Apply now

Roberto POLI




Roberto Poli (Ph.D. Utrecht) teaches Philosophy, Applied Ethics and Futures Studies at the Faculty of Sociology of the University of Trento (Italy). His research interests include (1) ontology, in both its traditional philosophical understanding and the new, computer-oriented, understanding (Theory and Applications of Ontology, 2 vol. Springer 2010), (2) the theory of values and the concept of person (Between Hope and Responsibility. Introduction to the Ontological Structures of Ethics, 2006, in Italian) and (3) anticipatory systems, i.e. system able to take decisions according to their possible future development (Understanding Anticipatory Systems, special issue of Foresight, 2010). Poli is editor-in-chief of Axiomathes (Springer); he has published six books, edited or co-edited more than 20 books or journal’s special issues and published more than 150 scientific papers. Details from

Course description : Ethics and Futures studies

Ethics and futures studies interact in at least three ways: (1) through the values present within a foresight exercise; (2) through the understanding that values require the dimension of the future; (3) through the problem of the deontological code of the futurist. (1) and (3) characterize the work of the futurist; (2) instead proceeds in reverse: the need to address the question of the future arises from within ethics itself.
Students will learn the difference between ethics and morality, those among the main ethical perspective points (virtue, deontological and utilitarian ethics), the nature of values and the interactions between futures studies and ethics, especially from the point of view of decision makers.
References will be provided in due course.

Course description : Complexity and anticipatory systems

What is an anticipatory system? In which sense a system can be said to be anticipatory? Which kinds of anticipatory systems do we know? Which connections can be established between anticipation, complexity, and action?
The most relevant 20th century contributions to the theory of anticipation developed in different fields (including biology, cognitive science and sociology) will be surveyed. The theory of anticipation developed by the late Robert Rosen and its connections with complexity theory and decision making will then be analyzed in some details.
References will be provided in due course.