February 28, 2017 ―
March 19, 2017

Giuseppe Longo: Ontogenesis, phylogenesis and the formation of “sense”

Ontogenesis, phylogenesis and the formation of “sense” ( Feb 27 – March 3, March 13-17 )

In a series of talks, Prof. Longo will survey the construction of our relation to space and time. Both Greek geometry and the space and time of the Scientific Revolution were grounded on strong metaphysical assumptions. More recently, the fundamental dualism separating space (and time) from the objects in them has been extended to another very effective dualism for the construction of machines, the conceptual and practical distinction between software and hardware. But these mathematical “a priori” and the related forms of dualism seem inadequate for the understanding of biological phenomena given their historicity and radical materiality.  Prof. Longo proposes alternatives, focusing on principles that stress first the autonomy of organismal dynamics and the role of historicity, variability and diversity both in phylogenesis and ontogenesis. In this perspective, the material, bodily presence of organisms produce, a posteriori, the space and time of possible life dynamics.


Giuseppe Longo is Director of Research at the Centre Cavaillès, République des Savoirs, CNRS, Collège de France and the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris.  He has been Associate Professor of Logic, Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Pisa, and Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley, MIT, and Carnegie Mellon. 

Prof. Longo is founder (1990) of the journal Mathematical Structures in Computer Science, Cambridge U.P.  and (co-)author of more than 100 articles and three books: with A.  Asperti, Categories, Types and Structures (1991); with F.  Bailly, Mathematics and the Natural Sciences: The Physical Singularity of Life  (2011); with M.  Montevil, Perspectives on Organisms: Biological time, Symmetries and Singularities (2013). 

Recently he has extended his interests in the fields of epistemology and theoretical biology.  He directs a project at IEA-Nantes (2014-20) on the concept of “law” in human and natural sciences.   As Adjunct Professor Department of Integrative Physiology and Pathobiology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Prof. Longo is working with on the growth of cancer.   He has written popular and incisive articles on technology and society, ranging from big data and automation to network society.

Prof. Giuseppe Longo and Prof. Teresa Mariano-Longo will be in residence as guests of Synthesis and the School of Arts, Media + Engineering Feb 26 through March 18, excepting Spring Break.    He will give a series of lectures on Time and spaces from physics to biology: Ontogenesis, phylogenesis and the formation of “sense”

Lectures series can be found here.