Abstract: This essay will examine Macdara Woods’s poetic thinking about the «threshold» – which may be interpreted as the limit point of one identity, be that literary, political, or ideological – closely linked to Woods’s journey to Italy. For most, a frontier, or a border, is a point of closure and separation between selfhood and alterity, but in Woods’s aesthetic thinking it becomes a point in a whole structure wherein different identities can interact and interinanimate creating more permeable structures of identity. Instead of being a restrictive place, the threshold becomes a creative space in his poetized structures of thinking. Ireland thus becomes a “state of mind” which will allow Woods’s ideological and cultural positions to interact, intersect and enter some form of dialogue with each other.
Abstract: The present paper deals with the concept of threshold as represented in two different plays staged in 1903 in Dublin, namely W.B. Yeats’s The King’s Threshold and J.M. Synge’s In the Shadow of the Glen. In both cases the playwright intended a physical threshold as a symbolic element. Yeats’s is a mythical play while Synge’s is a realistic farce. While the former is meant to identify the struggle for a noble ideal ‒ the social role of poetry in contemporary society ‒ the latter contests the traditional values of Irish rural society. The thresholds of a noble palace and of a rural cottage are two different metaphors identifying the importance of opposition to social and cultural values.
Abstract: This essay is an introduction to Der Tunnel by the Swiss author Friedrich Dürrenmatt, first published in 1952 and revised in 1978. Several interpretations are offered: a theological one ‒ the most recurrent in critical studies – reads the sad fate of the protagonist (i.e. of all humanity) as the will of a punitive God; a sociological one, influenced by the intuitions of hermeneutics, is intertwined with a historical and cultural reading, which sees the story as a reflection of the difficulties of the Cold War and of Dürrenmatt’s tormented relationship with his homeland. Most of all, Der Tunnel is the story of a writer’s struggle between the respect for literary tradition and his own creative force, which will later lead him to rewrite his own rules of art.
Abstract: The essay analyzes the comedy Dejar un reino por otro y mártires de Madrid, whose identification and attribution has been longly discussed.
The work belongs to the subgenre «comedia de cautiverio» in which events involving Muslims and Christians are represented. The topic is closely linked to the historical reality of the time, in which we see the fight for the Mediterranean domination between Europeans and Ottoman populations; and the consequent increasing number of prisoners both in Europe and in Islamic lands. This explains the great wealth of plays set in Turkey and specially in Constantinople; it also explains the fashion, which gets established between the second half of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th Century, of the «Turkish theme» in Spanish literature during the Siglo de Oro. Dejar un reino por otro y mártires de Madrid is with no doubt a work in which the concept of limes is part of the structure: the action takes place in Constantinople, the connection city between the West and the East. The pièce itself derives from the contamination of the «comedia de cautiverio» code with other subgenres characteristics. One of the main characters Enrique, a young, noble, Spanish in the appearance of a Turkish prince, crosses the threshold of his own identity gathering in his figure, torn between ambition and honor, all the contradictions that separate Christians and Muslims reducing the supposed lack of communication between two so far worlds.
Abstract: in recent years several studies have investigated the use of the technical language of specific fields in the poems of the Cancionero de Baena, but little progress has been made in the study of the technical language of philosophy and theology in this anthology. The Cancionero de Baena contains a great number of erudite compositions in which complex questions of scholastic philosophy are discussed. In this work I will examine the use made in some poems of terms and concepts of the philosophical tradition, which often make it difficult to understand the meaning of the texts themselves. In particular, I will focus on the specific meanings with which two terms, fortuna and ventura, are used in a small group of poems that debate on the subject of predestination and free will.
Abstract: Cyber technologies are believed to have reconfigured the way humans interpret themselves, as they changed routines, habits and mindsets that make up our lives. These tendencies lead to a growing conviction that humans can fulfil Nietzschean ideal and become overmen if they unfold the whole transformative potential of cyber technologies. This essay is a response to such claims. It addresses a growing assertion that cyber technologies necessitate philosophical re-interpretation of what humans are and what they ought to become. First, the study examines the capacity of cyber technologies to transform philosophical boundaries between well-established and separable categories like mind and matter, quantity and quality, and war and peace. To this end, case studies of brain-computer interfaces, big data and cyberwarfare were taken to practically test the assumption about philosophical limitations to cyber technologies. Then, the study relates these finding to the ideas behind transhumanism and examines whether cyber technologies can facilitate human transcendence into post-human entities boasting AI-enhanced intelligence and abilities. Finally, the essay concludes that there are substantial ontological, epistemological and dialectical obstacles to the transcendence of humans into technology, which is why philosophical interpretation of a human being should still be built on conventional, rather than cyber-related, premises.
