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Issue no. 3 - 2003

by Redazione FGB [1], 15 April 2003

In March, page 9 of the Topics section opened with the publication of excerpts from an essay by Adriano Pessina (lecturer in bio-ethics at the Università Cattolica di Milano) entitled "The 'sense' of the possible and the horizon of the limit in technological civilisation". Pessina's reflections belong to the subject area that we have been visiting over the last few months concerning the problems that emerge when a critical eye is cast over what we call "techno-science". The "existential" perspective chosen by Pessina prompted us to insert his considerations and comments from readers of the site under a title that marries the concept of post-human with that of techno-science: "Post Human: techno-science and progress". This can be seen as a conceptual continuation of the issues covered in February in the Forum that we set up in the site to accompany Giuseppe O. Longo's online seminar on: "Progress and Responsibility: the transition from science to technology". Longo himself is one of the people who, in April, sent in comments on Pessina's essay.

"Innovation, social risk and political responsibility" is the title of the lecture which Piero Bassetti, as President of the Foundation, was asked to hold at the London School of Economics (as part of a series in which famous personalities like Bill Clinton, Giddens and Beck have taken part). This title reflects the aims of the Foundation, which is committed to providing space for cultural initiatives that lead us to reflect on the problem of responsibility that arises when political power is called into play to manage major innovations that may affect our everyday lives.

The meeting, in the form of an interview, with Jacques Mehler (a leading expert in Italy in studies on linguistic learning who has been working at the SISSA in Trieste since 2001) enabled us to tackle a subject which, although less central than others to the mission of the Foundation, is often called into play in the pages of the site: "Innovation and Research in Universities". The so-called "brain drain" is also part of this subject area. Each academic, expert or scientist, in the course of his or her growth and career development, comes into contact with the methods and approaches to their subject that are applied in other countries. Even just a temporary transfer abroad leads inevitably to comparisons and raises the question: why work in Italy? Why work outside Italy? This is a problem not just of responsibility to one's own work but almost one of identity.

Finally, a new development that merits a special mention: blogs (a contraction of Web Logs). In the Foundation's site these are conceived as spaces dedicated to a form of autonomous publication in which those contributing content can insert notes or longer texts that trace imaginary orbits around the core subjects making up the Topics section.

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