Cogito Projects

The mission of the Research Centre COGITO is to foster research in philosophy. This is done by means of projects that deal with specific philosophical problems.

Cogito is presently hosting three major projects:


PIs: Annalisa Coliva, Giorgio Volpe
AIs: Walter Cavini, Wolfgang Huemer, Sebastiano Moruzzi, Eva Picardi, Carla Bagnoli
PhD and Master students: Delia Belleri, Alessia Marabini, Eugenio Orlandelli, Michele Palmira, Alessia Pasquali, Iryna Sivertsava, Federica Berdini, Lorenzo Medici, Luca Zanetti.
External researchers: Tito Magri.
Visiting Fellows:

Title of the project: Is there immediate justification?
Scientific aim of the project
The project in Epistemology focuses on the notion of immediate justification. It deals with

  1.  the nature of immediate justifications, and
  2. their bearing on different areas of epistemology, such as,

The project lies at the intersection between philosophy of mind and epistemology and explores the relevance of the notion of immediate justification for both these domains.
In the first year, we have worked on the very notion of immediate justification and its bearing on the issue of the justification of empirical beliefs based on perception and testimony. We have had a regular reading group and have hosted research papers by both members of the group and invited speakers. One of our events, detailed below, was partly concerned with the project.

In the second year we have focused on the bearing of these issues on skepticism about the external world, the validity of Closure and the notion of transmission failure. We have had a regular reading group, group members' and visitors' presentations, and two important events detailed below.

This year the group is working on the special issue of Synthese which has stemmed from the conference held at the end of 2010 and is hosting a Visiting Fellow - Fernando Broncano Berrocal (Logos), who will give presentations about his work. We will have also some sessions on Richard Moran's account of self-knowledge.

A pilot subproject will concern the topic of experimental philosophy and another one the nature of peer disagreement.
Group members' and visitors' presentations will be hosted as usual as well as two important events listed below.

Events concerned with the project:
- SIFA graduate conference in the Fall 2009.
- "Skepticism and Justification" conference, December 2010
- Series of Seminars with Ernest Sosa, December 2010
- Series of Seminars with Richard Moran, Spring term 2012.
- Epistemology in Europe Network Meeting, June 2012.

Expected results
Research: the project has already led to individual and joint publications also in international peer-reviewed journals and some more are expected in the near future.

We aim to create collaborations with similarly oriented research groups mostly based in Europe.


Cogito Epistemology Group

The project in Epistemology will focus on the notion of immediate justification.

For further details, please see here.

History of Analytic Philosophy

PIs: Annalisa Coliva, Eva Picardi
AIs: Marilena Andronico, Alberto Emiliani, Wolfgang Huemer, Elisabetta Sacchi, Andrea Sereni
PhD and Master students: Delia Belleri, Beatrice Collina, Filippo Ferrari, Antonio Ferro, Alessia Marabini, Paolo Maffezioli, Giovanni Mascaretti, Fabio Minocchio, Sara Neva, Alessia Pasquali, Iryna Sivertsava.
External Researchers: Francesco Berto, Daniele Mezzadri, Tito Magri, Marco Panza, Ugo Zilioli
Title of the project: The forefathers of analytic philosophy
Scientific aim of the project
The project in History of Analytic Philosophy will focus on the forefathers of the analytic tradition, in particular Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, G. E. Moore and Ludwig Wittgenstein. It will comprise three main subthemes.

  1. Philosophy of mathematics (Frege, Russell and Wittgenstein): attention will be devoted to Frege's and Russell's work on the foundations of mathematics, as well as to Wittgenstein's approach to the topic.
  2. The unity of the proposition (Frege, Russell and Wittgenstein): attention will be devoted to Frege's, Russell's and the early Wittgenstein's approach to the problem of the unity of the proposition and the related issues of logical form and predication.
  3. Scepticism and the epistemology of the mind (Moore and Wittgenstein): we will consider the implications of both Moore's and Wittgenstein's work with respect to the problem of external world scepticism, as well as the relevance of Wittgenstein's later reflections for the epistemology of mind.

