Doktoratsprojekt wissenschaftliche Forschung

Sozein ta phainomena

Maria Vittoria Franzini

The research brings back to the fore the ancient Western question of „saving phenomena“, „saving appearances“, a debate that engaged the Greek pluralist philosophers of the fifth century in the task of reconciling Heraclitus‘ ever-becoming being and Parmenides‘ immutability of being. It questions the commensurability between transformation and uniqueness by attempting to define an ever-changing law for the identical. In this context, we want to re-evaluate the apparitional sphere of the organic with morphological science, investigating the link between the essence and the manifestation of forms. To this end, aesthetics and morphology are redefined as the theory of sensibility and the science of forms, respectively. Their aim is to study the formal characteristics of life, becoming that „biological aesthetics“ of which Goethe and Haeckel are the mediators. It is an aesthetics that navigates with that „exact sensual intuition“ the creative tension of the animate and inanimate world. We want to propose the combined study of biology, aesthetics and science in a single thread of a theoretical weave aimed at understanding the science of forms together, starting from the history of German morphology, illuminating the debates and theoretical knots, such as the origin of forms, the vitalist conception of matter, and focusing in particular on two problems still at the centre of contemporary morphological debate: that of appearance and that of individuation. Integrating Adolf Portmann’s phanerology with the former and Gilbert Simondon’s morphology and aesthetics with the latter, we discover how deeply these two issues are linked, while offering a prospective comparison with the new evolutionary theories defined by the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis and Evo-Devo. Is it possible to trace the foundations of an evolutionary morphology in terms of evolutionary aesthetics? Is it possible to structure a new ecological consciousness developed on aesthetic grounds? The rediscovery of morphological thought in the international scientific debate has recently shed new light on morphology itself, and this interest has been shared in recent decades by philosophy, which has been urged to seek new insights into nature by the growing ecological sensitivity in the arts and sciences of the spirit and the need for an ethical confrontation with the themes of the bios.