Roberto Casati’s conference “For a new philosophy of nature”


Philosopher ROBERTO CASATI’s conference


Monday 4th November 2019, at 6pm

at the IDBL intermunicipal art school of Digne-les-Bains, 24 avenue de Saint-Véran


Echoing the exhibition LOWER UNIVERS, the conference will be followed by an exchange with the Turin artist Alessandro Quaranta.


For millennia human beings have misled their paths in a nature they have tried to represent and measure in order to make navigation safe or less random. Our biological orientation system is based on the availability of distant visual cues; when these are not accessible (in open sea, in fog, at night, in the woods) we can only try to remedy by a complex negotiation between the perception of the environment, its cartographic representation (or description), and its measurement by instruments (compass, sextant).
GPS has radically changed the situation: the environment is doubled by an ordered modulation of the electromagnetic field, a real second world that is the only one to be seen by sensors now available in billions of devices. Navigation is a solved issue. We know that this technological advantage involves a weakening of our native ability to orient and navigate.
But a more important issue needs to be raised. The map forced us to constantly move back and forth perceptually with what surrounds us; the GPS allows us to look at only one screen. As we no longer have to look at the environment, we no longer observe it. However, an environment that we no longer observe is an environment that we lose.
The new philosophy of nature is a philosophy of observation; it puts at its heart the perceptive contact and the attentive gaze on what surrounds us.

Roberto Casati heads the Nicod Institute in Paris. A philosopher of cognitive sciences, he has worked on the human representation of space. His book Against Digital Colonialism (Albin Michel 2014, translated it. et es.) sparked a debate on technology in schools. La lezione del freddo (The lesson of the cold) Einaudi 2017, is the story of a year in New Hampshire.