In the second semester of the academic year 2008-2009 the History of Analytic Philosophy group will meet only for a series of research events and for the discussion of research papers by members of the group. In the first semester of the academic year 2009-2010 the History of Analytic Philosophy group will meet on a more regular basis mostly to discuss research papers by members of the group, as well as by invited speakers.
Expected results
Research: to foster individual and joint publications in peer-reviewed international journals, as well as the publication of books on the themes researched with established international publishers.

NB It merits note that the themes on which the present project will focus bear strong relations to the ones researched in the other main projects of the Research Centre. It will thus give students an opportunity to deepen their understanding of those themes by looking more closely at their development within the analytic tradition.
We aim to create collaborations with similarly oriented research groups and, in particular, with the various Wittgenstein Societies both in Europe and world-wide.

Philosophy of Language

Philosophy of language projects:

2014-2016 Project on Pluralism

2009-2013 Project on Predication, Context and Relativism

Philosophy of Language

Cogito Philosophy of Language Group

The project in Philosophy of Language will focus on the problem of predication, on contextualism and minimalism in semantics and on whether the concept of truth requires a relativistic treatment.

For futher details, please see here.

Intractable Disagreements

Disagreement Seminar Project: Intractable disagreements

Intractable Disagreement Seminar Schedule 2012

[Suggestions are welcome!]

It is well known that three philosophical problems put into question the objectivity of vast areas of discourse: the problem of vagueness, the problem of relativism and the problem of skepticism. Here I focus on the role that the notion of disagreement plays into these problem. The aim of the project is to gain a better understanding of the problems by inquiring the nature of disagreement in order to assess the menace posed by these problems to the objectivity of the relevant areas of discourse.

Phase 1: Disagreeing on perspectival matters

A similar situation to the elusive nature of borderline propositions is manifested in those areas of discourse where disagreements arise because of the apparent perspectival nature of the propositions involved. As in the vagueness case, here the problem has to be with the nature of the propositions involved. We are often faced with the the fact that in matters such as taste, aestethics and ethics people disagree and that these disagreement do not very often find a solution. Different perspectives on, say, whether sushi is tasty seem to equally justify opposite views on the issue. A noticeable difference with borderline cases here is that disputes tends to be intransigent rather than gentle: disputants tends to hold their view by rejecting the admissibility of the opposite view.

  • What is the nature of intransigent disagreement on perspectival matters?
  • Are perspectival propositions incompatible with a realistic semantics?
First disagreement riddle
Faultless disagreement seems intractable: either we opt for an realist epistemic treatment or a semantic treatment; on the former we lose grip on the notion of faultlessness and we face the danger of skepticism; on the latter we face the lost disagreement problem.

The project will assess whether relativistic treatment of these areas of discourse can make sense of the notion of the disagreement,

Intermezzo: Disagreeing in the borderline area

The first problem, the problem of vagueness, threatens the very coherence of our language and thought because of the sorites paradox and puts into question over the factuality of borderline propositions, propositions that we do entertain and assert in everyday life. The nature of a disagreement in the borderline area is unclear since it is unclear the nature of the propositions involved in the judgment. On the one hand these propositions seem to be perfectly analogous to the ones involved in the clear cases, on the other hand their truth-status is problematic as the debate on vagueness shows. Disagreement in the borderline area is possible (indeed actual), though what seem a datum of these type of disagreement is that both opinion seem, if withhold by a competent speaker, equally respectable since the exercise of the relevant concepts in the borderline area seem to allow both to accept a proposition and its negation (entitlement intuition). The kind of disagreement involved is thus a form of “gentle disagreement” - i.e. a case where two subjects hold incompatible views but where they also recognize the legitimacy of holding the opposite view.

