Maurizio Ferraris is full Professor of Philosophy at the University of Turin, where he is the President of the LabOnt – Laboratory for Ontology. He was Fellow of Käte-Hamburger Kolleg “Recht als Kultur” (Bonn) and Honorary Fellow of the Center for Advanced Studies of South East Europe (Rijeka) and of the Internationales Zentrum Für Philosophie NRW. He has been Fellow of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America and of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung. He has also been Directeur d’études of the Collège International de Philosophie and Visiting Professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris) as well as other European and American Universities. He is columnist for ‘La Repubblica’, the Director of ‘Rivista di Estetica’, of ‘Critique’, of ‘Círculo Hermenéutico editorial’ and of the ‘Revue francophone d’esthétique’.

He wrote more than fifty books that have been translated into several languages. The books that have appeared in English are: History of Hermeneutics (Humanities Press, 1996); A Taste for the Secret (with Jacques Derrida – Blackwell, 2001); Documentality or Why it is Necessary to Leave Traces (Fordham UP, 2012); Goodbye Kant! (SUNY UP, 2013); Where Are You? An Ontology of the Cell Phone (Fordham UP, 2014); Manifesto of New Realism (SUNY UP, 2014); Introduction to New Realism (Bloomsbury, 2014); Positive Realism (Zer0 Books, 2015).

Maurizio Ferraris has worked in the field of aesthetics, hermeneutics, and social ontology, attaching his name to the theory of Documentality and contemporary New Realism. New Realism, sharing significant similarities with Speculative Realism and Object Oriented Ontology, has been the subject of several debates and national and international conferences and has called for a series of publications that involve the concept of reality as a paradigm even in non-philosophical areas.

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Maurizio Ferraris’s International Lectures at Bloomington, Indiana University
Bloomington, March 28th and 31st
107 S Indiana Ave, IN 47405, USA

Documentality and Social Reality
Abstract. The thesis underlying the theory of documentality is that what keeps society together must be sought in the sphere of the fixation of actions and the construction of social objects. In the perspective of documentality these insights are systematized by the constitutive law of social objects Object = Recorded Act: a social object is the result of a social act that takes place between at least two people, or between a person and a delegated machine, and which has the characteristic of being recorded on some surface, including the minds of the social agents. This constitutive law is articulated in four levels
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What is the Web?
Abstract. It wouldn’t be the first time that a contingent construct reveals the necessary structures of social ontology.  Think of capital as it was theorized by Marx, who recognized in an instance of technology (the factory) the fundamental structure of the social dynamic, and then more general aspects of it independent of social contingencies. What the Web does better than capital (which is merely an economic-social phenomenon limited to a part of the world) is to reveal its globalized dimension, which offers resources for a much wider, deeper and fully post-colonial knowledge that goes way beyond the dimension of homo faber. But what is the Web?
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Maurizio Ferraris. The Documedial Revolution

Boston University, April 3, 11 am


It is often said that the internet was the fourth revolution after Copernicus, Darwin and Freud. What we should add, though, is that just like the three revolutions that preceded it the Web was first of all a revelation – something we don’t quite understand yet and still have to deal with properly. What we are facing is a change as crucial as that from oral speech to writing, but the latter was widely studied, whereas the ontological implications of this transformation have been largely overlooked.

Copernicus revealed the structure of the solar system, Darwin the origins of the human race, and Freud the foundations of consciousness; the Web – this revolutionary figure without a real founding father –  has revealed the deep structure of social reality, with an unprecedented degree of evidence. It has shown that social reality needs not only communication but – much more so – recording, unveiling the constitutive role of documents within social reality, as shown by the boom of writing of the past thirty years.

Because of this, the Web could be the epistemological, ontological and technological absolute of our age – absolute meaning ab-solutus, the net that joins us all and yet depends on nothing (except for electric power). It could be absolute knowledge of the world and ourselves (it knows our habits and thoughts better than we do), absolute non-knowledge (how much stupidity can be found online!); absolute power (there is no economic, political or military power outside the Web) and even absolute duty – the categorical imperative.

The manifestation of this absolute is “documediality”, as it entails the fusion between the media (now individualized by social media, where every subject is a potential broadcaster) and documentality, namely the stratum of documents that grounds the construction of social reality.