My research is focused on two main topics: 1) the (mutual) relations between intentionality (the aboutness of mental states) and phenomenality; 2) the nature of affective states - especially, moods. In my PhD dissertation, I exploited the case of moods to undermine Intentionalism about phenomenal character (i.e., the view that phenomenal character is nothing over and above experience’s intentional content). In short, I argued that moods raise a serious counterexample to Intentionalism. My general conclusion was that, despite its philosophical virtues, intentionalism is ultimately unsatisfying: it does not seem to be well-equipped to account for all the difficulties and complications presented by the conscious phenomena.
Currently, my work is focused on offering a good description of conscious phenomena - which, I believe, is something we miss as much as a good explanation of what consciousness is. In my view, offering such a description is the main task of phenomenology, understood as a metaphysics of the domain of phenomenality.
All this is at the core of the two more specific projects that I am carrying out at the moment. The first is to develop a philosophical theory of moods that aims to assess a cluster of connected philosophical issues concerning the phenomenal, intentional, and functional features of moods.
The second is concerned with exploring the possibility of grounding intentionality in phenomenality and finding a viable way to do that. The aim is not only sheding light on the very idea that phenomenality grounds intentionality - i.e., the so-called Phenomenal Intentionality View -, but also finding a convincing, strong argument for such an idea and developing the relevant tools to give a good description of the metaphysical structure of the domain of phenomenality.
I am also strongly interested in the connections between experience and time - especially time and emotion.
Abstract. According to intentionalism, the phenomenal character of experience is one and the same as the intentional content of experience. This view has a problem with moods (anxiety, depression, elation, irritation, gloominess, grumpiness, etc.). Mood experiences certainly have phenomenal character, but do not exhibit directedness, i.e., do not appear intentional. Standardly, intentionalists have re-described moods’ undirectedness in terms of directedness towards everything or the whole world (e.g., Crane, 1998; Seager, 1999). This move offers the intentionalist a way out, but is quite unsatisfying. More recently, Angela Mendelovici (2013a, b) has suggested something that looks more interesting and promising: instead of re-describing moods’ phenomenology, she accepts its undirectedness at face value and tries to explain it in intentionalist terms. In this paper, I focus on and criticize Mendelovici’s proposal. As I will show, despite its prima facie virtues, the view is poorly motivated. For, contrary to what Mendelovici argues, introspection does not support her proposal—arguably, it provides some evidence against it. So, the problem that intentionalism has with moods is not solved, but is still there.
Abstract. The so-called transparency of experience (TE) is the intuition that, in introspecting one’s own experience, one is only aware of certain properties (like colors, shapes, etc.) as features of (apparently) mind-independent objects. TE is quite popular among philosophers of mind and has traditionally been used to motivate Representationalism, i.e., the view that phenomenal character is in some strong way dependent on intentionality. However, more recently, others have appealed to TE to go the opposite way and support the Phenomenal Intentionality View (PIV), according to which intentionality is in some strong way dependent on phenomenal character. If this line of argument succeeds, then not only TE does not speak in favor of Representationalism, but it actually speaks against it, contrary to the philosophical common-sense of the last two decades. Moreover, the representationalist project of naturalizing phenomenal character turns out to be seriously undermined on the same intuitive grounds that were supposed to make it plausible. In this paper, I reconstruct and discuss the line of argument from TE to PIV and argue that our introspective intuitions (TE) do not push us in the direction of PIV. On the contrary, the line of argument from TE to PIV is (at best) simply too weak to force us to conclude that intentionality depends on phenomenal character in the sense required for PIV to be true.
The Times of Fear (with G. Torrengo)
York-Milan Workshop on Mind & Metaphysics. University of York. York, UK. January 2018.
1st Tokyo-Milan Workshop on Time. Komaba Campus, Tokyo University. Tokyo, Japan. November 2017.
Not in the Mood for Intentionalism
IUSS Philosophy Seminars. IUSS. Pavia, Italy. November 2017.
Mind, Body, Future
Invited lecture for the Envisioning Workshop. Domus Academy. Milan, Italy. October 2017.
Fearing the Future. Fear as Essentially Future-Oriented Emotion (with G. Torrengo)
Emotions, Imagination, and Time. Gargnano del Garda, Italy. September 2017.
Is There Introspective Evidence for Phenomenal Intentionality?
ECAP9. Munich, Germany. August 2017.
12th SIFA Conference. UNISER. Pistoia, Italy. September 2016.
Matter, Mind and Consciousness. CEU Summer University. Central European University. Budapest, Hungary. July 2016.
Naturalization, Intentionalism, and Moods
Lectio Commandiniana. University of Urbino. Urbino, Italy. May 2016.
Arguing from Introspection? A Matter of (In)Convenience
2nd Conference on Natural Cognition. Rationality and Its Rivals. University of Macau. Macau, China. December 2015.
Phenomenology, Intentionality, and Introspection
OntoForMat Metaphysical Seminar. University of Milan. Milan, Italy. May 2015.
Intentionalism about Moods: Going to Eden Is Still Not Enough
ECAP8. Bucharest, Romania. August 2014.
Philosophy, Analysis, and Public Engagement. 11th SIFA Conference. L’Aquila, Italy. September 2014.
22nd Annual Meeting of the ESPP. Noto, Italy. September 2014.
Intentionalism and the Problem of Moods
Seminar of Philosophy of Language and Mind. University of Milan. Milan, Italy.February 2014.
Nonperceptual Sensuous States. 3rd Milan-York Workshop. University of York, York, UK. July 2014.
Phenomenal Intentionality and Introspection
Phenomenality and Internalism. 2nd Annual Ernst Mach Workshop. Prague, Czech Republic. June 2013.
21st Annual Meeting of the ESPP. Granada, Spain. July 2013.
7th Meeting of the SEFA. Madrid, Spain. September 2013.
Language, Logic, and Mind. 3rd SIFA Graduate Conference. Cagliari, Italy. September 2013.
The Silence of Transparency
Paris Consciousness and Self-consciousness Seminar. Institut Jean Nicod, Paris, France. April, 2013.
Nonperceptual Sensuous States. 2nd Milan-York Workshop. University of Milan, Milan, Italy. June 2013.
Comments on Peter Simon’s 'Perceptual Retention'
Memory, Perception, and Imagination. Milan-York-Nottingham Workshop. Gargnano del Garda, Italy. September 2012.
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