  • What it the nature of gentle disagreements in the borderline area?
  • Are borderline propositions factual?
  • If yes, can borderline propositions be known?
Second Disagreement Riddle
Is there a way to make sense of the entitlement intuition?

The project will focus on the agnostic theories of vagueness which try to reject the principle of bivalence without denying it.

Phase 2: Disagreement and skepticism

A recent formulation of the problem of skepticism calls into question the fact that philosophy is full of disputes on the very nature of reality. Philosophers who are epistemic peers hold incompatible views on the metaphysical nature of reality, on the nature human knowledge and language. The skeptical thought is then that if the best experts disagree on what is language, knowledge and reality, we cannot know anything since any putative piece of everyday knowledge involves a belief whose content is incompatible with one of the philosophical theories held by a top-level philosophical expert on the matter.

  • Are the disagreement among epistemic peers in philosophy substantive or merely verbal?
  • Does a disagreement between epistemic peers in philosophy really
    threaten our everyday knowledge?
Third disagreement riddle
Can we have rational beliefs in the presence of disagreement among epistemic peers who are the best experts on the topic?

The project will analyze the extent to which these “epistemic-peer-based” skeptical argument pose a novel threat to our knowledge aspirations.

References (in progress)

Baker, C. (2012) “Indexical contextualism ans the challenges from disagreement”, Philosophical Studies 157(1):107-123

Barker, S. J. (2010). Cognitive Expressivism, Faultless Disagreement, and Absolute but Non-Objective Truth. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 110 (2pt2):183-199.

Beillard, J (2010). "The Appearance of Faultless Disagreement". Dialogue, 49 , pp 603-616.

Buekens, F. (2011) “Faultless Disagreement, Assertions and the Affective-Espressive Dimension of Judgments of Taste”, Philosophia 39(4):637-655

Chalmers, D. (2011). Verbal Disputes. Philosophical Review 120 (4):515-566.

Cappelen, H. Hawthorne, J. (2011) “Reply to Lasersohn, MacFarlane, and Richard”, Philosophical Studies 156 (3):517-19

Christensen, C. (2009) “Disagreement as Evidence: The Epistemology of Controversy. Philosophy Compass 4(5):756-767

Christensen, C. “Disagreement, Question-Begging and Epistemic Self-Criticism”, Philosopher's Imprint 11(6):1-22

Coliva, A. & Moruzzi, S. Truth Relativists Can't Trump Moral, Analytic Philosophy, forthcoming.

Egan, A. (2010). Disputing About Taste. In Ted Warfield & Richard Feldman (eds.), Disagreement. OUP.

* Elga, A. (2007). Reflection and Disagreement. Noûs 41 (3):478–502.

Feldman, R. 'Epistemological Puzzles About Disagreement' (2006) in Stephen Hetherington (ed.) Epistemology Futures. OUP

Frances, B. (2005), Scepticism Comes Alive. Oxford University Press.

Frances, B. (2010), “The Reflective Epistemic Renegade”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81(2)419-463

Francén, R. (2010). No Deep Disagreement for New Relativists. Philosophical Studies 151:19--37.

Iacona, A. "Faultless or Disagreement" in M. Garcia Carpintero and M. Kolbel, 'Relative Truth', Oxford University Press 2008

Kelly, T. "The Epistemic Significance of Disagreement", Oxford Studies in Epistemology 1: 167-196 (2005).

