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Gambarotto Andrea | Fellow Senior
2024-02-15 - 2025-02-14 | Research area: Philosophy of Biology
Hegel’s Philosophy of Biology

The project aims to turn the research I developed in the course of my Marie Curie fellowship into a research monograph. Based on several published articles in leading peer-review journals, yet reworked into a novel and unified narrative, the book addresses Hegel’s philosophical stance on organismal life, which in contemporary terms might be defined as his ‘philosophy of biology.’ A particular attention is given to the ontological status of organisms in biological theory, the purposive (agential) nature of biological systems, and the relation between life and cognition. While extensive literature has been devoted to Kant’s philosophy of biology, Hegel’s work on this topic remains largely unexplored. This is due to a long-lasting preconception against his philosophy of nature, which originated in the nineteenth century and still reigns today. The challenge of the book is to remove this preconception by interpreting Hegel’s philosophy of biology in light of the theory of biological autonomy. The term “biological autonomy” was coined by biologist and cognitive scientist Francisco Varela to define the ability of a living systems to produce and maintain themselves. The working hypothesis of the project is that the framework of biological autonomy provides the most effective template for re-reading Hegel, and that Hegel’s theory of biological individuality provides a powerful theoretical background to unify various current approaches concerned with the return of the organism and the establishment of an agential perspective in biological theory.