Lorenzo Magnani

Director, Computational Philosophy Laboratory
Department of Philosophy,
University of Pavia,
Piazza Botta 6, 27100 Pavia, Italy
Visiting Professor
Department of Philosophy,
Sun Yat-sen University,
510275 Guangzhou (Canton), P.R.China

Let me begin with the intellectual achievements, and the effects on  others in organizations.   First, the discipline to which I officially  belong is philosophy.  However, this classification hardly begins to  give the scope of my technical achievements.  I have worked and  published voluminously and outstandingly on foundational issues in  artificial intelligence, logic, ethics, the foundations of geometry,  computation, scientific reasoning, cognitive science, and so on.   I am  the author of several major books in these areas in English, Italian,  and Chinese areas which are vital research disciplines, and in which  my contributions are generally recognized as having stimulated new and  vital understandings and developments.

Let me consider, for example, three of my books.  The first is a  well-recognized work called "Abduction, Reason, and Science".  This  presents an deep analysis of the inter-relations between abduction  (generally recognized to be the most important form of reasoning in  artificial intelligence and science): it stands as a unique and much  sought-after text on the subject.  My discussion of model-based  abduction, for example, contains an intricate analysis of the relation  between simulative reasoning, analogical reasoning, thought experiments,  perception, imagery, deductive reasoning, that literally stands out as a  powerful approach devoted to the subject.

The second book, is the work "Philosophy and Geometry".  With this I  have to say the following: the book deeply and richly exposes the  detailed forces at work in the scientific and historical formation of  geometry.  Opening the book it is easy to immediately encounter new and  enriching insights.

The third book is "Knowledge as a Duty", which will be published in  2007. This book aims and being a profound revolutionary approach to the  theme of morality.  The insight is that, in the information age, ethical  understanding must undergo a massive expansion, not only in terms of its  principles and its body of knowledge, but also in terms of its processes  of argumentation, and its own explicit understanding and examination of  those argumentation processes. We are all tied into the internet,  experience its enormous liberating effects, and yet are completely aware  that it crucially involves issues of personal boundaries and privacy.  I  show that the problem is even deeper: The internet, and the  information age generally and all technological advances, create a  constantly changing structure to what an individual actually is.  This,  I demonstrate, has profound ethical consequences.  The commitment to  ethical knowledge is important not only for personal survival, but also  to enrich the perspective of many disciplines, from the different  branches of philosophy, the several branches of cognitive science,  library sciences, business, and information technology. I think my  perspetive is furthermore essential for the formation of international  law in the information age.

I also made a lot of professional work in mobilizing and organizing new  resources, grants, and events for the benefit of research and others.  I  have won grants for many institutions, which I have visited, in USA, EU,  and China.  But my most important and impressive achievement has been  the creation of the Model-Based Reasoning Conferences, which have  essentially caused a paradigm shift.  First of all, there is the  intellectual issue of model-based reasoning, which draws together my  interest in a wide range of disciplines, and shows their cohesive and  deep inter-dependencies.  MBR has permitted to see, scientifically, the  way in which these disciplines inter-relate, but has created a highly  influential international organization that has brought together leading  researchers across all these disciplines and stimulated them to follow  the powerful scientific unity I has developed and established.  Leaders  of many technical disciplines, from artificial intelligence, logic,  distributed computational systems, psychology,  etc.  I have organized  events that not only bring leading people together, but to the aim of  enhance their professional lives as well as the disciplines from which  they come.

I have tried to organize with energy, planning and logistics, whole  groups of leading researchers to move forward in a new and unifying  paradigm which they welcome with great excitement, curiosity and awe, to  create a new vision that brings together several powerful modern  disciplines into a uniquely exciting and entirely generative form.


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