Living with imperfection. The history of humans between science and philosophy

8 Telmo Pievani

Living with imperfection. The history of humans between science and philosophy

€ 3.00
Saturday 25 May 2019 12:00 noon
piazza del Duomo 3

Where there is perfection, there is no history. Imperfections are the real sign of evolution and the possible, as Charles Darwin surmised, and Homo sapiens is an example of this. Our body, our DNA and our brain are full of imperfections that have worked. Perhaps they are so creative precisely because they are imperfect. But what are the consequences of human imperfection on our way of conceiving and organising social relations and our relationship with the environment and the world around us? Here is an example. Recent scientific research shows the human mind is extremely ambivalent when distinguishing between a protective “us” and the extraneous, potentially threatening “other”. This aptitude made sense in the past, whereas today it is quite the reverse. It makes racism and physical or digital tribalism attractive and recurrent. We must learn to live with our imperfections and transform weakness into opportunity.


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Telmo Pievani is Chair of Philosophy of Biological Science at the University of Padua, where he also teaches Bioethics and Divulgation and Natural Science Museology. He is president of the Italian Society of Evolutionary Biology, a member of the board of the Italian Institute of Anthropology and he collaborates with the newspaper Corriere della Sera and the magazines Le Scienze, Micromega and L’Indice dei Libri del Mese. As a philosopher of biology and expert in evolution theory, he has written many publications, for example: Introduction to Philosophy of Biology (2005); Introduction to Darwin (2012) with Laterza; The Theory of Evolution (2006); The End of the World (2012) with il Mulino; Defending Darwin (Bompiani, 2007); Creation Without God (2006); Evolved and abandoned (2014); Libertà di migrare (with V. Calzolaio, 2016) by Einaudi; Come saremo (with L. De Biase, Codice, 2016); The Unexpected Life (2011); and Imperfezione. Una storia naturale (2019) published by Raffaello Cortina.

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