequence of the change in the social, cultural and economical context. One important change is due to the introduction of the new electronic media. The transformation of the political discussion into a show, of election campaigns into advertising campaign, of the citizen into a spectator are its effects. What kind of power emerges from these transformations? The analysis of the simulacrum – the natural body of the leader – can help us to understand it deeply. From the point of view of Foucault’s bio-politics, the paper takes into account the frame of the electronic media, for enlightening the new form of medial-political power.

Developing the utopos. Between somewhere and nowhere. The necessity to look inward

Cornelia Stefan

DOI: 10.7413/18281567012

The increasing complexity of the modern world and the corresponding increasing disorientation of people, let more and more decide the economical and technological system how to organize political and social relations, while its implied value judgments are not recognized. The triad of science, technology and economics has replaced the already unattainable dreams of paradise on earth, but in turn it uses exactly these fantasies. The latest achievements in genetic research show ethical boundaries that affect the principles of human life and make clearly that we need to rediscuss our values, especially confronting the postmodern indecision and the political paralyzation. Both, the utopos (the nowhere) and the somewhere mentioned by the cat from Alice in Wonderland, indicate the dangers of a future carrying on as before.

Metabasis N. 15
digital edition

peer review

Each essay of this journal is reviewed by two anonymous referees and their comments are sent to the authors .

Evaluation Form