Online ISItA conferences

Since 2021, the Italian Institute of Anthropology has been organizing online conferences annually on topics of interdisciplinary interest aimed at non-specialist audiences. The meetings will be freely available through an online platform, also in the form of video recording.

Under the theme "Dialogues on Cultures, Behavior and Ethics 150 Years After Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man", four online conferences are planned.

Continuist Darwin, non-humans and cultural anthropology

Stefano Allovio, Università di Milano Statale

9 november 2021, 11:15


In "The Descent of Man", Darwin insistently claims the continuist paradigm, emphasizing the reasoning power of non-human animals, going so far as to link the dreams of dogs to the "non-human" possibilities of animism. Contemporary anthropology, increasingly attentive to the relationships between humans and non-humans, would not struggle to superimpose, for example, Darwin's considerations on the mental faculties of dogs with what can be found in refined ethnographies such as that of Eduardo Kohn on the runes of Peru. . Darwin and the Runas (who perhaps he could have defined "low savages") are much more similar than one might imagine: they think about what dogs think and they do it starting from a knowledge that feeds on close interspecific relationships.

Extended Mind and Cognitive Archeology

Emiliano Bruner, Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana, Burgos (España)

10 november 2021, 11:15


In recent years, evidence has increased in support of the hypothesis of cognitive extension, proposing that the mental process is not limited to the brain system but also actively involves the body and the environment (especially technology). The evolution of a "prosthetic capacity" that allowed the inclusion of instruments in the body and central nervous system schemes would therefore have been fundamental in human phylogeny. This process can also be analyzed through the archaeological register, using methods and techniques from neuropsychology and cognitive sciences.

Evolution of altruism

Telmo Pievani, Università di Padova

31 may 2021, 17:30

video available at link

The animal world offers us many examples of altruism, even in species that are evolutionarily distant from ours. This spread of altruistic behaviors may seem like a paradox, as natural selection favors traits that allow their carriers to survive and reproduce. How can altruistic behaviors override self-interest?

Ethics and evolutionism: biology and philosophy of the moral sense

Eleonora Severini, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germania

december (date to be decided)

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