La diversità delle lingue arricchisce il pensiero. (Ing. & Fr.)


According to the myth, the destruction of the Tower of Babel would have set off the confusion of languages. Far from being a curse, the multiplicity of languages is a great opportunity for human sciences. The diversity of languages enriches the ways of thinking. A language is not a different way to describe the same things, it is a different point of view on those things. Follow the link to the highly interesting interview of the French philosopher Barbara Cassin CNRS.

« La diversité des langues enrichit la pensée » 

Individualismo e i diritti umani: la perdita di l’uomo sociale (Ing. & Fr.)

Tevau, or red feather money, from the Solomon Islands

Individualism and human rights, the loss of the social being.

My starting point appears to be an inescapable conception, provided that it presents a major difficulty for social science and humanities disciplines: in the course of its long-term development, modern ideology by making the individual (the autonomous subject) the ultimate value, has rendered society itself less and less conceivable. Ever since the Middle Ages, and most notably since the Enlightenment, society, experienced and understood as a whole, has been gradually and continuously devalued, if not completely wiped out. The outcome of this slow progression is that society is now considered as a simple collection of individuals, a ‘pile of sand grains’. We, contemporaries, place the ultimate value on the individual, we worship Human Rights and defend them as our dearest homeland, we consider that our preferences are reasonably founded as they have been crowned by a certain success in the West, in the East and even in the far East, we use this ideology and its foundations as tools –held to be superior to all others, even scientifically- for describing societies in general and often, alas, for our disposal in accordance with our preferences.

However one may ask oneself, at a more fundamental level, whether being human does not simply imply belonging to a community. Undoubtedly, the defence of the Human Rights may lead one to see a danger in an understanding of societies as coherent totalities, which may finally be regarded as oppressive.

But is the reverence for the human rights truly incompatible with the judgement that societies, as such, on their own, also deserve respect? To deny this respect means spurning all differences, all specific cultural identities. Worse yet, the refusal to take into account this common social dimension inherent of the human condition, far from offering protection against totalitarian deviations, this refusal may lead to them. The intention which wants to see nothing but individuals alone often presumes a destructive madness. On the contrary, a sense of belonging to humanity and of slowly constructing the foundations of a planetary society often offers a renewal and a force based on a prior confirmation of specific local identities which, once consolidated, become supports for the emergence of a supplementary greater identity on a larger scale. Daniel de Coppet Continue reading

Dobbiamo ‘disoccidentalizzare’ l’aiuto umanitario? (Ing. & Fr.)


Must we ‘dewesternize’ humanitarian aid? Various actors of assistance (doctors, sociologist, volunteer, anthropologist..) created a space of significant dialogue on the subject. / Non-governmental humanitarian action is today de facto to a very large extent driven by actors from Western countries. / Should we not be thinking of just ‘dewesternize’ our perception of humanitarian assistance, for we should stop thinking that before us, before our arrival, nothing happened. In Haiti, Haitians organised before assistance arrived. / The question is less whether the project manager should be Western than the practices transmitted by the NGO’s are Western, for if there is a local team behaving as the Westerners then we shall have the same problems. Continue reading

La porosità dei confini tra il darwinismo sociale, il razzismo e l’eugenetica. (Fr. & Ing.)


The porosity of the boundaries between social Darwinism, racism and eugenics-”Measured in terms of Plato’s Republic, or of Lykurgos’ legislations, eugenics based practices are immemorial, but eugenics as an organised and theorized science is a much more recent invention. It was founded in 1865 by Ch. Darwin’s cousin, by assimilating Darwinian theories and their extensions to human species.(…) Mental representations of contemporaries, their relationship to the ‘other’, to nature, to the history of their origins, are profoundly altered. (…) free choice nor a deistic vision, no further determine the vision of humanity, replaced by the biological determinism working in a guarded world of its own.” Continue reading

Rivoluzione di Darwin; una profonda ferita narcisista inflitta all’uomo nella storia contemporanea. (Ing. & Fr)


« What is the true impact of the Darwinian revolution, of this deep ‘narcissistic wound’ inflicted on humans in contemporary history? Social Darwinism is generally defined as the extension to human societies of the Darwinian laws of evolution, the ‘struggle for existence’ advantageous to the most ‘capable’, interpreted as the best or the strongest, being thus forecast to legitimise an elitist, conservative order within a social hierarchy. […] Darwin reveals a progressive scale of civilisation, inevitably evolving in continuity from animals to superior races (the white man being situated at the peak) by researching through the missing link: inferior races and savages. However the latter status is not fatal as evolution is the engine of the history of the human, the superior races hegemony is to be fulfilled in a non aggressive, non violent way.” Continue reading



The law of the most responsive to change, after God and to escape animality, how can one construct the human ? Through his/her analysis and speech each anthropologist constructs the human: he produces a model, a representation of the human in the society he is studying. This is also what each human society works towards because it needs human beings to function. Here, the human is understood as the set of values and representations enabling the members of a society of humans to live together and assert themselves during specific moments (rites of passage), speeches (myths, laws), practices (exclusions, wars).” Continue reading