Kelly, T. 'Peer Disagreement and Higher-Order Evidence' (2010) in Alvin Goldman & Dennis Whitcomb (eds.) Social Epistemology: Essential Readings. OUP

Koelbel, M. “Faultless Disagreement”. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 104 (2003): pp. 53-73

Lasershon, P. (2011) “Context, relevant parts and (lack of) disagreement over taste” Philosophical Studies 156 (3):433-439

Lopez de Sa, D. (2007) “The Many Relativisms and the Question of Disagreement”, International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 15, 339-348

Lopez De Sa, D. (2008) “Presuppositions of Commonality” in M. García-Carpintero & M. Kölbel (eds.), Relative Truth, OUP: 297–310

Lopez De Sa, D. (2011) “How to Respond to Borderline Cases” in R. Dietz & S. Moruzzi (eds.), Cuts and Clouds, OUP, 327-39

MacFarlane, J. (2007) “Relativism and Disagreement”, Philosophical Studies 132, 17–31

MacFarlane, J. “Varieties of Disagreement”, unpublished

Moruzzi, S. (2008) "Assertion, Belief and Disagreement: A Problem for Truth-Relativism in Relative Truth", (eds. M. Garcìa-Carpintero e M. Kölbel), Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Richard, M. (2008), When Truth Gives Out, Oxford University Press.

Richard, M. (2011), “Relativistic content and disagreement”, Philosophical Studies 156 (3):421-431

Rieppel (2011). Stoic Disagreement and Belief Retention. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (2):243-262.

Rosenkranz, S. "Frege, Relativism and Faultless Disagreement" in Relative Truth (2008), p. 225-37.

Rosenkranz, S. (2009). “Liberalism, Entitlement, and Verdict Exclusion”. Synthese 171 (3)

Schafer, K. (2011) “Faultless Disagreement and Aesthetic Realism”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82(2):265-286

Stojanovic, I. (2007) “Talking about taste: disagreement, implicit arguments, and relative truth, Linguistics and Philosophy”, Linguistics and Philosophy, 30(6):691-706

Sundell, T. (2011). Disagreements About Taste. Philosophical Studies 155 (2):267-288.

Sundell, T. (forthcoming). Disagreement, Error, and an Alternative to Reference Magnetism. Taylor and Francis: Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-17.

White, Roger. 2005. “Epistemic Permissiveness. Philosophical Perspectives 19: 445–59.

Wright, C. (2001). “On Being in a Quandary: Relativism, Vagueness, Logical Revisionism”. In: Mind 110, pp. 45–98

Wright, C. (2006). Intuitionism, Realism, Relativism and Rhubarb. In Patrick Greenough & Michael Lynch (eds.), Truth and Relativism. Clarendon Press.

Wright, C. (forthcoming), “On the Characterisation of Borderline Cases” in Meanings and Other Things: Essays on Stephen Schiffer, edited by Gary Ostertag (MIT press)

Intractable Disagreement Seminar Schedule 2012

The seminar consist in 16 meetings:

  1. 15/3 Disagreement Seminar 1 - planning session

Phase 1 Relativism and Contextualism section: the riddle of the lost disagreement

  1. 22/2 Disagreement Seminar 2 - "The lost disagreement problem"
  2. 29/2 Disagreement Seminar 3 - Lopez De Sa (2008) Pro Contextualism: Lopez De Sa (2008), Discussion leader: Delia Belleri
  3. 7/3 Disagreement Seminar 4 - Sundell (2011) Pro Contextualism: Sundell (2011), discussion leader: Sebastiano Moruzzi
  4. 14/3 Disagreement Seminar 5 - Baker (2012) Against Contextualism: Baker (2012): Discussion leader: Federica Berdini
  5. 21/3 Disagreement+Seminar+6+-+Palmira+&+Belleri+Talk Palmira & Belleri on disagreement
  6. 28/3 Disagreement Seminar 7 - Lasershon (2010) and Richard (2010) Pro Relativism: Lasershon (2010) & Richard (2010) + Cappelen & Hawthorne replies, Discussion leader: Giorgio Volpe
  7. 3/4 Disagreement Seminar 8 - Rieppel (2011) Discussion leader: Michele Palmira
  8. 18/4 Disagreement Seminar 9 - Francen (2010) Against Relativism: Francen (2010), Discussion leader: Luca Zanetti
  9. 2/5 Disagreement Seminar 10 - Stojanovic (2007) Against Faultless Disagreement: Stojanovic (2007) Discussion leader: Eugenio Orlandelli
  10. 9/5 Disagreement Seminar 11 - Schafer (2010) Realism: Schafer (2010), Discussion leader: Paolo Leonardi

