Mind, language and freedom in the age of cognitive sciences

Prof. Mario De Caro

When we buy products at the supermarket, answer a telephone survey or decide how to behave in risky situations, we feel the future is in our hands: that we are, in fact, the ones who rationally assess the pros and cons of potential choices and decide what to say or do based on our preferences and desires. In reality, while we may believe, that this is what happens, the cognitive sciences, neuro-sciences and the latest philosophy are suggesting that the story is much more complicated than it appears. We often take decisions without really knowing what we are doing – and the justifications we give ourselves and others are not infrequently mere after-the-fact rationalizations with little connection to reality.

This programme of conferences is developed for Lingua Madre by LAC edu in cooperation with, a project of IBSA Foundation for scientific research.

Mario De Caro
De Caro is Professor of Moral Philosophy at Università Rome Tre. Since the year 2000, he has also been teaching at Tufts University, where he is regularly a Visiting Professor. He received his first degree and his PhD in Philosophy at University of Rome "La Sapienza". He spent two years at MIT as a Visiting Graduate Student and one at Harvard University as a Fulbright Fellow. He is Associate editor of the Journal of the American Philosophical Association (Cambridge UP), and Ancient Philosophy Today (Edinburgh UP) and member of the editorial and scientific boards of several international journals. He is Literary executor for Hilary Putnam. He is Vice President of the Consulta Nazionale di Filosofia (which groups all Italian academic philosophers); a former President of the Italian Society for Analytic Philosophy; a member of the American Philosophical Association on whose Committee on Academic Career Opportunities and Placement he served 2009-2013; and a member of the Steering Committes of the Rome Division of the Italian Society of Philosophy, of the Italian Association for Cognitive Science, and of the Italian Association of Neuroethics and Philosophy of Neurosciences. He has been an elective member of the Board of Directors of Università Roma Tre (2002-2010), and he is Delegate of the Rector of that university for the relationship with the student body and the coordinator of the programs for the continuing education of teachers of history and philosophy in the high schools.He has been a consultant for academic issues of the governments of Canada, Portugal and Belgium. He contributes regularly to the cultural section of the Italian national daily newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, has written for The TimesLa RepubblicaLa Stampa, and Il Manifesto, and is an author and host of three series of the TV show Zettel, dedicated to philosophy and broadcasted by RAI, the public Italian television. The asteroid "5329 Decaro" is named in his honor. He has given invited talks given in 17 countries, in academic institution that include Harvard, Oxford, Princeton, Dartmouth, University of Notre Dame, Boston College, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Indiana, University of New Hampshire, College of the Holy Cross, Toronto, École Normale Supérieure de Paris, Paris Sorbonne, CNRS Paris, Paris IV, Bonn, Heidelberg, Hamburg, Bamberg, Bern, Genéve, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and in more than 60 Italian universities.