Where: Department of Humanities, via Tommaso Gar, 14 - Trento - Room 007
The department of Humanities has decided to award the title of “Bruno Kessler” Honorary Professor to Professor Achille C. Varzi for his important contributions to the degree course in “Philosophy” and the Master’s degree in “Philosophy and the languages of modernity” and, more in general, for his effective collaboration on research with the Department.
10.00: welcome address and opening of the ceremony
- Fulvio Ferrari, Director of the Department of Humanities
- Paola Giacomoni, Professor of History of Philosophy
Lectio magistralis: Prof. Achille Varzi
Achille Varzi graduated in Sociology at the University of Trento in 1982 and received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Toronto (Canada) in 1994. From 1989 to 1995 he was a research scientist at IRST (Italian Institute for Scientific and Technological Research) in Trento (Italy). Since 1995 he has been a Professor of Logic and Metaphysics at Columbia University in New York, where he was also Director of the Philosophy Department. With an Italian background, he is highly regarded as one of the most prominent figures in analytic philosophy, at international level. For three years he has been Visiting Professor at the Department of Humanities in Trento, teaching Logic, and participating in the organization of events and international conferences on the relation between logic and mathematics. Varzi sits in the editorial board of a number of international philosophical journals, including The Journal of Philosophy, The Monist, and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and contributes regularly to several Italian newspapers, like Il Sole 24 Ore.
Varzi published many books. Among his academic works are: Parts and Places. The Structures of Spatial Representation, (1999, with Roberto Casati), on the theory of space, its parts and its representation; Ontologia (2005), on the relationship between ontology and metaphysics. Other works are appropriate for an educated audience, to name a few: Insurmountable Simplicities (2004, with Casati, translated in many languages) on simple aspects of everyday life that appear inexplicable; Le tribolazioni del filosofare (2014, with Claudio Calosi), a philosophical poem in hendecasyllable verses that takes inspiration from Dante’s Divina Commedia, on philosophical errors, and even a book of philosophy for children: The Thinkies: A Young Reader’s Guide to Philosophy (2006, with Casati). His interests lie in philosophical experimentation on different levels and through multiple languages.
Since his first book, Holes and Other Superficialities (1996, with Casati), Varzi displayed a unique philosophical style: we can consider what exists taking as a starting point “non-existent” entities, like holes, shadows, unknown planets, unaccomplished projects. These “non-facts” allow us to take a fresh look at the world. With this in mind, adopting different styles and asking new questions, Varzi wonders if it is possible to draft a catalogue or inventory of all things in the world. It is not an easy task: we must define the nature of things, their persistence, possible relations and what they depend on. His views are far from philosophical realism: order cannot be found in the world, but in the structures of our mind. However, according to Varzi, philosophy is not an abstract discipline: philosophers deal with all aspects of life, taking unusual perspectives and original points of view. His studies broke new ground on the level of philosophical analysis, and offer interesting and stimulating perspectives on our world.