Intermezzo Vagueness: the riddle of the entitlement intuition

  1. 16/5 Disagreement+Seminar+12+-+On+the+entitlement+intuitionDiscussion leader: Sebastiano Moruzzi

Phase 2 Skeptical worries: the riddle of the disagreement and epistemic peers

  1. 23/5 Disagreement Seminar 13 - Kelly (2005)Kelly (2005), Discussion leader: Michele Palmira
  2. 30/5 Disagreement Seminar 14 - Elga (2007) Elga (2007), Discussion leader: Eugenio Orlandelli
  3. 6/6 Disagreement+Seminar+15+-+Feldman+(2006) Feldman (2006), Discussion leader: Sebastiano Moruzzi
  4. 13/6 Disagreement+Seminar+16+-+Frances+ Frances on scepticism, Discussion leader: Raban Reichmann
  5. 20/6 Disagreement+Seminar+17+-+ tba

Disagreement Seminar 4 - Sundell (2011)

7 Mar 2012 15:00
7 Mar 2012 18:00

Pro Contextualism: Sundell (2011)

Discussion leader: Sebastiano Moruzzi

Reading: Sundell, T. (2011). Disagreements About Taste. Philosophical Studies 155 (2):267-288.

Handout attached.

Philosophy of Mathematics and Philosophy of Logic


PIs: Marco Panza, Andrea Sereni (Philosophy of Mathematics), Massimiliano Carrara, Vittorio Morato (Philosophy of Logic)
AIs: Francesca Boccuni, Giovanna Corsi, Guido Gherardi, Pierdaniele Giaretta, Enrico Martino, Sebastiano Moruzzi, Eva Picardi, Giuseppe Spolaore, Delia Belleri, Eugenio Orlandelli, Michele Palmira, Matteo Plebani
PhD and Master students: Luca Zanetti, Maria Paola Sfogliani
External researchers: Tatiana Arrigoni, Francesco Berto, Valeria Giardino, Federico Perelda, Alfredo Tomasetta.



Scientific aim of the project
The project will focus on fundamental issues in the Philosophy of Mathematics and the Philosophy of Logic. On the one hand, seminars and workshops will be dedicated to the epistemological problems concerning mathematical truth and mathematical objects, to the debate between mathematical platonism and various forms of nominalism, to foundational issues, and to most recent debates in the subject, such as mathematical explanation, naturalism in mathematics, and mathematical practice. On the other hand, attention will be devoted to the main themes in the philosophy of logic (with particular attention to the notions of "logical consequence", "logical form" and "logical constant") and the main branches of philosophical logic (with particular attention to modal and temporal logics, and paraconsistent logics).

The interaction between the two disciplines, both as concerns epistemological, formal and foundational problems is among the main aims of the project.

The project started with a pilot seminar (in the academic year 2009-2010, see dedicated to the epistemological problems for mathematical platonism first posed by Benacerraf’s works, and to recent responses to them (logicism, structuralism, fictionalism).

In the academic year 2010-2011, seminars and workshops will be held on the history and foundation of set-theory and on the notion of logical consequence.

Expected results 
The project will lead to individual and joint publications in international peer-reviewed journals.

the project will give Master and PhD students a chance to study some of the main themes in the relevant areas and to familiarise themselves with discussion in these areas of philosophy, and will give PhD students the opportunity of concentrating on the researched topics in their final theses.

The project bears strong connections with other projects of the Research Centre, especially with those in Epistemology and in History of Analytic Philosophy, thus allowing students to deepen their understanding of the relations among different areas of philosophy.

We aim to create collaborations with similarly oriented research groups mostly based in Europe, and to invite scholars at international levels to contribute to events such as workshops and seminars series.