Abstract: Analysing the concept of boundary in engineering and informatics, it is natural to think about to the man-machine interaction. Aim of this paper is to present a brief history of the development of computers and informatics and to give attention to the fundamental correlation between the man and the machine itself. The case study in this work is represented by the analysis of the development of chess engines and the continuous transformation of these products until today.
In the history of computer science, a great gap between human and machine performances was given by the low calculating power of the first computing machines; thanks to the development of the knowledge of physics and informatics principles, computers have now great calculating performances; thanks to the continuous studies in computer science, informatics is now the most common tool used by man in everyday life.
One of the fields in which computers helped human knowledge to develop faster is chess. Chess engines were much weaker than any expert player since the nineties of the past century; then, in a few years, IBM realized “Deep Blue” project and, for the first time, a machine beat the reigning chess World Champion in standard tournament. The continuous research for better engines was not ended, by the way, and in 2017 Google’s AlphaZero project brought chess engines to another level of strength.
Analysing performances between man and machine during the decades of the Twentieth Century and the performances between AlphaZero and other current strong chess engines, it is shown that the boundary between human and machine and between machines during the years is constantly moving.
Abstract: In the world of sport, for each competitive athlete, the path to go beyond the threshold that states if you are part of the sport excellence, consists basically of a constant work on your own limits. These are essentially classified as physical, technical, tactical and mental limits. By focusing the attention on the mental limits, first of all, is essential to highlight how is important to work on them by applying appropriate methods. In the present work are examined the characteristics of a method developed in order to be basically used in the sports where are involved teams, but adaptable to individual sports too. The aim is to work on the resilience, which can be defined as the ability to resist, to recover and to come out from adversity by being stronger, with more resources.The results obtained during the first four years of application of this method (from October 2014 to October 2018), which have involved athletes aged between 15 and 47 years old, have particularly highlighted the effectiveness in the development of resilience and, consequently, its usefulness in favoring athletes in their way towards overcoming the threshold of the sporting excellence.
Abstract: The Cuban Santerìa, within the complex panorama of African-American cults, presents specific characteristics that make it a religion of the Zwischen, of the encounter-clash between different worlds. In fact, it is the result of an extraordinary syncretistic process, in which the Orishas of the African religion Yoruba end up corresponding to saints of the Christian Catholic religion. Another singular characteristic is the androgyny of fundamental figures of the Pantheon of Santerìa, who make these divine essences of a masculine and feminine nature at the same time.
Abstract: Étienne Gilson and Augusto Del Noce are two of the most important christian philosophers of the Twentieth century. Their common interests mainly concern the status of Christian philosophy, the gnoseological realism and the metaphysics of being. Starting from their correspondence, affinities and divergences come forth on important theoretical plexuses and an attempt is made to trace a common interpretation of Modernity. Del Noce’s ambivalent judgment on Descartes, the father of philosophical modernity, is the most problematic issue that distances itself from the perspective of the French philosopher. Indeed, Gilson considers Descartes the initiator of the rationalist and idealistic line of Modernity. This line cannot find any synthesis with the metaphysics of being, which has a realistic dimension. For Del Noce, on the other hand, beside this direction, there is a process that is not closed to the transcendence, marking in fact the experience of a different modernity. Representatives of such currents are identified in Malebranche, Vico, Rosmini. In this line, it is not hard to include Gilson’s philosophy as a significant alternative to idealism and above all to the philosophy of Giovanni Gentile, considered the culminating point of rationalism. The presentation, in fact, of an existential Thomism, operated thanks to the studies of the French philosopher – beyond his intentions – can open significant connections between the metaphysics of being and the orientation of religious existentialism. Alongside more purely philosophical nodes in this framework, more contingent knots also emerge: the dialogue between Catholics and communists, the understanding of the phenomenon of atheism and the judgment on the anti-metaphysical perspective of the years following the Second Vatican Council.